The Vanguard Audio Labs V1 Pencil Condenser Kit is a multi-capsule FET pencil condenser microphone. Lovingly crafted by experts, it is designed to be a versatile, reliable, professional tool for any recording engineer, studio, producer, or artist. With a “straight-wire” circuit design, premium cryogenically-treated FET componentry, an unparalleled selection of capsules, and a true heavy-duty shockmount, the V1 will be your new studio workhorse.
The V1 was designed in the USA, and undergoes final assembly in sunny Southern California. We perform 100% quality control – every single part of your V1 kit undergoes a series of stringent audio and visual tests here in Southern California before being hand-packed. We precision-bias each high-grade JFET by hand on a calibrated analog oscilloscope (a Tektronix 465B, for you, fellow EE geeks).
Every part of the V1 was designed to be robust and reliable. Wherever possible, the circuitry is over-spec’ed. Deep-cycle cryogenic treatment improves the lifespan and performance of critical electronic components. Brass, steel, and zinc are part of heavy-duty construction.
You want your recording tools to be reliable, durable, and rugged, and so do we! Every Vanguard microphone is backed by our FIVE-YEAR WARRANTY.
The VANGUARD V1 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 spent more than three years designing, developing, and refining the V1.
Our small-diaphragm capsules begin with a 16mm 4µm gold-sputtered Mylar diaphragm, carefully positioned in front of a precision-machined, custom-voiced backplate. We engineered the housing to bring the diaphragm as close as possible to the front of the capsule housing, preventing comb filtering.
The capsule is coupled to a transformer-balanced solid-state circuit that matches the unique musical properties of our capsules and is loaded with premium-grade, over-spec components sourced from manufacturers all over the world. We cryogenically treat critical components in the signal & power paths, including an ultra-high-grade hand-biased FET. The circuit is designed with an “In = Out” philosophy, with only four components present in the signal path.
Aesthetically, we think a microphone should look at least half as good as it sounds. The precision-machined brass body is coated with our signature Pinot Noir hue, finished with a deep, lustrous gloss, and accented by polished nickel trim and a precision-cast Vanguard badge. Your V1’s serial number is laser-engraved on the lower rear of the microphone.
The V1 was designed by a team of experts with more than 65 years of combined experience and vetted by award-winning engineers and producers.
We designed the V1 with the character and versatility of iconic pencil condensers in mind, while also utilizing modern technology & design to meet the demands of today’s recording professionals.
The V1 kit was created to be your most flexible and adaptable microphone system. The four small capsules allow tonal variety on any number of sources, but we found them to be exceptionally well-suited for close-to-medium-range mic’ing of acoustic guitar, percussion, piano, and stringed instruments. (The wide cardioid capsule in particular deserves special mention here as our favorite, but each capsule has sources and situations in which it excels.)
After hundreds of hours of listening and testing exhaustive design variations with world-class engineers, we can confidently say that this microphone will exceed the performance of other pencil condenser microphones in its price range, and rival or exceed the performance of microphones costing several times more.
Vanguard V1 Microphone – packed with high-end componentry including an ultra-quality precision-biased JFET, a custom-wound transformer, premium capacitors, and cryogenic treatment throughout. A “straight-wire” design philosophy means there are only four components between the capsule and the output.
Four 22mm Capsules – these interchangeable capsules give you unmatched flexibility – cardioid, wide cardioid, hypercardioid, and omnidirectional. Ultra-sensitive 4-micron diaphragms, an anti-comb-filtering front design, and precision-machined backplates give wide consistency across each capsule.
VSSM Shockmount – the best pencil shockmount in the ‘verse. Heavy-duty cast zinc partners with high-impact ABS to create a shockmount that stays where it’s supposed to. Aerospace-grade suspension rings keep the rumble out (no hair scrunchies here!), and a windowed design allows you to easily access switches without changing your mic placement.
Pinewood Storage Case – because your microphones should stay safe in luxury. We’ve carved individual capsule pockets into a block of solid pine, and custom-cut foam for your mics to stay cozy and secure…whether they’re on the road or in your studio.
Capsule & Electronics
- 4 small-diaphragm 22mm capsule assemblies – cardioid, hypercardioid, omnidirectional, wide cardioid
- Transformer-balanced solid-state circuit
- Ultra low-noise high-quality hand-biased JFET and other premium-grade components
- Deep-cycle cryogenic treatment of critical signal & power path components
- Transformer-balanced output – custom-wound humbucking dual-bobbin transformer
- Works via 48V phantom power
- Heavy-duty brass, aircraft-grade aluminum, steel, and zinc construction
- Each V1 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
- Exquisite deep-gloss Pinot Noir finish
- Polished nickel trim
- Precision-cast Vanguard badge
- Laser-etched model and serial numbers
- Transducer Type: Condenser
- Capsule Size (V34C) : 1.34″ / 34mm (dual-capsule)
- Diaphragm Size (V34C): 1.04″ / 26.4mm
- Capsule Diaphragms Thickness (v34C): 3µm
- Capsule Size (Small-Diaphragm): 0.87″/22mm
- Diaphragm Size (Small-Diaphragm): 0.78″ / 16mm
- Capsule Diaphragm Thickness (Small-Diaphragm): 4µm
- Electronics Type: Solid-state, transformer-balanced output
- Output Impedance: 200Ω
- Max SPL: 136dBA (0.5% THD @ 1000Hz)
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Equivalent Noise Level: <15dBA
We’ve already mentioned the four capsules, but let’s list them again here:
- 22mm Cardioid
- 22mm Hypercardioid
- 22mm Omnidirectional
- 22mm Wide Cardioid – our favorite son in the bunch (don’t tell the other ones)
When you buy a V1, you also get a VSSM Heavy-Duty Shockmount. We wanted to improve on the standard “tube” design that was popularized by our chief designer in the late 2000s.
First, we created a windowed design for the shockmount. This allows you to access switches on your microphone without affecting your carefully-placed positioning.
Second, we source aerospace-grade suspension bands that won’t break, sag, crack, or stretch over time. The bands can be positioned either vertically/horizontally or diagonally, to tightly hold microphones of varying diameter. The V1 has slight insets machined into the body, so the suspension bands “lock in” easily to the microphone for a more secure hold.
The main body and knob are precision-cast from a high-grade zinc alloy and finished with a durable powdercoat. The pivot is injection-molded from high-impact ABS to keep your mic placement locked in place. The pivot is also inset with both 5/8″-24 and 3/8″-16 threads to be compatible with any microphone stand.
This shockmount was designed to fit any microphone with a diameter below 30mm, so it can be used with several brands of microphone, including almost any pencil microphone – and even ribbon microphones.
When not in use, your V1 should be stored in its padded pinewood storage case.
- 22mm removable capsule – Cardioid
- 22mm removable capsule – Omnidirectional
- VSSM small shockmount
- 22mm removable capsule – Hypercardioid
- 22mm removable capsule – Wide Cardioid
- Padded pinewood microphone storage box