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Microphone Cables, Best Brand/Source?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Thumper, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    I did a search, lots of instrument cable talk, not much for mic cables.

    We are upgrading to powered mains (K12s) and IEMs (Shure 900), now the beater and I will need plenty of mic cables. Is there a preferred brand/quality/source? Or do I just go to Amazon and take my chances?

    E.G., found a 6 pack of GLS audio 25' for $69.95 at Amazon
  2. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    Hard to beat Monoprice for cables...we use them in the band and in both of our studios for all mics, pre amp connections, etc. and have never had a failure or issue with them. And the prices are a fraction of what you'll spend at a retail store.

    scroll down about a third of the way to the XLR cables. lots of options.

  3. jad


    Aug 29, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    The female ends are the ones you need to worry about. Big caveat here, I've not seen the monoprice premier series in person, but they look like junk to me. The GLS ones, again I've not seen them in person, look to be much better quality if you don't mind the rainbow colors. This is all based on zoomed pictures of these two items. I can tell you to stay away from low end Whirlwind based on my personal experience. I bought some and almost all of the female ends have failed. On the bright side, I'm a more informed consumer and a better solderer now. :bawl:. The molded end Standard Monsters have a lifetime guarantee, but you need to get and RMA and mail them in. Live Wire Advantage cables also have a lifetime guarantee, but they can be exchanged at a dealer (aka Guitar Center). The quality of the cable does matter, but good luck finding out what's under the rubber until you buy one and take it apart.
  4. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Roll your own, just like you do every other cable. That's how you know you got the best quality, tight-fit stress relief connections, good solder work, no frays, etc.

    It is worth spending the extra couple bucks on quality connectors as that's where 90+% of the failures are.

    X guage, X insulation, X strand copper cable is X guage, X insulation, X strand copper cable, don't get upsold on that stuff, but do buy one step up the ladder from the cheapest and take the stuff apart/look at it for yourself. There are people out there selling supposedly "premium quality" cabling that is really ultra small guage copper strand surround by a bunch of thick, rubbery insulation. Seems good at first glance but is really crap.
  5. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
  6. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    Wow it's never simple or cheap. From $11 to $70 for a 25 ft cable, although the cheap but good link didn't work.

    I can't remember what I paid for Bayou's back in the day, still have them, might get a few Live Wires for insurance and let the beater fend for himself.
  7. mtb777

    mtb777 Serving bottom for the Most High. Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2010
    Sunny South Florida
    Seismic Audio has good deals on XLRs with Neutric ends. I have 10 of them. 25' and 50'ers. Never an issue in last 8 months.
  8. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    Do these cables use speak-on ends like speaker cables? If so, what is the optimum gauge (I assume they don't need to be as thick)? Might as well make my own if I can.
  9. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Virtually all the XLR cable failures I have seen have been at the solder connections on the connectors, not in the connectors themselves. Most of the time the wire breaks right where the solder stops. There is virtually no current in those wires, so thin is not a problem except that they break more easily.
  10. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I don't know about their balanced cables, but although they are cheap, Monoprice guitar cables can be unusably microphonic, especially with passive instruments. I wouldn't go there.
  11. will33


    May 22, 2006
    The connectors I've seen physically break are always the cheap chinese ones found at places like Radio Shack. The lower priced mic cables at Guitar Center have those same type of cheap connectors. They're made of some sort of softer, weaker metal than good ones. It's usually the little snap-in connector thing on the end that plugs in the microphone that breaks.

    As far as the rest of the constructon, it's more about getting repeatedly rolled up, stepped on, thrown around, etc. than it is about carrying the tiny signal from the mic.
  12. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    Try this link or just go to audiopile.net: http://audiopile.net/products/Mic_Instr_Cables/Cable_Select.shtml
  13. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    Also, if you want to make your own Mogami Gold cable you can do it for about 35% cheaper than buying them from your local store. For example: the 25' sells for $69. The wire (Mogami 2534) is between $1.40 and $1.50 per foot depending on how much you buy and the Neutrik connectors with gold plated contacts are about $4 each. So you can make your own for less than $45 and even cheaper if you buy the materials in bulk.
  14. +1. Yep.

    OP: Buy good XLR connectors and cable and make your own mic cables - or buy premade cables with good connectors - Monster, Live Wire, Planet Waves, etc.
  15. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    I found the Neutrik xlr with gold connectors approx $6 a pair and Mogami gold cable for $1.10 a foot, so will go this route. Thanks for all the help and knowledge sharing.
  16. popgadget

    popgadget Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 4, 2005
    Eastern, PA USA
    Authorized Greenboy Designs Builder, Scabbey Road
    Cables from AudioPile are hard to beat. Extraordinary value. Great quality, they're available with Neutrik connectors. And they're a great company to deal with. The owner even plays bass!
  17. DRafalske


    Nov 6, 2008
    Hebron, KY
    My band has several cables from Seismic we've been gigging with for the past few years. No problems at all, from any of them. For the money I don't you can go wrong.
  18. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    The connectors on every Seismic Audio cable I've seen were Neutrik look-alikes, but definitely not Neutrik.
  19. I found these at MF, and although far from premium, have switchcraft ends, and are pretty decent. Far better than most of the ultra cheap cables I had which were not holing up to my use (8-10 shows a month). I would like to get better ones eventually, but at a Talkbass Price at MF - I couldn't pass. I am going to order 2 6pks and see how they hold up over time. Maybe mark them to easy ID and check back after a while? I will probably buy decent ends to fix the old ones, depending on the cable quality. If its not worth it I won't bother. these come in at just under $10 ea. and are already ready already.
    I found this
  20. Funny - The cables came, and they had two different types of ends on 8 and 4 of the cables. 4 had REAN - like neutrik, while 8 had switchcraft like ends, which are of decent weight and substantially tight in the connection. There are splines in the connectors, for both (M and F ends) . Not sure yet. When I went to the Rapco site, the mention different ends, to meet different price points, so I wasn't overly suprised. I guess it depends on what you get based on when you order, and whats on hand? They still seem decent and worth the money. Used them last night to see how they laid on the ground, listened for noise, and paid attention to how they connected and disconnected, along with how they rolled at the end of the night. in all - they worked, they sounded like mic cables and at the pricepoint, if I get a year or better, 5-8 gigs a month not too bad I guess.

    I was also able to weed out about 9-10 cheaper crappy cables and eliminate a few issues.