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The best XLR Cable doesn’t have to be the most expensive

MAKE LIFE CLICK
Best XLR Cables
2020

I can speak from experience here because I’ve been using XLR cables for speakers, microphones and recording for over 20 years. I have 3 sitting in the box next to me and I have to confess, some of them were cheap buys that came back to bite me after very little use.

Mogami Gold STUDIO XLR Microphone Cable
Editor’s Pick
With a solidly established reputation and high-quality build, the quad balanced Mogami Gold STUDIO XLR Cable is my pick for the best XLR cable choice. A little pricey but you get what you pay for with this cable.

Mogami are developed in Nagano, Japan. A country known for its incredible HiFI and Audio production.

AmazonBasics XLR Cable 3-Pin
Budget Pick
If you’re looking for the cheapest XLR cable on the list that will suit most everyday uses then the AmazonBasics is an easy choice. If you want to get another brand or need color choices then consider the LyxPro XLR Cablewith its many many colours and lengths is also worth a look.

There are a few things you want to consider when looking for the best xlr cables but not all of them you will have control over. For example, you won’t be able to inspect the inner shielding to know how good it is or the quality of the wiring and terminations in the plugs unless you choose to construct one on your own.

I’ve purchased cables that lasted about 3 gigs and died with not too much abuse but I’ve also bought cheap xlr cables that lasted years.

A few things you’ll want to look for include:

  • Flex – cables that are too rigid can often end up breaking internally if you’re putting them through their paces. This is just my experience speaking here. You ideally want a cable that allows good movement and softness that allows you to move the cable into different positions as needed.
  • Length – obvious to say, but consider your future needs as well as your current needs. You don’t need it to be insanely long unless you’re running it to speakers at the back of an auditorium or conference room. If you are only using it in your home studio, for your HiFi gear or for a microphone then you don’t need anything too long. If you have ever done a conference set up, which I have many times, it’s amazing how long you can get these things.
  • OFC – like all cables we cover, including mmcx cables or 2 pin cables for headphones, OFC cables are the core and most common type of cable core. OFC stands for oxygen-free copper which tries to achieve a 99.99% oxygen-free cable to maximise sound conduction.
  • Connectors – generally either a silver or gold connector type is most common. Silver is the most common and in my opinion is plenty for almost all applications.
  • Wire gauge – this is also relatively common with most cables from 20-24 AWG gauge. This the gauge of the copper core.
  • Shielding – this is surrounding materials around the core which help to reduce interference. If you are working in live environments this will be more important than if you are at home as you will be exposed to more potential external interference and radio waves, and there is nothing more annoying that buzz in a microphone or instrument cable.
  • Balanced XLR Cable – a balanced cable is one that has 3 wires, or wire cores through it. Two carry an identical signal (hot and cold or positive polarity and negative polarity) and the third is a ground wire that helps to shield the other two wires from external electrical interference. Balanced is the best choice especially over longer lengths.
  • Cable connectors – typically you will only need a male to female XLR cable but check to make sure that’s actually what you need. If you’re running an XLR cable from a monitoring desk to a microphone, instrument or speaker you will typically just need a female to male connection. If you are running an XLR cable for HiFi or headphones then you might need a male to 1/4 inch jack plug from the headphone amp to your headphones. A mini-XLR is very common on high-end headphones like the Beyerdynamic DT-1990 Pro.
XLR Cable on table with the Male connector and Female connector facing camera
XLR Cable showing the Female and Male connectors.

Best XLR cables compared

XLR Cable NameConnector TypesPriceGold Connectors
1: AmazonBasics XLR Cable 3-PinM to F$No
2: Cable Matters Premium XLR CableM to F$Yes
3: Silverback Roar Premium XLR CableM to F$$Yes
4: LyxPro Balanced XLR CableM to F$$Yes
5: WORLDS BEST CABLES Quad Balanced XLR Microphone CableM to F$$Yes
6: Mogami Gold STUDIO-10 XLR Microphone CableM to F$$$Yes
7: AudioQuest – Mackenzie Best Buy XLR CableM to F$$$No
Best XLR Cables Compared

1: AmazonBasics XLR Cable for Microphones – Male to Female

Cable Lengths: 6 feet, 10 feet, 25 feet, 50 feet

Cable Wire: 3-Pin XLR Cable with copper spiral shielding

“AmazonBasics

It’s hard to go past this cable as it ticks a lot of the boxes for an affordable price. A solid metal housing and the cable has a nice flex to it. It has a copper core and the external shielding is also copper spiral shielding. This reduces electromagnetic interference (EMI). 

It’s available in 6 ft, 10 ft, 25 ft and 50 ft lengths, there should be one for almost all uses.

The cable 3-pin connectors are housed in a metal housing which in my experience gives you a good long life of abuse being plugged in and unplugged a thousand times.

Why we chose the AmazonBasics XLR Cable 3-Pin?

This XLR cable is a workhorse for an affordable price. It has the flexibility, copper internals and solid connectors that make it a great choice for anyone looking to get plugged in.

Whether it be for instruments, microphones or speakers its a good choice and even better for those on a budget.

Pros

  • Copper shielding
  • Price
  • Steel connectors are durable
  • Multiple cable lengths

Cons

  • not the highest build quality
  • potential fit issues but amazon’s return policy is great for replacements
  • none others at this price

Summary: The AmazonBasics XLR cable might not be the most refined or high-end cable. It doesn’t have gold connectors or expensive internals but it gets the job done and as cheap XLR cables go, this is where I would start. Treat it kindly and it should last you a while.

Read reviews for the
AmazonBasics XLR Cable 3-Pin on Amazon


2: Cable Matters Premium XLR to XLR Microphone Cable (2-Pack)

Cable Lengths: 6 feet (2 Pack of Cables) – 7 Lengths Total

Cable Wire: 3-Pin Balanced XLR Cable with copper spiral shielding

“Cable

What’s better than an affordable balanced XLR cable? Two! This is a 2-Pack so you get two cables for the price.

This has a soft outer jacket and its internals are a OFC copper. It has copper braided shielding to to block hum and interference.

Why do they say it’s a Pro XLR cable? Well it does have gold plated XLR pins which are purported to have premium sound transference. The connectors are metal and black coated but we can imagine the colour not lasting if you’re using these in heavy use situations. They will last well if you’re plugging them into a more permanent set up like a home or professional studio.

Why we chose the Cable Matters Premium XLR Cable?

The price for a two-pack of XLR cables that will suit most home studio and mobile applications is too hard to go past. While they might not be super high-end these cables will suit most uses for most people.

While I might not recommend these for high-end use, they are sufficient with a decent build-quality and the gold tips are a nice touch. I like the black finish which has a nice look to it.

Pros

  • OFC Copper cable with braided shielding
  • Steel connectors are durable
  • Price for a two-pack is great
  • Gold-tip plugs
  • Balanced cable

Cons

  • none at this price

Summary: If you’re looking for the best XLR cable for setting up a microphone for podcasts, a small home studio or perhaps plugging in a small PA set up then these are an easy and affordable choice. The two-pack is an easy choice for a 2 speaker PA rig.

Read reviews for the
Cable Matters Premium XLR Cable on Amazon


3: Silverback Roar Premium XLR Cable

Cable Lengths: 50 ft, 15 ft and 6 ft.

Cable Wire: Spring connector balanced XLR Cable

“Silverback

Stepping up to something a little more premium in price and quality we have the Silverback XLR cable. This comes in three lengths 50 feet, 15 feet and 6 feet. The 6 foot cable length is great as an XLR patch cable.

The connectors have a retro but functional metal spring connector at the base of the steel plugs. This acts to reduce the wear and tear of the cable where it meets the connectors.

This unit has gold contacts for better transference. The outer cable is a nylon braid which provides increased strength and toughness. Unlike rubber/plastic outer sleeves the braided nylon is a little like a strong rope.

The inner shielding is copper spiral shielding.

Why we chose the Silverback Roar Premium XLR Cable?

I like the metal spring cable protection where the wire meets the XLR connectors. The gold cable connectors have a good life span and great sound conduction.

The nylon external braiding is something I’ve had on guitar cables and it’s always better a durable cable type.

If you buy the six-pack you can get different colors for each cable, and if you’ve ever plugged in a lot of units to a sound desk or managed a podcast with multiple cables to microphones you’ll know how awesome it can be to have the color of the cables coded to know what is what in all the mess.

We also like the banana plugs and other units that Sewell Direct make.

Pros

  • Strong external nylon braiding
  • Gold-tip connectors
  • Balanced cable
  • Color 6-pack is a great choice

Cons

  • More expensive

Summary: If you’re looking for the best XLR cable for setting up a microphone for podcasts, a small home studio or perhaps plugging in a small PA set up then these are an easy and affordable choice. The two-pack is an easy choice for a 2 speaker PA rig.

Read reviews for the
Silverback Roar Premium XLR Cable on Amazon


4: LyxPro Balanced XLR Cable – Premium Series Microphone Cable

Cable Lengths: 50 ft, 15 ft and 6 ft.

Cable Wire: Spring connector balanced XLR Cable

“LyxPro

There are more length and plug options on the LyxPro XLR cable than you can poke a stick at. Starting at 1.5 feet you can have a straight, right angle male or right-angle female connectors.

You can also get these in 9 colors. So, if you need to mix and match any kind of patching or you need to know your left XLR cable from your right, then the LyxPro works great.

The internals are a 98% braided cable and 24 AWG OFC cabling. This means it’s not incredibly thick which makes it easier to work with. It is a balanced cable with gold plated connectors.

The 5-year warranty gives you confidence in your purchase.

Why we chose the LyxPro Balanced XLR Cable?

The huge color range, the available lengths and variable connector plugs make it an easy choice for this list.

The price is good and the tangle resistance-free cable is easy to manage.

If you want purchase options, the LyxPro brings it in spades.

Pros

  • Multiple connector angles
  • Wide range of color choices
  • Gold-tip connectors
  • Braided shielding

Cons

  • None at this price

Summary: Colors, price and lengths. If you don’t feel the need for its bigger brother the LyxPro Quad XLR then this is probably one of my favorites.

Read reviews for the
LyxPro Balanced XLR Cable on Amazon


5: WORLDS BEST CABLES Quad Balanced XLR Microphone Cable – Custom Made

Cable Lengths: 10 feet

Cable Wire: Neutrik NC3MXX-B Male & NC3FXX-B Female XLR Plugs using Mogami 2534 Wire

“WORLDS

It’s rare you see the words ‘Custom Made’ on an XLR cable, especially when its on Amazon but here it is and that is one strong reason why we chose it.

WBC have used Mogami cable wire and Neutrik connectors when building this making it a candidate for the best xlr cable on the list. Mogami wire is a well-known cable wire known in professional circles. It’s made in Nagano, Japan.

The Neutrik AG-Liechtenstein connectors are also considered some of the best for XLR use.

This is a quad core cable which means its a slightly thicker final wire width but it means you get much more sound conduction as an end result. The quad core still has shielding as well for a completed balanced cable.

The jacket is PVC and comes in traditional black.

Why we chose the WORLDS BEST CABLES Quad Balanced XLR Microphone Cable?

Their choice of parts to build these cables is impressive and it would be amis to have a list of the best XLR cables without having one that was custom made.

If you require other sizes and lengths from Worlds Best Cables, these exist.

Pros

  • Custom-built from people who care.
  • Excellent quality cable and connectors including Mogami and Neutrik
  • Quad XLR Cable

Cons

  • None

Summary: Custom-built from the best available hardware and materials makes this a great choice for people who love a hand-made product from a company that takes pride in their work.

Read reviews for the
WORLDS BEST CABLES Quad Balanced XLR Microphone Cable on Amazon


6: Mogami Gold XLR Cable – STUDIO-10

Cable Lengths: 10 feet (Available in 2ft, 3ft, 6ft, 10ft, 15ft, 25ft, 50ft, 75ft, 100ft)

Cable Wire: Mogami Neglex Quad High Definition Microphone Cable WIre

“Mogami

This is an original Mogami branded cable. As mentioned in the above WBC cable review, the Mogami brand is considered one of the best XLR cables on the available.

There is an extensive range of lengths for any use – whether that is for patching, short speaker connections or longer event or conference speaker connection use.

This Mogami XLR cable is a balanced quad cable meaning it has 4 conductor cables with excellent sound conduction and superior noise-reduction.

Why we chose the Mogami Gold Studio 10 XLR Cable?

Reputation alone demands the Mogami Gold XLR cable makes the list. I have a soft spot for anything made or developed in Japan and have a huge amount of respect for the Japanese attention to detail.

Another great reason to choose a Mogami XLR cable is because they have a lifetime ‘no excuses’ warranty.

There are more expensive options in the Mogami range including their innovative Mogami Gold AES Digital/Analog XLR Microphone Cables but this Gold Studio cable is a good around choice.

If you have high-end gear and want the best results I believe the Mogami cable is a sure pick.

Pros

  • Mogami’s excellent reputation
  • “No excuses” Lifetime Warranty
  • Quad XLR Cable
  • Gold connectors

Cons

  • None for this quality

Summary: Custom-built from the best available hardware and materials makes this a great choice for people who love a hand-made product from a company that takes pride in their work.

Read reviews for the
WORLDS BEST CABLES Quad Balanced XLR Microphone Cable on Amazon


7: AudioQuest – Mackenzie Best Buy XLR Cable

Cable Lengths: 1.64′

Cable Wire: Copper+

Best Buy XLR Cable - Mackenzie from AudioQuest
AudioQuest – Mackenzie XLR Cable – Best Buy

So, since we covered the Mogami, which has such a premium reputation, it only seems fitting that we highlight this XLR Best Buy cable which also sits in the premium range. If you want a braided cable with a nice set of connectors with copper conducive cabling, this is a good choice.

I’m not going to lie, the description on this product is layered with ‘tech talk’ to blind you with its awesomeness but you don’t need to understand it all.

It’s a great looking cable in a black brown finish and a braided external cover which is actually surprising in the brown/black finish.

Why we chose the AudioQuest – Mackenzie Best Buy XLR Cable??

The finish and connectors on this cable feel really high end. Brown might not be your color but if you’re using this at home as a long patch cable or for studio use then color is less important.

It’s only a 1.64 feet so it’s not super long. Great as an XLR patch cable or similar.

Pros

  • Good looking and well made cable
  • Copper conductor but not clear what the OFC rating is

Cons

  • It’s quite expensive

Summary: A premium and high-end alternative to the Mogami XML cable, this AudioQuest XLR cable from Best Buy ticks all the boxes in an unconventional non-gold tipped cable. It’s short so keep that in mind when purchasing.

Read reviews for the
AudioQuest – Mackenzie Best Buy XLR Cable at Best Buy


Conclusion

There are always a thousand cables you could buy but I’ve tried to highlight XLR cables that suit any situation and those that come well-reviewed.

Each cable suits common audio needs including connecting microphones, outdoor speakers, audio racks, studio speakers, mixers, preamps etc.

Things we’ve covered you might want to consider when buying:

  • Length of cable based on the use you need it for
  • Colors – do you need to color code or color match your cables for different uses, or just make life easier when patching your audio desk and speakers, amplifiers, studio speakers, microphones etc
  • Price is a consideration and I’ve included anything from under $20 to over $50
  • Dual vs Quad XLR speaker cables – quad gives you more conduction and potentially less noise (depending on how good the balanced shielding is)
  • Finish on the cable – whether its a nylon weave, pvc or rubber finishing

If I’ve missed a cable you love, let me know in the comments below.

This post was last updated on 2020-07-07 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.

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