The XLR cable or External Line Return is a very important part of the makeup of a microphone or any other source that it connects. Having the Best XLR Cables For Microphones will make a difference in your work and the results you achieve.
They are not only used for audio equipment but also for video and professional stage lighting systems. They are a very common connection and they are the standard in the audio industry for balanced signals. Therefore the vast majority of professional microphones use the XLR connector.
They were first manufactured in the 50s and were often called the Cannon plug after their inventor, James Cannon of Cannon Electric in California, Cannon Electric became part of ITT and manufactured their plugs in Australia and Japan. The Australian operation was eventually sold but ITT still makes their XLR plugs in Japan.
The three-pin connectors are by far the most common but there are various configurations that number up to ten pins.
Significantly. The signal to noise ratio is very low which will give you a better sound. Especially if the cables used are quite lengthy. And the XLR will give you a balanced connection. The standard quarter-inch jack is unbalanced.
A good cable is vital for the quality of the sound. No matter how good your gear, bad cables will not give you good results. To sum it up, XLR is the accepted standard for high-quality audio like microphones.
There are elements of design and manufacture that can have a significant effect on performance. The materials used in the conductors and the shielding and even the jackets can all have an impact. Just getting an XLR cable does not mean it will be excellent. Like all things, there are good and very good.
In this review, we are going to be considering XLR for microphones only. So, let’s take a look at what’s currently available and find the perfect XLR Cables for your microphone…
- Top 6 Best XLR Cables For Microphones In 2020 Reviews
- Choosing The Best XLR Cables For Microphones
- Need Something To Plug Into Your New XLR Cable?
- So, What’s The Best XLR Cables For Microphones?
Top 6 Best XLR Cables For Microphones In 2020 Reviews
1 Mogami Gold STAGE-20 XLR Microphone Cable
When you need XLR cables then Mogami is one of the names you will think of first. In Japan, the name resonates, and not just because of the quality of its cables. Mogami was an influential advisor to the Shoguns in a tumultuous period just preceding the Samurai rebellion (the real one, not the fanciful Tom Cruise version- incidentally Cruise’s character was French, not American).
Whether the company was named after him we do not know. They still manufacture every part of their cables in Japan, and for over twenty years their products have been used worldwide. Go into most studios and you will find them.
They produce three levels of cable and we are looking at the middle option, the Gold. The quality of each cable is outstanding and Mogami proudly claims that every cable is assembled by hand. These are twenty feet in length, XLR-Female to XLR-Male with three pins.
The Gold stage XLR is a good choice if your cables take a bit of punishment, and this will particularly apply to live performances. These are eminently suitable for studio work, but because of their rugged design work well on stage. They are very flexible and tough and one might almost say indestructible. This makes them particularly suitable for stage performers with shall we say, a more active approach to their work.
They have a core that has a 105 strand design which is three times more than you would find in a standard cable. Cables with a higher number of strands are less likely to break. The cables terminals have gold contact points to prevent corrosion and ensure good contact.
Durability and reliability is the name of the game with these cables. But don’t forget the quality of the sound they help you produce, Handling noise is non-existent. When considering which are the Best high quality XLR Cables for microphones, then these must be included. The highest quality cables at a very realistic price.
- A quality cable manufactured by one of the top names in cable production.
- The very best materials and tough design have produced an excellent cable.
- The price might put some people off.
2 Rapco Horizon N1M1-15 Stage Series M1 Microphone Cable
Rapco Horizon is a company based in Missouri that provides cables to a variety of sound and audio companies. These include recording studios and musicians, traveling theater companies, sound contractors and a host of other users. As a manufacturer of XLR microphone cables, they have become popular. Not only because they are of good quality but they are matched at a very affordable price.
This is what might be called a mid-range cable rather than a budget cable. Though it is quite a bit cheaper than most of its contemporaries. They are an XLR-Female cable to an XLR-Male fitting and they have three pins.
The N1M1-15 has Neutrik nickel connectors. Neutrik is a company from Liechtenstein with a high reputation for their connectors. Founded by an ex-AKG employee, say on more, they are highly regarded. They are therefore an asset to this particular cable.
These connectors use a 24 gauge bare copper conductors and a copper shield and are also fitted with jackets that are high-quality PVC. All design processes are in place to ensure they are noise-free.
The cable itself is just 15 feet long which some may consider to be rather short. It might be fine for the studio but on a stage, with a performer who likes to move around, there could be problems. However, one of the other superb advantages of XLR cables is that if you need a longer one, just join two together!
They might be a little short but the quality of the build is good and there is not much to complain about. They are not going to perform as well as their more expensive counterparts. But for a slightly cheaper option, they are good value for money.
- Well made with good materials.
- Affordable price for studio or stage work.
- Some may want a higher quality of cable.
3 LyxPro Balanced XLR Cable 15 ft Microphone Cable
Based in New Jersey, LyxPro is very much a newcomer to the audio game. They have a quite wide-ranging catalog of audio equipment and even produce their own range of guitars. They seem to have a simple philosophy when it comes to their products. Build the highest quality you can, within certain restraints, and make it affordable.
Not many companies can achieve that, let’s have a look at how LyxPro get on.
You certainly won’t find a cheaper option…
This XLR is definitely what you might call a budget range model. It is though built to a good standard and made so that it can serve a variety of uses. This particular cable is 15 feet long. Whilst it will work very well on a stage in a live performance, some might consider it a bit short.
However, the length though is ideal for the recording studio for microphones. It also is suitable for lighting rigs, audio interfaces, and mixers or connecting mixers to speaker systems.
The build at this price point is of high quality…
They are XLR-Female to an XLR-Male fitting and they have the standard three pins. It has twin conducive inner shields that are made from PVC and a braided shield that is made of cotton. Being wrapped in a cotton yarn helps to reduce any incidental noise. It has been designed with the braided shields to make it suitable to work with DMX lighting applications.
Featuring 24-gauge oxygen-free conductors, the tips of the connecting points have a gold-plating to resist corrosion and to ensure there is a good solid connection. The connector plugs are made from black metal and the cable itself is blue. And they are designed to be able to withstand a reasonable amount of strain.
As we said these are a budget range of cables but the quality as we have shown is far from budget. They can be used in multiple ways and are tough enough to withstand heavy usage. Whether they are suitable for stage work at 20 feet is down to the individual using it. A good product at a very good price point.
- Well made using good materials and with strain relief.
- Multiple-use possibilities at an affordable price.
- The cable might be a bit short for live performances.
4 Planet Waves Classic Series XLR Microphone Cable
D’Addario accessories need little introduction to people in the music industry. They are one of the big brands providing quality equipment all over the world. One of their product lines from Australia is Planet Waves. They produce accessories for the audio world and this XLR cable is one such offering.
This cable from Planet Waves is an XLR-Male to an XLR-Female fitting that performs at a level that belies its modest price point. It can have a variety of uses but it is designed mainly for use with microphones. And is a 25 feet long cable so it is going to be sufficient for stage or studio work.
It is made from good materials and the flexible molded strain-relief collars ensure it is durable and long-lasting
Featuring a low-capacitance design that delivers pure signal transparency and is fitted with nickel-plated brass plugs. Heavy-gauge oxygen-free copper conductors and dense shielding mean there will be virtually no handling noise. There is a layer of conductive PC to protect the signal even further.
It doesn’t take much to realize that Planet waves have put a lot of thought into the design of this Cable. Add to that quality materials and you have a product that is very good in every way. It might be considered an entry-level cable but it is a bit better than what you might expect.
Also, it is not decorated in fancy colors and doesn’t have anything that might make it stand out. It just does its job and quietly gets on with it. The quality of the build and the materials used are just two reasons. The price point and length of this cable are two more, and we think it could be one of the Best XLR Cables For Microphones around.
Certainly, at its price point, it will be hard to find better value.
- Very high standard of build using quality materials.
- Sturdy and strong and at an affordable price.
- Nothing we can find given the price.
5 Hosa HMIC-010 Pro Microphone Cable
If you are looking for an XLR mic cable that is not going to break the bank this cable from Hosa might be worth looking at. Hosa was founded in 1984 and is one of those rare companies that are still a family business. They make a variety of products but do produce a wide range of cables.
These cables can be joined together to make any length you may require. Hence they tend to make quite short cables and this cable we are looking at is a good example. It is just ten feet in length and therefore is likely to need some sort of extension if it is to be used for a microphone.
Ten feet certainly wouldn’t be acceptable for a stage mic, even if it was stationary and it might struggle in a recording studio as well. Nevertheless, as we said you can join them together easily enough. At this price point, they still make a very attractive option.
This cable is an XLR-Female to an XLR-Male fitting. They have a tough build and feature silver-plated REAN connectors. REAN is made by Neutrik in Lichtenstein who has an exemplary reputation. It has a low signal to noise ratio level which is helped by the 20 AWG copper conductors and shielding which are oxygen-free.
Oxygen-free cables are thought of as sounding better due to a better conductivity rate. This, it is thought, makes them better than standard copper wire. There are some that disagree with that but this is not the place for that argument.
The Hosa HMIC-010 Pro Microphone Cable is built with the audio professional in mind. Not necessarily at the very top end of the market, but those looking for cost-effective cabling. They are popular amongst pros because they are durable, reliable and have low-noise. But they are still at the lower end of the price scale.
A good value cable with a respected performance level.
- Good material and a good build level.
- Low noise cable that is very affordable.
- This particular 10-foot cable has limited use potential on its own.
6 Cable Matters 2-Pack Premium XLR to XLR Microphone Cable
This is a pack of two cables that have a length of 25 feet. With their three-pin connectors, they are suitable for use in recording studios for microphones or connecting mixing equipment.
They do actually go a bit further than that in their potential uses. They can also connect up preamps, speakers, patch bays and even stage lighting. In fact, just about anywhere that you need an XLR fitting. They are a male to female cable, and have some very strong metal connectors that are heavy duty and will take a bit of punishment. They also have added strain relief to protect the cable and the plugs.
It has oxygen-free copper conductors and has a PVC jacket. For good connections that will resist any potential corrosion, they have gold-plated XLR pins. They have been given copper braided shielding, individual wire insulation, and foil shielding to reduce any hum or handling noise to an absolute minimum.
These are good for microphones but the build and materials are such that they can be used in a variety of ways as we have already said. For a studio looking for extra XLR cable either as a backup or for connections, they make an affordable option.
- They have a decent build quality with good materials.
- A cost-effective option for studios seeking extra or backup XLR cables.
- Many people will need higher quality.
Choosing The Best XLR Cables For Microphones
In too many situations a poor performing XLR cable can have a seriously detrimental effect on the quality of the sound produced. So many people spend a fortune on high-level equipment and then connect it all up and patch it all together with inferior cables. Sometimes cabling that was just left ‘lying around’.
It doesn’t work. The cables have got to be good or the benefits of the expensive equipment you have invested in will be lost.
So, an XLR for a microphone. Shouldn’t be that difficult. There are cables that are made specifically just for mics. Then there are others that are made to be versatile. However, in making them this way, the attention to detail needed for the microphone standard is lost a bit.
If you are a smaller studio, even a home studio then maybe you would prefer cables that can do other things. Patch, connect up interfaces or mixers. You are possibly going to need quite a few. You will be looking for quality at a decent price. We looked at quite a few that fall into that category. And none of them will let you down.
Microphones, of course, are not just used in the studio. They are a rather key element in a stage performance for a vocalist. For live use, they want and obviously need quality but maybe a different type of quality. They will need to have a decent length of cable, as well as a tough build. The fittings need to be strong and able to take a great deal of strain.
We tried to find out what cables Roger Daltrey of The Who and the ‘rodeo swirl’ with the mic used. We couldn’t find out but looking at him the mic is attached with a cable covered in tape. That isn’t coming off no matter what he does. Not everyone needs that level of security but it is important to have some.
You may, of course, be looking at a front line cable connecting an expensive mic. In that case, you will need the best you can find that will complement the quality of the microphone. But remember even at the top-level microphones are not just used for singers. In fact far more are used for other things, Drums. Other percussion, guitars, electric and acoustic and bass can all be mic’d up.
Need Something To Plug Into Your New XLR Cable?
Not much point having a high-quality XLR cable without a good microphone to plug into it. So, please check out our reviews of the Best Dynamic Microphones, the Best Kick Drum Mic, the Best Microphones Recording Electric Guitar, the Best Cheap Mic under 50 Dollars, the Best Vocal Mics, or the Best Microphones for Recording Rap Vocals currently available.
You may also enjoy our review of some of the Best Microphone Preamps on the market.
So, What’s The Best XLR Cables For Microphones?
We all need the microphone to do its job which means a good cable. There are plenty around picking the best will depend on what you are going to use it for.
For us, we would pick the…
A quality cable and an industry standard. Our choice for the Best XLR Microphone Cable currently available.