Chili Peppers' sound man: Vector Arena not good enough

By Joanna Hunkin

The Chili Peppers' official sound engineer has joined the debate on the Vector Arena, describing the new venue in less than complimentary terms.

Dave Rat, who has worked with the Chilis for 17 years, contacted nzherald.co.nz today after dozens of readers commented on the questionable sound quality of the venue.

Mr Rat said he had never commented on a concert review in a public forum before but felt compelled to speak out in the hopes that Vector Arena would improve its audio quality.

He said: "There was a significant roar of reflections that increased substantially with distance from stage that would easily categorize this new venue into the lower depths of not-so-good sound, to put it nicely. Unfinished is what comes to mind."

Mr Rat, founder of Rat Sound Systems Inc, said the sound quality at Vector Arena was highly dependent on where in the centre you were sitting.

"There should not have been any sold seats in areas not covered by speakers. There were many where the room reflections were significant enough to mask clarity and intelligibility," he wrote.

However, sound designer Chris Tate, who worked on both the Rockstar Supernova concert and the Official Vector Arena Opening ceremony, said he was surprised by how good the arena's acoustics were.

"There a lot of problems inherent with an arena of this size... There are a couple of issues with the glass rails they put in, where if you fire sound at it, it reflects off the glass," said Mr Tate.

"It's like shining light at a mirror. It bounces off."

But Mr Tate said the issues were not insurmountable and he was confident that the arena could sound good.

He also challenged Mr Rat's claim that the arena had no acoustic panels in the ceiling.

Mr Rat wrote: "A curved roof with no acoustic panels? What were they thinking. That is about as smart as having 10,000 kids on a floor as slick as an ice skating rink. Oh wait, we had that too.

"I know arenas and I know them well. This place is an echo chamber that can be greatly improved if adequate sound placements are added to reduce the sound reflections."

Mr Rat encouraged Aucklanders to campaign for Vector Arena's management to "solve the sonic issues".

He also took the opportunity to thank the warm and welcoming people of New Zealand and said that all the Chili Peppers band and crew loved the country.

A spokesman for Vector Arena said they were aware of a "limited number of sound reflective surfaces" and that the arena's design company Mainzeal was working on a permanent solution to try and resolve the issue.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 29 Aug 2014 13:15:26 Processing Time: 826ms