The Momentary, a space in Bentonville, Arkansas that serves as a satellite to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in offering experiences across visual, performing, and culinary arts, includes several performance spaces equipped with d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers to deliver audio to compliment theatre, dance, film, live music and more.
First, there’s a new system headed by XSL compact line arrays that serve the outdoor Green stage that hosts live performances, and it can also be deployed in other areas both on- and off-site. It was recently installed by Gateway Studios and Production Services of St. Louis in time for the FreshGrass/Bentonville Festival held in May, where it was inaugurated by artists that included Old Crow Medicine Show, Brittney Spencer, and Smokey & the Mirror.
“The rear rejection [of the arrays] truly lived up to the hype,” says David Embree, audio-visual production supervisor at the Momentary. “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. It’s 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 — it’s one less thing to worry about and makes for an easier day.”
Main arrays consist of six XSL8 modules over two XSL12 per side, with four XSL8 per side for outfill, four Y10P for frontfill, and six SL-GSUB subwoofers to bolster the low end. Stage monitors are M4 wedges supplemented by V7Ps loudspeakers and V-SUB subwoofers, and loudspeakers are powered by D80 amplifiers.
“As we went into the design process for the festival field, my primary concerns were controlling spill, maintaining sightlines, and ease of use,” Embree notes. “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 105 dB at every seat without blocking sightlines.”
Meanwhile, last summer Ford AV (Oklahoma City) completed the installation of several d&b loudspeakers in the Momentary to head up systems designed by Threshold Acoustics (Chicago), including in Fermentation Hall, the RØDE House and Arvest Bank Courtyard.
“In Fermentation Hall, we have the immersive d&b Soundscape system powered by the incredible DS-100 Signal Engine with both the En-Scene and En-Space modules,” Embree explains. “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 rig includes V10Ps for LCR with a pair of V-SUBs 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 8S, 10S, and Yi10P loudspeakers driven by 10D amplifiers. The system is almost exclusively used for background music and for support of art videos projected on a 90-foot-tall tower façade.
“At the Momentary, we strive to deliver world class artistic experiences to our audiences, and d&b makes that so much easier,” Embree states. “The technology of the SL-Series meets our needs precisely. Our experience with d&b’s workflow, the outpouring of compliments on our quality of sound, and the excellent customer service we’ve received from the d&b audiotechnik Americas team made it an easy decision to continue the relationship as we grow into this exciting next phase.”