David B Is not what the player hears regarded as a nice sound for a recording?
Yes and no. Are you trying to get the nicest sound for playing, or for recording? Because for playing you might want a wide image, but for recording you might want the listener to feel like he's further away (narrow image). I know that these conversations can be chicken/egg scenarios since you might not know what you want until you hear it. I come from the perspective of achieving a type of sound by making a specific goal first. Just a different way of coming at the issue.
Anyway, after listening to the five examples, I think it's pretty consistent with you guys said and what I wrote. Your mix, because it has alot of mics, is less focused and more echo-ey/diffuse because the mics are in many different locations. The presets are more focused, because less mics used. But in your last example - turning up the surround mics on a focused preset does indeed add more room-y effect - so good choice (IMHO).
Regarding your choice of EQ, I also like boosting those frequencies - but on my crappy monitors (I'm not using my expensive ones right now) it makes the lower octaves more muddy - almost like turning a 10 foot concert grand into my 5'8" mini grand. Again, this may be due to the differences in frequency response of your listening system compared to mine. So, generally for EQ - just do what sounds nice on your system. If you're interested in comparing, listen the clarity of a concert grand's lower section (no EQ) compared to a smaller grand, and then take the concert grand and boost the lower EQ artificially to see if you can get it to sound muddy like the smaller grand. Anyway, that's a stupid experiment that someone like me would do.
One last note - since I monitor with headphones, I think your wide image is too wide for the player position. It's "head in the piano" wide. I think a piano soundstage is about 100-110 degrees. I don't know. Try it on the piano at work and see if you agree. Close your eyes and notice where the bass and treble are coming from, and how wide the image is. Then again, if you're not monitoring on headphones, your image is going to be dependent on your speakers and their position. Possibly totally different from my setup.