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A independent technician reviews Steingraeber Phoenix
Article published on 15 February, 2008
The Phoenix bridge aggraffe is a patented bridge coupling system. It differs from other bridge aggraffe systems, some of which were tried around 100 years ago. Technology has moved on and this system developed here at Hurstwood Farm provides a unique way by which the piano can be strung without down-bearing, allowing the soundboard to vibrate more freely.Below is an exert from an article by Thomas Cobble RPT of the space chapter of the PTG in the US.
There will be many articles in the future about the stunning advance in sound production coming from this new technology and, this is important. It is available as a retrofit. Atlantic Music Center in Melbourne, Fl (atlanticmusiccenter.com is the North American agent for the Phoenix Piano System) has the exclusive right to this retrofit.
Anyone with a trained ear who plays a new Steingraeber Phoenix or a retrofitted instrument is amazed by the difference in tone, sustain, clarity and power. Recently I had the opportunity to examine the tonal differences using a tool other than my ear.
I utilized a freeware program from www.visualationsoftware.com
called SPECTROGRAM. Many of its capabilities evade me but there is one function that I do understand. It takes a picture of a sound and breaks it down into milliseconds and harmonic overtones. It also translates this into two diagrams of the sound envelope.
These are pictures of a 6 second tone The note is the highest monochord string on an inexpensive 5'3" Chinese grand (G#1) . It was taken before and after it was retrofitted with the Phoenix Agraffes in the bass.
I also examined two Model A-170 Steingraeber grands, one A170 was a "standard" Steingraeber piano and the other had where the only difference was the Phoenix System and slightly softer hammers on the Phoenix.
This system for transferring energy into piano bridges is so much better than the normal way we've been doing it for 300 years that it is hard to draw conclusions about its future. Steingraeber also has introduced micro-adjustable hitch pins and carbon-fiber soundboards. Only the Piano Muses know what's going to happen in fifteen or fifty years. We do know one thing: PIANOS WILL BE HERE.
Pianos will still be made. Kids will still take piano lessons. There will still be extraordinarily gifted people playing piano. New pianos will be better than they are today .There will still be a real need for qualified piano technicians.
I hope to use this same program to look at the Carbon fiber soundboard pianos, and examine the micro adjust hitch pins up close and personal. I also imagine there will be plenty of controversy and discussion about these innovations. Good… that's the way it's supposed to be.
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