Seiler SE168 Product Overview
The Seiler SE168 grand piano is the smallest German-made Seiler grand at 5’6”, but like other high-quality smaller German grands, the SE168 punches way above its weight. With a recent redesign incorporating duplex scale and extended keys for better touch added to an already impressive arsenal of features, including Seiler’s patented soundboard ‘Membrator’ system for greater sustain and resonance, the SE168 is a dream to play.
With a rich history of piano making that exceeds 170 years, Seiler is one of the oldest and most prominent of all piano manufacturers. After being forced to change production locations on multiple occasions due to political conflict throughout the 20th century, Seiler settled in Kitzingen, Bavaria Germany in 1962 where they remain to this day, building high-end pianos by hand using the old world methods with advanced engineering and technology.
Samick acquired Seiler in 2008, and the company now the manufacturer’s grand pianos at 4 distinct quality levels in both Germany and Indonesia. The top-of-the-line Seiler SE grand pianos are 100% made in Germany in very limited qualities and represent all there is to love about fine German craftsmanship.
Bright but lush, light but easy to control, the SE168 offers a unique musical experience that should be considered by anyone looking for a high-end grand piano in this size range.
Full Renner Action
The Seiler SE168 features a full Renner action, designed and built in Germany. Renner supplies the actions for many fine European pianos, including Fazioli’s ultra-premium grands.
Add in the extended key length, and you’re left with a fluid, agile action, that’s also very easy to control. Seiler regulates their actions to feel lighter than some other German pianos, but there’s no sacrifice with regards to control in achieving the lighter touch.
The keybed is made of 3 thick layers of spruce ensuring a strong foundation for long-lasting precise functionality, and the multi-laminated beech pinblock is supplied by German experts Delignit.
The SE168 has one of the brighter tones of any German piano in this size and class, but unlike lesser pianos where ‘bright’ is often a synonym for ‘shrill’, the SE168 has a wonderful singing, lush tone with excellent sustain. Seiler attributes this to their unique soundboard ‘Membrator’ system, which we will cover in-depth in the soundboard section below.
The bridge is made with layers of quartersawn beech with a maple cap for excellent transmission of energy from the strings to the soundboard.
Overall, the tone is classically European, which is one of the main reasons some folks choose a German Seiler over a high-end Japanese Shigeru Kawai or Yamaha CF.
German Abel Hammers
Abel, the high-end German hammer maker, supplies the hammers for the SE168. They use high-quality German felt, and are ‘T’ wired for maximum strength.
White Solid Sprice Soundboard
Probably the most interesting and innovative feature with the German-made Seiler grands is the soundboard. The soundboard features their proprietary ‘Membrator’ system, which essentially means that the perimeter of the soundboard is heavier and thicker than the inner portion of the soundboard, which acts as a kind of housing around the soundboard. This design combined with the strategically positioned ribs allows the inner portion of the soundboard to resonate more freely and contributes greatly to the SE168’s unique tonal profile.
The soundboard itself is made from tight grain ‘Winter Cut’ white solid spruce.
Mahogany & Beech Rim/Cabinet
The SE168 features an outer rim of Mahogany and an inner rim of Beech laminations. Like any fine piano, the rim not only provides the structure for the piano but also greatly contributes to the tone. The tail is extra wide to accommodate a larger soundboard and longer bass strings.
Seiler also incorporates their unique ‘Tone Volume Stabilizer’ which improves projection and preserves the crown of the soundboard.
Thick, wedge-glued spruce back posts provide further structural integrity.