Today’s pianos combine mechanical and electrical components to offer everything from professional workstations to amateurs. Steinway & Sons, the world’s most renowned piano manufacturer, is well known for its traditional uprights and grand pianos. Baldwin entered the market with a production line of more affordable yet still impressive player pianos.
This article compares these two very different instrument manufacturers to provide insight into which one will be best for your particular needs.
Baldwin vs. Steinway: Features and Specs
Below is an outline of the specifications and features of these two piano brands so you can decide which brand is right for you.
- Baldwin: Heavy-duty cabinets with wrap-around legs create an industrial look that many people consider unattractive. Each wooden part (not including keys or pedals) can be replaced if something breaks down over time, making them more likely to last longer than its less expensive counterparts.
- Steinway: All grand pianos come with a clear finish, usually a type of veneer, and the cases are curved to give it a more classic look. Grand pianos also have a much lighter build than their perfect counterparts, making them easier to move around.
2. Pricing and Budget
- Baldwin: Baldwin grand pianos start at about $8,000 for their entry-level models, while their top model costs over $50,000. Upright Baldwin range from as low as $5,500 to as high as $23,000, depending on the style you choose (there is an entire catalog explicitly dedicated to uprights).
- Steinway: Steinway prices vary depending on size and wood finish, but they generally start at about $19,000 for their entry-level model.
- Baldwin: The “M” series is the only line of Baldwin pianos that come with a full 88 key keyboard, while most other models have only 85 keys (the keys on a standard piano are numbered from left to right, starting with 1 and ending with 88). These pianos also have more of a traditional feel when it comes to the weight of the touch.
- Steinway: All Steinways have 88 keys, but they come with a lighter touch than most other brands on the market, including others from Steinway’s line of grand pianos.
4. Sound Quality and Speakers
- Baldwin: There isn’t much variety in the speaker systems used by Baldwin pianos. The “S” series pianos have a basic four-speaker system behind the piano. All other models have 2 speakers located at either end of the case, which is aimed directly at you, not away from you like some other brands.
- Steinway: Steinway may use similar speakers to those found on their grand pianos in their upright versions depending on size, but they also offer several upgrades, including an upgraded surround sound system with wireless connectivity.
- Baldwin: Baldwin has one of the most advanced MIDI setups available built into each piano that allows for seamless integration between your computer and your instrument. This makes it easier than ever to record music as well as practice along with professionally-made sheet music. To use this feature, plug in your USB stick into the appropriate port on your piano, download the accompanying software for free from Baldwin’s website, and you are all set to go.
- Steinway: While Steinway does have MIDI capability, it is much more limited than what Baldwin offers, so if this is a significant selling point for you, then you may want to consider another brand.
6. Space Considerations
- Baldwin: Baldwin pianos tend to be extremely heavy, which means they are hard to move by yourself, but they also don’t take up as much space as other brands. This is because of their less traditional designs. This makes them ideal for people with smaller homes who still want an excellent piano to practice on.
- Steinway: Steinways are usually more compact than Baldwin pianos, so they take up less space, but you also have to remember that the cabinet’s design leaves much more space inside.
Pros of Baldwin Digital Piano
- Excellent sound quality: The feel and response you get from playing a digital piano with 88 weighted keys give dignity to this widely used keyboard instrument.
- Sustain pedal: This is a separate pedal used for sustaining notes, chords, and other sounds. It has to be attached to the piano’s chassis.
- Built-in recording feature: This is an excellent feature that lets you record what you have been playing, store it on the computer then decide whether to save it or delete it.
- MIDI communication: Another great feature, MIDI communication, gives this piano the ability to communicate with other devices through a USB port.
- Connectivity features: Baldwin digital pianos are designed with the latest connectivity features that allow users to connect their instruments to the computer and, through the latter, connect them to other devices for better playing.
- High-quality speakers: Baldwin digital pianos come with high-quality speakers that have adjustable volume controls, AUX INPUT jack sockets, headphone jacks that can be used when external power is unavailable or low.
Cons of Baldwin Digital Piano
- The key touch is not so smooth – When it comes to the keys, their responsiveness and playability are among the essential features a player has to look for in a digital piano.
- The grand cabinet is too heavy to move – Many of these digital pianos come with a stand or a free-standing console with an impressive and sleek look that makes it appear like a real upright piano.
Pros of Steinway Digital Piano
- Price point: As mentioned before, it is tough, if not impossible, to get a good quality full-size acoustic piano under the $2000-3000 mark (depending on your location).
- Size: This is something that you should consider very seriously before buying a real piano. Real pianos require at least 6’x3′ space (180cm x 90 cm).Real pianos require at least 6’x3′ space (180cm x 90 cm).
- Headphones jack/Built-in speakers: Another convenient thing that you won’t get on a real piano is the headphone jack and built-in speakers.
- Less maintenance: You probably already know how much of a pain it can be to tune and maintain a regular acoustic piano. On the other hand, digital pianos require almost no maintenance, and once they are charged up, you are good to go for the next six months before recharging them again.
- Recreating the real piano experience: One of the reasons they are so realistic is their weighted keys, which provide excellent response and touch and replicate the regular piano feel.
- Inexpensive bench/cover: Let’s face it, regular pianos have costly accessories such as benches and covers. On the other hand, most digital pianos come with a bench and an excellent cover included in the purchase price.
Cons of Steinway Digital Piano
- Pricey – This list comprises what most pianists would agree to be the most concerning cons about the Steinway digital piano. While it may cost a few bucks more than actual regular pianos, you can’t put a price on the convenience and flexibility that these types of instruments offer.
- It doesn’t feel or sound real – Even if the Steinway digital piano is impressive in every aspect of other features, it’s still not as close to an actual grand piano as regular pianists want them to be.
Baldwin vs. Steinway – Which One is Better?
Baldwin is a better brand in the piano industry because they are more affordable, durable, and have many technological advancements that make them stand out. Steinway is also superior to pianos produced by other brands due to their sheer sound quality.
Baldwin uses specific tools in the production process to protect customer safety while using fewer parts to construct pianos. They also use “advanced tuning techniques,” which gives them the ability to produce high-quality sound for their customers at an affordable price.
Baldwin does not disclose information on materials used when making certain pianos. This may be why some people do not purchase them – lack of transparency always results in mistrust from customers.
Steinway is known for having superior sound quality to all other piano brands. For example, if someone has never played a Steinway before, they will tell the difference in comparison. The costs are also high, which may deter some clients from purchasing their product.
Steinway is very secretive about how they make their pianos and do not produce an item until they can guarantee its durability. This makes sense since it is such a luxury item and expensive materials go into every part of these pianos.
Now that you know a bit about each brand, it’s time for you to do your research and figure out which one is right for you. Just remember that while there are some differences between these two brands, they both offer outstanding instruments that will last a lifetime if properly cared for.