The Best XLR Cables - Mic & Line Level

The Highest Rate XLR Cables

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The last thing you want during a performance is your mic cutting out due to faulty cables. Cheaping out on bad cables is a recipe for disaster and as a popular saying goes, whatever can happen, will happen.

The best way to lower the chances of sound problems is by using good quality connections. XLR cables are one possible point of failure that many people tend to overlook.

Here we look at what the market considers as the best XLR cables, based on actual reviews and ratings data, including the most recent ones up to mid October 2021.

Note that this guide is focused on XLR cables that work with mic or line level signals - these cables are not suitable for carrying high power signals from amplifiers to speakers.

The Best XLR Cables

Author & Contributors

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

An audio engineer of 20 years who specializes in rock and metal recordings, he also plays guitar and produces original music for his band and other content creators.

Pig Hog PHM20

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 2200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$24
Pig Hog PHM10 Microphone XLR Cable 20ft

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated XLR Cable along with the WBC Mogami 2549, RoadHog Mic HOGM-30.K & Mogami Gold Studio

The Pig Hog PHM20 is a thick, heavy-duty microphone cable built with touring in mind.

The 8mm cable jacket resists kinking and tangling, ensuring setup and teardowns are speedy and efficient.

Features

  • Length: 25’
  • Available Lengths: 3' to 50'
  • 8mm high quality rubber outer covering
  • Heat shrink protected connectors

Pros

The cables were noted to be extremely rugged, standing up to multiple tours without failure. The thick rubber outer coating prevents internal kinks that disrupt signal flow.

Cons

The only complaint was of the warranty. To ensure good exchange policies, only order from trusted distributors.

Overall

The Pig Hog PHM20 is a tour-tested cable that will stand up to the rigors of everyday use.

Roland Black Series

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$26
Roland Black Series Microphone XLR Cable 15ft

The Roland Black Series cables are made for heavy duty use.

Heavy duty connectors with a long lasting finish ensure consistent performance night in and night out.

Noise is taken care of thanks to the low capacitance and polyethylene insulation.

Features

  • Length: 10'
  • Heavy duty connectors
  • Low-capacitance
  • Polyethylene insulation

Pros

The thickness, durability, shielding and insulation were noted to be the top remarks from many users. Several users noted that their other cables picked up RF interference when the Roland Black Series cables did not.

Cons

The heavy duty connectors may be too tight for some studio mics.

Overall

If you're looking for a cable that will last, the Roland Black Series XLR cables are solid performers.

WBC Mogami 2549

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$29
WORLDS BEST CABLES Mogami 2549 Neutrik NC3MXX-B & NC3FXX-B XLR 10'

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated XLR Cable along with the Pig Hog PHM20, RoadHog Mic HOGM-30.K & Mogami Gold Studio

World's Best Cables, also known as WBC, makes custom cables using high quality parts.

The Mogami 2549 features Japanese Mogami cables and German Neutrik NC3FXX-B and NC3MXX-B connectors for a top-tier cable that rivals many boutique brands.

Features

  • Length: 6'
  • Neutrik NC3FXX-B and NC3MXX-B Connectors
  • High quality Mogami cabling
  • Polyethylene insulation

Pros

Users say that the 2549 is one of the best cables they've bought at the price. Similarly spec'ed cables from other brands can cost twice as much and many users were happy to have a great cable at this price.

Cons

No consistently reported cons from reviews less than 5 stars.

Overall

The WBC Mogami 2549 is a great boutique quality cable at a great price. Being relatively affordable means it's easier to spec your entire setup with great cabling.

Hosa HMIC-025 Pro

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 2700+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$31
Hosa Pro Balanced XLR Cable

The Hosa HMIC-025 Pro is a premium quality cable with top tier connectors and shielding.

Silver-plated Neutrik REAN Connectors, 20 AWG copper conductors and 90% oxygen-free shielding ensure signal purity even over lengths of up to 100'.

Features

  • Length: 25’
  • Available Lengths: 3' to 100'
  • Silver-plated Neutrik REAN connectors
  • 20 AWG oxygen-free copper conductors
  • 90% oxygen-free copper braided shielding

Pros

Users note that the cable feels more rugged and long-lasting than most cables at this price point. With better connectors than many big brand cables, the HMIC-025 Pro gets praise for its reliability with many types of mics. No static, signal dropouts or other nasty surprises were reported.

Cons

The cable was noted to be slightly too thick to be coiled tightly. Some felt that the weight of the cable was putting strain on their other equipment.

Overall

Heavy-duty cables usually have some compromises. The Hosa HMIC-025 doesn't cut those corners. Get it if you want a thick mic cable for long term studio use.

Cable Matters 2-Pack Premium

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 8200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$32
Cable Matters Premium XLR to XLR Microphone Cable 25 Feet

The name of the company itself teaches an important lesson, that the cables we use actually matter. And they continue to get rave reviews with this 2-pack Premium XLR to XLR microphone cable.

This cable features oxygen-free copper (OFC), with copper braided shielding.

The soft PVC jacket makes the cable flexible, while the molded strain relief and grip treads help secure the cable connection at the plug.

Features

  • Length: 25’
  • Available Lengths: 3' to 50'
  • Metal Connectors with Gold Plated XLR pins
  • Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) conductor
  • Braided shield

Pros

Most owners of this cable feel that they got more than what they paid for. They report that the cable feels solid and have good thickness when held. There are many who state that it holds up well even after many gigs.

Cons

There are a few who are complain about the soldering, and recommend that for better long-term use, it's best to re-solder the plug to the cable. There are also some who report that the cable is too thick.

Overall

If budget is limited and you're looking for multiple XLR cables, then check out this one out.

RoadHog Mic HOGM-30.K

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$39
Rapco RoadHOGM Blanced XLR Cable 30'

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated XLR Cable along with the Pig Hog PHM20, WBC Mogami 2549 & Mogami Gold Studio

RoadHog describes this cable as a tough and road worthy, and it doesn't look like they are bluffing because there are many reports from users who are impressed with its reliability.

It features a pure copper conductor that is wrapped in copper serve shield that covers around 95% of the wire, and protected by a matte finish PVC material that's durable and flexible.

At 30', this cable is quite long for small stages, but since it does come in a variety of size configurations, you can just get one that fits your requirements.

Finally it utilizes Neutrik plugs to ensure longevity and consistency.

Features

  • Length: 30’
  • Available Lengths: 2' to 100'
  • Pure Copper 24 Gauge Conductor
  • Bare Annealed Copper Serve Shield (95% Coverage)
  • Matt PVC jacket

Pros

For the money, the RoadHog XLR cable gets the job done remarkably well, and more importantly, it does so consistently. It continues to receive high ratings from musicians and audio engineers who love its balance of sound, durability and practicality. It is also worth noting that many are impressed with how easy it is to roll up, even with its tough exterior.

Cons

While many users are happy with the cable's thicker profile, there are a few who were not too thrilled with its bulk and weight.

Overall

If you're looking for a durable cable that can handle the rigors of constant setup and breakdowns, then the Rapco RoadHog XLR is for you.

Neewer Microphone Cables (6-Pack)

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$53
Neewer 6-Pack Microphone XLR Cable 24.9ft

The Neewer 6-Pack presents a value offering with 6 solidly built microphone cables with a thick rubber jacket for added durability.

Dual insulated copper conductors shield the internals from RF interference.

The pack comes with 6, high visibility colors: Green, Blue, Purple, Red, Yellow and Orange.

Features

  • Length: 6.5’
  • Neewer 6-Pack Microphone
  • Double strain relief for added reliability

Pros

Even name-brand cable snobs were impressed with the quality of the Neewer Cables. They were surprised at the build quality and shielding from outside noise that the cables were capable of. Many of the owners that bought the item on a whim because they needed extra cables actually ended up using them as their main cables and ordered more for their studio or touring rig. The color coding also helped with identifying the mics going into the mixer.

Cons

Some shipped with a bad cable but were easily fixed with some soldering work.

Overall

The Neewer Microphone cable pack score high on our list for being a great value for your money. Get it if you need several good cables for your studio or live setup.

Mogami Gold Studio Balanced XLR Cable

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 2350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$97
Mogami Gold Studio Balanced XLR Cable 25'

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated XLR Cable along with the Pig Hog PHM20, WBC Mogami 2549 & RoadHog Mic HOGM-30.K

Mogami started out in a small workshop in Tokyo, Japan. They made a name for themselves back in 1977, thanks to audiophiles who were impressed with the quality of their cables, and helped spread the word.

These days, Mogami have grown to be a worldwide provider of premium "Hi-Fi" cables (with the help of Marshall Electronics), and the Gold Studio XLR is one of their top products.

As the name suggests, this is designed to be as transparent as possible for studio recording purposes.

Features

  • Length: 15'
  • Available Lengths: 2' to 50'
  • 100% coverage spiral copper shield
  • Neglex oxygen free copper cable.
  • 4-conductor cable design
  • Black metal jacks
  • Gold-pin Neutrik XLR connectors

Pros

The majority of reviewers are impressed with this cable's consistent and quiet operation, some of them go so far as to claim that it actually "improved" their sound. Other positive comments on this cable pertain to its durability and heavy insulation. Many consider it as the gold standard for microphone cables, with its zero noise operation and high signal transfer fidelity.

Cons

Speaking of insulation, some users nit-picked on the cable being a bit on the heavy side, and that because of its bulky jacket and shielding design. Some complained that it takes more effort to get the cable rolled up. However, being an XLR cable designed specifically for studio use, flexibility is expected to be limited since the cable has to be heavily shielded. It would also be nice if the cable were a-bit more affordable, but I guess the higher price point is expected from this particular brand.

Overall

If you have the budget and you're looking to wire up your home studio with a branded cable of reliable quality, then this will be a worthy investment.

Budget Option

For those working with tight budget here is a cheap yet highly rated option.

AmazonBasics XLR Cable

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 26300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$12
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Cheap XLR cables are not well known for their quality, but there are some hidden gems like the AmazonBasics XLR which is getting high ratings.

This is a store brand of Amazon, but as the label implies, this is a basic XLR cable, with an all-copper conductor and inner copper spiral shielding, but it does stand out from the rest of the budget options with its good build quality, as the many positive reviews attest to.

Features

  • Length: 25'
  • Available Lengths: 6' to 50'
  • Flexible PVC Jacket
  • All Copper Conductors
  • Inner Copper Shielding

Pros

Value for money is obviously the strong point of this cable, and it continues to satisfy, if not exceed, the expectations of users. The overall sentiment is that it gets the job done properly, without needing to spend too much money, especially when used in fixed PA system setups. The flexibility of the cable also gets a lot of appreciation from sound technicians.

Cons

There are a few who report build quality inconsistencies, specifically of the plugs. Some caution against using this cable in mobile setups, they feel that it can't handle regular plugging and unplugging.

Overall

Still, this is a great cable to have for those with limited budgets in fixed setups, it can also be a decent and affordable back up in case something goes wrong with your main cables.

Things to Consider when Buying XLR Cables

Sound Quality

Some audiophiles will tell you that they can hear the difference between different leads and this is often used by some companies to sell extremely expensive leads. When it comes to Balanced XLR cables the consensus of audio engineering professionals and actual measurement is clear - there isn't any audible difference between properly functioning balanced XLR cables in normal conditions. Still, in situations where there is significant radio frequency interference, cables with less effective shielding will be more susceptible to picking up those signals. Of course a cable that's damaged can experience glitches, noise or not work at all. So the main issue to avoid problems with sound quality is to buy balanced cables that are durable, reliable and ideally have good shielding.

Usage: Recording versus Stage

XLR cables that will be used on stage have to be durable enough to handle movement and being stepped on. On the flip side, since you're not moving around as much in the studio, flexibility and durability may not be as important.

Cable Length

Getting a cable with the right length is important, obviously you don't want anything shorter than what you actually need and remember this can include running the cables around various obstacles . But there can be some reasons for not getting a cable too much longer than you'll use. Properly operating balanced cables can operate without any audible signal loss over 100 feet and more so that isn't much of a factor. However, having surplus cable lying around in the wrong places can be messy and increase the chances that it will be damaged or get tangled up with other cables. Recording, rehearsal or performance setups can quickly become disorganized so consider what you'll do with that extra cable length. Note that we went with the cable lengths that are more popular with users, which incidentally ranges from 15 to 30 feet.

Cable Core

Core thicknesses range from 20 to 26 AWG (American Wire Gauge), with 20 being the thickest. Thicker cables allow for better signal transfer and are preferred for studio applications, while thinner ones are preferred for stage use because of their flexibility. While some audiophiles will insist Oxygen Free Copper (OFC) provides the best signal transfer, the consensus from pro audio techs is that it doesn't make any difference.

Cable Shielding

Shielding protects your audio signal from interference, and there are currently three types of materials used: Aluminum laminate (foil), Tin Plated Copper and Copper. The shielding itself is connected to the third pin of the XLR, which directs the intercepted interference to ground. Spiral copper shielding is preferred for stage use because of its 97% coverage and flexibility. Just note that gaps can open up when the cable is flexed too much. For this reason, some cables come with multi-spiral shielding that protects each cable core. Braided Tin Copper shielding is preferred in studio settings because of its higher 98% coverage, oxidation protection, and improved conductivity. Foil shield is commonly used on generic, cheap cables, because it provides effective interference protection without jacking up the price tag. Just note that it can be damaged when the cable is bent. For best results, some manufacturers combine different types of shielding.

Connector Type and Strain Relief

In this particular aspect, the saying you get what you pay for holds true. It may seem like you're saving a few bucks by going for a cheap generic XLR cable, but in the long run, you may end up spending more - and not to mention have problems at the worst possible times - like during a live performance! Having played a vital role in improving the XLR connector design, Neutrik continues to be one of the most trusted brands when it comes to connectors, but they do come with a more premium price tag. Having a Gold connector has a nice ring to it, but it's not really a better conductor, rather the gold plating just makes the pins last longer being less susceptible to oxidization (rust).

Best XLR Cable Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2016 and the current edition was published on October 26, 2021.

We looked at the most popular balanced XLR cables being sold at American online retailers, and picked the ones that stood out in terms of ratings, popularity and recommendations. For this update, we ended up with a short list of 32 XLR cables, along with over 66,500 relevant review and rating sources, including the most recent ones up to mid October of 2021. This information was then processed by the Gearank Algorithm and this gave us the rating scores out of 100 that we used to select only the most deserving.

Incidentally, we ended up with cables that are between 15' to 30' long, but all of the cables in this list are available in different lengths, and our rating scores reflect the combined ratings for all their length variations. For more information about our methods, see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

An audio engineer of 20 years who specializes in rock and metal recordings, he also plays guitar and produces original music for his band and other content creators.

Aside from endlessly window shopping and watching hours of gear reviews for leisure, he enjoys playing competitive FPS games, MMORPGs and caring for his 5 cats. He is primarily influenced by guitarists like Kurt Ballou and Paul Gilbert. His favorite pieces of gear are his Ibanez RG550RFR, Orange Brent Hinds Terror amplifier and EQD Acapulco Gold fuzz.

Contributors

Alden Acosta: Product research.
Alexander Briones: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: By Gearank.com using photographs of the Mogami Gold Studio and RoadHog Mic HOGM.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

Comments

GLS and Amazon basics are

GLS and Amazon basics are literally the same cable spec and connectors and made by the same factory (Sun Rise Exact) in China.

There are only three differences:
1) They arrive with different color velcro strips (GLS White, Amazon Black)
2) GLS arrives in plastic, Amazon in cardboard
3) GLS offers various colors

I've had great luck with

I've had great luck with Better Cables silver serpent microphone cables-www.bettercables.com. I think they have even more detail than the mogami cables. They are also available on Amazon. A bit pricey but worth it IMHO :)

my favorite are gotham cables

My favorites are gotham cables with amphenol jacks. best for noise reduction and clear signal

I've got a question. New to

I've got a question. New to the pro audio scene. I'm looking for a long 50' cable going from a mixer (Tascam DP24) to a powered monitor (SRM 550 speaker). The output from the mixer is a 1/4" phono jack and the speaker has a combo XLR/Phono Jack.

So, my question is: Will I get a finer, brighter audio from an XLR to Phono cable than a straight 1/4 to 1/4 TRS cable?

What's your opinion?

The type of connector won't

The type of connector won't directly influence the frequencies carried, however if you are talking about choosing between a standard RCA connector, which is unbalanced, verse a balanced XLR or TRS connector then you'll get less noise interference by going balanced - I would chose the 1/4 to 1/4" TRS because that's a balanced signal.

None of Reverb.com's house

None of Reverb.com's house branded products have been short-listed when we've been surveying product categories for our guides, as a result we have not published any Gearank scores or meta-reviews about them yet.

Grimm Audio's 'TPR assembly'

Grimm Audio's 'TPR assembly' range isn't widely available in North America yet so we didn't rate them for this guide.

Hi Alexander, thank you very

Hi Alexander, thank you very much for all your research into this. I really appreciate it. I do have one question for you, I'm looking to make my own xlr cables and I'm curious if you recommend a certain brand that I can buy the cable in 300, 500 ft spool.

Thank you!

Dax

As a Pro sound mixer, I

As a Pro sound mixer, I always make my own cables.
usually a star quad cable like Mogami,
and definitely neutrik xlr's (used to be Cannon xlr's, but don't see them so much anymore).
as for anything promoted as being on Amazon...Why???
wouldn't touch that stuff/site with a ten foot barge pole..

Since we don't have data on

Since we don't have data on long XLR cable spools, I can't make specific recommendations. However, I can suggest that you look at the XLR spools from the companies included in this list.

Hi there. I have some

Hi there. I have some questions to ask and need some advice as well. I've been following almost all your reviews, taking down the list of equipments I need to buy for our church PA system. I've been able to clear up most doubts that I had before. I would like to ask this: I need to get an effect processor seeing that our mixing console just has the normal knobs(EQ- Treble, Alto, Tenor & Bass) for tweaking the sound on each channel. I think I need something that could really give some real effect (Reverb, Chorus, Delay & Compression) to the whole output sound of the system.
Q2: I just read your review on XLR cables. I would want to know your idea on Jack/XLR cables i.e one end jack the other XLR (I'm not sure if they called that way, but I know you to get my point) our console has 3 main XLR output for main speakers so the others I will have to connect them through a Jack (ex: monitor speakers) and the cables have to run some distance. So I would like to get some help or suggestion.
I may send in more questions going forward seeing we are wanting to revamp our PA system for better quality and sound.
Thanks for all the reviews you guys have written they've really helped me so far.
Samuel Abraham

Hello Samuel, as much as I'd

Hello Samuel, as much as I'd love to help you out, we don’t have data on rackmount effects yet. I'll get back to you when we can make recommendations.

As for the Jack to XLR cable question, you may want to clarify first what the other end would be, is it a 1/4" or a female XLR jack connector? In any case, many of the brands that are featured in this list should have the one that you need.