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Author Topic: Good Quality XLR Cables  (Read 17392 times)

Sean Barry

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Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2013, 10:17:05 am »

There is virtually no benefit, and there is some downside. Unless you generally run your single mic cables parallel to unbundled feeder cable the extra resistance to induced noise in of little value. They are more expensive, and they have higher capacitance, so they begin to act as a LP filter sooner, and they should never be used for digital audio.

The fact that there is no real benefit, and they cost more should be enough.

Belden 8412 has been the accepted heavy duty mic cable for as long as I have been in this business. Today, if I was starting a sound company I would want to use something that is good for digital audio as well like Belden 1800F, although the 1800F is 24GA conductors vs 20GA on 8412. They are about the same size, both have braided shield with drain wire. The very low capacitance of 1800F makes it an excellent analog cable as well.

Mac
Thanks kind sir. That explanation works for me.
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Jason Phair

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Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2013, 01:30:38 pm »

If you want longevity for cables that get banged around on stage day after day, use Switchcraft A3M male ends.  Every Neutrik male I've ever used (that wasn't on a console fanout) has failed at the locking point eventually. 
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George Dougherty

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Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2013, 11:50:51 pm »

If you want longevity for cables that get banged around on stage day after day, use Switchcraft A3M male ends.  Every Neutrik male I've ever used (that wasn't on a console fanout) has failed at the locking point eventually.

Yeah, but they're a pita to terminate and service by comparison.  Plus, those set screws inevitably back out and cause problems everywhere I've seen them.  The Neutrik are plenty durable in my book to justify the difference in assembly and maintenance.  YMMV.
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Alec Spence

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Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2013, 02:06:06 pm »

Here's the odd transatlantic thing - so many folk in the US still have this bizarre love for the rather agricultural Switchcraft connectors, whereas in Europe pretty much everyone has seen the light and uses Neutrik everywhere.

Switchcraft-  solid,  but stuck in the ark and painful to terminate. Pricey, too, outside the US.

Neutrik - easiest things in the world to terminate, contemporary design, and just work perfectly!
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2013, 02:12:40 pm »

Neutrik - easiest things in the world to terminate, contemporary design, and just work perfectly!

Therein lies the rub. In my experience that is simply not true. They are very pretty compared to Switchcraft, they are not as reliable however. All male XLRs can get out of round when you drive over them, but I have had far more Neurik males go out of round than Switchcraft, and that is considering all the years I used Switchcraft before Neutrik even existed in the US. I have also never has an A3M get stuck in gear so that I have to cut it off, this has happened multiple times with Neutrik.

Mac
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Jason Phair

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Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2013, 09:39:38 pm »

Here's the odd transatlantic thing - so many folk in the US still have this bizarre love for the rather agricultural Switchcraft connectors, whereas in Europe pretty much everyone has seen the light and uses Neutrik everywhere.

Switchcraft-  solid,  but stuck in the ark and painful to terminate. Pricey, too, outside the US.

Neutrik - easiest things in the world to terminate, contemporary design, and just work perfectly!

What makes them difficult to terminate?

As for set screws, they fail more rarely than the Neutrik shell in my experience.  I just went through about 500 mic cables this past winter, for the first time in 5 years, and I had to replace two screws, and retighten about a half-dozen more by about a quarter turn.  I had to replace over 50 male Neutrik shells (the females were all fine).

That extra $.75 for Switchcraft is worth it.
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brian maddox

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Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2013, 11:43:53 pm »

since it's becoming a Switchcraft Vs. Neutrik smack down....

Got to go with Switchcraft for ruggedness.  Especially, as Mac said, the Male ends.  Just looking at the two designs, the Neutrik appears far better thought out and 'modern' if you will.  But my 30+ years of experience say that for reliability, Switchcraft wins.  it's not even close.

And since i learned soldering on Switchcrafts, i can actually do them just as fast if not faster than the, admittedly easier to solder, Neutriks.  The older solder cups being inverted from the newer ones notwithstanding.

As to anything else?  Well at our church we regularly get things donated and i recently got a HUGE [several thousand] donation of XLR cables and connectors, many of them VERY old.  Cannons, Amphenol, Switchcraft, Neutrik, and lots of really odd looking ones i had never seen.  everything but the Switchcraft and Neutrik stuff just got chopped off and tossed.  ALL the Switchcrafts were fully functional.  Quite a few Neutriks got tossed for out of round barrels or broken strain reliefs.  So there it is.
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Doug Fowler

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Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2013, 12:07:20 am »

Therein lies the rub. In my experience that is simply not true. They are very pretty compared to Switchcraft, they are not as reliable however. All male XLRs can get out of round when you drive over them, but I have had far more Neurik males go out of round than Switchcraft, and that is considering all the years I used Switchcraft before Neutrik even existed in the US. I have also never has an A3M get stuck in gear so that I have to cut it off, this has happened multiple times with Neutrik.

Mac

Here in the US, the Belden 8412 and Switchcraft XLR combination is something we can still hold on to (for good reason), and this is a precious commodity nowadays. 
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2013, 03:17:50 pm »

Here in the US, the Belden 8412 and Switchcraft XLR combination is something we can still hold on to (for good reason), and this is a precious commodity nowadays.

I was looking at Clair Bros Audio mic cable that got left behind... Cannon XLRF, Switchcraft A3M, Belden 8412.

The reason I mentioned CBA is because it dates the product.  It's been around at least 10 years and I suspect it's not required service.
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George Dougherty

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Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2013, 12:03:27 am »

Actually, just realized, are we talking the Neutrik X series, the new XX series, or both?  The old X series definitely had some issues but the newer XX series did away with the little notched window for the locking connector that occasionally breaks.  It also seems slightly thicker in the gauge of the casing.  I've been very happy with the XX series ends I've been getting on the premium Audiopile cable.
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