Gustav Vasa

Stockholm, Sweden

d&b audiotechnik, QSC Q-SYS, Yamaha, Wisycom, Phonak, Eaton UPS, Kissbox, Neutrik

Arva Trading AB, Semafor, EM Nordic, Cabletronic

Mona Lantzourakis AIX

Lighting / Visual Designer:
Peder Blom AIX

ACAD Peter Blom

Soundcop AB. Jacob Julin, Joakim Hammar, Emil Vares, Malin Grevillius

Project Submitted By:
d&b audiotechnik

Gustav Vasa was built in 1906, and is one of Stockholm’s largest churches. The refurbishment of the church was a huge undertaking. Every surface, inside and out, was part of the renovation. Every piece of brass was taken down and polished, water, heating, lighting, and electricity was all replaced.

Gustav Vasa presented a big challenge when it came to the acoustics of the church. When the project started, the hall had an acoustic reverberation of six and a half seconds. After the building’s refurbishment, including new treatments to the floor and walls, that reverb time rose to seven-and-a-half seconds.

Installer Soundcop AB were brought in to solve the intelligibility woes, opting for the d&b xC-Series to overcome the challenge. The cardioid dispersion performance of the xC-Series reduced unwanted reflections and maximised intelligibility. Jacob Julin comments “The 24C was the obvious choice. I was worried that they wouldn’t cover the 19m throw distance to the delays… It worked straight away.”

Another big challenge was that the rig needed to be a certified voice alarm. With support from Eaton UPS and d&b audiotechnik, Soundcop decided to include two Q-SYS Page Stations for use in emergency evacuations.

As to be expected from a church steeped in history, the Gustav Vasa had specific aesthetic demands, which also made for a complex cabling installation, with Jacob Julin, owner of Soundcop, and his team running everything through precisely cut steel conduit, carefully tracing the ornate architectural features. “As there were a great deal of small angles needed for this, we had to more or less become plumbers to do it.” Julin comments.

The church required high-intelligibility amplification of speech, choir and classical music, as well as occasional classical chamber music and pop/jazz concerts. They asked for a system which would make speech and music as clear as possible for all listeners in all areas of the large, 1200-capacity church. This was a major acoustical challenge, thanks to the building’s 7.5-second reverberation time.

The d&b xC-Series column loudspeakers were used to ensure speech intelligibility, purchased via ARVA Trading, the d&b audiotechnik distributor for Sweden. Their cardioid dispersion performance was key to reducing unwanted reflections and maximising intelligibility.

On one of the pillars in the church there is an organ which would block the sound if a speaker was placed on the column. Soundcop made custom 80cm wall-mount arms to hold the speakers out on each side of the organ to ensure everyone experienced the same sound, wherever they sat.

For control, the system had to provide an accessible, user-friendly interface for non-technical users, while at the same time allowing access for advanced system configurations as required. A QSC Q-SYS Core 500i processor gives connection to two touch screens – one by the priest’s position, allowing them to select their own microphone, and another at front-of-house. The d&b plug-in for Q-SYS gives the user easy control of zones, by selecting areas of the room on a plan view map on the touchscreen. Making it possible to mute or unmute the different areas.

A Yamaha QL1 digital console presides over the system at the front-of-house control position. All EQ and delay is done with d&b R1 remote control software. The user has a choice of controlling events either via the programmed touchscreen connected to the Q-SYS Core, or via the QL1. Non-technical users can now control the zones with a push of a button.

The church wanted to keep the environment in mind throughout the refurbishment. So when it came to lighting, everything was done with LEDs to ensure efficiency.

All the original brass ornaments and chandeliers were rewired and equipped with LEDs. There was also new lighting installed on the top of the front pillars, to ensure the church lights were eco-friendly and efficient.

Both organ positions were fitted with a television screen and a remote controlled PTZ camera, so that the congregation can now easily follow what is happening in the church.

The church also now has a Panasonic PAN-PT-RZ770BEJ projector and a 4x3m projector screen.

The Gustav Vasa has an old “mechanical chime” from the 1950s that plays melodies. The church wanted to restore and update the chime as it was no longer working properly.

The “mechanical chime” is in a little metal box with small metal bars and a mechanical hammer that plays a tune, the church used this to send sounds to the bell tower. In the bell tower there were ten old horn loaded speakers that played the tune from the “mechanical chime” out into the town once every hour. Soundcop restored the old “mechanical chime”, and synced it to the house clock so that it works at the correct times. The bell tower speakers are now also accessible via midi so that the organists, if they want to, can play a tune on a small midi keyboard into the town, or at the press of a button they can switch the sound to play only in the church.

Accessibility was also another focus for Gustav Vasa. Soundcop opted for a Phonak system to enable the hard of hearing to experience the same sound as everyone else by using Wifi, and a device that goes around the user’s neck, or enabling the user to rely solely on their hearing aid.

The refurbishment of the Gustav Vasa was a huge undertaking. The results have had an extremely positive impact on the congregants, the staff, and the community.

Every aspect has been carefully considered, from the safety of the church with the Q-SYS Page Stations for use in emergencies, to accessibility with the installation of disabled ramps, and a Phonak system so that the hearing impaired can experience the same sound as everyone else. The church is now also suitable for everything from classical music to pop and rock, all with impeccable clarity. And to top it all off, the whole refurbishment has been completed without obtruding on Gustav Vasa’s baroque beauty. A project that has been carried out with a lot of hard work, teamwork, and the highest attention to detail at every step.