Drink Up The Sounds

Synergy installs d&b A-Series in iconic Melbourne nightclub.


19 May 2022

Melbourne has always been known for its wide and eclectic choice of bars, restaurants and entertainment venues in the CBD, and the competition can be fierce when it comes to attracting patrons simply because there is so much on offer on every street corner. So, it’s no surprise that the Colonial Hotel on Lonsdale Street has, for some time now, put a lot of investment and effort into creating a top-class establishment that can provide hospitality at every level. Being over a hundred years old, the Colonial is entitled to label itself ‘traditional’ and with the bluestone construction blending in with the rest of Melbourne’s federation architecture, you can be excused for perhaps walking past without a second glance… okay, the flashing signs and satisfied patrons spilling out onto the footpath might give you a clue, but you know what I mean.

However, on the inside, although the hotel maintains as a part of its fare traditional meals and drinks, the venue is well and truly in the 21st century and boasts a large restaurant, four modern function centres, and is host to the popular Brown Alley nightclub, regarded as one of the premiere venues in the CBD.


In the past, like many similar spaces, Brown Alley relied on hiring in PA and lighting production around a core setup to suit each occasion, augmenting existing equipment when needed, such as for a rock band, or dropping back to a simpler DJ/dance performance. An opportunity arose for Tan Huynh and the Synergy Events Group, wearing one of its many production hats, to provide a d&b PA system for hire, and the difference in sound quality and versatility was so noticeable that the venue after a short period of rental decided to purchase and install a d&b rig that would cater for all the nightclub’s needs without any more outsourcing for production. Yes, that bang sound was Synergy Events Group’s rental division shooting itself in the foot, but hey — SEG got to provide the d&b system and advise Daniel Annakis from Xenon Productions, the in-house production team who installed the system from SEG’s design and specs, on the various differences between the permanent and hire install.


Brown Alley as a space essentially works in two modes. When a significant live act or performance DJ is playing, and it’s a ticketed event, the PA audio is expected to cover the entire space without any areas being compromised or ticket holders grumbling in their beers about the sound quality. On otherwise ‘normal’ nights when a resident DJ or local band provides entertainment, the focus is more about good audio on the dance floor and close to the stage, but with less SPL everywhere else and at comfortable levels.

Tan Huynh at Synergy Events Group explains, “This was where d&b’s Array Processing and various setups available in the d&b amplifier processors really made a difference. At the press of a button, you can select from the various presets to achieve the soundscape you’re after depending on the type of act on stage. And the results are just so impressive.”

The speakers FOH are a single d&b A-Series ALi60 and two ALi90 units flown for top end, and two d&b B22 subs per side floor-stacked. Further distribution around the room is completed through six d&b 8S loudspeakers which are an eight/one-inch, two-way co-axial loudspeaker that can be discreetly mounted wherever needed. Three 30D amplifiers are powering everything, allocated accordingly so that clever processing can do its thing. The venue also provides monitoring with a pair of d&b MAX2 wedges and two B6 subwoofers, again on the business end of a 30D amplifier.

When it comes to the support and advice from NAS Solutions, Tan is unequivocal about just how close the relationship is between Synergy Events Group and NAS. “Shane and the NAS team have been an absolute pleasure to partner with over the last eight years.”


At the press of a button, you can select from the various presets to achieve the soundscape you’re after depending on the type of act on stage. And the results are just so impressive.


The d&b PA install in Brown Alley continues the Colonial Hotel’s program of keeping the venue at the forefront of Melbourne’s CBD entertainment choices. The d&b design provides the versatility and performance the nightclub needs, in a relatively small footprint. It’s cutting-edge technology that’s reliable, allowing the hotel to concentrate on that more important traditional stuff — cold beer and good grub.

NAS Solutions: nas.solutions
Synergy Events Group: synergyeventsgroup.com.au
d&b audiotechnik: dbaudio.com
Brown Alley: brownalley.com


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