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Vanguard V4 gen2 FET Condenser  From Vanguard

Vanguard Audio Labs

$599.00

Price:  $699.00

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Vanguard V4 gen2 review - my favorite transformerless mic got an upgrade

  0:00 intro 1:14 female vocals 7:51 Female vocals and guitar 10:13 acoustic guitar 11:31 Final Thoughts

  • Signal Chain
    • Vanguard V4 gen2 FET Condenser

Manufacturer's Description from Vanguard

gen 2 is Here

We’re excited to introduce the VANGUARD AUDIO LABS V4 gen2! 

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 another 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 been seeking 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.  We undertook a ground-up redesign of every mechanical component to improve 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 V4 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 V4 was designed to be robust and reliable. Wherever possible, components were over-spec’d. The deep-cycle cryogenic treatment improves the lifespan and performance of critical electronic components. Stainless steel, brass, aluminum, and zinc are part of the heavy-duty construction. Every Vanguard microphone is backed by our FIVE-YEAR WARRANTY.

We run every one of our microphones through a series of tests to ensure that they meet our standards, and we strongly feel that any pair of V4s will match each other close enough for any critical recording applications.

 

Performance

We designed the V4 with certain characteristics of classic FET 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.

We heard from a number of Vanguard V44S users that they loved the clean and full character of the V44S so much as an alternative to their V13 and V1 microphones, they wanted a small “mono” version of the V44S for travel purposes. The signal and power paths of the V4 are identical to a single channel of the V44S, but because we had space for an extra switch, we couldn’t resist adding a simple -10/-20dB pad option.

After hundreds of hours of listening with world-renowned engineers in environments ranging from fully-equipped major studios to bootstrapped home setups, we can confidently say that this microphone will vastly exceed the performance of other microphones in its price range, and rival the performance of microphones costing several times more.

 

Design

The VANGUARD V4 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 feel that the sensitive nature of microphones requires a high-standards, no-holds-barred test battery to ensure that we’d be proud to use EVERY microphone that leaves our shop on our own records.

We started with an extra-large 34mm edge-terminated, gold-sputtered Mylar dual-capsule assembly and custom-voiced it with a proprietary hand-tuning process. The capsule is mounted in an open-weave headbasket for a natural sound with low internal reflections.

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, including Germany, Japan, and the USA. We deep-cycle cryogenically treat critical components in the signal & power paths, including an ultra-high-grade FET that is many times more expensive than the standard transistor you’ll find in most sub-$600 microphones. As one of the most critical components in the signal path, we tested several premium-grade transistors before choosing this particular model, an American-made audiophile-grade transistor yielding results that are significant & audible improvements in audio quality, headroom, distortion, sound-stage and noise floor vs. standard-grade JFET transistors. The gen2 features US-made audiophile-grade resistors that yield a superbly low noise floor. Neutrik®  interconnects complete the signal path for the best possible sonic preservation. 

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 V4’s serial number is laser-engraved on the lower rear of the microphone.

The V4 was designed by a team of experts with more than a century of experience and vetted by award-winning engineers and producers.

 

Features

Capsule & Electronics

  • Custom-voiced, edge-terminated 34mm dual-capsule assembly with 3µm gold-sputtered Mylar diaphragms
  • 3 selectable polar patterns – Cardioid, Figure-8, Omnidirectional
  • Switchable-10/-20 dB Attenuator
  • Electronically-balanced solid-state circuitry loaded with American-made audiophile-grade components
  • Ultra-low-noise JFET design
  • Deep-cycle cryogenic treatment of critical signal & power path components
  • Neutrik® interconnects

Construction

  • Heavy-duty SUS304 stainless steel, aircraft-grade aluminum, and zinc construction
  • Open-weave headbasket for low internal reflections and “open-air” voicing
  • Each V4 comes with its own laser-engraved serial number
  • Over-spec componentry
  • Deep-gloss Pinot Noir finish
  • Polished nickel trim
  • Precision-cast Vanguard badge
  • Final Assembly & 100% Quality Control in California, USA
  • 5-Year Warranty

Aesthetics

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

About Manufacturer

Here at Vanguard Audio Labs, our mission is simple – make great tools to help you make great music.

To do that, we’re combining veteran design acumen with the latest manufacturing & engineering tech to bring you outstanding recording tools that will outperform rivals several times their cost – at a price that won’t break your bank account.

Specifications

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: ≤12dBA (A-weighted)
  • Sensitivity:≥82dBA (A-weighted)
  • Output Connector: Neutrik® male XLR 3-pin, gold-plated
  • Attenuation/Pad Switch: -10dB/ -20dB (switchable)
  • Finish: Polished nickel trim / High-gloss Pinot Noir
  • Weight (microphone): 0.83 lbs / 0.38 kg
  • Weight (in case): 5.63 lbs / 2.56 kg
  • Dimensions (microphone): 8.2″ long, 2.05″ diameter / 208mm long, 52mm diameter
  • Dimensions (case): 12″L x 11″W x 5.75″H / 305mmL x 280mmW x 146mmH
  • Voltage Requirement: Phantom Power (+48V ideal)

 

Accessories

When you buy a V4, you also get a VLSM Heavy-Duty Shockmount. We wanted to rethink the standard “spider-style” shockmount of old, and designed the VLSM with a few nifty features. First is the open front, which allows you to position the microphone as close to the source as necessary. Second, we install aerospace-grade suspension rings that won’t break, sag, crack, or stretch over time. This shockmount was designed to fit any microphone with M22x1 threading, so you also can use it with a number of microphones from other manufacturers.

When not in use, your V4 should be stored in its padded pinewood box with the included dessicant packet.

 

Included Accessories

  • VLSM Large Shockmount
  • Padded Pinewood Microphone Storage Box
  • Aluminum Carrying Case