FORUMS: list search recent posts

Choosing proper XLR Microphone Cables

COW Forums : Audio Professionals

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Christopher Hill
Choosing proper XLR Microphone Cables
on Oct 5, 2013 at 10:56:31 am

I'm trying to find good XLR cables to replace our aging and inefficient cables, but with the myriad of options available I'm becoming quickly overwhelmed.

We shoot very frequently in areas where there is a lot of external interference (military installations, government institutions etc.) and most of our cables just can't keep the interference from large radar, antennae, transmitters and 1000+ seat computer installations out.

Aside from balanced & shielded cables, what are some other things that I should be paying attention for? Does cable length change what I should be looking for? (We need minimum 15' max 100' cables).

In my experience, smaller gauge cables (24AWG-28AWG) are typically easier to handle, run, roll & store but does that affect performance? I've seen some cables as "large" as 16AWG but that seems like it would be very cumbersome and I don't know if it would benefit transmission, interference etc.

Are things like Nickel/Silver/Gold connectors really beneficial for clean audio or are they more of an overpriced gimmick?

I don't have the option to get custom cables, so it would need to be something I could by "off the shelf" as it were.

Any advice, recommendations whether general or specific, is greatly appreciated.


Return to posts index

Steve Kownacki
Re: Choosing proper XLR Microphone Cables
on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:12:54 pm

I've liked my Canare star quad cable, Mogami makes a similar type; used with Neutrik connectors. But sometimes a bad environment is a bad environment. Shorter, non-coiled cables can be less of an "antenna"; re-routing them differently on the floor to eliminate induction from conduits in the floor; sometimes raising them a foot off the ground will do the trick; hang them from the ceiling; All of which add lots or work to a usually simple task. Ambient RF is ugh.

I'm a huge fan of wired mics over wireless, but it the cable's the issue...

Steve





Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: Choosing proper XLR Microphone Cables
on Oct 5, 2013 at 5:31:41 pm

Steve,

Yep. When you have cables on the floor and they are picking up something, it may be due to cables run under the floor or to iron rebar in the floor itself reradiating rf.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


Return to posts index


Ty Ford
Re: Choosing proper XLR Microphone Cables
on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:25:00 pm

Hello Christopher and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

The conventional wisdom is that cables in which each of the two signal conductors consists of a pair of separately insulated wires that are spiraled around each other work best. This is typically referred to as some sort of Quad cable. Quad meaning four wires.

Mogami makes some. Canare makes some. Gotham's GAC 4/1 works. I think I've used all three at some point.

There is an argument over whether or not to ground the shells of the XLRs. In general, studio people will ground the shield to the XLR shells, improving the shielding from external noise. Live sound folks may not because of concerns that at some point, pulling a cable from here to there may inadvertently put the shell in contact with another source of electricity which could run up the cable and harm any person or circuitry attached to the other end.

Eric Toline, who posts here, and I have done some experiments using Neutrik EMC XLR connectors. What we have found is that they may help in some situations, but are a bit tricky to solder. The in line barrel connectors sold by Markertek (and probably others) just didn't work at all to block Apple iPhone interference.

Best practices also suggest never running power or data cables in parallel with any audio cables to prevent induced interference.

Cable length....well how strong are your arms and how much cable to you have to deploy and wrap? Most of my cable s are 25', but I have a few 50s. 50' cables (and longer) are obviously heavier than 25' cables. In addition their longer length may make them more difficult to untangle. If you're a practiced cable wrangler, go for it. I frequently use a fifty foot, six channel Whirlwind snake and stage box. The cable is very thick, given how many conductors it contains, but It's a lot easier to roll out than six separate 50 foot runs of regular cable.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


Return to posts index

John Fishback
Re: Choosing proper XLR Microphone Cables
on Oct 6, 2013 at 3:52:32 pm

My 2 cents on grounding. In the studio we use star-point grounding. That means we only ground the shield of a cable at one end - the star-point. (We use our patch bay as the star point.) As long as a cable is grounded at one end, the shield works. Part 2 of star-point grounding is to ground the chassis of each piece of gear to the same star point. We use isolated ground a/c receptacles. The a/c receptacle is colored orange. (You see them a lot in hospitals and other places where proper grounding is critical.) The ground of each orange receptacle has a direct wire to the a/c ground at the panel, and this is also attached to the star-point. This approach best avoids ground loops. If one end of the shield is lifted, no current can flow. That said, we don't use star-point in the field as it's a bit unwieldy, if not impossible. We do carry ground lift adaptors for a/c and xlr cable as that can help with ground issues in the field.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz, 16 GB RAM, OS 10.8.4, QT10.1, Kona 3, Dual Cinema 23, ATI Radeon HD 5870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.3, Motion 4.0.3, Comp 3.5.3, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.3)
FCP-X 10.0.9, Motion 5.0.7, Compressor 4.0.7

Pro Tools HD 10 w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec DSP Monitors, Prima CDQ120 ISDN


Return to posts index

Eric Toline
Re: Choosing proper XLR Microphone Cables
on Oct 5, 2013 at 2:17:49 pm

Contact http://www.markertek.com for their premade Canare Star Quad cables with Neutrik connectors. Their part numbers run from SC1.5xxj to SC100xxj, the number indicates the length.


Eric

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


Return to posts index


Christopher Hill
Re: Choosing proper XLR Microphone Cables
on Oct 5, 2013 at 2:40:01 pm

Thank you all for responding. Does the wire gauge of an XLR have any effect on the audio quality? Especially at longer distances?


Return to posts index

Eric Toline
Re: Choosing proper XLR Microphone Cables
on Oct 5, 2013 at 4:53:41 pm

No, guage has no bearing on low voltage audio feeds on much longer runs than you're talking about.


Eric

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: Choosing proper XLR Microphone Cables
on Oct 5, 2013 at 5:29:17 pm

Probably enough to measure, but not enough to hear for low impedance circuits.

How long do you expect the cable to be?

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


Return to posts index


Richard Crowley
Re: Choosing proper XLR Microphone Cables
on Oct 6, 2013 at 4:24:53 pm

Gauge will have no discernible affect on sound quality. Smaller gauge wires are more flexible and will be better at lying flat on the ground, etc, but they are a bit more fragile as well. As with most anything else, it is a trade-off.

You could try getting a star-quad cable or two just to see if it makes any difference. IME, I can see no difference in performance.

For heavy RFI (Radio-Frequency Interference) situations as you are describing, it may be useful to use the Neutrik EMC-XLR series of connectors which have built-in filtering. There are also tricks like connecting capacitors between pin-1 and the connector shell, etc.

HOWEVER, there is only so much a cable or connector can do. If the mic preamp is susceptible to RFI, then you need to consider using more robust equipment or inline filters in severe service areas.

Star-point grounding won't be of much help out on location with the symptoms you describe, and won't work at all with mics requiring phantom power.

100 ft is not a terribly long run for low-impedance balanced mic cables. I often use runs of several hundred feet.

I make my own cables, but if you are not up to that, I would recommend http://www.redco.com/Custom-Cable.html to have exactly the cable, connectors, color, and length you want. I get most of my cable and connectors from them.


Return to posts index

Chris Tompkins
Re: Choosing proper XLR Microphone Cables
on Oct 12, 2013 at 2:14:24 pm

I second Canare cables.

Chris


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]