Charm works every time. When you see the eyes of Alain Français twinkle as they do, despite the fatigue, you know he is preparing a surprise, and the latest one is big. Imagine...
A symphony played by forty speakers and a dozen subwoofers, each installed at the location where the corresponding microphones (and therefore the instruments) were located and through the middle of which you can walk.
Move over Futuroscope, Asterix and Disneyland, take a break Surround and Atmos – Learprint arrives and the sound becomes emotion.
A view of the beautiful rehearsal hall of the National Orchestra of Ile de France invaded by microphones, including a couple of omnidirectional Neumann KM133-Ds equipped with diffraction spheres
We had already been invited to listen to it two years ago, when it was only a draft, a rough outline exploring the possibilities of this idea without actually exploiting them. I remember that day in November 2012 when, in the warehouse of De Préférence in Wissous, above the office and hidden from view, Alain presented his necessarily imperfect concept without the multitrack sources necessary for the creation of this incredible sound space, nor anything worthy of being called a confined space. We left rich with chills of frustration and a request to keep it to ourselves.
From left to right: Alain Français, Ann Vermont (responsible for public relations & social media for Sennheiser), Dominique Guerder (project and communication manager for De Préférence), Guillaume Ehret (project manager for digital microphones, Sennheiser Group), and Sarah Leroy (apprentice stage manager at De Préférence and stage assistant for this premier of Learprint).
Two years later, it was Ann Vermont, of Sennheiser France – partner in the endeavor for the fully digital capture using Sennheiser and Neumann – who called us back: Alain had done it again and, this time around, in the most exceptional way.
The appointment is in Alfortville at ONDIF, the National Orchestra of Ile de France – more precisely, at their headquarters, which includes a beautiful rehearsal studio and ancillary rooms of respectable size – for the first official presentation of what is now called Learprint.
On the scene, despite soundproofed doors, we feel the pressure and the "life" of a real orchestra playing, an impression that turns out to be completely misleading. It was Alain's creation on "play". So far the score is Alain - 1, Ludo - 0!