Skip to content


Close this search box.

Why Do Microphones Use XLR Cables?

Not all microphones use XLR. However, due to the fact that XLR cables provide balanced audio and connect with the ground pin first, many professional microphones use 3-pin XLR cables. Long cable runs can be reached with clear audio thanks to balanced audio, and mics are shielded from electrical damage by a connection that places the ground pin first.

Because of its clear sound and protective attributes, XLR has grown in popularity as a connection method for professional microphones. Let’s examine the XLR cable’s construction in more detail and see why it makes for such strong microphone hookups. We’ll also talk about some of the other microphone hookups that are available nowadays.

What is XLR?

Let’s first establish what the term “XLR” signifies. The acronym stands for X Connector, Locking Connector, and Rubber Boot. However, it’s no longer necessary, therefore the “rubber boot” section of the connector is no longer always a factor. The name has not changed despite the small design modification.

The XLR or three-pin form of the XLR cable is what we’re referring to here, while there are currently multiple different variants of XLR cables with a range of additional pins (XLR3 – XLR7) available. By far, this is the most typical kind of cable.

The preferred standard for high-quality audio inputs, including microphones, is XLR. They provide a balanced signal that eliminates noise, which explains why. It’s just a better type of connector for that kind of application, but it’s also so durable that the average consumer probably doesn’t need to think about utilizing it unless they’re recording or streaming high-quality audio.

Advantages of an XLR Microphone

It’s a method of connecting audio equipment that allows the audio signal to pass through any length of wire without losing its initial clarity. It simply means, “What goes in, comes out,” in the most basic sense.

XLR cables send two copies of the audio stream simultaneously to accomplish this. Additionally, such signals are transmitted using reversed polarity, which reduces electromagnetic interference. As a result, the audio signal received keeps the original microphone input’s sharpness and precision. A variety of interference can influence the audio signal if the two signals are not supplied with reversed polarity, which results in poor audio capture and reproduction. losing frequency information or even producing pure unwanted noise as a result.

How do XLR Cables Work?

As previously indicated, the male connector has three pins and the female connector has three holes. In order for XLR microphone connectors to deliver balanced audio, each pin has a unique purpose. And to complete the link, each pin is connected to a certain port. So let’s quickly go through what each of the three XLR cable pins does.

An XLR cable’s three conductors cooperate to guarantee the precision and clarity of the audio stream. This is due to the simultaneous transmission of a signal with reversed polarity—a positive and a negative version of the same signal. It is customary for a microphone preamp to be present in the piece of equipment, such as a DAC, to which an XLR cable connects. Two signals can be “balanced” by the preamp, producing a differential sum. Alternatively put, the most effective fusion of the two signals.

By comparing the signal from Pins 2 and 3, the microphone preamp may also “filter” out electromagnetic interference. But even so, XLR microphone cables are not immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI). They simply perform better than other non-XLR mic cables at filtering out different sorts of EMI.