The W. Hoffmann v126 from C. Bechstein Europe, along with the rest of the W. Hoffmann pianos, are a marvel in today’s world of European piano manufacturing. The Vision series is the most affordable W. Hoffmann line, and features European features and parts (except strung-back) and assembly. The Vision Series is “C. Bechstein Europe’s Powerful answer to low-profile instruments made in Asia and the parent company Bechstein refers to the model as “the best affordable pianoforte”.
The v126 stands 126cm tall (or 49.6”) and boasts some incredible material and design features for its price range such as: premium solid spruce soundboards (made of White spruce), double-felted Bechstein-made hammers as well as full range agraffes. It is one of the largest uprights available from C. Bechstein Europe.
The W.Hoffmann v126 is priced similarly to a Kawai K500 or a Yamaha U3, but delivers a more musical experience, which is hand-voiced/regulated/prepared by some of the finest piano craftspeople in the world.
The excellent value W. Hoffmann v126 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 v126 upright receives is a Bechstein designed and made action, which they label their ‘Silver Action’, which is also used in the rest of the W. Hoffmann lines and in the German-made Bechstein Academy line. Bechstein also makes a ‘Gold Action’ which is reserved for their Concert level instruments, as well as a ‘Bronze Aaction’ 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, and seems to be designed and regulated to provide more control in lower dynamic ranges. This is likely also enhanced by the extended key-stick lengths. The action has very good repetition speed and meets C. Bechstein Europe’s demanding European standards
The W. Hoffmann v126 has a very colourful/differentiated sound, and produces great overtones in every range of the piano. Musicians who are used to mainly playing on Kawai or Yamaha uprights, and have the chance to get behind a Hoffmann v126 always remark on the level of tonal clarity and projection it produces, as well as the simply undeniably better sustain.
C. Bechstein Europe uses only top-quality steel for all strings, bass strings of 95% copper purity in the W. Hoffmann v126 as well as full range agraffes, which although aren’t inexpensive to achieve, drastically improve the piano’s tonal clarity. The v126 receives an excellent pinblock for very good tuning stability.
There are only three piano manufacturers remaining today, who continue to make their own piano hammers: Kawai, Yamaha and C. Bechstein.
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.
Its 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 v126 receives double-felted hammers (English felt) with maple hammer heads, which are carefully selected and hand-voiced by the voicing experts at C. Bechstein Europe
The soundboard in the W. Hoffmann v126 is made of high quality, white spruce and provides the instrument with a beautiful sense of tonal clarity, without sacrificing the rich ‘bottom-end’, which isn’t common with midrange European pianos.
Hoffmann Vision Series soundboards are specially processed for use in any climate.
One of the various things which the Concert Class, C. Bechstein pianos are famous for, is how involved in the tonal production their cases and rims have always been. It therefore shouldn’t come as a total surprise that the W. Hoffmann v126 (which costs a literal fraction of what a Bechstein costs) is constructed of massive pinewood with a back frame made of solid braces (medium-density fibreboard/medium-density-wood)
Apart from the musical differences between Japanese and European pianos, there are also most certainly some cabinetry differences as well. Vision Series Hoffmann cabinets are finished to a higher standard than is usually seen in their instrument class, and feature among other things: bevelled edges, rounded corners, straight/clean lines on the fallboard, a half-opening top lid as well as European-style double caster wheels.