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Which XLR Mic Cables would you buy?

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by Jurzza, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. Jurzza

    Jurzza Guest

    hi All,

    I've been digging around and around trying to answer this question by web researching on my own, but I'd much rather hear from you.

    What mic cables do you like the most?

    My equipment is an Apogee AD/DA MiniMe (two channel), a pair of Rodes NT5 condensor mics primarily for accoustic guitar, and a Studio Projects T3 large condensor mic for vocals.

    Is length of cables much of a consideration? I'd like to have mine be 5 to 8 meters (18 to 25 feet).

    Favorite brands anyone?


  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    With a decent balanced cable, length is not really an issue. 100+ feet easy. I have used Mogami for many years with much satisfaction and great results.

    That Zaola stuff is very good also.
  3. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Canare and Redco are also very good.
  4. Johnjm22

    Johnjm22 Guest

    I second Mogami.
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    You're going to hear a lot of people trashing Monster Cable here, but I'm one who won't. Personally, I like the Monster Cable stuff (particularly their 500 series - their 100 series is no better than whirlwind and their 1000 is over priced and no better than the 500). It stands up to whatever I put it through and with the proper break-in, it does sound good. Plus, I think they are one of the easier companies to deal with when you need custom stuff.

    All that being said, you won't go wrong with any of 'em. To a lot of people, cable is cable is cable is cable... A lot of these people that think this are great engineers and turn out great albums with dime store cables.

    Try getting a few different brands/types - 1 of each. If you find one you like, convert your studio over to it. If you can't tell a difference, buy the cheapest sh*t you can.

  6. bap

    bap Member

    I have a few Monster 'prolink' 500 series interconnects but no microphone cables. I like the Monsters a lot.

    For mic cables I tend to build my own. I have Mogami, Canare, Redco and like them all. I haven't come across Zaola.

    I have one pair of Hosa an, though they seem to work ok so far, the cable feels really cheap and the connectors I think are made of plastic.

    Bruce P.
  7. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    Monster isn't bad cable, but they overpromise and it costs a BUNDLE. Redco is great if you're buying preassembled. If you're rolling your own, buy some Switchcraft or Neutrik connectors and some Belden or Mogami cable and you'll be good to go.
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Roll your own...hehe :twisted:

    I'm not sure that they "over-promise" too much. Truthfully, I don't see much marketing of theirs where they make any promises beyond "clearer highs and tighter, cleaner lows." These are true statements. However, the same could be said for Belden, Mogami, Canare, etc. Of course, they wind their cables significantly different than any of these guys. The other guys use a quad configuration and MC uses their "Time-coherent" windings. Personally, I've found that, for longer cable runs (100+ feet) the MC is cleaner.

    Now, the way I think this, and other cables are overhyped, are by the consumers and dealers within the industry! Yeah, most of us can hear subtle differences in cables - the key word being "subtle." I went to a local Hi-fi shop recently and they had a Rotel preamp/amp set up with some B&W Nautilis 801s. They were trying to demonstrate a speaker cable to me, so they hooked it up and played some discs that I brought in. They then hooked up some Kimber cable - the basic stuff. The difference between the two cables was so minimal, that it had to be pointed out. The difference in the price though - the Kimber - $120 for 10' pair. The boutique - $22,000 for 8' pair! You have got to be friggin kidding me! Who the hell would pay that much for friggin wire?????

    It kills me to see studios advertise "We use exclusively Zaolla cables" or "We use exclusively MC." Hey, fantastic, I'm glad for you... but now consumers think it makes all the difference in the world and truth be told, they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between $500 Zaolla and $50 Whirlwind.

    The only reason I use higher grade cables is 1 - it does sound slightly better to me, so it gives me a warm fuzzy 2 - I trust my cables - I can't say the same when I was using house brands or el-cheapo brands. I know my cable will work every time I plug it in.

    Just some more thoughts...

  9. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    I didn't know trusting cables was such a big deal! If they don't work, I fix 'em. I've been happy with the Redco prices, unhappy with the ridiculous prices of Monster/Zaolla, etc.

    I think the only way I'd truly be able to trust a cable is if I were to make it up myself. Same as having the car repaired, do it myself to avoid that "question".
  10. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    Some of us don't have that luxury. While I don't mind making my own cables, and do quite often - I record entirely "in the field." Since I record orchestral music, I don't operate out of a studio where I can easily whip out my soldering iron and fix a cable. Either it works or it doesn't. If it doesn't I cast it aside until I can fix it and I use another in its place for the time being. But, since I can easily use more than 2,000 feet of cable in one show, I don't like being without cables.

    That being said, I've never had any of my Monsters quit - ever. And I've been using them for years now. Far better than I can say about any other brand that I've used yet.

    Also, I wouldn't lump MC's price in the same category as Zaolla. MC is a little pricier, but still cheaper than Mogami. So, where's the beef?

  11. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    Mogami is great stuff for the money.

    There are benefits to having good cable, but those are mechanical mostly IMHO. How do they hold up over time, how do they coil (do they have memory), do they have good shielding, etc.

    In the 20-20kHz range impedence isn't usually a major issue. The big swings come way after the 20kHz, and few mics can capture that, most budget analog electronics will not reproduce it, and digital surely won't without artifacts, speakers generally can't reproduce it (and if they do it is so far down-like -40dB from 0dB at 1kHz that you can't hear it anyway.

    Most of these tweak heads that listen to each cable and spend hundreds on a mic cable have too much time and too vivd of emagination. Most people that do this, that I read about, are over 40. Most people over 40 have "normal" hearing loss with a 10dB drop in sensitivity to high frequencies, and an increase in their over-all hearing threshold. Whatever.
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Amen Brother Handy!!!

    Preach on!! :D
  13. Skeetch

    Skeetch Guest

    I've tried a number of different including Monster and Zaolla. IMO, Monster was OK but is simply overhyped and overpriced. Zaolla was perhaps a tad brighter than any other brands I tried, but at over 10 bucks a foot retail it's impractical for my uses and I want to hear as little coloration from the cable as possible anyway.

    After trying some Mogami, Rapco and Canare cables, I settled on Canare DA206 and Rapco Roadhog. The Roadhog is very sturdy and great for the rigors of live use, while the DA206 is excellent for the studio. I typically use Amphenol gold tipped quarter inch connectors for instrument/patch cables, and Amphenol XLR ends for mic cables. Been rolling my own for the past couple of years and haven't looked back. If you're at all handy with a soldering iron, it's the only way to go.

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