Great Stuff

The Great Club in Marrickville now has great sound… and some happier neighbours.

The Great Club:

Ali Avron is a live music venue operator that doesn’t expect things to come easy. She was evicted from her previous premises in Camperdown where she ran The Newsagency — a 100-cap venue for aspiring artists.

She then went venue shopping to find a home for their new venture and alighted on an old Greek Macedonian club with a rich provenance, dating back to the early ’50s when it provided recently-emigrated Greek blokes with a refuge to hang, play dominoes, and sink the occasional ouzo.

The venue had been vacant and untouched for two years when Ali moved in. “There were still broken plates on the dancefloor!”

But nothing comes easy when your passion is live music. 

“We had terrible noise complaints from neighbours,” explains Ali. “Interestingly, the terrible press worked for us — turns out what they say is quite right: any publicity is good publicity!”

The notoriety may have been helpful but not sustainable. The audio situation became more desperate when her PA rental company no longer wanted to support the club through the horror of neighbour complaints — the club was now in crisis… Ali needed a PA that could address the noise complaints and take the venue into the future, and she needed one fast.

“I got speaking to [JBL importer] CMI and they were a great help. The JBL BRX system is really quite cost effective but it offers the control I need to keep the sound away from the neighbours.”

“You might think the space would lend itself to a point source solution,” explains Lee Stevens who heads up CMI’s technical services team. “It’s not a large space and the ceiling is quite low but it’s a wide space. After we modelled the room we determined that JBL BRX would be well suited. We get the horizontal coverage we need without additional fill [BRX’s horizontal coverage specs out at 110°] and, with the three elements a side, we get some vertical pattern control that helps to keep sound off the ceiling. It’s proven to be a great solution, ideal for the club.”


The bandroom PA comprises 3 x JBL BRX308 full-range elements a side and a BRX325 sub each side. A couple of JBL PRX908 full-range cabs provide some outfill and JBL EON cabs, showing their versatility, act as stage/drum monitors as well as a B Stage PA. A dbx PA2 provides system drive.

It’s a solid PA that’s attracting positive feedback from musicians and audio engineers. “It’s an all-JBL PA rather than a mongrel collection of gear I had before and that definitely reassures audio people,” comments Ali.

The roster comprises a broad and vibrant cross section of artists, and being a 350-cap room, they’re mostly artists at a point in their careers where they’re on their way up or on their way down. But all the musicians are experienced enough to appreciate the investment in good audio. Sure, who knows what’s around the corner — hopefully not another live music-killing pandemic — but at least the complaints from neighbours have calmed down. Thankfully one thing has got just that little bit easier.