ProSoundWeb Community

Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => Product Reviews => Topic started by: Dave Turner on November 17, 2012, 10:25:21 pm

Title: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Dave Turner on November 17, 2012, 10:25:21 pm
I'm Looking for a good set of xlr cables for my powered speakers... Pro's and Cons would be great on different brands...
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Ivan Beaver on November 18, 2012, 08:04:34 pm
I'm Looking for a good set of xlr cables for my powered speakers... Pro's and Cons would be great on different brands...
When you say "good set"-exactly what do you mean by that?  Low cost?  Long term durability? Best "sounding" (Oh no I didn't). etc.

Personally i would avoid cables that have non soldered connections and stick with Switchcraft or Neutrik connectors.

Belden 8412 cable is a long term favorite that is super durable-will last a long time-but is expensive.

Don't waste your money on quad cables.
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: brian maddox on November 18, 2012, 11:11:02 pm
When you say "good set"-exactly what do you mean by that?  Low cost?  Long term durability? Best "sounding" (Oh no I didn't). etc.

Personally i would avoid cables that have non soldered connections and stick with Switchcraft or Neutrik connectors.

Belden 8412 cable is a long term favorite that is super durable-will last a long time-but is expensive.

Don't waste your money on quad cables.

Plus.  One. 
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on November 18, 2012, 11:27:30 pm
When you say "good set"-exactly what do you mean by that?
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: George Dougherty on November 19, 2012, 09:38:23 am
I'm Looking for a good set of xlr cables for my powered speakers... Pro's and Cons would be great on different brands...

I'm fond of the Audiopile premium mic cables with the Neutrik connectors. Its a well shielded 22ga cable that handles well at a wide range of temps and you can't go wrong with Neutrik. Not as much a fan of the jacketing on their starline cabling and the knock off connectors fit too tight in some jacks I've got. Not worth the lower cost in my book. At $20 for a 20ft cable the premium isn't too far off what I can build them for myself though I might choose the black xx series instead of the silver.
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: John Moore on November 19, 2012, 11:57:48 pm
We have consistently used the CBI ML Ultimates, which the wire is #20 ga and a somewhat knock off of the Belden cable, have only had a problem with one cable over the years. They are very rugged cables. Not the most flexible but good for day in day out use....
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Tim Padrick on November 23, 2012, 10:57:18 pm
DIY from Horizon LowZ1 or Wireworks MusiLux.
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Sean Barry on March 19, 2013, 02:49:04 pm
When you say "good set"-exactly what do you mean by that?  Low cost?  Long term durability? Best "sounding" (Oh no I didn't). etc.

Personally i would avoid cables that have non soldered connections and stick with Switchcraft or Neutrik connectors.

Belden 8412 cable is a long term favorite that is super durable-will last a long time-but is expensive.

Don't waste your money on quad cables.

What is wrong with quad cables? Years ago I had a bunch of (I think they were Whirlwind) Starquad cables and had zero failures for 100s of gigs. Do you mean they are too pricy?
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Randall Hyde on March 19, 2013, 02:54:32 pm
I'm Looking for a good set of xlr cables for my powered speakers... Pro's and Cons would be great on different brands...

All cables will break sooner or later, so just make sure you get ones that have a lifetime warranty.

May elicit some hisses around here, but I buy Guitar Centers "Livewire" brand because:
1) They're decent (Neutrik connector variants),
2) They're not too expensive when you get GC to price match them (I can usually find the cables for $1/ft on-line)
3) GC is everywhere so it's not hard to replace them when they break.

That said, after two years (since I switched to using Livewire cables) I've never had a single one go bad; and my crew tends to abuse cables so this is a good testimony.  Note, however, that I do put shrink-wrap tubing on both ends to provide strain relief, which probably aids the the cables' longevity.

If I weren't going with lifetime warranty cables, I'd probably just make them myself.

Cheers,
Randy Hyde
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Mac Kerr on March 19, 2013, 03:40:39 pm
What is wrong with quad cables? Years ago I had a bunch of (I think they were Whirlwind) Starquad cables and had zero failures for 100s of gigs. Do you mean they are too pricy?

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
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Sean Barry 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.
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Jason Phair 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. 
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: George Dougherty 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.
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Alec Spence 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!
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Mac Kerr 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
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Jason Phair 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.
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: brian maddox 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.
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Doug Fowler 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. 
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Tim McCulloch 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.
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: George Dougherty 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.
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: sam saponaro on May 29, 2013, 05:44:42 pm
We have consistently used the CBI ML Ultimates, which the wire is #20 ga and a somewhat knock off of the Belden cable, have only had a problem with one cable over the years. They are very rugged cables. Not the most flexible but good for day in day out use....
Yes CBI all the way great stuff. ;)
Title: Re: Good Quality XLR Cables
Post by: Jeff Bankston on May 30, 2013, 04:51:28 am

i appreciate you posting the foto of the babe ! it made my knight !