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Building a studio means buying a bunch of XLR cables. In this guide, we'll look at the best XLR cables for recording you can buy right now.
Do XLR cables really matter?
Yes and no.
XLR is a very old technology. Not much about it has changed in multiple decades. Technically, one XLR cable is just like another. You can buy any and it will serve its purpose – transfer analog signals from one instrument to another.
But there are differences in cable quality and construction. Most of this is superficial – some cables are better built and more durable than others. What you buy for touring won't be the same as the kind you need for a studio setup.
There are also minute differences in the internals. Better quality wires can have a small (and I stress on small) impact on recording quality. It's not much, but if you're running a high-end studio, the little differences matter, especially when recording sensitive signals such as vocals.
In this guide, I'll share my picks of the best XLR cables for recording you can buy right now based on your use.
Read this before you buy.
Let me be clear about one thing: 99.99% of XLR cables are the same. There are small differences across brands but in general and for 99% of you reading this, buying a more expensive XLR cable won't make a difference.
That's not to say that better XLR cables aren't technically better. All things being equal, an audio signal recorded through a $100 cable will sound slightly better than a $10 cable.
But the vast majority of users don't have the studio setup to make out these minute differences. Moreover, outside of high-end studios, most users neither have the need nor the equipment to take full advantage of an expensive XLR cable. You can spend $100 on cables, but if you're using a $50 mic and poor soundproofing, it's not going to matter much.
So even though this is a list of the best XLR cables for recording, you can safely buy any cable from this list. Or anything that's available in your local music store.
With that out of the way, let's look at my picks for the best XLR cables in the market right now.
About your reviewer
Ryan Harrell is the founder of MIDINation and an experienced producer/DJ. His first experience with electronic music production dates back to Cubase 3.0 in the summer of 1997, and he's been a fan ever since. He prefers Ableton as his primary DAW these days, though he is still partial to Cubase and Pro Tools. He lives in San Diego and freelances as a producer and part-time DJ.
Best XLR Cable for Recording (Overall)
Monoprice makes some of the better XLR cables around at affordable prices. There is nothing extraordinarily good about them – they look like any average XLR cable and their internals are “standard”. But they do everything good enough – durability, quality of materials , cost – that I've placed them at the top of my chart. Plus, they also cost low enough that you can buy a bunch of them without burning a hole in your pocket.
Monoprice cables will always find their way into my list of the best XLR cable for recording. This professional microphone cable is part of the premier series cables, designed to provide high performance at low cost. These interconnect cables are suitable for connection in broadcast equipment, high-end entertainment system or band instruments.
For more sound quality and clarity, it comes with a balanced audio cable that uses stable impedance lines to reduce the EM and RF noise, and extend the cable run effective range. It has male to female cables that make superior, thick, heavy-gauge cables, gold-coated connectors, and robust connector enclosures.
Unlike the standard unbalanced RCA connectors, Monoprice has a separate intertwined shield for extra strength against any likely interference without converting it into a signal. As a result, this prevents ground loop issues.
What we don’t like
Even though it is the best XLR cable for recording, this Monoprice cable is marked 16 AWG, but it should 24 AWG. This connector is assembled with fake wiring making them are worthless. It is also difficult to route onto a camera input which may affect the shotgun mic position by pushing it around the shock-mount.
Recommended for: Best for audio production in live, home or professional recording sessions.
- Well-made heavy-duty connectors
- High-quality and cost-effective
- These cables are thicker than most cords
- The wire is not 16 AWG but 24 AWG
- Difficulty in plugging in and out
- They are not durable.
Best Budget XLR Cable: AmazonBasics XLR
- Flexible PVC jacket
- Durable design
- High-quality sound
- Protective metal housing
- Shielded Cable
If you’re looking for something suitable for both studio and live sound recording, then perhaps, AmazonBasics XLR Male to Female XLR cable can help you. This microphone cable is reliable and an excellent choice for the production of quality audio. It also has unique XLRM and XLRF connectors.
As with the best XLR cable for recording, AmazonBasics XLR cable features a durable design that gives it a lifelong strength and brilliant performance. It has a zinc-alloy connector body with white-nickel coating and a protective metal enclosure.
AmazonBasics XLR cable is one of my favourites for many reasons. First, it has all-copper conductors with a spiral inner copper shielding, which reduces the electromagnetic interference (EMI) limit and excessive noise. Additionally, this cable enhances the sound quality and brings out the best of all instruments.
What we don’t like
This cable doesn’t fit perfectly on some sound gears. It has high-quality components but poorly assembled. AmazonBasics XLR cable is not as sturdy as other microphone cables and requires extra care when plugging it in or out.
Recommended for: Suitable for any home studio or producer working on a budget.
- Designed for durability
- High performance
- Substantial strain relief at both ends
- Not the best internal components
Best for Stage: GLS Audio 25 Foot XLR
- Heavy-duty, versatile rubber casing
- True balanced lo-z shielded cable
- Quality 21g dual-copper conductors and shield
- Tri-grip and rubber booty strain relief
- High-quality noise-free performance
The GLS Audio 25 Foot XLR cable is undoubtedly one of the best microphone cables for recording. It has the best quality parts and also features modern technology and innovations at the best price.
If you see this high-end microphone cable, you will undoubtedly break the bank for it. It has a heavy-duty rubber jacket, high-grade copper conductors, Tri-Grip and GLS’s Lo-Z shield. These are all meant to provide high-quality sound and lesser interference.
This GLS Audio microphone cable has a 3-pin connector on both ends with a twofold insulated conductor. Furthermore, this XLR cable is hand-wired and soldered to ensure excellent performance. It has a rubber grommet on the female end to enable long hours of work without loosening.
What we don’t like
This cable is not as thick as the other XLR cables. There are issues with the connector end cutting in and out. It’s also not sturdy enough to hold the microphone sufficient firm.
Recommended for: Low cost, durable built quality and 25'+ length makes it a good option for stage performance.
- High-quality components
- Lo-Z shield and Tri-Grip
- Rubber grommet on the female end
- Has poor shielding
Best for Home Studios: LyxPro Balanced XLR Cable
- Twin Conductive PVC Inner Shields
- 98 percent braided Shield
- 24-Gauge OFC Conductors
- Cotton Yarn Wrap to reduce noise
- Cable strain relief & Gold Plated Connectors
- RoHS Compliant
Although LyxPro Balanced XLR Cable is not the most popular on the market, it is indeed the best XLR cable for recording. It has a 98 percent braided shield, a wrap for reducing noise, as well as a gold-plates contact point. With these features and much more, this XLR cable offers high performance and meets the required standard.
This microphone cable is utilized in many areas, including live gigs, studio, or home recordings. It has the power to handle any role thrown at it. Besides, if you love beautiful things, this cable comes in a wide range of colors to choose from.
LyxPro microphone cable is durable and can handle the longer usage time that comes with overnight gigs and traveling gigs. It features an oxygen-free copper in a braided shield, and gold-plated contact points to prevent corrosion or any other likely damage. The five-year warranty assures you of exceptional performance and guarantees a replacement if there is need.
What we don’t like
It does not hold up in professional use. Also, its connector tends to fall apart when in use.
Recommended for: Great mix of price-to-performance for home studios. Bedroom producers would love it.
- Strong braided shield
- Gold-plated contact points
- Oxygen-free copper
- Do not hold up in a professional studio setting
- The connector loosens easily
Best for Professional Studios: Mogami GOLD Studio 06 XLR
- Wired with Neglex Studio Quad
- Has superior clarity, free of noise and RF interference
- Finished with black body alongside 3-pin XLR connectors and gold contacts
- Lifetime warranty
- Gold-plated contacts
The Mogami Gold Studio 06 XLR is a high-grade 6 feet quad cable featuring a gold-plated XLR male to XLR female connectors.
It doesn’t matter whether you are recording at a live gig or in the studio, the Mogami Gold cables capture the whole full impact of the sound source. For years, Mogami GOLD Studio 06 XLR cabling has been the best XLR cable for recording because it produces superb and clear sound, with reduced noise, low loss signal transfer, and continuous manufacture of quality.
As one of the best microphone cable for recording brands, Mogami Gold utilizes the same instrument, microphone and multichannel interface cable which are only found in big studios. Besides, it is supported by the lifetime warranty, and since microphone cables are an essential part of a signal chain, you need the best, you need Mogami Gold.
What we don’t like
The cables don't perform well with ham radio EQ. It has a lot of RF interference. It is also considerably thinner with higher resistance and capacitance than the longer lengths.
Recommended for: The cable is suitable for use in serious studios, especially those with wiring and grounding problems.
- Lifetime warranty
- Great build quality improves audio quality
- Has some RF interference
- Higher capacitance and resistance
Best Patch Cables: Vitrius Cables – XLR Cable
- Chuck-type strain relief
- Premium quality
- Quality control
- Noise-free signal quality
Vitrius Cables presents XLR cables which are not only reliable but can stand up to continual use irrespective of where they’re applied. They are some of the finest-quality microphone cables on the market and comes at an affordable price tag.
Vitrius Cables XLR Cable features a chuck type strain relief that stops the cable from pulling out from the connector. Additionally, they come with copper conductors to reduce the noise and allow for a clean signal.
The low cost and availability in 3' length (or lower) makes it great as a patch cable for connecting multiple mics or instruments together.
What we don’t like
Though it is an affordable microphone cable, it is likely to fall prey to quality issues. These cables fail prematurely, and sometimes do not work. Sometimes the connector does not hold up together.
Recommended for: Use as a patch cable in home studios.
- Available in a variety of lengths
- Connector fails sometimes
Over to You
XLR cables don't matter nearly as much as you think. You can pick literally any cable and be happy with your purchase.
That said, if you're out to build the best possible home studio, choose from our list of cables above. From budget users to professional studios, there is an XLR cable for everyone.
For more recommendations and advice, don't hesitate to reach out to me here.
- Need an audio interface? Here's our list of the best audio interfaces.
- Need a microphone? Check out our list of the best condenser microphones under $200.
- Need studio monitors and headphones for your setup? Here's our pick of the best monitors and studio headphones.
- How to make an XLR microphone cable [Instructables.com]
- Possible cons of excessively long microphone cable (XLR) [StackExchange]
- Mogami cables official website
- October 18, 2019: Article published with 6 reviewed XLR cables
- February 14, 2020: Article revised and updated
- September 18, 2020: Minor changes to article structure