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Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane

Fortitude Brisbane 3

Brisbane’s new Fortitude Music Hall is the largest ballroom/theatre styled venue in Australia, with a 3,000 person standing capacity and a 1,100 seated capacity. The venue is inspired by some of the world’s most loved live music venues, from classic art deco theatres to larger clubs, while still paying homage to the iconic venues of Brisbane’s past. The Fortitude Music Halls’ prime location in the heart of Brisbane’s entertainment precinct and state of the art production make the venue a truly world class performance space.

John ‘JC’ Collins, one-time Powderfinger bassist, is co-owner and manager of Fortitude Music Hall in partnership with Paul Piticco and Jess Ducrou of Secret Sounds Group, construction giant Hutchinson Builders and Live Nation.

The important element of the Music Hall, set in the middle of Brunswick Mall, is that it offers different sized spaces. The 3300-capacity room can be transformed into 1200 and 2000, with a smaller upstairs bar-style for 300.

Fortitude Brisbane 6The venue owners contacted JPJ Audio to design and install an audio system that would reflect their considerable investment in the venue. In recent times, JPJ has been installing elite, high end systems into venues as a pay as you go option which helps them sell the room and also saves touring acts production costs. It also makes tight touring schedules a bit easier as there are so many overnight shows these days.

JPJ is a leader in this area and currently have similar installations in the Palais Theatre, State Theatre, Horden Pavilion, Luna Park, Festival Hall and The Forum Theatre. Bruce Johnston, one of JPJ Audio’s Directors based in Melbourne, headed the project drawing on JPJ’s extensive network of experienced audio specialists around the country.

For the Fortitude Music Hall, we decided on an L-Acoustics K2 speaker system with an L-Acoustic monitor system, as that would give us a bit of consistency with all the amplifiers and drive and thus some good redundancy,” explained Bruce. “In the console department we have gone with an Avid S6L 24C out front and a DiGiCo SD10 for monitors as this gives the venue both options and the ability to flip them end-to-end. We see that a lot in touring. We have also run multiple multicore options to cater for all consoles. Both consoles come with Waves servers.

When designing the system, Bruce asked Bob Daniels from JPJ’s Sydney office to plot and plan the room in order to try cover as much as the room as possible. The venue has viewing areas throughout and this had to be taken into account.

The main system is 16 x K2 (eight per side flown) with 12 x SB28 subs in pods of two running across the front of the stage. Downstairs there are two zones per side of two ARCS Focus, totaling eight, and four X8 live monitor enclosures for front lip-fills. Upstairs, to supplement the main hangs, there are three ARCs per side to service the outer corners and throw up the sides until the K2 takes over. At the rear of the room under the balcony are some more X8s filling in.

Fortitude Brisbane 7The venue built sub containment compartments in brick so JPJ could evenly run the subs across the front to reduce the sub-low getting back under the stage and this has worked really well.
We did have rigging challenges to get around some air conditioning ducting,” added Bruce. “However the overall result has been very good and we have now had a few shows through with some great comments on the system. Over the next few months we will do some tweaking and go from there.

JPJ supplied a variety of microphones to cater to all requirements including Shure B58A, B57A, SM57, B52A, B91A and Sennheiser 904 and 901s.

Bruce commented that Jay Van Lieshout from JPJ in Brisbane managed the installation and with his team, did an outstanding job.

We wanted to give the Brisbane shop ownership of the install and be a part of the process,” he said. “They were there day after day as the room changed and evolved. Brendan Keane spent time aligning the system with a great result. It’s a very seamless sound walking around the venue.

JPJ Team:

Jacob Elmer, Dan Charlton, Clint Crawford, Brendan Keane, Justin Ryan, Mathew Morrison, Regan Downs, Andrew Werlick.

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