Season 1, Ep. 1 – “We sell sound”, the acoustics of our new hall

Welcome to the Transformation Pod – our series that gets backstage and under the floor boards of the largest capital arts programme ever to take place in the South West.

Over the next two years, Colston Hall will undergo a £48.8 million transformation that will ensure Bristol has a world class concert venue of international significance at the heart of the city.

In this first episode, we discuss one of the most important aspects of the transformation – ensuring the new auditorium sounds amazing.

Every decision about the new hall is being made with the venue’s acoustics in mind and making sure that how the hall sounds is always being considered in the design and build process.

We talk to journalists, conductors, building managers and of course acousticians about what goes into making a concert hall sound astonishing.


Photos and Acoustic Model

The existing 1951 auditorium shot from the balcony
The existing 1951 auditorium shot from the stage, showing large overhanging balcony
Detail showing how the Colston Hall auditorium matches the classic shoebox shape of the renowned auditoria of Vienna and Boston. The large overhanging balcony however presents a number of acoustic issues not present in these halls.
Acoustic model of the existing Colston Hall auditorium and the proposed new auditorium, where blue dots show cold spots and red dots show optimal sound. A combination of shallower balconies and modern timber and masonry will mean a greatly improved acoustic.
Artist impression of the new main hall
Artist impression of the new main hall


Presented by Harriet Robinson
Produced by Julia Hayball and Louise Orchard2°West

Thank you to the contributors:

Oliver Condy – Editor of BBC Music Magazine
Emily McGeehin – Acoustician at Sound Space Vision
Charles Hazlewood – Founder of The British Paraorchestra
Nick Craney – General Manager of Colston Hall

Welcome to
Bristol Beacon

On Wednesday 23 September 2020 Colston Hall changed its name to Bristol Beacon.

Our new name is just the first step, it is about more than the sign above our door. Click below to find out more about how we’re changing, watch our name announcement, and discover how we want everyone to share in the joy of live music.

More info Enter site