Sugar Hut hits sweet spot with Void Acoustics
Wednesday, 11 November 2020
sugar-hutThe venue’s refurbishment has been eagerly anticipated and well received
UK - The Sugar Hut nightclub, bar and venue - made famous through its association with reality TV programme The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) -returned to TV screens earlier this month boasting a new refurbished look featuring Void Acoustics kit.
The venue has recently been acquired by the same experienced club operator who also owns London super club Studio 338 – a large music and arts venue on the Greenwich Peninsular, and sister club The Bridge (also in London). The team has consistently chosen Void as their audio system of choice for the last decade, starting with their install at Studio 338, which currently boasts a 4-point Air Motion system covering their large capacity multi-room club including one of the largest outdoor terrace arenas in Europe as well as a Loft Room and VIP level.
Sugar Hut has been celebrating 10 years of TOWIE. The venue’s re-opening and refurbishment has been eagerly anticipated and well-received.
“Being familiar with Void and the aesthetic quality of their products combined with their excellent audio credentials, it was an easy decision to specify Void throughout our Sugar Hut refurbishment,” explains Larry Field, technical manager and sound engineer for Studio 338 and Sugar Hut.
Acoustic challenges abound at Sugar Hut because it is located in a listed historical building, which, by its nature, provides a challenging layout. It is a maze-like 15th century coaching inn with a courtyard and hundreds of years of history.
Field comments: “From a sound perspective there are local residents to take into consideration – it is so important to keep the Brentwood community ‘on side’ from a noise pollution point of view. This can be particularly challenging with a historic building because we obviously want to provide our guests with as much acoustic impact as possible. Whilst it is fair to say that the building is extremely well built, nonetheless we have to remember that it is over 600 years old!
“A very serious part of our installation process is rigorous external testing to ensure we are getting the best quality sound inside the club, with absolute consideration to the outside world at the same time.”
With all these extra challenges to consider, for Field and the team, sound quality remains a crucial USP for all their venues and so there was even less room for compromise when specifying the audio installation.
Mike Newman, sales & marketing manager for Void Acoustics, reports: “When we first discussed the brief with Field, he made it very clear they were wanting to transfer the template of the high-spec audio requirement from their flagship venue Studio 338 to Sugar Hut, along with the Ibiza-style theming. So immediately it was clear that Void’s timeless white speakers were going to feature heavily in order to achieve the ‘Ibiza-esque’ feel and ‘wow’ factor to the club which their existing clientele has come to expect from Studio 338.”
The long main room has a capacity of around 350 people in normal circumstances, and so the Void system is evenly spaced throughout to ensure smooth audio coverage. The room benefits from better sound proofing than other areas in the venue and so the system here is able to reach levels of around 102db SPL. This is achieved with a specification including two Void Acoustics left right Tri Motion with three Stasys 218 subs (including one at the rear of the room for a more even coverage of bass).
Tri Motion speakers, placed just in front of the DJ booth with an LED wall backdrop lighting them up are a focus of the room. These were chosen to provide continuity with the look and feel of Studio 338 where there is a similar room set-up. Also included in this room are four Airten fill speakers fully branded with the Sugar Hut logo and these serve the VIP pocket areas with time-aligned sound completing the room with full surround sound.
On the ground floor of the venue is the Stable room – where the main set up is a four point Airten speaker system. The main challenge here is that the room looks out right onto the high street and that, combined with being a smaller capacity room means the sound limitations are increased. A Venu 115 sub is wall-mounted just under the front Airten speakers to keep the sound tight together and to meet stringent listed building criteria.
Another area of concern cited by the building regulations and historical foundation teams which the Void and Studio 338 teams needed to address, was the perceived impact on the 600-year-old plasterwork in this room which was originally where horses where housed overnight. “I have to say, with respect, that it was a first for us having the issue of horse hair in 600 year old plaster as a problem,” says Larry.
The final area in Sugar Hut is the VIP area on the second floor of the venue. Once more, due to the local residents, the sound limits are more sensitive. The team’s main specification are Airten speakers with a Venu 212 sub placed under the DJ booth which helps to keep the overall volume consistent and helps reign in the temptation to push the sound levels
The room also includes a Stasys 118 sub along with two Venu 12s leading towards the bar with four futuristic looking Indigo Series to cover the sound for guests ordering drinks.
“This venue has been a perfect challenge for our client Studio 338 and our Void Acoustics design team,” reflects Newman. “We always aim for near perfect acoustics with all our installations and we’ve enjoyed the challenge.”

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