What brand of XLR cables?

F

fred1942

Audioholic Intern
I am purchasing a Marantz 8802 and some Emotiva amps. What do you recommend for XLR cables? Monoprice is very cheap but are they that good? I don't want to skimp on inferior cables. Your help is appreciated. Thanks.
 
S

Speedskater

Audioholic Chief
The balanced XLR analog interconnect system is very robust. For short interconnects almost any 2 conductor shielded cable will do. That's Shielded Twisted Pair (STP).
For long cables (and long can be up to 100 meters) choose a bulk cable from a major cable manufacture like Belden or Mogami.
For connectors, Neutrik & Switchcraft are good choices.

My first choice is Blue Jeans Cables.

In the US, two good provides of other cables are:

markertek
http://www.markertek.com/

redco
http://www.redco.com/
 
WaynePflughaupt

WaynePflughaupt

Audioholic Samurai

Monoprice’s cables are fine, but the connectors they use are cheap. I’d go with Speedskater’s recommendations.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
lsiberian

lsiberian

Audioholic Overlord
I always just head over to guitar center and get their cheap brand. I've never had issues with them.
 
T

Thunder240

Audioholic Intern
I've gotten Canare Star Quad XLRs from Amazon, quite happy with them.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
S

Speedskater

Audioholic Chief
Yes the Star Quads are very good, especially in high noise and interference areas. But for most of us, they are over-kill.
 
F

fmw

Audioholic Samurai
You can buy competent and rugged XLR cables under the Hosa brand at any pro audio outlet. My experience with monoprice has been excellent except for HDMI cables which are pretty delicate. I think they should be fine for XLR interconnects.
 
WaynePflughaupt

WaynePflughaupt

Audioholic Samurai

Hosa and Monoprice cables use cheap connectors that will eventually fail. Take a look at this picture that compares a cheap and quality connector:



The bottom connector is a Switchcraft, the top is the type Hosa and Monoprice use. See the little ball at the “business end” of Switchcraft? The Switchcraft has two of those, and they are spring loaded. The purpose they serve is to maintain a tight pressure connection in the socket they are plugged into.

Now look at the cheap connector. It has no spring loaded balls. All it has is a couple of "bulging tabs" to ensure a good connection (for lack of a better term - one of them seen here circled in green, between the two dark strips). In addition, the “business end” of these connectors is out of industry spec, being a bit smaller than those from other quality manufacturers.

The problem is that over time, the tabs collapse, and that along with the out-of-spec size, gets you a goose-loose connection that has a lot of flex and give. That in turn wallows out the plug's three sockets, which then can easily make and break connection. So basically, the whole mechanical structure of the connector is compromised.

Over the years I’ve replaced dozens of these connectors for people who thought the “price was right” when they went shopping for mic cables. Just last week I fixed a couple for my church. When you plugged the female end of the cable into the male end, it wallowed all over the place. When you plugged the round male-end pin assembly into the female end (as seen here), it fell right out – no kidding. There was no friction as would be required for a good mechanical connection, since all the flexing that the connector body allowed wallowed out the connection sockets as well.

In addition, the male ends are also slightly out of industry spec. Female connectors from other reputable brands are super snug and will barely fit into the male end.

That’s why Hosa and Monoprice XLR cables should be avoided. There’s nothing wrong with the cable specifically, but they use these cheap connectors.

Bottom line, if you want reliable XLR cables, make sure they have either Switchcraft or Neutrik conectors.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
Last edited:
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
In a home environment MP/Hosa is ok. In a commercial environment with lots of plug/unpluggin Switchcraft is awesome

In the grand scheme of things it's not really expensive to go with Switchcraft.
 

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