The audio signal from your instrument or microphone is sent via XLR cables to a mixing table, amp, PA, and other devices. The sound quality is dependent on a decent cable. Without a good cable, no matter how costly your gear is, it’s worthless. When most people think of great gear, they think of musical instruments, microphones, amps, mixing desks, and so on. Sound engineers, on the other hand, understand the importance of each and every piece of musical equipment. Cable quality is one part of the chain that is sometimes disregarded.
When it comes to studio and live performances, XLR cables are one of the most prevalent types of cables. Many electric instruments still use traditional line in/out cables, however XLR cables can be a much better option, especially if the distance between the instrument and the mixing table or other device is long. Microphones, on the other hand, have been using these types for decades.
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Mogami Gold STUDIO-06 XLR Microphone Cable
- Accurate cable
- Wide frequency response
- High cancellation of hum and noise
Mogami Gold Studio leads are among the more expensive XLR cables on the market, but they’re well worth it if you want exceptional sound quality and dependability.
Mogami recommends their cables for usage in home studios because of their superior ability to mitigate noise difficulties caused by wiring issues (an issue many musicians and producers find at home). If you’re hearing a buzz or hum that isn’t coming from your equipment, it’s possible that it’s coming from your XLR microphone lead.
Although it’s impossible to prove which is the greatest XLR cable on the market, anyone looking for the best XLR cables for microphones can’t go wrong with the Mogami line, which includes 2, 3, 6, 10, 15, 25, 50, and 100ft options. Furthermore, the Mogami Gold Studio series comes with a lifetime warranty, so if you detect any crackling or problems in the XLR cable, you can easily replace it.
D’Addario Classic Series XLR Microphone Cable
- IN=OUT TECHNOLOGY – Exclusive In=Out Technology combines low capacitance...
- NICKEL PLATED - Nickel-plated brass connectors offer reliable contact and...
- SHIELDING - Two layers of shielding provide noise rejection for quiet...
On any list of the best microphone cables, the Planet Waves Classic Series XLR cables are a terrific place to start. For the clearest signal possible, the Classic Series uses oxygen-free copper conductors, which is critical for getting the best audio signal when recording. Planet Waves Classic is a wonderful place to start if you’re searching for a high-quality XLR microphone cable at a reasonable price.
The cables come in two lengths: 10 feet and 25 feet, offering you a variety of alternatives if you require your microphone to be further away from your preamp (or even in a separate live room). The option to go 1/4 inch jack to XLR is a terrific feature of the Planet Waves Classic Series, making them some of the best XLR cables for studio monitors as well.
GLS Audio 25 Foot Mic Cable Balanced XLR Patch Cords
- High Quality Noise Free Performance
- Heavy Duty Flexible Braided Tweed Jacket
- True Balanced Lo-Z Shielded Cable
GLS Audio, one of our medium-priced XLR cables, nevertheless claims high-end “audiophile grade” cables, but this isn’t represented in the price. The GLS line offers super low noise performance thanks to high-grade copper conductors, which is exactly what you need from an XLR microphone cable. This would be a wonderful alternative for anyone wishing to buy several cables without sacrificing quality because it is a high-quality cable at a reasonable price.
Amazon Basics XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable
- IN THE BOX: 50-foot XLR male to female microphone cable for XLR-compatible...
- CLEAR TRANSMISSION: All-copper conductors with inner copper spiral...
- DURABLE DESIGN: Zinc alloy 3-pin connectors with nickeling; protective...
The Amazon Basics line is a wonderful place to start, and their microphone cable line will provide decent sound quality without breaking the bank, even if it is on the cheaper side.
For the price of one of the more costly cables on our list, you can easily get a couple Amazon Basics cables. While they may not last as long or offer “audiophile” sound quality, they are certainly not cheap at roughly $12 for a 25-foot lead.
LyxPro Quad Series 50 ft XLR 4-Conductor Star Quad Balanced Microphone Cable
- High-end star quad cable features greater signal to noise ratio, resolves...
- 4-Conducter Cable and Cotton Yarn wrap features noise reduction
- Cable strain relief keeps the cable tightly in place with the connectors
Another wonderful brand that doesn’t require a bank loan to obtain a high-quality lead is LyxPro. The price of a 30-foot lead starts at roughly $25. What’s more, they come in a variety of colors, which is ideal for avoiding hassles during a drum tracking session or any situation involving several microphones that requires you to retrace your steps and figure out your patching.
The LyxPro series XLR leads have gold plated contacts and cotton yarn for noise reduction, as well as angled connectors in case you need to use them with a camcorder.
Overview of XLR Cables
XLR cables are a standard type of balanced audio cable commonly used in professional audio equipment. The connectors have three pins – one for ground, one for the positive signal, and one for the negative signal.
Some key benefits of using XLR cables include:
Balanced Audio – XLR cables carry a balanced audio signal, meaning they transmit the positive and inverted negative signal on separate wires. This makes them less susceptible to interference from external signals like radio frequencies.
Rugged Design – XLR connectors are sturdily constructed from metal and can lock together securely. This makes them suitable for repeated plugging/unplugging.
Noise Rejection – The balanced signal allows any external noise to be cancelled out as the positive and negative signals are summed together. This provides clean, noise-free audio transmission.
Versatile – XLR cables are commonly used with professional gear like mixing consoles, microphones, active monitors and audio interfaces. The balanced connection allows long cable runs.
Choosing XLR Cables for Studio Monitors Buying Guide
Here are the key factors to consider when selecting XLR cables for studio monitor use:
Focus on cable quality rather than price alone. High-end cables utilize better materials like oxygen-free copper conductors and tight-fitting connectors. This provides better balanced transmission and longevity.
Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) – Pure copper without oxygen considerably improves conductivity and clarity. OFC cables are less prone to corrosion.
Gold-plated Contacts – Gold plating resists corrosion and improves connectivity. This reduces signal loss and lowers noise.
Gauge – Heavier gauges like 14 AWG and 16 AWG provide better signal transfer over long cable runs with minimal distortion.
Shielding – Multiple layers of shielding prevent electromagnetic interference and crosstalk between cables. Braided shields are more flexible than foil shields.
Jacket Material – Rubber and PVC are suitable, flexible jacket materials. Nylon jackets increase durability.
Use the shortest cable length possible for studio monitor connections to avoid sound degradation over long distances.
For most studios, high quality cables up to 10 feet will provide accurate sound.
Long 20 ft+ runs for larger spaces may require thicker cables to prevent muddiness and signal loss.
Cable connectors should fit snugly into sockets with little play. Loose connections cause signal issues.
Screw-down locks allow tighter, more secure connections and prevent accidental unplugging.
Right-angle connectors can help save space in tight areas and reduce strain on sockets.
Balanced vs. Unbalanced
Always use balanced XLR cables instead of unbalanced TS or TRS cables for studio monitors.
Balanced cables better reject electromagnetic interference found in studio environments.
Balanced signals also allow much longer cable runs with minimal noise and signal degradation.
Ensure cables follow standard XLR pinout convention:
Pin 1: Ground
Pin 2: Positive signal
Pin 3: Negative signal
Using cables wired to a different scheme will result in out-of-phase audio and may damage equipment.
Use dedicated cables for each monitor speaker rather than Y-splitters. This avoids imbalanced signals.
Opt for twin pairs with separate cables jacketed together for easier organization and less clutter.
For those on tight budgets, affordable XLR cables under $50 can still offer decent quality if built well.
Focus on solid connectors, adequate shielding, and oxygen-free copper when choosing budget XLR cables.
Avoid the cheapest discount cables using thin 28+ AWG wire and little shielding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use XLR cables for my home studio setup?
Absolutely, XLR cables are excellent for home studios. They deliver high-quality, balanced audio, and are compatible with a vast range of audio equipment.
Are expensive XLR cables worth it?
While there’s a wide price range for XLR cables, expensive doesn’t always equate to better. However, very cheap cables can compromise on quality. Aim for a balance between cost and quality.
Can XLR cables carry stereo audio?
A single XLR cable carries a mono signal. For stereo audio, two XLR cables are required.
How often should I replace my XLR cables?
With proper care and handling, XLR cables can last for many years. However, if you notice a decline in sound quality or physical damage to the cable, it’s time for a replacement.
Do I need special tools to connect XLR cables to my studio monitors?
No, XLR cables usually plug directly into your monitors. However, ensure your monitors have XLR inputs.
What causes signal loss over long XLR cable runs?
Resistance in the conductors causes some signal loss, especially at higher frequencies. High-quality thick cables minimize this using oxygen-free copper.
Should I braid my XLR cables for monitors?
Braided cables look tidy but aren’t optimal for fixed installs like monitors as they can’t be neatly dressed. Loose cables work better.