BT Acoustic Laboratory

Snape Residencies at an extraordinary facility

We are very excited to be teaming up with BT to offer Residencies in their Acoustic Laboratory at Martlesham Heath. We want to hear from anyone interested in spending a week in this environment, whether you’re a composer, sound artist, experimental performer or group.

The Post Office Research Centre at Martlesham Heath was opened by the Queen in 1975, following its move from Dollis Hill in London. The site in east Suffolk was chosen for its flat and uncluttered landscape, ideal for testing the radio-based communication systems of the day.

At the heart of the Martlesham Heath facility lies a comprehensive and superbly built acoustic laboratory. It was here that many ground breaking developments in telecommunications and speech recognition systems were tested and measured until the lab slowly fell into disuse during the late 1990s. The acoustic lab is situated at the base of the 200ft radio tower which dominates the local skyline and is easily recognisable from the nearby A12.

BT is granting a very generous degree of access to its historic acoustic spaces before scheduled renovation begins later this year. Although the facility remains equipped and intact, the condition of its inventory varies and, as a result, we will supply technical support to assist with exploring the space and using its kit.

It is also worth noting that the Acoustic Laboratory houses many documents and evidence of the work undertaken within the facility.

How to apply

Extraordinary Acoustic Facilities

An acoustically isolated anechoic chamber with usable space of 4m x 8m x 6m HWD

An acoustically isolated reverb chamber 3m x 6m x 5m approx. HWD

Both of theses spaces have tie lines back to the adjoining control rooms where there is ample bench and floor space for audio equipment and musical instruments. Both chambers are equipped with large JBL monitor speakers which can be controlled from outside and there is a large inventory of high-end acoustic and vibration apparatus available which dates from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. This includes hand built omnidirectional speakers, artificial ear and mouth simulators, vibration controllers, oscillators and a great many Brüel & Kjær measurement devices. There is also a plethora of audio-visual kit such as amplifiers, graphic equalisers, mixing desks, analogue and digital audio recorders, video recorders and a range of unusual vintage microphones.

The Acoustic lab is located away from other onsite activity, allowing potential users to work undisturbed for many hours at a time. It can be accessed through the main building by lift or by staircase from a quiet, outside courtyard. Amenities include nearby WC and onsite restaurant and shop.

This is an unprecedented opportunity for an artist to explore a range of acoustic tools.