V13 TUBE CONDENSER
The Vanguard V13 is a large-diaphragm multi-pattern tube condenser microphone. Crafted by experts over the course of 3 years, our design goal was to combine vintage warmth with smooth modern detail. After extensive testing and listening by world-class engineers, we can say with pride that the performance of this mic rivals or exceeds iconic vintage & modern microphones at a fraction of the cost.
The V13 was designed in the USA, and undergoes final assembly in sunny Southern California. We perform 100% quality control – every single microphone undergoes a series of stringent audio and visual tests here in Southern California before being hand-packed.
Every part of the V13 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. Brass, steel, aluminum, and zinc are part of the heavy-duty construction. Every Vanguard microphone is backed by our FIVE-YEAR WARRANTY.
We designed the V13 with the character of yesteryear’s iconic vintage tube microphones in mind, while also utilizing the latest technology to ensure that every nuance and detail of the performance is faithfully captured. We specifically engineered the V13 with warm, full lows, a precise and detailed midrange, and buttery-smooth high end. The result is a microphone that unifies warmth with clarity, depth with detail, and character with precision.
The V13 is particularly forgiving when it comes to vocal style and timbre. Oftentimes, microphones can be a bit choosy when it comes to how they mesh with different vocalists, but we have found that the V13 sounds great with almost any vocal complexion. Tested on both male and female vocalists in a diversity of ranges, styles, and genres, we found that the V13 was usually the top option, despite being matched against microphones several times its cost.
One important design objective was maintaining a low noise floor – no small feat when working with vacuum tube circuitry. When tested against several $5000 European tube microphones, the V13 had the lowest noise floor by a significant margin.
After hundreds of hours of listening and testing dozens of design variations with world-class engineers, the V13 is a top-shelf microphone with an incredibly low noise-floor. This is truly a professional, world-class microphone.
The VANGUARD V13 is very different from other mics in its price range. It is designed and precision-built in limited quantities to “no-compromise” standards.
We started with an extra-large 34mm edge-terminated, gold-sputtered 3µm Mylar dual-capsule assembly and custom-voiced it with a proprietary hand-tuning process, placing it in an open-weave headbasket for a natural sound with low internal reflections. We then designed a 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 path, including a hand-selected European vacuum tube. We placed the low-frequency roll-off and -10dB pad toggle switches on the rear of the microphone, where they are easily accessible to the engineer. We topped off the electronics with an ultra-linear, fully shielded, custom-wound, dual-bobbin humbucking transformer for the output stage to drive long cable runs.
Aesthetically, the precision-machined brass 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. Machined into the rear of the microphone is a cooling vent to prolong tube life. Your V13’s serial number is laser-engraved on the lower rear of the microphone.
The V13 was designed by a team of experts with more than 65 years of experience and vetted by world-famous award-winning engineers and producers.
Capsule & Electronics
When you buy a V13, 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.
The V13 also comes with the PS-13 power supply, which allows you to select any of 9 available polar patterns on your microphone. We encourage you to experiment with the different polar patterns, as each one changes the character and frequency response of the microphone. The PS-13 can operate worldwide on 110-240V mains outlets via a switch on the rear of the power supply.
When not in use, your V13 should be stored in its padded pinewood box.
The black aluminum locking carrying case with the V13 keeps your microphone, cables, and power supply in one place, and includes a slot for a spare vacuum tube. 12AX7, 12AT7, and 12AY7 tube types will work with the V13 microphone. Folks who experiment sonically with NOS tubes can feel safe using these tube types.
“As an engineer having the correct tools is vital. And having a V13 in your tool box is a beautiful thing. I have put the V13 up against mics that are $3,000+, and boy does it hold up. It gives the singing voice a presence that is natural in every way. One of my favorite things to experience is when artists first hear their voice through a V13, its always a wow factor in the studio.”
“[The V13] excels on so many different types of voices. The variable patterns change the tone in a great way. If you have $700-$800 to spend on a vocal mic, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t buy this mic. It’s also killer on drum overheads and rooms!”
“I’ve never heard a mic in this league like the Vanguard Audio Labs V13, winning shootouts against boutique-prized gear in a snap….the price tag it’s an engineer’s wet dream.”
“This business is all about trusted relationships. We trust Vanguard Audio Labs with much of the music we produce. And at no time during the production process do we not consider the V13 tube mics for vocals and acoustic instrument mic’ing. Value, versatility, reliability and million-dollar sound.“
“The V13 sounds very round and warm in the lower middle, provides a strong bass foundation, is good-natured with transients, but still has a very clean midrange paired with silvery, soft highs. One normally would not risk a direct comparison to a classic, but if it does, it might work in the direction of an ELA M 251.
With its soft basic character, the V13 always looks very elegant and ‘beautiful’, even with problematic voices or instruments…A real hit for vintage fans who can not or will not spend a fortune on such a sound, if you ask me.”
“Testing initially with the spoken voice, and it’s the mid-range that grabs your attention first. There’s detail and clarity here, and the very slightest hint of “edge” to consonants that’s immediately quite appealing. Despite this, it never seems to tend towards harshness or hardness – in fact the top end sounds relatively restrained and open….
“With sung (female) vocals, again, there’s something immediately very arresting about the sound – it’s forward without sounding hyped in the highs, but never sounds closed-in as a result…
“…it isn’t aiming to be the cheapest tube microphone out there. Sonically, though, it sounds in completely different league to those cheaper designs, and it would give more established (and expensive) models a real run for their money.”
“Everything about the mic feels well-built, especially the shock mount…There is a definite impression, when opening the flight case for the first time, of getting a lot more than you paid for…
“We have to mention the V13’s self-noise – there wasn’t any. So little in fact, we re-checked the recording array to make sure it was all plugged in correctly.
” And, at [this price point]…we are extremely impressed.”
“The V13 isn’t just a great mic. Instead of aping vintage stalwarts, [Vanguard have] conceived and constructed a new style of LDC that has it’s own set of characteristics and rewards the user in an unapologetic, uncompromising fashion. Unsurprisingly these are the exact strengths that are desired by the majority of modern producers.
When you hear the sonorous, extended highs this mic so effortlessly produces – highs that are devoid of ugly resonances, when you feel the V13’s tight and well balanced, muscular low mids and hear how the rich mid range bolsters the overall smooth, low key hype of the V13’s beautifully balanced sonic spectrum you’ll be be shocked at how effortlessly a great, modern sounding vocal can be recorded. This mic is so good because it’s truly fresh and modern.”
“The Vanguard V13 sounds as good as it looks – and it looks stunning…A mic of this quality, that sounds this good usually comes with a hefty price tag, but the Vanguard V13 is much more reasonably priced than one might expect. We expect that a lot of project studio owners will be eyeing this up for their next mic purchase.”
“Vanguard pays attention to small details…The V13 provided a rich, full tone…the top end felt smooth and extended, but not artificially bright or hyped; the low mids felt smooth, but focused. The V13 [provides] both a sound and build quality that place the mic’s value well above it’s price.”
“We got to try [the V13] on Vocals and Acoustic Guitars and the results were mind-blowing. The sheen warmth and clarity that the V13 created was very pleasing sonically. Especially, on husky female vocals, the V13 brought out character that was spectacular. We were really astonished by what this microphone could do at this price point… the V13 stacks up really well against much more expensive mics and is worth every penny, and is now part of our boutique microphone locker.”
“Few mics I’ve used sound so pleasant, warm, full and bright without hype. And I’ve never encountered a microphone that’s so expensive-sounding at this price point.”
“[Vanguard] has taken some of the best aspects of [the best] microphones that money can buy and blended them into the V13….the smooth top end of the original Telefunken , the low end richness of the U47…they have done a really great job of getting the character of a lot of the great mics we would all like to have in our locker….a very, very versatile microphone.
“For a microphone of this quality, [the price] is staggering. Absolutely incredible price for a microphone that, quite frankly, could be THE microphone you need (or maybe a pair of them).”
For details about each track, follow the “View Track” link in the SoundCloud player for available notes about preamp, placement, etc., as well as a link to a high-resolution WAV file.