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Case Study: The Momentary, AR

The Momentary is a contemporary art space in Bentonville, Arkansas offering a diversity of dynamic, engaging experiences across visual, performing, and culinary arts. The facility, converted from a cheese manufacturing plant, features industrial-modern architecture and five state-of-the-art performance spaces – each with their own unique sonic and environmental character. Each of the Momentary’s designated performance spaces house unique and different d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker systems to compliment theatre, dance, film, live music and more.

Gateway Studios & Production Services, St. Louis, MO, installed the d&b XSL system on a bespoke stage from Mountain Productions (Wilkes-Barre, PA) under our Canopy, a tensile structure originally installed at The Domain in Sydney, Australia,” explains David Embree, Audio-Visual Production Supervisor at the Momentary. Embree had his heart set on installing the new d&b XSL as a fully mobile rig that could load in and out as necessary for off-site shows and in different areas around the Momentary. The XSL system is the newest addition to the d&b SL-Series and was designed to offer complete broadband directivity control. The Momentary’s mobile XSL system was among the first to deploy.

“The rear rejection truly lived up to the hype. The imaging and detail in clarity were just exceptional. I also really appreciated just how even the coverage was across the field. It’s a gentle roll-off of volume without comb filtering or strange EQ shading that happens with other systems.” Embree said. “It has allowed us to mix and trust that the system will deliver to all the seats, which is nice when you’re doing a show.”

Main arrays consist of six d&b XSL8 over two XSL12 per side. Four XSL8 per side for outfalls, four Y10P for front fills, six SLGSUB for the low end. Monitors are d&b M4s supplemented by V7Ps and V-SUBs for those who need to ‘feel it’.” All cabinets are powered by D80 amplifiers.

“My primary concerns were controlling spill, maintaining sightlines, and ease of use,” commented Embree. “Our Canopy makes a lovely proscenium arch to frame the stage but causes some significant challenges; namely, it puts a highly reflective parabolic surface above the play space and forces a rather low trim height for our main speakers. We’re expecting to present everything from earth-shaking electronic acts and symphonic orchestral works to bluegrass legends circled around a single mic. We wanted a sonically honest rig where any audio team, regardless of genre, could focus on their sound without feeling like they were fighting the tent or the system. But we also needed to deliver 105db at every seat without blocking sightlines.”

Embree explained that the SL-Series design directs all the energy to the listening plane without polluting the Momentary Green stage with errant reflections from the tent, resulting in a lower noise floor and more headroom onstage. “This opens opportunities for creative mic placement in an environment that would otherwise dictate close mic’ing everything. The XSL cabinets deliver big box SPL, but in a much smaller form factor. So, the arrays can contain smaller and fewer cabinets for less intrusion into sightlines. Coupled with the SLGSUB, we can still deliver the goods at the back of the field.”

In other of the performing spaces, Ford AV completed installation of several d&b systems designed by Threshold Acoustics into Fermentation Hall (maximum capacity of 200), the RØDE House, and Arvest Bank Courtyard, that have seating for 400 (standing 600).

“In Fermentation Hall, we have the immersive d&b Soundscape system powered by the incredible DS100 Signal Engine with both the En-Scene and En-Space modules,” notes Embree. “Our 37 d&b-installed speakers are distributed in four zones: four Yi7Ps and a pair of Yi-SUB for Main LCR; three 8S for front downfill; five 8S per side for surround; four 8S for surround rear; four 8S for surround rear balcony. As a contemporary art space, we present a dizzying variety of disciplines and genres. Our programming schedule requires flexibility with quick transitions between our retractable theater seating to a flat-floor for standing-room concerts. Regardless of what kind of art we’re presenting, Soundscape gives us absolute spatial control of the objects within the soundfield. We can match the psychoacoustic expectations for each performance with perfect coverage of every seat, all without having to move anything more than a mouse and a patch cable.”

The RØDE House includes a d&b V-Series rig: V10Ps for LCR with a pair of V-SUB and a pair of 10S-D for delays. “Often, the room is used for special events where LCR is not ideal, so we have eight d&b 10S-D on the walls around the room for more flexible coverage options,” adds Embree.

The Arvest Bank Courtyard system is equipped with d&b 10d amplifiers, and 8S, 10S, and Yi10P loudspeakers. It is almost exclusively used for background music and for support of art videos projected on a 90’ tall tower façade.

“The technology meets our needs precisely,” Embree says, as he looks forward to the next passionate chapter for The Momentary.

“As Crystal Bridges and the Momentary, we recognize our role as settlers and guests in the Northwest Arkansas region,” adds Embree. “We acknowledge the Caddo, Quapaw, and Osage as well as the many Indigenous caretakers of this land and water. We appreciate the enduring influence of the vibrant, diverse, and contemporary cultures of Indigenous peoples. We are conscious of the role in colonization that museums have played. As cultural institutions, we have a responsibility to engage in the dismantling of historical and systemic invisibility of Indigenous peoples past, present, and future. We choose to intentionally hold ourselves accountable to appropriate conversation, representation, connection, and education to facilitate a space of measurable change.”

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