Why our Doutreligne Digital Piano is interesting for you too!

  • Digital piano
  • Piano advice for beginners

How is it possible that Piano's Maene adds digital pianos to its own Doutreligne range ? What know-how is behind these instruments and with whom did this musical "co-creation" come about? And above all: why might these instruments be of interest to you too? You will find out all about it in this blog post!

Doutreligne Akoestische piano

Doutreligne: how it all started...

Our knowledge of piano building is unique in Europe. The Chris Maene workshop not only builds replica pianofortes, but also its own Chris Maene Straight Strung Concert Grands, a line of top-range straight strung grand pianos. These concert grand pianos have made headlines worldwide, the many CD recordings by international artists confirming their premium quality and importance in the music world. In addition, since 2004, Piano's Maene has had its own second line of instruments, "Doutreligne" (named after Zulma Doutreloigne, mother of Chris Maene). These excellent self-developed acoustic pianos and grand pianos can now be found in many living rooms, conservatories, concert halls and other venues. The premium line "Doutreligne Master" allowed even the most demanding pianists to find their way to Doutreligne.


Digitale piano Doutreligne met Mac computer

On to a digital version

Since 2014, we were looking forward to a digital version of a Doutreligne piano. The digital version had to meet the same conditions: excellent educational quality, at an interesting price, from "manufacturer" to "end customer". Moreover, here too we wanted an instrument that was as European as possible, and one that we could design with our own knowledge. And this knowledge is now also unique in the BeNeLux:

  • Pianos Maene started with digital pianos in the 1980s, the period of the very beginning and genesis of these instruments.
  • While the "real" piano trade and industry saw the digital equivalent as a major competitor to the acoustic piano for years (and thus put away in a dusty corner), Piano's Maene embraced the instrument and got to know its qualities as well as its flaws for decades.
  • In these past 40 years, we saw the instrument evolve, getting closer and closer to the quality of its acoustic equivalent in certain areas. We could closely follow these evolutions that the (mainly Japanese) manufacturers brought year after year with a big drum. We got to know operation, construction and features in detail, and above all were able to separate the wheat from the chaff: what was useful for the musician? And what was just a gadget or a clever marketing trick?
  • Through our interaction with customers, we learned from the front row who the typical customer was for each type of digital piano, and what their specific needs were.
  • Through our collaboration with piano teachers, music schools and conservatories, we learned what the educational and pedagogical requirements of such a digital equivalent for the acoustic piano were.
Maene Engineers developping digital piano

Co-creating is the magic word!

We knew what we wanted! Only: we are a piano builder and specialist, but not an electronics company with software programmers and sound engineers. So we had to find one or more partners to realise this dream. Finally, we found a German partner who wanted to work with us on the piano that had been in our heads and hearts for so long. We sat down at the drawing board to create a piece of furniture that would be as close as possible to our acoustic Doutreligne pianos and grand pianos. The individual furniture parts are manufactured in Asia and shipped to Germany. All the rest of the instrument is developed, manufactured and assembled entirely in Europe. Behind the sound generation technology are a number of renowned research partners, such as the Fraunhofer Institute, the Max Planck Institute and the Universities of Stuttgart and Nuerenberg. But Piano's Maene's knowledge of piano construction and sound also contributed to the result. Together with the sound engineers of the German partner, we determined the quality and timbre. All user menus were written in Dutch and French.


Doutreligne Digital Piano using Dream Chip

Don't reinvent the wheel

To design such a digital piano, we obviously did not have to reinvent the wheel. Not counting the 3 major Japanese brands, Yamaha - Kawai - Roland, many manufacturers of good digital pianos often use market-existing building blocks.

Keyboard: Italian specialist FATAR has been developing and producing premium keyboards for quite a few major brands of digital pianos since the 1980s. We are proud to work with this supplier in our Doutreligne instruments as well. Top quality in touch detection, playing feel and dynamics.
Sound amplification: The sample may be perfect, but the sound is produced by the loudspeakers. The quality of the speakers is essential for how the piano sounds in a free space. For the Doutreligne instruments, we chose high-quality speakers from German manufacturer VISATON.
Sound generation: The electronic microchip for sound generation comes from the French group "DREAMCHIP", and is thé reference where music and electronics go hand in hand. The more than 1 Gigabyte of piano samples were fine-tuned together with Pianos Maene's experience and are based on the famous grand pianos from Hamburg and Vienna.

Doutreligne Sonata en Etude Digitale Piano's

Easy choice

Most digital piano manufacturers have a whole line of often dozens of instruments. Sometimes even to the extent that it is unclear to many what the differences still are, or the added value of a more expensive instrument in the range. Therefore, we wanted to limit the number of models, and very clearly tailor them to the typical pianist we had in mind. In the end, we chose to incorporate all this know-how and design in two basic models: the entry-level "Etude", and the "Sonata" model, where the speakers as well as the keyboard are of a higher quality. The Etude is mainly intended for the real starter, the pianist who still has a lot to learn and is looking for a simple but good instrument. The Sonata, on the other hand, is aimed at those who want to invest a bit more, or opt for an even better keyboard touch for educational reasons.

We are very proud of these instruments. You will never hear us claim that they are better than instruments from traditional suppliers in the same price range. But they were developed and produced in Europe, and their concept, sound and software were co-developed by our own Maene colleagues. Curious? Then take a look at the brochure and video below for more details, or just come and try one of these instruments in our showroom!