The Wilderness Reserve is set in 5,000 acres of Suffolk countryside, amongst rolling hills, vast blue skies and umpteen lakes, featuring a plethora of quaint countryside cottages, barn conversions and luxurious farmhouses. Perfect for getting away from it all. City dwellers seeking weekend respite cycle leisurely around the estate on pashley bicycles, sip champagne whilst they row a boat across the ornamental lake or play tennis on one of the many courts, all set to the backdrop of quintessential English countryside.
Direct Acoustics had the pleasure of first working with Wilderness Reserve back in 2017 on Sibton Park. The Orangery, a desirable event space, attached to Sibton Manor needed some attention and we had a charming time installing our most advanced technologies, including an invisible audio system to solve noise problems from larger functions and weddings.
Fast forward to this year, the year of the staycation, Direct Acoustics were back at Wilderness Reserve putting the final touches on Chapel Barn – the estate’s newest addition to the family. A Suffolk Long Barn, all thatched roofs and oak beams, converted to offer laid-back luxury and generous event spaces for weddings and celebrations, it has been kitted out with a steam room, home cinema, gym, sauna, pool and hot tub (because nothing says luxury quite like a hot tub) to accompany it’s 18 bedrooms. And it’s gorgeous.
Our brief was to provide high quality audio within the venue’s two event spaces, limited not to cause nuisance and be fully controllable for management no matter their location: on the estate or the further afield London offices. As with the rest of the estate, Chapel Barn is picture-perfect, and so it’s no wonder that, in addition to these requirements, there was the added touch that not a single speaker could be seen.
The barn consisted of a Martin Audio CDD10 front of house PA and supporting MA CDD6’s trailing down the length of the listed barn. We adopted K-Array KU26 subs to flood the venue with subtle low level bass and due to their slimline design, installed them into the barn’s wall cavity. Tucked away and discreet to not ruin the aesthetic.
Downstairs lies the games room, complete with swimming pool and gym. Here the audio experience was focused around the 80 inch TV and our 7.1 Surround Sound offering. This consisted of the impressive and ultra compact Outline Vegas 24 installed within the viewing wall, Audica Micropoints providing back projection and 8 Martin Audio CDD5 speakers suspended over the sofa within the curved ornate ceiling. When the TV is turned off and the party comes downstairs, the venue relies on this system working in conjunction with a portable twin Martin Audio XD12 set up.
Every installation we undertake ensures control takes priority and disturbance at nearby residential dwellings is a non issue. Both speaker systems are linked back to the server room where a range of Powersoft Install Amplifiers and Symetrix Prism Process Limiters manipulate every frequency and volume level emitted through each individual speaker, a feature key to the venue achieving their licensing permission. Connectivity is achieved throughout Chapel Barn via Atterotech unD6IO-BT Dante™ Bluetooth Audio Interface’s.
We like to think the team can tackle most challenges thrown at them and when Chapel Barn discussed the option of each speaker having an intricate and ornate grill cut into aged bronze, we just had to give it a go.
Our design, whilst focusing on its visual impact, ensured the pattern maintained >33% open area for acoustic transparency. To enable service access and ease of installation, a 12.5mm x 25mm bronze angle frame was brazed together using silver soldier and supporting brackets, installed to flush fix the laser cut plate.
Following their success, our team later fabricated identical grilles for the gym and long barn air conditioning vents, as well as 3m water drainage grilles around the floor of the swimming pool.
With the help of Direct Acoustics and Peter Rodgers of Sustainable Acoustics, Chapel Barn were granted a full 365 day license to permit Regulated Entertainment within the venue.
A range of methods were employed including underlying acoustic surveys, feasibility studies and real world subjective assessments. This all proved pivotal evidence as Peter Rodgers of Sustainable Acoustics was used as an expert witness during the licensing hearing.
And so this delightful estate now has an additional event space, ideal for weddings and group gatherings, without having to worry about the noise. Time to book in for a weekend retreat we think!