A welcome alternative to the Japanese-made instruments that make up the vast majority of mid-range grand piano sales, the Vision series from W. Hoffmann immediately impresses. Made by Bechstein Europe in the Czech Republic, these instruments are perfect for those seeking European performance at a Japanese price-point.
The W. Hoffmann V183 serves as an entry to point into the world of European hand-made instruments for those seeking a professionally sized 6’ grand piano. The craftsmen at the Czech factory who build these remarkable instruments are highly experienced and are well representative of why European craftsmanship is held in such high regard to this day.
The V183 features an action completely designed and built by C. Bechstein referred to as the “Silver Action”. You’ll find this action throughout the W. Hoffmann Tradition and Professional lines, and even in the Bechstein Academy grands which are made entirely in Germany.
The Silver Action shows commonalities with the Renner actions that are a staple of many European-made pianos; there are key differences to note however. For starters, the sensation of deeper key dip is apparent with the Silver Action, and lower dynamic ranges feel easier to control. Traditionally, added control with lower dynamics results in less dynamic response when you really try to push the action, but the rim in the v183 is so well constructed that this sacrifice is not apparent here.
The W. Hoffmann V183 has a broad tonal range, rich with overtones, and clarity most associated with much higher priced European options. While there’s a noticeable difference between the v183 and the Bechstein Academy A190 or Concert A192, the v183 isn’t a far cry from the W. Hoffmann Tradition T186, which costs 10k more. As far as how it stacks up to other pianos in the class, the v183 stands out for its rich tone. For most folks who get a chance to play a v183 side-by-side with a Kawai GX2 or Yamaha C3X, the superior tonal output of the v183 is readily apparent.
Bechstein is the only European manufacturer currently who makes their own hammers, and this extends to the W. Hoffmann series as well. You’ll find A or AA double felted hammers in the v183 designed specifically for the v183, and equally if not more importantly, the hammers receive extensive hand voicing by Bechstein’s experienced concert technicians prior to shipping.
The V183 uses soundboards of premium solid spruce of the Alpine variety. After extra processing, these soundboards are prepared for use in a wide range of climates without fear of cracking.
Using pinewood for the inner rim, you can rest assured that the v183 is built to last with this durable hardwood. Medium-density fiberboard is included as well.