Schimmel has been producing high-quality pianos in Germany since 1885. After years of steady growth were upended due to the onset and aftermath of two worlds, Schimmel has again enjoyed decades of growth and prosperity. While a majority interest of Schimmel was purchased by Chinese piano maker Pearl River in 2016, the 4th generation Schimmel family are still involved as shareholders, and all Classic and Konzert models are still made by hand exclusively in Germany.
Today, Schimmel is known as one of the more innovative and forward-thinking European manufacturers due to their integration of computer-aided design and manufacturing processes, combined with traditional hand craftsmanship. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Schimmel’s Konzert series.
The Konzert series instruments have only been on the market for a few years, and were designed to establish a higher quality level than Schimmel had ever before achieved. The K132 stands as the crown jewel of their three piano Konzert upright line, designed to be as much like a grand piano as possible, and stakes its claim as one of the top upright pianos in the world.
At a commanding 52”, the K132 is an imposing instrument with a powerful tone easily mistaken for that of a mid-sized grand piano. Schimmel’s unique action design, built by Renner, combined with extended length key-sticks, makes for a lightning-fast, superbly responsive touch. And Schimmel’s triplex scaling contributes to a highly clear, yet warm tone.
All of this is to say, if you’re seeking a fine German piano, whether as a musician or simply as an admirer of fine craftsmanship, and even if you were dead set on a small or medium-sized grand piano, don’t sleep on the Konzert K132.
The K132 features Schimmel’s top action, with the design aided by Schimmel’s proprietary Computer Assisted Piano Engineering (CAPE) software. Renner builds the actions to Schimmel’s precise specifications, and the results speak for themselves – this is a highly fluid, refined action that reeks of finesse.
The keysticks have been extended to offer a greater level of control, especially at dynamic extremes. This feature has started to become a trend among more forward-thinking piano manufacturers, and its presence here is very welcome.
The white keytops are made from a combination of specific minerals to replicate the feel of ivory, and the black keys are genuine ebony.
Power is the first thing that comes to mind when assessing the sound of the K132 – the sound is flat-out huge when the player digs in, to the point that it fills up a room just as much as a medium-sized grand piano does. Given that Schimmel’s goal with the Konzert series was to design them to be as close to a grand piano as possible, the amount of tone this thing generates is a huge success in that regard.
The treble scale design, with features triplex scaling, is identical to the treble scaling in the Konzert series grands. The sustain is very good, and the overall tonal colour is much warmer than what Schimmel has been known for in the past.
The hammers featured in the K132 action are double felted to prevent distortion, and are built with a mahogany core.The hammers are supplied by German company Wurzen as very few piano manufacturers currently makes their own hammers. While mahogany is not as premium a material as Walnut is for hammer construction, this is still an undoubtedly high-end hammer configuration.
The K132 features a soundboard of AAA Bavarian spruce. These soundboards have been extensively aged, and are tapered for greater resonance and tonal projection. The soundboard design itself is shaped identically with those found in the Konzert grands. This is one of the biggest reasons why the K132 literally sounds like a grand piano.
The soundboard is the heart of any great piano tone, and Schimmel has certainly made it a priority to offer a soundboard of high-quality, aged wood.
The cabinet is robustly built, and there were clearly serious aesthetic considerations made as the cabinet combines the classic appearance of an upright piano, with a contemporary touch to some of the finer details.