The smallest Tradition Series offering from W. Hoffmann, the T161 Baby Grand Piano is 161 cm long (or 5’3”) and is a “traditionally” European piano in all regards. Hand-crafted in small quantities by some of Europe’s most highly-skilled piano craftspeople, the t161 Baby Grand Piano is the perfect addition to any room needing a small, individual, yet incredibly high-value musical instrument.
The T161, along with the rest of the W. Hoffmann pianos was designed by top German piano maker – C. Bechstein, and crafted by hand in the Czech Republic (Hradec Kralove) from fine European materials. In the modern world of mass-produced goods, it’s nice to know exactly where and by whom something is being made – especially something as personal as a musical instrument.
Anyone who hears the W. Hoffmann t161 remarks at how impressive its warm yet clear tone is – particularly for an instrument of its size. The piano has an incredibly well-balanced, singing sound, and cleaner sounding transitions between registers than many far more expensive baby grands.
The Traditional Hoffmann Series – to which the T161 belongs – is the second ‘tier’ of the 3 Hoffmann lines. The Tradition Series is very similar in quality to the Professional Series Hoffmanns, however, the two lines feature very different sounds and tonal philosophies. The Tradition Series Hoffmanns are known for their warmer tone and rounder attack. The T161 has beautiful tonal clarity through the whole range of the instrument, which is accentuated by its remarkably responsive and lively soundboard.
The T161 Baby grand from W. Hoffmann includes some very sought-after features such as full range agraffes, Solid White Spruce soundboards, and the classic/German-made C. Bechstein double felted hammers.
The W. Hoffmann T161 is the smallest and most affordable fully European grand piano offering from the legendary C. Bechstein Europe company. Arguably the best value baby-grand around 50k, the T161 delivers a beautiful sound, and articulate touch, and an impressively small footprint.
The W. Hoffmann T161 is also available with the C. Bechstein Vario System, which is a silent system designed and made by Bechstein, allowing their acoustic pianos to have certain capabilities typically only available in digital pianos
The action assembly which the W. Hoffmann T161 baby grand receives is a Bechstein-made and designed action which they label their ‘Silver Action’. This is the same action that is used in the rest of the W. Hoffmann pianos as well as in the German-made Bechstein Academy instruments.
Bechstein also makes a ‘Gold Action’ which is reserved for their Concert level instruments, as well as a ‘Bronze Action’ which is manufactured by Hailun for their Zimmermann pianos.
For those familiar with Renner Actions, the Bechstein Silver Action is similar in feel, although does have the sense of a deeper key bed (though less deep than Japanese pianos), and seems to be designed and regulated to provide better control in lower dynamic ranges. This is likely also enhanced by the extended key-stick lengths. The repetition speed of this action is fantastic.
The T161’s action gets regulated extensively – to the same tolerances as the Professional W. Hoffmanns and to similar tolerances as the Bechstein Academy line. The touch on the piano is beautifully balanced ‘out-of-the-box’ and is distinctly European in feel.
The W. Hoffmann T161 (as well as their P162) models designed by C Bechstein somehow surpass all of the tonal limitations which baby grand pianos are notorious for at the same time as achieving the classic warm yet clear tone which seems to be a recurring theme through the Tradition Line of Hoffmann pianos.
The T161 is a very expressive instrument and provides the player with a great range of colours – from fortissimo to pianissimo; while at the same time retaining that classic ‘purity’ which has become a staple of European piano tone.
The soundboards in the T and P series Hoffmann pianos are strikingly good for the instrument class. One of the first things anyone comments on after playing one of these instruments is just how full and resonant a tone comes out of the piano. The efficiency of these soundboards particularly “goes the extra mile” in the smaller models – such as the T161.
The tonal character and range of expression in the W. Hoffmann t161 Baby Grand is sure to satisfy musicians of all calibers, and is without question punches far above its size and price tag.
C. Bechstein Europe uses only German bass strings of 99% copper purity in the W. Hoffmann T161, a beech multiplex pinblock, as well as full range agraffes, which although aren’t inexpensive to achieve, drastically improve the piano’s tonal clarity.
Bechstein designs and manufactures every hammer found in their W. Hoffmann and Bechstein branded pianos in Europe with the finest quality felts and woods available to maintain complete control over the quality of these integral components.
It’s also interesting to note that Bechstein has a specific sized/scaled hammer set for each individual model they make (not just for the different lines) to get as much tonal efficiency out of each instrument.
All Bechstein hammers are made in Germany.
The W. Hoffmann t161 receives mahogany-core, double-felted (English felt) hammerheads which are carefully selected and hand-voiced by the voicing experts at C. Bechstein Europe.
The soundboard in the W. Hoffmann T161 is made of extremely high quality, white spruce grown in the Alps, and provides the instrument with a beautiful sense of tonal clarity, richness and colour, and retains. The soundboards are carefully cured by the wood specialists at C. Bechstein Europe for optimal tonal production.
There is a substantial and noticeable increase in soundboard quality between the W. Hoffmann Vision and Traditional series, and the quality of soundboard in the Tradition Series Hoffmann’s is equal to that in the Professional Series.
W. Hoffmann Tradition grand pianos are built on very thick hard-wood rims, made of maple and beech. These rims are specifically designed to reflect as much tone as possible for optimal projection and power, as well as to just make the T161 an extremely durable piano.
Being a fully European piano, the W. Hoffmann T161’s cabinetry is also distinctly European. W. Hoffmann cabinets are finished to a noticeably higher standard than is usually seen in their instrument class, and feature among other things: classic cuts/lines, spade legs, European-style double caster wheels as well as a soft-close lid.