If you know how to solder and make up cable ends it is very easy and very cost effective. Plus you can build exactly what you need from parts. I made about 50% of the cables in my studio. I keep a parts bin with various connector types and some basic cable stock to make up anything I need on a moments notice.
On the other hand, if you are not good at soldering then making your own cables can be VERY costly, interms of down time and lost business.
I've been making my own cables since the days I was starting out playing guitar; it may seem difficult the first times, but as you keep at it it becomes easy and can be very cost effective: I buy 100m reels of good quality brand cable (so that I can get a substantial cut in price compared to the premade cable), and several blisters of the connectors I need, then assemble the cables as I need them: it just takes the time to prepare/strip the cable and solder it + time of soldering gun warm up.
Right now I'm planning a major recabling of my control room soo....
Yeah, I do the same thing, but make sure as gerax points out that you buy high-quality components, use a high-quality flux-based solder, etc.
If you are not sure what you are doing, you can make a mess of things! Make sure you know where each lead needs to go (ex: the shield on a mic cable goes to pin#1 of the xlr connector).
Also, make sure you don't melt any of the plastic shield on one of the wires that will cause a short.
All in all, if you are careful, and have a bit of practice with a soldering iron, it is truly a great way to go! I am with gerax right now in that I am re-wiring my studio to a new mixing desk, so I am in the process of making a lot of new cables...it is a bit of a pain, but in the long run, they are exactly the right length for my needs, and therefore things are more tidy, plus, I saved a boatload of money! I buy connectors on Ebay, and can get 10-pack bags of Neutrik gold-plated xlr connectors for under US$25 (that is less than $2.50 an end!).
For some GREAT information on how to wire your cables, go here (this article shows which wire goes to which lead for lots of cable types):
Im agree, with macaroni. Neutrik Rules, but I prefer Gotham cable or Belden. As Gerax says, the first cables are tough, but when you get a little practice is very easy and also therapeutic, I enjoy a lot making cables, and you can also make wathever you want.
Not only making your cables will make you save money in the long (but even short) run, but in cases like mine and Doublehelix, doing the cabling of your studio yourself will give you a complete and thorough understanding of how the signal flows around in your facility, not to mention troubleshooting: try to find a defective cable in a studio wired by some other person at 3 am when you are ready to close a mix and suddenly a channel disppears on your desk, and you open up the patch panel and find a rats nest of cables going all directions...don't know you, but I've found myself in similar situations for too long in my assistant days, so now, time permitting (and size of the project permitting) I do my cabling so I'm sure of the things running in y studio.
I've been making all my own cables since I built my little studio. It's fun in a nerdy way (but what isn't in a studio?)
I would like to add that Camel Traders http://www.cameltraders.com out of NY have the coolest staff and great prices too. I am not affiliated with them in any way but I think they generally have much better prices and service than big places like mouser or digikey.
I was checking out http://www.cameltraders.com and I was doing a search. I chose "audio cable" and "Belden". A bunch of things came up. Which would be the selection I'd want for making mic cables? They list prices, but no length. Is the price listed per foot of cable.
What all would I need to buy? I know I need cable (obviously) and 2 XLR connectors (male and female). Anything else? (Besides a soldering iron).
Making your own cables is a wise move.
Before I started making my own I was replacing junk cables every couple months.
I buy most my cable supplies from Pacific Radio Electronics (http://www.pacrad.com).
Easy online ordering & fast shipment.
I use only Neutrik connectors for everything from RCA to XLR, but my primary connection is the 1/4" balanced.
For bulk cable I really like the Mogami (MAR2552) & Canare (2TS).
To make snakes I use the Mogami or Canare stuff as well.
It is a little bit of an investment upfront to get your supplies, but you will end up with far superior cable than anything you'll buy at Radio Shack or Guitar Center.
And, you can customize all your lengths, color code & if any cables go bad down the line, they are most always repairable.
Versus the disposable HOSA junk.
Make sure you practice good soldering technique & test all your cable for shorts (to be safe).
I find a mini-vise (you can buy from any hardware or electronics store), small scissors & a metal or plastic pointy type thing (to seperate shielding) helps a lot too.
In my case I use a metal dental scraper tool.
I am in the midst of making another batch of cables right now to wire up my console.
Only 28 more connections to go!!!