We all want to sound our best, and while microphones and recording environment play a big role in this. So does the quality of your XLR cable.
Did you know that?
Most people don’t think about XLR cables affecting the quality of their recordings. We’re here to change that
So, in this article, we’re breaking down what an XLR cable is, why you need one to level up your recording quality, and finally, hitting you with our top four XLR cables.
Oh, and this article contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. If you choose to buy anything from the links in this post, we’ll earn a small commission. This doesn’t cost you anything extra and the money we make helps us keep the blog alive.
Ready? Let’s give it a go.
What Is an XLR Cable?
So, what the hell are XLR cables? We know, it sounds like some sci-fi gadget, but it’s actually an essential piece of equipment for connecting microphones to audio interfaces, mixers, speakers, and other studio equipment.
XLR stands for “External Line Return” It’s a 3 pin cable.
The Three Pins of Magic
- Pin 1: This is the ground or shield. It’s like the bodyguard for your sound, keeping all that nasty interference away.
- Pin 2: This is the positive or “hot” connection. It carries the actual audio signal. Think of it as the highway for your sound.
- Pin 3: This is the negative or “cold” connection. It’s like Pin 2’s twin but in reverse. It helps create a balanced signal, which means cleaner, clearer audio.
Who Uses XLR Cables?
Musicians? Sure, they use em. But, let’s be real, we’re here to talk about podcasters.
That’s right, if you’re looking to step up your podcasting game, XLR cables are your new best friend.
Whether you’re a newbie just starting out or a seasoned pro, these cables are gonna going to enable you to upgrade from that USB microphone, to a high quality microphone that connects via XLR.
Now, you might be thinking, “Hey, I’ve got a USB microphone, and it’s doing just fine.” And sure, USB mics are cool and all, but let’s be real. When you step into the world of XLR cables, you’re stepping into the big leagues.
No knock on USB microphones.
They sound fine.
But, there’s only a handful of them on the market that are designed for podcasting.
When you take the leap and decide to try your hand at traditional microphones that connect via an XLR cable, you open yourself up to two things; A vast array of podcast microphones to choose from, and vastly improved audio quality.
Opening Up Your Mic Selection with XLR
And here’s the kicker, guys. When you switch to microphones that connect via XLR, you’re opening up a whole new universe of microphone selection. We’re not kidding; the majority of the world’s mics connect via XLR.
So, whether you’re looking for that vintage ribbon mic or a top-of-the-line condenser, XLR cables have got you covered. You’re no longer stuck with just a few of USB options.
It’s like walking into a candy store, and everything’s up for grabs.
Best XLR Cables
Mogami Platinum Studio Cable
Overview: Mogami Cables are like the audio connoisseur’s dream. Renowned for their unmatched sound clarity, these cables are often found in high-end studios.
Build: Sleek, flexible, and yet incredibly robust, Mogami Cables are crafted with precision. The gold-plated connectors and top-notch shielding ensure a noise-free connection.
Wired with Neglex Studio Quad: Mogami’s unique wiring with Neglex Studio Quad provides enhanced signal integrity and reduced noise.
Offers Superior Clarity and Freedom from Noise/RF Interference: These cables are designed to offer superior clarity and are highly resistant to noise and RF interference, ensuring a clean audio signal.
Terminated with Black Body 3-Pin XLR Connectors and Gold Contacts: The black body 3-pin XLR connectors with gold contacts provide a reliable and high-quality connection.
Lifetime Warranty: Mogami stands behind their products with a lifetime warranty, reflecting their confidence in the quality and durability of their cables.
Sound Quality: If you’re after transparency and accuracy in sound, Mogami is the way to go. They’re known for preserving every nuance of the original audio signal.
A Mogami XLR cable can start around $100 and go up from there.
Monster Prolink Performer 600
Overview: Monster Cables are like the rock stars of the XLR world. Known for their durability and high-quality sound, these cables are a favorite among professionals.
Build: Thick, rugged, and built to last, Monster Cables are designed to withstand the rigors of constant use. They come with a solid metal connector and a tight shielding that keeps interference at bay.
Performance Ready: These cables handle any performance situation, ensuring reliability and consistency. Thus, you can travel with them or keep them in your home studio.
Signal Interference Shield: Monster Cables feature a shield that effectively blocks signal interference, preserving the purity of the audio signal.
Made For Wear-And-Tear: Crafted to endure constant wear and tear, these cables can withstand the demands of professional use.
Duraflex Protective Jacket: The Duraflex protective jacket adds an extra layer of durability, protecting the cable from physical damage.
Monster Sound® Performance: Known for their signature Monster Sound® performance, these cables deliver audio that’s rich, clear, and powerful.
Sound Quality: Expect nothing but crisp, clear, and pure sound. Monster Cables deliver audio without any loss or distortion, making them perfect for recording and live performances.
Monster XLR cables start around $50 or more.
Pig Hog Cables
Summary: Pig Hog XLR Cables are the workhorses of the audio world. They’re tough, reliable, and offer great value for money. Precisely overbuilt to stand up to the most grueling tour conditions imaginable, Pig Hog cables are designed to provide the highest quality performance without costing an arm or a leg.
Design: With a name like Pig Hog, you know these cables are built to take a beating. They come with a heavy-duty outer jacket and robust connectors that can handle the rough and tumble of the road.
An extra-thick, yet supple 8mm jacket resists kinking or tangling, and the proprietary conductor technology with robust shielding ensures crystal clear sound without noise or interference. Impressed?
High Performance Microphone Cable: Pig Hog’s high-performance microphone cables are crafted with an 8mm high-quality PVC outer covering and heat shrink protected XLR connectors, ensuring reliability and durability.
Performance: Don’t let the rugged exterior fool you; these cables deliver a solid and clean sound. They’re perfect for gigging musicians or podcasters on the go. Each cable is hand-tested before shipment to ensure quality performance every time.
Lifetime Guarantee: Pig Hog offers a lifetime warranty on their cables. You can be sure your Pig Hog Cables will be an integral part of your rig for years to come.
Pig Hog cables can start around $25
Pro Co Evolution XLR Cables
Bringing up the rear is Pro Co. Perhaps the least known of the four, but still high respected.
Summary: Pro Co’s XLR cables are celebrated for their durability, performance, and value for money. With features like 100% oxygen-free wire and noiseless dual-shielded design, they’re a top choice in the industry.
Design: Pro Co’s cables are robust and reliable, featuring Neutrik NC3FXX-B & NC3MXX-B connectors and an exclusive ‘Soft Touch’ jacket. The construction ensures long life and great sound quality.
Performance: Pro Co delivers clear and interference-free audio, preserving the integrity of the original signal. They’re suitable for both studio and live applications. In other words, you can use them anytime, anywhere.
Depending on the length of the cable you need, you can expect to spend $25 or more.
Coiling It All Up – Best XLR Cables
Hopefully, you’ve learned by now that stepping into the realm of professional audio is more than just a technical decision; it’s a commitment to quality and excellence.
Through this exploration of XLR cables, we’ve uncovered the magic behind those three essential pins and the vast array of options that await you.
From Mogami’s renowned clarity to Monster’s rugged performance, the world of XLR is rich with possibilities, ready to enhance your sound experience. It’s not just about choosing a cable; it’s about embracing a new level of audio sophistication.
So, with the right XLR connection, you’re not only opening doors to a wider selection of microphones but also ensuring that your voice resonates with purity and power.
So why hold back? Dive into the world of XLR and let your sound reach new heights. The journey to impeccable audio starts with a single cable.
Your message deserves the best, and the world is ready to hear it.