We Tried Red Rocks’ New Audio Technology

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The Mixhalo app in motion at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Photo by Barbara Urzua


The iconic live performance venue partnered with tech firm Mixhalo to carry audio straight from the soundboard to your headphones—an choice that’s useful for individuals with listening to difficulties.

Dark, aggressive bass drops and deafening dubstep beats echo off of the sandstone slabs at Red Rocks Amphitheatre as I rapidly attempt to shove foam plugs in my ears. It’s mid-October, and the venue is enjoying host to digital producers Black Tiger Sex Machine. Most followers are greater than prepared to go bang. But as I try to benefit from the opening acts from the previous few rows of the venue, the froth in my ear isn’t making for the very best sound high quality.

Enter Mixhalo, a California-based tech firm that guarantees an answer for the “too loud” or “not loud sufficient” predicaments many people face at live shows. Red Rocks lately started utilizing the agency’s app, which helps you to take heed to stay sound via a pair of headphones. As quickly as I positioned a pair of noise-canceling headphones over my ears and related them to the Mixhalo app, I used to be in a position to hear the heavy bass drops at a snug quantity.

The know-how could also be complicated, however the thought is straightforward. The venue connects the Mixhalo server to its sound mixer, audio knowledge is transferred to wi-fi antennas, and the music is then delivered on to the viewers. Concertgoers merely obtain the Mixhalo app on a smartphone, connect with the venue, and instantly start listening to the stay audio feed via a pair of headphones.

Husband-and-wife duo Michael Einziger and Ann Marie Simpson-Einziger based Mixhalo in 2016. As the lead guitarist for American rock band Incubus and a world-renowned violinist, respectively, the couple is aware of a factor or two about sound high quality. “As touring musicians, our founders have been carrying in-ear screens for a few a long time,” says Mixhalo CEO John Vars. “They thought, ‘Why can’t everybody within the viewers have this similar audio expertise?’ ”

The startup launched its first Mixhalo demo with Incubus, and the seamless trial run rapidly led to partnerships with different big-name artists similar to Metallica, Aerosmith, and Charlie Puth. Just a couple of years later, in 2019, venues like Staples Center started utilizing Mixhalo in its reveals. Despite its rising reputation, the tech crew nonetheless had eyes for one beloved amphitheatre. “Red Rocks is likely one of the most unbelievable venues within the nation, we knew we needed to accomplice with them,” Vars says.

Turns out, Red Rocks representatives had been simply as desirous to carry the tech to Colorado’s favourite music venue. “Red Rocks is already an expertise of its personal, however combining Mixhalo with Red Rocks reveals actually creates a one-of-a-kind stay music expertise,” says Brian Kitts, spokesperson for Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Mixhalo made its Red Rocks debut earlier this summer time. During the preliminary launch, nonetheless, social media rumors led to a misunderstanding of the tech. After the amphitheatre tweeted that concertgoers within the again rows ought to take a look at the app out for themselves, social media customers speculated that the brand new partnership meant decrease decibel ranges. Red Rocks confronted an inflow of offended Facebook commenters, in addition to a Change.org petition demanding that the decibel restrict be reinstated. “I don’t come from in another country to take heed to headphones at a stay present,” one commenter said.

“Our decibel restrict was modified in 2016 and has not modified since,” Kitts says. “The uproar was simply the results of a misunderstanding. Mixhalo is just an non-compulsory add on that we wish individuals to check out for themselves, ought to they need to.”

The expertise I had at Black Tiger Sex Machine was optimistic. As somebody who has family members that now undergo from permanent tinnitus from attending stay reveals, you possibly can usually discover me encouraging mates (and typically strangers) to shove a budget foam of their ears. Yet by connecting the Mixhalo app to noise-canceling headphones, I used to be in a position to take heed to the digital beats at a snug stage. Plus, the sound in my headphones arrived at the very same time because the direct sound from the venue audio system, so there was no awkward delay once I took my headphones off.

“We’ve heard from so many customers that this actually helps if they’ve some kind of listening to difficulties,” Vars says. “You can actually decrease or amplify the amount to what works greatest for you.”

At choose live shows, followers may even tune in to particular devices. That means you would possibly be capable to hear particularly to Steven Tyler’s vocals or Joe Perry’s guitar at your subsequent Aerosmith present.

As for the way forward for Mixhalo, Vars hopes the startup can break into extra than simply live shows and sporting occasions. Currently, Mixhalo’s solely Colorado partnership is Red Rocks, though the corporate hopes to develop to different music venues within the state, together with getting used at conferences and talks. “We’ve additionally began speaking to the army, zoos, and even malls about how Mixhalo can profit them,” Vars says.

Despite the preliminary confusion, Kitts hopes Red Rocks concertgoers will check out the know-how for themselves. Mixhalo at present has a testing sales space on the high plaza of the amphitheatre the place visitors can borrow a pair of headphones and listen to the audio for themselves.

“It’s such a cool know-how,” Kitts says, “and Red Rocks is the proper venue for it.”

Barbara Urzua Headshot Sarah Banks

Barbara Urzua

Barbara oversees 5280’s truth checking processes and editorial internship program, in addition to writes tales for 5280 and 5280.com.

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