XLR Cables

To many ads? Support ODJT and see no ads!

BlueLineDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Jan 25, 2015
949
1,125
Where does everyone recommend quality XLR cables with various lengths with quick shipping from?
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
6,703
3,997
It depends on your quality standard.
You can get cheap cables for $0.18 per foot, or premium cables for closer to $1.00 per foot.
Finding them and fast shipping is the easy part.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
6,703
3,997
It also matters what you intend to do with it.

You can attach a $79 cable to $19 microphone and it will transmit all the handling noise, plosives, sibilance, and poor frequency response to your mixer with near perfection.

Alternatively, you can hook a $100+ mic to a cheap cable and get significantly better sound, until the cheap connectors break or a lack of shielding exposes it to interference.

Match the cable to the application. If you are going to mic the Governor for a public speech use a good mic and quality cable. If you are handing mics to teenagers to do karaoke use cheap mics with cables that are easily serviced (repaired). It's more profitable to let wannabees go all David Lee Roth and repair the cable or replace a cheap mic than it is to get in a fight with customers over expensive broken mics or cables that should never have been placed in that situation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BlueLineDJ

sawdust123

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 10, 2006
443
1,001
57
Ventura County, CA
I have been using Audiopile.net for years (as Steve149) recommends. Many pro guys use their stuff. The star-quad cables are heavier but I plan to use them in my home stereo system because of the proximity to lots of power cords. For most of my longer cables I user their SLMA cables. The Monoprice cables are well made but I don't like their screwed together connectors. Their Stageright cables have connectors that can be hand disassembled. On many of their cables, they inject an epoxy like substance inside the connector to add strength. This can be annoying if you like to cut cables to an exact length. I can't recall which are like this and which ones aren't.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BlueLineDJ

Jas

DJ Extraordinaire
May 22, 2013
1,602
1,898
The Monoprice cables are well made but I don't like their screwed together connectors.
I had a Monoprice cable that didn't last more than a few weeks because the little screw fell out. That caused the connection to go out. OTOH, I have a ProCo cable that I've been using for 35 years.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
6,703
3,997
I have some Monoprice 100Ft 12Ga NL4 cables that are fine, not as free-flex as some higher grade stiff but fine for what i use it for. Not sure I would want the aggravation of having to repair their discount XLR cables. It's worth buying something with a genuine Neutrik or Switchcraft connector because if the manufacturer isn;t using a reliable and reusable connecto then it's a ptretty good bet the wire is crappy too.

Also, if you're making balanced analog audio connections it's not necessary to have a quad shield. Not sure if "Star Quad" is just a name or implies that it has a quad shield. I would want a quad shield on an SDI cable but, wouldn't spend a lot to have that on my XLR. You can make long analog balanced runs using ordinary Cat5 or Cat6 without much concern.

That all changes if your connection is not actually balanced. A XLR connection alone does not necessarily mean the link is balanced - this typically happens when DJs are using 1/4" TS or RCA mixer outputs to feed XLR inputs on a powered speaker.
 
Last edited:

steve149

Shine on you crazy diamond
Staff member
ODJT Supporter
Sep 26, 2011
26,424
41,814
Connecticut
If you're making balanced analog audio connections it's not necessary to have a quad shield. Not sure if "Star Quad" is just a name or implies that it has a quad shield. I would want a quad shield on an SDI cable but, wouldn't spend a lot to have that on my XLR. You can make long analog balanced runs using ordinary Cat5 or Cat6 without much concern.

That all changes if your connection is not actually balanced. A XLR connection alone does not necessarily mean the link is balanced - this typically happens when DJs are using 1/4" TS or RCA mixer outputs to feed XLR inputs on a powered speaker.
Star Quad is 4 conductors in a star (quadrupole) pattern and twisted. It is better at noise immunity that standard 2 wire balanced cable and it's a little more rubust, so it handles being stepped on a bit better. Downside is it's a little thicker and slightly higher capacitance, which might be an issue if you run 100-200' of it. For a few dollars more a cable and for a few cables, I find it gives me a little insurance (as the doubled conductors means it also works if one fails somehow).

 

sawdust123

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 10, 2006
443
1,001
57
Ventura County, CA
In my own tests (using calibrated measurement gear), I have found the noise immunity of star-quad mic cables is 40 dB better than that of cheap mic cables with a swerve shield. Mic cables with a braided shield are better. One should generally avoid mylar shields (common in snakes) and drain wires in the shield. This is all based off the physics of the construction and can calculations match real-world testing quite well here. Most of the time we operate in situations where the extra noise immunity is not needed.

Before someone decides to correct me. Noise immunity as used above is really the benefit of star-quad. No conductor is immune from magnetic interference. HOWEVER, balanced cables are twisted so that each conductor's average distance from the interfering magnetic field is equal. Thus the noise induced onto each conductor is equal (aka common-mode noise) whereas if the twisting is a little off kilter, the noise level on each conductor is different (aka differential-mode noise). The purpose of a balanced input is to reject common-mode noise. Differential-mode noise cannot be rejected. Any questions?
 
  • Like
Reactions: ittigger

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
6,703
3,997
I have found the noise immunity of star-quad mic cables is 40 dB better than that of cheap mic cables...
Any questions?
Yes. 40dB better than what ?
If most or all of the difference is below the noise floor of the device being deployed or the system into which it's routed then the number doesn't tell us that much.
For example, one could easily see a DJ buying star-quad cables for their superior noise rejection - and then use it to connect a $23 VocoPro mic to a Pyle Pro mixer. :)
 

djrox

Sir Wyzazz
ODJT Supporter
Aug 12, 2006
7,158
4,269
New Orleans, Louisiana
...one could easily see a DJ buying star-quad cables for their superior noise rejection - and then use it to connect a $23 VocoPro mic to a Pyle Pro mixer...
One could predict it with no fear of contardiction...and we can probably guess his name.
 

sawdust123

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 10, 2006
443
1,001
57
Ventura County, CA
Yes. 40dB better than what ?
My test was quite simple. I took two cables and connected them to the inputs of an audio analyzer. Then I turned on the magnetic field and measured the differential voltage picked up by both cables. Given the proximity of the magnetic field, the voltages were relatively high (compared to line level). However, the voltage induced on the star-quad was 40 dB lower. Granted, this was not a probable DJ scenario. It was more relevant to permanent install problems.