Recognizing the need for a diverse lineup on pianos with offerings in several price points, C. Bechstein currently offers 4 distinct lines of pianos. The C. Bechstein Concert and Academy lines are high-end instruments fully built in Germany, the Czech made W. Hoffmann are the handmade high-value European option, and the Chinese built Zimmermann are the mid level option.
The second entry in the Academy series, the A175 is a premium, European alternative for a size range currently dominated by mass-produced Japanese options, but still reasonably priced compared to other fully German instruments. Fresh off a full redesign by Bechstein’s revered R&D department, the A175 stands at the top of its class and competes toe to toe with much higher priced alternatives.
With a construction time of over 1 year and 250 man-hours, the C. Bechstein A 175 should be in the running for any high level pianist looking for the most bang for their buck, or for someone looking for a hand-made truly German instrument for the home with great value.
Bechstein outfits the Academy series with their German made Silver Line Action. Bechstein applies their “Keyboard and Action Engineering and Geometry Standards” framework to the design of these actions, resulting in a touch that is quite similar to a Renner built action found in many other German pianos.
Bechstein also applies their ‘Friction Control System’, which is said to effect the weighting of the action.
Overall, this is a refined action offering great weighting and excellent. While it doesn’t achieve the pure perfection of the Concert series actions, this is a superb action nonetheless.
The A175 really differentiates itself from mass-produced Japanese alternatives with a much clearer and more colourful tone. Overtones are rich across the entire range, with a level of clarity only a German piano can achieve.
One of the key reasons for the triumphant tone is due to bridge built, which is precisely made with Red Beech via cutting-edge CNC technology. This advanced bridge maximizes the frequencies transmitted from the strings to the soundboard.
C, Bechstein has some serious bragging rights by being one of only three manufacturers in the world, and the only one in Europe who makes their own hammers. Bechstein wants as much control over their manufacturing process as possible, and making their own hammers adds another dimension.
The A175 features very similar hammer design and materials as other more expensive, top German grands, with mahogany core hammers covered by specially selected New Zealand wool. The hammers receive a concert level voicing prior to crating.
The A175 uses European Alpine mountain source for the soundboard, and only spruce grown at extremely high elevations is selected due to its ideal pulp to grain ratio. The white spruce soundboard is one of the biggest reasons the A175 sounds much different than a Japanese instrument.
The A175 features a thick, hardwood rim of Beech. These rims are built for long term durability and overall structural integrity, and the Beech itself is carefully selected to ensure that the case remains highly stable, and perfectly frames the soundboard. The rim construction and materials also contribute to the excellent sustain and overall tonal profile of the piano.