V44S STEREO CONDENSER
The Vanguard V44S is a stereo large-diaphragm multi-pattern FET condenser microphone. Lovingly crafted by experts over 2 years, it 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 coincident twin custom-voiced multi-pattern capsules, you can utilitize X/Y, Mid-Side, Blumlein, and other less conventional stereo microphone techniques in a single microphone. With an all-new detented heavy-duty rotation mechanism, premium cryogenically-treated FET circuitry, and a VLSM shockmount, the V44S is the first and last stereo microphone you’ll ever need to reach for.
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. Brass, steel, aluminum, and zinc are part of the heavy-duty construction. Every Vanguard microphone is backed by our FIVE-YEAR WARRANTY.
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 taking place 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. The top headbasket rotates up to 90 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.
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. 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 more than 65 years of experience and vetted by award-winning engineers and producers.
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 world-class 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.
Capsule & Electronics
When you buy a V44S, 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 V44S also comes with the our utility splitter box, which allows you to break out the 5-pin microphone cable into conventional 3-pin XLR. The splitter box contains a transformer-isolated phase-inverted top capsule output in addition to the standard top-capsule output, allowing for mid-side operation in less-than-ideal recording conditions with no patching at the mixer. An additional two standard XLR inputs allow you to use other microphones, such as the Vanguard V13, in the same conditions.
Finally, we included a windscreen for outdoor recording situations.
When not in use, your V44S should be stored in its padded pinewood box.
The aluminum combo-lock carrying case keeps your V44S microphone, pinewood box, cable, windscreen, and splitter box in one place.
“The audio mix fell together very easily. Most of the sound of this recording is indeed made up of the stereo pair of condensers [Vanguard V1S] behind the conductor and the stereo room mic [Vanguard V44S].”
“I borrowed [the V44S] from MAINZ Auckland about a week ago. It super easy to a good sound when recording a choir. I just needed to place it right in the middle of the stage. You get an accurate and detailed stereo image which is easy to locate sounds. You can nicely hear basses of the left and sopranos on right. Was also interesting trying the X – Y (cardioid) and Blumlein (Figure-8) configurations. Blumlein picked up more of the lovely diffusion and reverberation of the room. But I ended up using X – Y, it has superior coverage of the stage, a stronger centre image and slightly clean high frequency response.”
“This stereo microphone is characterized by a very neutral image, clean open mids, defined, firm depths and a very physical, catchy sound. If anything, there is only a minimal tendency to warmth and a strong presence (in the sense of signal presence)…The acoustic guitar and the violin were very vividly and naturally reproduced, so that you can imagine the V44S as a natural-sounding main microphone very well… The V44S is a very honest…A real catch!”
“[The V44S] has been the GREATEST value purchase in YEARS for my collection. It’s amazing. I sold one of my Neumanns after I got this and haven’t looked back!”
“The V44S is stunning. They’ve really though about this, just like the V13 before it. Incredible value for what is a beautifully crafted, really though-about stereo microphone. What is there not to love? A beautiful piece of engineering, and one that I do not want to send back (but I shall be getting another one…that’s how much I like this thing.)”
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.
NOTE: The V44S and V4 have identical capsules and signal paths. Feel free to use the tracks for the V4 FET Condenser as a reference for the V44S as well.