Seiler, famed German piano maker since 1849, has long been successful through fine design, craftsmanship and innovation. Innovation in the piano industry is not always quick to reach the general public or obvious to show the benefit to the consumer. Back in the 1990’s, Seiler developed the Super Magnetic Repetition Action (SMR) for their premium upright pianos. Now for the first time in 2018, this technology is available in a more affordable Seiler piano built in Indonesia.
What is it? What does it do?
First, it must be understood that a grand piano action works similarly to an upright piano action but with a few key differences. On a grand piano, a note can be repeated without the key fully resetting, and the result is faster repetition of notes. On an upright piano action, a spring helps the note reset, but a pianist can easily reach the speed limit for repetition. For this reason, a grand piano is needed for so much intermediate and advanced piano repertoire.
Within the Seiler SMR action, small ceramic magnets are installed in the action. These lightweight, permanent magnets force each other apart faster and more reliably than the spring alone. The result is both a faster and more reliable repetition, and very nearly equal to the best grand piano actions.
As a spring compresses (or stretches) the force is linear, Force x Distance. However, in a magnet, the relationship between force and distance is exponential, Force x Distance². This gives the jack a strong push sideways to return in addition to the force of the spring on the pivot…teamwork!
Watch the video below to see the SMR action at work.
Who benefits from this technology?
Tall, professional upright pianos have often been a substitute for grand pianos when space is an issue. The 52″ Seiler ED-132 and 50″ Seiler ED-126 offer a full sound and dynamic range that rivals a mid-sized grand piano, but fits easily in most any room. Upright pianos equipped with Seiler’s SMR technology (a factory option) will finally give the performance to match the tone, making these professional upright pianos a better option than most small grands.
Professional upright pianos are often chosen for their value as well. The cost of an equivalent quality grand piano is typically 2-3 times more expensive, so many families begin their instruction on an upright piano and trade up to a grand later if they can when the harder repertoire demands it. By purchasing on Seiler equipped with SMR, the same upright piano can be used for advanced repertoire, and the student can continue their education on the same instrument, making a Seiler with SMR technology a better, longer-lasting investment in your student’s piano education.
Seiler’s SMR technology is designed to be maintenance free. That does not mean the piano is maintenance free. All pianos require periodic maintenance including tuning, regulation and voicing. A Seiler does not require more maintenance than other pianos, but to get the full benefit of the SMR design, you must keep the action in good regulation.
Which pianos have SMR?
Seiler, which continues to build a full line of handmade grand and upright pianos in Germany, first introduced the Eduard Seiler (ED) line in 2010. The ED line includes 2 grands and 2 uprights from the German line, but produced in Indonesia using the same designs and materials as the German SE models.
Until now, the SMR was an upgrade option only on the German SE-132 and SE-126 models. Beginning in 2018, SMR is an option for the ED-132 and ED-126, now designated ED-132M and ED-126M. The more cost efficient production of the ED-series uprights means that the cost for the SMR equipped ED-132M is approximately 1/4 the cost of the German SE-132 SMR. Now more pianists can afford and benefit from this technology.
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