Vanguard Audio Labs V 44s Gen 2 Stereo Condenser Mic

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The second generation Vanguard V44S is a stereo large-diaphragm multi-pattern FET condenser microphone lovingly re-imagined by our team over the last 12 months. This unique microphone is designed to be a versatile, reliable, professional tool in the vein of highly-sought-after vintage stereo condensers of yesteryear. With a pair of twin coincident custom-voiced multi-pattern capsules, you can utilize X/Y, Mid-Side, Blumlein, and other less conventional stereo microphone techniques in a single microphone. With a gen2 redesigned detented heavy-duty rotation mechanism, premium cryogenically-treated FET circuitry, Neutrik® interconnects, and a VLSM shockmount, the V44S is the first and last stereo microphone you’ll ever need to reach for.

The impact of 2020, the year of uncertainty, was felt in a number of ways by Vanguard Audio Labs, including its effect on our supply-chain partners. Some of our key suppliers became unreliable or shut down altogether. This forced us to seek out new sources and partners. Our new key supply chain partner has only one other client besides us, it’s some fruit company from Cupertino…

We took this opportunity to upgrade not only our supply chain, but the current mic line-up as well. From day one at Vanguard Audio Labs, we have always sought  ways to improve our products and we always will…that is part of our mission. As a result, we have upgraded key components to audiophile-grade parts, including US-made low-noise resistors. These upgrades have netted us a lower signal-to-noise ratio (even though we already had a superb reputation for low noise mics), and vastly improved sound staging. In addition, we not only upgraded key components, but also made physical design upgrades in several areas, including a redesigned rock-solid rotating mechanism for our V44S dual-capsule stereo mic, allowing the user to precisely set the angle of the two capsules and widening available rotation range to 120º. We even improved the fit and finish of the final product, so not only are they world-class performers, but they look damn good while they’re doing it!

The design team here at Vanguard Audio Labs has worked very long and hard this last year to implement these exciting improvements and we are proud to release these new creations!

Quality

The V44S was designed in the USA, and undergoes final assembly in sunny Southern California. We perform 100% quality control – every single piece of your microphone kit undergoes a series of stringent audio and visual tests here in Southern California before being hand-packed.

Every part of the V44S was designed to be robust and reliable. Wherever possible, components were over-specced. The deep-cycle cryogenic treatment improves the lifespan and performance of critical electronic components. Stainless steel, aluminum, and zinc are part of the heavy-duty construction. Every Vanguard microphone is backed by our FIVE-YEAR WARRANTY.

Design

The VANGUARD V44S is very different from other microphones in its price range. It is designed and precision-built in limited quantities to “no-compromise” standards, with final assembly and 100% testing here in Southern California.

We started with twin extra-large 34mm edge-terminated, gold-sputtered 3µm Mylar dual-capsule assemblies and custom-voiced them with a proprietary hand-tuning process, placing each capsule in an open-weave headbasket for a natural sound with low internal reflections. New for the gen2, tbhe top headbasket now rotates up to 120 degrees, with detents every 15 degrees for repeatability of settings.

We then designed a transformerless solid-state circuit that matches the unique musical properties of our capsules and loaded it with premium-grade, over-spec components sourced from manufacturers around the world. We cryogenically treated critical components in the signal & power paths, including an ultra-high-grade FET. In our entire lineup of gen2 microphones, we chose to use US-made, low-noise audiophile-grade resistors. This takes the noise floor of the V44S from a very quiet gen1  to a nearly undetectable gen2.

Aesthetically, the precision-machined stainless steel body is coated with our signature Pinot Noir, finished with a deep, lustrous gloss, and accented by polished nickel trim and a precision-cast Vanguard badge. Your V44S’s serial number is laser-engraved on the lower rear of the microphone.

The V44S was designed by a team of experts with nearly a century of experience and vetted by award-winning engineers and producers.

Performance

We designed the V44S with the character of classic stereo microphones in mind, while also utilizing modern technology & design to meet the demands of today’s recording professionals. Our ultra-thin 3µm edge-terminated capsule diaphragms are extraordinarily sensitive, ensuring that every nuance and detail of the performance is faithfully captured.

Both custom-voiced capsules are independently switchable between cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-8 pickup patterns, enabling X/Y, Mid-Side, and Blumlein stereo mic’ing within one microphone, as well as less conventional stereo techniques.

One of the biggest frustrations we’ve heard from users of stereo microphones is the flaws of current and past headbasket rotation assemblies. Too often, the current designs are fragile and prone to noisy operation, breakage, and signal loss. We designed a heavy-duty, punched-steel rotation mechanism which detents every 15 degrees for reliable, durable operation.

The included splitter box contains an additional phase-reversed top capsule output, which is perfect for less-than-ideal recording conditions such as concert taping. This allows mid-side recording with no additional mixer patching.

After hundreds of hours of listening and testing exhaustive design variations with renowned recording engineers, we can confidently say that this microphone will vastly exceed the performance of other stereo microphones in its price range, and rival the performance of stereo microphones costing several times more.

Features:


Capsule & Electronics

* Twin custom-voiced, edge-terminated 34mm dual-capsule assembly with 3µm gold-sputtered Mylar diaphragms
* 3 independently selectable polar patterns per capsule
* Electronically-balanced solid-state circuitry using audiophile-grade parts, sourced from USA, Germany, Japan, France, and more
* Deep-cycle cryogenic treatment of critical signal & power path components
* 120º rotatable top capsule with 15º detents
* Versatile splitter box for mobile & live recording conditions
* Ultra-low-noise JFET design
* US-made low-noise audiophile-grade resistors

Construction

* Heavy-duty brass, aluminum, steel, and zinc construction
* Robust punched-steel capsule rotation mechanism
* Open-weave headbasket for low internal reflections and “open-air” voicing
* Each V44S comes with its own laser-engraved serial number
* 5-Year Warranty
* Over-spec componentry
* Deep-gloss Pinot Noir finish
* Polished nickel trim
* Neutrik® interconnects throughout
* Final Assembly & 100% Quality Control in California, USA

Aesthetics

* Exquisite deep-gloss Pinot Noir finish
* Polished nickel trim
* Precision-cast Vanguard badge
* Laser-etched model and serial numbers

Specs

* Transducer Type: Condenser
* Capsule Size: 1.34″ / 34mm (dual-capsule)
* Diaphragm Size: 1.04″ / 26.4mm
* Capsule Diaphragms Thickness: 3µm
* Electronics Type: Solid-state, electronically-balanced output
* Output Impedance: 200Ω
* Max SPL: appx. 135dB (145dB w/ Pad)
* Frequency Response: 20Hz-20000Hz
* Equivalent Noise Level: ≤14dBA (A-weighted)
* S/N Ratio: ≥80dB (Ref. 1Pa A-weighted)
* Sensitivity: TBA
* Output Connector: Neutrik® Male XLR 5-pin, gold-plated
* Finish: Polished nickel trim / High-gloss Pinot Noir
* Weight (microphone): 1.5 lbs / 0.68kg
* Weight (in case): 9.625 lbs / 4.37kg
* Dimensions (microphone): 10.63″ long, 2.05″ max diameter / 270mm long, 52mm max diameter
* Dimensions (case): 16.92″L x 12.60″W x 6.02″H / 430mmL x 320mmW x 153mm
* Voltage Requirement: Phantom Power (+48V ideal)