From the rooms of the finest recording studios to the halls and theaters that host the world’s most talented musicians, the acoustic properties and perceived sound quality of a space represent its value to spectators
and performers alike. The composition and dimensions of its walls, ceilings, floors and countless other interspersed elements contribute to the experience of the spectator and to the richness of the sound as perceived by the listener. Open-air spaces offer a different experience, eliminating ceilings and walls in favour of the unreflecting open sky.
There is one open-air venue that is recognized as not only one of the best-sounding live music and performance spaces in the world, but also one of the most visually stunning. Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado is a favourite among concert goers, and is famous for its rich sound and spectacular setting, among the nature and wildlife of Red Rocks national park. Countless timeless performances have taken place by acts such as Stevie Ray Vaugh, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Eagles, Coldplay, U2, and Jack Johnson to name a handful.
Open Air Acoustics
A key issue that arises in open-air acoustics is the unwanted entry of external sound that enters the performance area. Traffic noise from the sky and road alike is able to reach the area and converge with the desired sound from the stage. However, Red Rocks Amphitheater is located at high altitudes (almost 6,500 ft above sea level to be precise) and 10 miles from Denver, nestled in the mountains between great protrusions of its geological namesake. This grants the amphitheater an isolation unique to most available natural amphitheaters, preventing disruption from external sound sources.
The Beautiful Amphitheater And Its Sound
The two surrounding monoliths – named Ship Rock and Creation Rock – imbue the venue with a one-of-a-kind organic sound. The area was spotted by entrepreneur John Brisben Walker in the early 20th century, and he envisioned it as a perfect concert setting, and he soon began organizing many performances over the next couple of decades on a temporary platform he constructed. Eventually, the city of Denver purchased the amphitheater and constructed an enhanced stage and seating area to accommodate larger events. Concert goers ever since have marvelled at the beauty and grandeur of the acoustics that so many artists benefit from.