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Looking for XLR microphone cables shopping advice


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Those of you who gig and/or record what cables do you use? what would you recommend or what brands should I say away from?


I am looking for 15' - 20 ' cables priced under $30. I know that price is not always an indicator of a good cable.


Obviously I am looking for low noise, durability, portability, etc.


Any links to a good XLR cable shootout would be good too.

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When I lived in West Michigan, we used to buy Pro Co XLR cables since they were made in Kalamazoo and affordable. Twelve plus years later I still have them and they still work like new. The best are the StageMasters.

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I think Andy may have the best answer,I am pretty sure that's what he does for a living.


Andy who???? If you are speaking of me I used to work for a stage sound and lighting company many years ago. I do small production now but my Job is Global Corporate Webcasting for a large Pharmaceuticals company so more on the Audio/VIdeo Encoding and Network distribution of Webcast across Global WANS....


Regardless I do have some advice... Stay away from molded-end cables and cable that use that plastic like ( glossy) wire covering ( it tends to get stiff, especially when cold) . Try to find cables that have a decent wire gauge and thick "Rubbery" wire cover as well as Switchcraft or Neutrik XLR connectors.


Some basic pointers you probably already know...


Stay away from the 50 and 100 foot cables if possible. They are a pain to wrap and hard to find where they have broken if they do. Get some heat shrink and re-enforce the cable connection on the ends ( This will also allow you to mark your cables) . Always wrap them with the natural coil of the cable ( don't wrap them around your arm) Route them out of the way of being stepped on as much as possible. Use real Gaff tape ( not duct tape ) if you tape them down. But velcro tie wraps on them ( the kind that connect to the cable and don't fall off when you unwrap the cable) Finally... buy a decent pair of wire strippers, solder and soldering iron.


Your cables will last years....




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Thanks Andy, good advice.


EVOl i was looking at Pro Co cables on Sweetwater.com...lifetime warranty, now that's appealing.


IMO, I can't tell the difference between cables unless there is like comparing a quality cable to a 10 dollar cable from Guitar Center's store brand.


For cables, I mainly look for durability, and lifetime warranties are great.


Just my two cents from someone who knows no tone

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I'm sold on Tsunami Cables, can't really recommend a cheap cable as every cheap cable I've ever bought has let me down eventually, or there's no consistency in quality. It's worth a few extra bucks in the long run. And, if you're running a nice microphone (like my Heil PR35) then you don't want to choke it off with a weak cable.

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Depends rather on what you want to do with them. In a "plug in once and leave it alone" environment like the interconnects in my home studio, the budget cables, and even some of the $10 e-bay Whirlwind cables work quite well. (although the $10 GC cables, in my experience won't even stand up to static home studio use.) However, if you're thinking about gigging or mobile sound, I would second most of the advice already given:

Look for good rubber strain reliefs held in by a setscrew and clamps, and flexible rubbery coverings

Turn up the gain and slap the cable on the floor to check for induced noise from phantom power fluctuation

Anything over 20' is a pain in the neck to use

I also have had good luck with proco's

The "Included" cables on Shure products don't seem to last long.


The one I'm still not sure on is whether its a good idea to clip or wrap the cable to the mic stand, or tape it down . Taping them down leaves sticky goo residue, but helps prevent guitarists from getting some part of their body caught, and pulling the cable out of its socket. However it also allows singers to rip the cable out of the mic when they try and adjust the stand. I saw this happen once. I usually set the mic stands up to approximately the right height for a particular singer, and leave a bit of slack at the top before clipping or wrapping the cable to the stand. One guy decided after the first song that the standard "microphone at mouth height" method was insufficiently cool looking, and decided he wanted to set his stand a foot above his head, then point the mic down as a sharp angle. The was enough slack for him to move the stand up 9 inches, but then the cable was tight . To get his required angle he simply grabbed the mike and pushed the end down with all his strength. He then blamed me for the fact that the mic cut out several times in the next two songs (your crappy cables!!) . Somtimes I really hate singers.

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