All XLR cables are created equal, right? Not so fast. Musicians will often spend much time and money on buying the perfect microphone, guitar, etc., and yet pay little to no attention to the quality of their cable. However, it may come as a shock to those concerned that the cables that you buy will play an important role in the final quality of the sound you produce. This is particularly true of XLR cables. So don’t make the mistake of spending all your time and money on that microphone without guaranteeing that your XLR cable transmits that sound cleanly.
Musicians use balanced XLR cables to connect their microphones, as well other gear, into their mixing consoles. This is an important cable since they are used to block interference while transmitting your sound, sometimes over large distances. Thus when purchasing a cable, you will need to make sure that they can indeed provide the clean sound you desire, without interference. So, for those who plan on playing live, or those recording from a studio, make sure your sound is crisp and without interference by grabbing an XLR cable from our list of the ten best on the market today.
- Best price to quality ratio
- 3 pin cable
- Soft and flexible
- High-quality components
- Lo-Z shield and Tri-Grip
- Rubber grommet on the female end
Best XLR Cable for Microphones and Music Gear in 2018
Table of Contents
- Best XLR Cable for Microphones and Music Gear in 2018
- 1. Your Cable Store 10 Foot XLR 3 Pin Male / Female Microphone Cable
- 2. GLS Audio 25ft Patch Cords XLR Microphone Cables
- 3. CBI MLC20 Low Z XLR Microphone Cable
- 4. Audio2000'S ADC2037-P 3 ft XLR Female to XLR Male Microphone Cable
- 5. AmazonBasics XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable
- 6. Your Cable Store XLR 3 Pin Microphone Cable
- 7. AmazonBasics XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable
- 8. Cable Matters 2-Pack Male to Female XLR Microphone Cable
- 9. GLS Audio 6ft Patch Cable Cords - XLR Male To XLR Female Color Cables
- 10. LyxPro Balanced XLR Cable Premium Series
- XLR Cables Buyers Guide
- What is the best value for money XLR cable?
- How do you determine the XLR cable needed?
- What is the best XLR cable for recording purposes?
- What components are required for the XLR cable?
- What’s the difference between balanced and unbalanced cables?
- Does quality really matter with cables?
- What is meant by a common analog cable, like an XLR cable?
- Our Top Pick
- Premium Choice
- Great Value
1. Your Cable Store 10 Foot XLR 3 Pin Male / Female Microphone Cable
Coming in at a steal is the Your Cable Store 10 foot XLR cable. If you are looking for the best price to quality ratio, you are looking at it. This XLR cable is intentionally priced at the lower end, yet still, incorporates many of the quality components that you find in the more expensive models. In particular, this cable is a 3 pin male to 3 pin female cable, intended for either live or studio recording. The connector casings are metal and stocked with a 28 AWG wire. The cable is encased in a black casing, and also comes with a 1-year warranty.
In general, the cable is soft and is also flexible enough to bend to any shape that is needed. While other brands have a thicker casing, and more bells and whistles, this cable has the basic options anyone would need. And with the low-end sticker-price, this cable is perfect for anyone looking for a bargain.
+ Best price to quality ratio
+ 3 pin cable
+ Soft and flexible
Why We Liked It - This XLR cable comes with all the basic functions one could hope for, and considering this along with its low sticker price, this cable is an all around win.
2. GLS Audio 25ft Patch Cords XLR Microphone Cables
This GLS Audio XLR cable is on the high-end of the spectrum. That is, it comes with the highest quality components, all the latest technological advancements, and with this, a high-end sticker price. If you are willing to pay up to get the highest end cable, this is the one to go for. The rubber jacket is heavy duty, the conductors are high-grade copper, it comes with GLS’s Lo-Z shield and Tri-Grip – all of this ensures the highest quality sound and lowest amount of interference.
As would be expected this cable has 3 pin connectors on each end, and have dual-insulated conductors. It is also interesting to note that the cable itself has been hand wired and soldered to ensure top notch quality. Furthermore, the female end of the cable has a rubber grommet which ensures that you can jam all night without the cable coming loose.
+ High-quality components
+ Lo-Z shield and Tri-Grip
+ Rubber grommet on the female end
Why We Liked It - For those serious about their craft, looking for the highest quality components unconcerned about the price, this XLR cable is the way to go.
3. CBI MLC20 Low Z XLR Microphone Cable
For the budget-minded amongst us, the CBI MLC20 XLR cable is perhaps the best choice. With a sticker price on the low end, and with good overall quality, this CBI cable is made for those looking to save a few bucks and still be confident enough that their sound quality will not take a hit. In short, the CBI cable is built with the intention of keeping the sticker price as low as possible, while still delivering a quality product.
This Low-Z XLR cable comes with a male and female connector compatible with all the equipment that you would expect. It also comes with a 90-day warranty from CBI. People also appreciate the fact that CBI is a family run business that has been in operation for over 25 years. CBI has been a name people trust, and consumers keep coming back time and time again for their budget gear. Overall, this will probably be the best steal on the market today.
+ Low sticker price
+ Good overall quality
+ A home-run company with 25 years experience
Why We Liked It - This CBI XLR cable was built with the intention of creating a decent cable with a low sticker price. Those looking for a budget cable that can be trusted should be happy.
4. Audio2000'S ADC2037-P 3 ft XLR Female to XLR Male Microphone Cable
Sometimes we are simply looking for the cheapest alternative on the market. Well, if this is you, then the Audio 2000’S XLR cable will be a great choice. Coming in at a very low price, this cable still manages to pull off a good sound with not much interference. If you doubt it, just check the reviews for yourself – they are all very positive. While the components are not top of the line, they are nevertheless adequate enough to produce a clean sound.
One thing you must be aware of with this cable, however, is that it is only 3 feet long. Now, if you will be plugging in your equipment very close to one another, then, actually, a 3-foot cable is recommended. For, the longer the cable, the higher the chance of interference. So, if you don’t need a longer cable, and are looking for a budget, grab this Audio.
+ Extremely low sticker price
+ Short cable
+ Less change of interference
Why We Liked It - Those looking to save as much money as possible while still getting a good quality product, and who don’t need a long cable, consider this Audio XLR cable.
5. AmazonBasics XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable
With the AmazonBasics brand, you always know that you will be getting great value for your money. In general, AmazonBasics takes the industry standard design and components and manages to produce them to the same level for normally less of the cost. They always provide an all around a great deal, and they should not be passed up. This is no different when it comes to this AmazonBasics XLR cable.
This cable is a male to female microphone cable intended for either playing live or recording in the studio. The one we are reviewing currently is the 10-foot model. The all-copper conductors on this thing ensure a high-quality sound with little feedback. The design is rugged and durable, and the black jacket is sure to take any abuse you might throw at it without giving way. If you want a high selling item, go with the AmazonBasics.
+ A name you can trust
+ Great price
+ No deficiencies
Why We Liked It - You can always trust the AmazonBasics brand, for they always deliver the industry standard design and quality, yet always with a cheaper price tag.
6. Your Cable Store XLR 3 Pin Microphone Cable
While we reviewed the Your Cable Store XLR cable above, that one was a 10 footer, while the one we are reviewing now is the 6-foot version. Everything we said concerning the 10-foot version holds true for this one – everything but the length, of course. In general, the Your Cable Store cables seem to offer the best price to quality ratio. That is, they somehow manage to pull off a sticker price lower than you would expect for their good quality products.
This 6 footer is a 3 pin male to 3 pin female and can be used for either live playing or recording in a studio. The casings are metal, and the cable itself is wrapped in a black jacket. The cable is sturdy, yet it is also flexible enough to bend it around the corner and roll up when you are finished playing.
+ Great value for the money
+ Flexible jacket
+ Metal casings
Why We Liked It - Your Cable Store cables always manage to pull off perhaps the best value for money ratio. This 110-footXLR cable is no different, and thus will be a great purchase for those in need of this length.
7. AmazonBasics XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable
This AmazonBasics XLR cable is similar to the one we reviewed above, the major difference being that the above cable was a ten footer, while this one is a 25 footer. Now, the great thing about these AmazonBasics is that, as said above, they always deliver the market standard quality yet at a lower price. Thus this brand is always a safe way to go.
Now, if you will need quite a long cable – a 25 footer to be exact – you can rest assured that this AmazonBasics will deliver good enough quality to keep the interference down to a minimum. The longer the cable is, the higher the chance of interference, and so if you are going with a long cable, make sure you are not getting a piece of junk. Going with this AmazonBasics cable can assure you of that.
+ Trusted name
+ Good quality
+ Low price
Why We Liked It - As was said before, the AmazonBasics brand is always a safe bet if you are looking to save some cash, yet still want a good quality product. If you are in the market for a 25-foot XLR cable, consider this AmazonBasics.
8. Cable Matters 2-Pack Male to Female XLR Microphone Cable
This Cable Matters 2-pack of XLR cables is what we might consider being the middle of the road. That is, it is not priced on the high-end, nor is it priced on the low-end, but is priced right in the middle. And the quality matches the cost here. That is, it does not use the best quality components, nor does it use the worst, but it uses the middle range. If you are looking to walk the middle of the road, consider this one.
This is a 3 pin cable, male to female, and the package comes with 2 of these. The conductors are 16 AWG oxygen-free copper to ensure high quality sound with low interference. The shielding is also copper braided to provide a blockade of background noise. If you are in the market for a middle of the road cable, and indeed want two so you have a back-up, consider this one.
+ Mid-range quality and price
+ Low interference and hum
Why We Liked It - Those looking for a cable that is not top of the line, nor bottom of the line, but somewhere in the middle might want to consider this XLR cable. Also, if you are looking to get two of the same, either for a backup or for other equipment, this might be for you.
9. GLS Audio 6ft Patch Cable Cords - XLR Male To XLR Female Color Cables
We consider the GLS Audio XLR patch cables to be the premium choice for those in the market for the best quality music cables. That is, those willing to spend the extra cash in order to get the highest quality components as well as various aesthetic options really ought to consider the GLS Audio brand. If you are looking for a 6-foot cable, and fall into the category just mentioned, this cable might be the one for you.
Like all GLS cables, the jacket is made out of a durable rubber. Now, those who not only want to sound good but who want to look good at the same time, we have news for you. The rubber case on this cable is available in an assortment of bright colors – all the colors of the rainbow pretty much. Add this to the top notch components – such as the rubber grommet used, the Lo-Z shield, and the Tri-Grip – and you have got yourself a winner.
+ Highest quality components
+ Rubber grommet
+ Assortment of colors
Why We Liked It - This GLS Audio cable is intended for those looking for the best: the best quality components, and the best aesthetic options. If you are indeed looking for the best, and are willing to pay up for it, then this is the one for you.
10. LyxPro Balanced XLR Cable Premium Series
While the LyxPro may not have the biggest name in the market, nevertheless, this cable is a favorite, as can be witnessed by reading its reviews on forums. With a 15 foot length, a 98% braided shield, a wrap to reduce noise, and contact point with a gold plate, this SLR cable hits all of the marks. This cable has been used for a wide array of performances, from live on stage gigs, to home recordings, this cable should handle anything you throw at it.
This cable is also very durable and should be able to handle the abuse that comes with traveling and playing live gigs. The cable is made with oxygen-free copper inside of the braided shield, while the gold-plated contact points fight corrosion and other possible damage. If this cable for some reason doesn’t hold up to the abuse, and its five-year warranty will guarantee a replacement.
+ Strong braided shield
+ Gold plated contact points
+ Oxygen-free copper
Why We Liked It - While this cable is not backed by the biggest name on the market, the braided shield, oxygen-free copper, and gold plated contact points ensures that you will get great quality with this XLR cable.
XLR Cables Buyers Guide
What is the best value for money XLR cable?
In our above list of the best XLR cables on the market today, we have been reiterating that the company that makes the cables with the best value for the money is none other than Your Cable Store. Now, how did we come to this conclusion? Well, we considered all of the various components which make up an XLR cable (which we go through below) and looked for the cable that has the highest quality components with the lowest sticker price. Of course other companies, such as GLS Audio have higher end components, yet they also have a higher price tag; likewise, companies like CBI have cheaper cables, yet the components are not as high grade.
How do you determine the XLR cable needed?
Most XLR cables will share many of the same qualities, and in this regard you do not have to worry about which cable to buy. For example, most, if not all, of these cables are 3 pin male to female. They also all have some sort of jacket.
Now, where these cables differ is primarily concerning whether their casing is metal, copper, or gold – gold is the best here. Also, they come in various lengths – from 3 foot to 50 foot. Also, they come in various colors – some are only offered in black, others are offered in all the colors of the rainbow. You need to think about what you want in advance – the type of casing, the length, the color – to determine which XLR cable will be right for you.
What is the best XLR cable for recording purposes?
You might think that there is a major difference between recording or playing live when it comes to XLR cables. However, most, if not all, of these cables are made for both, and the major difference comes to down to one aspect: the quality of the jacket. For, in general, when you play live you tend to wear out your jacket faster with all the movement, whereas when you record at home you won’t. Thus, when you record at home, you might want to think about getting a high-quality cable, but you don’t need to worry so much about the jacket.
What components are required for the XLR cable?
When purchasing an XLR cable, you want to consider the following aspects which make up the cable. Firstly, consider the cable length. These cables range from 3 foot to 50 foot. In general, you should go with the shortest one, as this will reduce the possibility of interference. Secondly, consider the cable cores. The thickness of the core can be anywhere from 20 AWG to 26 AWG.
The 20 AWG is the thickest and is thus considered to be the best for sound quality. Thirdly, consider the shield. Shields can come in aluminum, tin, and copper. Finally, consider the connector type. Cheaper cables tend to come with connectors that will wiggle loose over time, which of course can lead to serious problems. Consider paying a bit more to get snug fit connectors.
What’s the difference between balanced and unbalanced cables?
Which cable is used for what purpose has a major effect on the overall sound quality produced? If you use the wrong cable you are risking getting background interference or hum. This is true when it comes to the difference between balanced and unbalanced cables.
Unbalanced cables are ideal if you plan on using a shorter cable – something less than 20 feet. On the other hand, if you plan on using a cable anywhere in the 50 foot to 100-foot range, go with a balanced cable. You will really be able to hear the difference here, and if you use the wrong cable, you will get more interference.
Does quality really matter with cables?
The quality of the components of a cable, including XLR cables, will have two consequences. Firstly, the sound produced will be cleaner with a better quality cable. When you drop in quality, the interference and hum will likewise increase. Secondly, a higher quality cable will have a longer shelf life than a cheaper one.
For, cheap cables will tend to die much sooner than higher quality ones. This is particularly true when it comes to the connectors. A cheap connector may break much quicker than a more expensive one, and it may also start to become loose much quicker as well.
What is meant by a common analog cable, like an XLR cable?
A common analog cable is often distinguished from a common digital cable. A common analog cable, such as an XLR cable, is what we would consider being a common microphone cable. It is used a line between gear whose ins and outs are balanced.
Common analog cables can also be long in length, up to 100 feet long. A common digital cable, on the other hand, is an alternative method for sending digital audio data to another device by means of a cable. With this cable, the data bypasses analog circuitry and instead makes a clone of itself. In general, these cables only go up to 15 feet maximum in length.
Our Top Pick
The Your Cable Store 10 foot XLR cable is our top pick. This cable is simply the best value to price ratio that we have found. The 3 pin male to 3 pin female cable is great for both studio recording or playing live. The black casing is also ideal for blending away into the background while jamming. It is soft and flexible, and so can fit any setup, and also rolls up nicely when packing it away.
While this cable does not have all of the bells and whistles that you find on more expensive models, what it does have should suffice for any application. For example, the metal connectors and the 28 AWG wire should do just fine in most scenarios. For those looking for a bargain on their XLR cables, look no further, this one takes the cake for good value and low sticker price.
Those in the market for a premium cable need to consider the GLS Audio XLR cable. If you are in the market for a cable with the highest quality components and indeed are not concerned with paying a few extra bucks, the premium choice here is the GLS. It comes with GLS’s technology – the Lo-Z shield and the Tri-Grip – as well as a heavy duty rubber jacket, high-grade copper conductors, and 3 pin connectors on both the male and female side.
So, if your main concern is not a low sticker price, but the best possible sound and lowest amount of interference, go with this GLS XLR cable. You will sure to produce a high-quality sound, ideal for studio recording, or jamming at gigs. In addition, you can rest assured that your cable will stay snug, and will not become lose, since this cable also comes with a rubber grommet on the female end.
Those concerned with saving as much money as they can – yet not throwing that money away on some piece of junk but getting a decent quality XLR cable for a budget – should be very happy with the CBI MLC20 XLR cable. With over 25 years experience in the field, CBI is a family owned business that has been specializing in budget gear for many years. It is a name you can trust, and indeed if you have any issues with the cable, the 90-day warranty will take care of any problem.
While this cable does not have all the bells and whistles that come with higher end cables, this is something you would expect when looking for the most budget friendly option. The quality of the components are decent enough, and you should have no problem plugging this baby into any of your current equipment.
We have seen the scenario all too often. Musicians spend thousands of dollars on top of the line equipment with the intention of producing the cleanest sound possible, free from interference. Yet, after spending many hours deliberating on which equipment to buy, and after spending their hard earned money on these instruments, when it comes to buying their XLR cables they simply purchase without a second thought, not even knowing what they are buying. This is something of a mini-tragedy.
For, while it is often overlooked, the XLR cables that you use play a significant role in the quality of the sound that you produce. These cables, which connect microphones and other gear into mixing consoles, are used to block interference while transmitting your sound. Thus, you do not want to make the mistake of buying some unknown cable, thereby damaging the sound of your music. We suggest you take a bit of time and research what will be the right cable for you so that you can produce the crispest sound possible. No matter what your situation, our top ten list of the best XLR cables is sure to include the cable ideal for you.
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