The Best XLR Cables for Your Recording Setup

If you’re getting seriously into music, or if you’re already there, you’ll want to lay down some tracks. And for that, you’ll need an XLR cable—or two, or 10.

XLR cables are a must in the studio. You’ll use them to connect both to and from a wide variety of equipment types: amplifiers, preamps, speakers, mixing boards, microphones, even lighting. If you’re constructing any kind of studio, you’ll need not just one but several of these guys. Here’s what to look for.

Simple but Effective

Available in a variety of lengths all the way up to a whopping 50-footer, this product can connect you cheaply and easily. Amazon Basics

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Length is one of the most important factors to consider, and also one that will determine pricing, for XLR cables. Unlike many cables, you don’t always want to go with the longest cable you can afford; if you’re connecting nearby and stationary items in a studio, excess length will just get in the way.

Precious Metal

With special attention paid to RF interference and noise cancellation, this product will deliver a clean sound. Mogami

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Gold-plated connectors can sometimes be unnecessary, given that they provide typically only marginal improvements. But for XLR cables, where you’re trying to minimize any unwanted sounds, gold can be useful: it’s highly resistant to corrosion and oxidation, which prevents some distortion.

Double Up

Copper-braided shielding on this product is helpful for reducing unwanted noise. Cable Matters

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There are a few other ways XLR cables can reduce the presence of any unwanted signal. One way that’s often cited by audiophiles is oxygen-free copper, or OFC. This, as with many audiophile products, is a source of much debate online; the idea is that by removing oxygen from the cabling, you can improve conductivity. It’s not necessarily something everyone agrees can actually make a difference, but it doesn’t hurt, and it’s a cool thing to boast about. Get outta here, oxygen!