Speakers that do pianos really well

I recently had the good fortune to listen to a half a dozen pretty well-regarded speakers back-to-back. For these kind of sessions I like using piano recordings - either solo or jazz trio - as a measure because, to my ear at least, it seems that speakers that can reproduce piano really well seem to be pretty well sorted on everything else. The surprising thing was how many of these speakers did NOT do piano well. Of the group there were only two - Vandersteen and Verity - that I thought really captured the big chords, shadings, timbres, and reverberations cleanly and naturally. The rest - and I'm not going to call them out by name - offered a mixed bag of over-brightness, distortion, and general unnaturalness. I was very surprised by the results as I expected better from some of these speakers based on their reviews and reputations. So my question is, Does anyone else use the piano as a litmus test, and what speakers do people use that they think do pianos really well? Regards.

Showing 3 responses by wolf_garcia

I listen to a lot of piano (jazz trios, classical, etc.)and I have a pair of Silverline Preludes (current version) that do piano amazingly well...with an older REL sub.
Interesting point Martykl makes...all piano recordings sound a little different (some a LOT different) and that is where the mojo lives...i.e. being able to clearly and instantly hear those differences. I think a good sub really makes pianos come alive as an entire piano is making sound beyond and in addition to the notes being played...a piano is a large living thing with sympathetic vibration going on all over it and, if you're hifi's working properly, all over you.
One of the concert series I often work as a soundman has a gigantic Steinway that is tuned for every show...it's an amazing piano, but remember...microphones all sound different, and the recorded (or live miked) sound has a LOT to do with the mic used, the placement of the mic, and how much sleep I had the night before.