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New sound, lighting systems installed at Palladium

6/24/2024 12AM

The Center's production team took the Palladium's new sound and lighting systems for a test run Friday. The new equipment represents the most significant upgrade in the concert hall since its opening in 2011.

Concert hall now has top technology to match its architecture


CARMEL, Ind. – A new era begins at the Center for the Performing Arts with the installation of new, state-of-the-art concert sound and lighting systems at its flagship venue, the Palladium.


Opened in 2011, the elegant concert hall features interior architecture designed to optimize acoustic classical music with a minimum of electronic amplification. The Center’s original production team spent the first few seasons reconfiguring the modest sound system under the remaining construction budget to an adequate level that has supported performances over the past decade.


Two large speaker stacks hang over the stage of the Palladium concert hall.

These state-of-the-art speaker arrays are the backbone of the Palladium's new sound system.

Now, for the first time, the 1,500-seat hall has a custom-built PA system designed from scratch to handle the full range of performances presented there, from spoken word and chamber music to rock, pop and country bands with drums, amplified instruments and stage volume levels that can create challenges for sound engineers.


“In a sense, the Palladium is finally complete,” said Jeffrey C. Dermott, the Center’s President and CEO. “The technology has advanced so far since our opening that we were growing concerned about our ability to attract top artists. Now we’re heading into the new Center Presents season with the latest sound technology to complement the room’s natural acoustics and deliver the kind of experience that today’s artists and audiences expect.”


The Center’s staff worked with the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, which oversees capital improvements on the campus, to solicit three bids for the design and installation of the system. The winning proposal came from two Greenfield-based companies that are leaders in audio technology, Force.Tech and Mid-America Sound. Their design was based on an acoustic analysis conducted by Carmel-based Haverstick Designs, which included microphone testing throughout the room and the use of LiDAR technology to create a three-dimensional digital model of the interior surfaces.


Installation of the key components has taken place this month. Most notable are the two line arrays – the curved speaker stacks that hang over each side of the stage and produce most of the volume – which have grown from nine to 12 speakers each for better coverage throughout the room. Other components include two subwoofers on either side of the stage for bass reproduction and new fill speakers that supplement the sound in areas not fully covered by the main speakers.


The Palladium concert hall is lit in deep red with yellow spotlights on the stage.

The new LED light fixtures are brighter and offer greater color-mixing capability.

The new lighting system, installed by the production staff earlier this year, replaced outdated incandescent lamps with LEDs, which are brighter, more durable and more energy-efficient while offering superior color-mixing capabilities. The new control console makes it faster and easier to change settings in the moment during a concert.


The remote-controlled lights have quieter motors and cooling fans that can be switched off for silent operation, particularly important during classical performances. The new equipment also includes floor lighting and an expanded set of gobos, the stencil-like screens that create patterns on the walls and ceiling.


The combined cost of the new sound and lighting systems is approximately $1.5 million, paid from the city’s 2021 tax increment financing bond issue.


About the Center for the Performing Arts

The mission of the nonprofit Center for the Performing Arts is to engage and inspire the Indiana community through enriching arts experiences. Its campus in Carmel, Indiana, includes the 1,500-seat Palladium concert hall, the 500-seat Tarkington proscenium theater and the black-box Studio Theater. The Center presents and hosts hundreds of events each year, including the Center Presents performance series, featuring the best in classical, jazz, pop, rock, country, comedy and other genres. Educational and experiential programming for all ages includes children’s concerts and camps, book clubs, lectures, and classes in music and dance. The Center is home to the affiliated Great American Songbook Foundation and provides space and support services for six resident arts companies. More information is available at