AZ PIANO REVIEWS!: REVIEW - Cameron & Sons CSM41D Digital Grand Piano - Not Recommended - Another Chinese Piano - Digital Piano Reviews

Nov 20, 2012

REVIEW - Cameron & Sons CSM41D Digital Grand Piano - Not Recommended - Another Chinese Piano

Cameron CSM41D
UPDATED REVIEW - May 20, 2014 - I do not recommend the Cameron CSM41D 4'1" Digital Baby Grand Piano because it is overpriced and has lower quality Chinese key action (as compared to the name brands) among other things, in my opinion. When it comes to shiny black Digital Baby Grand & vertical pianos, they are without a doubt beautiful to look at. Some are better designed than others and have better materials & construction, but from the outside they look attractive and can add beauty in your home. But there are some things you need to know about digital baby grands, including the Cameron & Sons, before you spend your hard earned money on one. Firstly, there are NO digital baby grands made in the US. Over 80% of digital baby grands sold in the US are made in China. The rest of them are made in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and a few other countries.

In China there are well over 30 (maybe more) individual digital piano & keyboard manufacturers throughout that large country which produce thousands of instruments for sale domestically and throughout the world. China is a busy place when it comes to mass producing all types of musical instruments including digital pianos, keyboards, drums, guitars, horns, woodwinds, brass, reed instruments, percussion of all types, and millions of music accessories. In fact, all you would need to do to go in business for yourself selling digital pianos is to fly over to China, find the manufacturer and models you want to represent, place an order and have them ship to your warehouse in the US. It also helps if you can speak Chinese but there are ways around that too:) Of course you would be required to order a whole bunch of them at one time and have a warehouse or large facility to store them, include your own warranty on them (in the case of Cameron & Sons it's just 1 year), pay for any service calls on ones you've sold if they need service (if a service tech can be found to repair them), and deal with the manufacturer if there are ever any problems (and there always are many problems with these kinds of pianos - I have experienced that for myself). On the plus side, you get to make money and put your own brand name on them. The manufacturer will stamp any name you want on the piano. So for instance, if your last name is Cameron, you can call the piano "Cameron & Sons" if you want. Even you you didn't have any sons you could still do that. Whatever name you think would help sell that piano is fine, as long as no one else is using it:)

Almost all Chinese-made pianos from Chinese owned companies in China (China is a VERY big country) such as Hubei Huadu Piano Manufacturer, China Joy Keyboards Co., Zhongshan Jungang Electronics Co, Changshu Talent Import & Export, Jinjiang Lida Electronic Co. Ltd., Guangzhou Amason Electronics Co. Ltd., PianoNova, and many others have some definite things (features) in common. I have played enough of these "cheaper Chinese made pianos" (not all things made in China are of cheap quality and in fact many are very good) to know that these commonalities include attractive cabinets (some of which are not made well), lots of buttons & features like recording and rhythms, a good size LCD display screen (sometimes no screen or small LED display instead), and other things. But unfortunately many if not most of these pianos also have low quality piano sound reproduction with minimal key sensors, low quality and noisy key action (Chinese made key actions are known for this), low quality pedal assemblies, smaller piano sound polyphony chip, and a basic set of sounds & rhythms which are typically not very good. Also, many (but not all) of the pianos are usually not very reliable (based on my experience with them) and few piano technicians are available to repair them.

Ningbo Allegro Chinese 
In the case of the Cameron & Sons brand, there really is a person with the last name of Cameron and he owns a retail piano business in the US. However, the piano name and his name are the only thing that are American when it comes to this "brand name." My Cameron purchases the CSM41D directly from China from a Chinese digital piano manufacturer who already produces this model for mass consumption under any name  sellers around the world choose to use. In reality this Chinese piano manufacturer is called Ningbo Allegro Co., Ltd. The actual Chinese model name and number of the piano is called the Allegro 1250 and on their Chinese web site has the same specifications as does the Cameron web site (coincidental...I think not).

So what does this all mean? It simply means that an American or European sounding piano name name like Adagio, Allegro, Cameron, Adams, Williams, Hemingway, Classenti, and others does not mean the product was made or designed in the US and has acceptable good quality piano sound, key action, and pedaling. I am a piano teacher and I would not recommend a piano like this to a student of piano player when there are good options available. The Cameron & Sons name (as well as other names like this) is created & used to help a retail dealer sell more pianos to people like me and you because the name sounds good. This is what many businesses do and is not necessarily unusual. The Cameron & Sons pianos are all Chinese products designed and made by a Chinese company using lower quality technology and in this country sold by a retail dealer who has a nice web site promoting this model. 

Pink Chinese Digital Piano
The piano key action is the most important aspect to a digital piano and if the key action is not made by Kawai, Roland, Casio, Yamaha, or the Fatar key action company in Italy, then it will be a low quality, low performance, noisy, and unpredictable key action...period. I have yet to play a digital piano with a Chinese made key action that is worthwhile or than can reproduce the piano sound response and dynamics that are necessary based on all my experience. One day Chinese key actions will likely get better but they are not there yet. With regard to the rest of the piano, they are mostly all the same when it comes to Chinese technology.

Red Chinese Digital Piano
On the Cameron Web Site the retail price for the CSM41D is shown as $7995 with a regular selling price shown as $5995 and then a "sale price" shown as $4495. In the world of retail store or web site prices, because the US dealer run by Mr Cameron has full control over that name in the US (like other similar businesses), he can make up and quote any prices he wants to. This would be the same for any other private retail dealer or supplier. But the Cameron web prices are way out of line on their web site compared to what they should be sold for in my opinion. This piano should "retail" for no more than $2500 - $3000 based on other similar Chinese pianos out there I've seen and should sell for less than $2000. Actually I've seen it on one store web site called Musical Outlet for $2200 which is likely a front for a Cameron company site as well (companies sometimes have more than one web site to make you believe you are getting a deal from someone else when you notice it for less money). So what your really getting is a nice looking cabinet surrounding very basic digital piano technology found in small low priced digital pianos. In other words, you are likely buying something nice to look at at the expense of a having much better instrument in a non-digital grand style. So is the Cameron & Sons piano a BAD piano? Well no, not necessarily compared to other Chinese made and owned piano products. Is it something of high quality compared to Yamaha, Roland, or Kawai, or Casio pianos?...NO, not even close.

Suzuki Type Chinese Piano
I feel you would be MUCH better off if you gave up the idea of actually getting high quality realistic playing & sounding digital baby grand designed & produced in China (this will sound and play nothing like a real grand), and instead buying a lower priced new very high quality vertical style digital piano in the $1000-$2500 price range from Casio, Kawai, Yamaha, or Roland. OR, if you absolutely must have that Baby Grand style, then there are alternatives to the Cameron & Sons and others like it. By the way, I have not personally played a Cameron & Sons CSM41D because they are not available anywhere to play except the local Cameron store assuming they still have an actual store (they advertise regular acoustic Chinese pianos too). In the final analysis, if you are considering this piano, be careful that you make an educated decision before you make a purchase on this one or anything other piano for that matter.

*If you definitely want a digital piano in a baby grand cabinet for a fairly low price, a much better option would be the Samick SG450 piano, It has quality parts and construction and has an especially good key action and that company has a special low price on it at the moment which you can ask me about. Go to the following link to read my review:  Samick SG450 piano review
 If you want more info digital pianos and lower prices than internet or store discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call me direct at 602-571-1864

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