Every day, people are faced with the decision of whether to purchase XLR cables or best XLR cables. Why not both? Balanced XLR cables are typically better for professional audio equipment because they have a higher voltage and current capacity than their unbalanced counterparts. The definitive guide to XLRs is here!
What is an XLR cable
An XLR cable is a specialist audio cable which has three pins (sometimes four) and plugs into microphones, studio sound equipment, and PA systems. As it has many applications in the recording industry, XLRs are also commonly used as part of camcorder connections to cameras. Depending on the manufacturer and type of XLR cable you use (XLR-3F for example), the electrical signal can be transmitted up to 1.25 kilometers without any distortion or loss. It’s a cable which uses three conductors to send balanced AC audio between sound equipment.
The main advantage is that because of the shielded construction, XLR cables are immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI) noise from nearby devices such as fluorescent lights, motors and dimmer switches. Therefore balanced circuits produce a cleaner audio signal than unbalanced circuits for long distances or with high line voltages.
Why use an XLR cable
An XLR cable will allow you to have fewer cables running around your computer and will give you the ability to build the perfect setup for your needs. It’s also nice, if you’re near any other microphones or monitors, that they are plugged into the same circuit as well with XLR cables.
Cables are more susceptible to damage due to bending and sitting in a tangled heap on the floor than when properly coiled up like in a drum shape. And lastly, if you need mobility from one place of performance location to another, then an XLR cable allows different configurations without sacrificing quality- all while retaining flexibility over deciding how close or far apart instruments should be placed from each other while still being able to be amplified independently.
How to select the right cable length for your needs
Picking the right length of XLR cable for your needs is important because you don’t want to end up ordering a cable that is too short and won’t reach, or worse yet, a cable that is too long. Lengths vary depending on how many channels you expect to use the XLR for.
If you just need two cables, which usually means one in front of the other along each side of a stage facing outwards from an amp to go into monitors then 11/4 or 2 1/2 feet would be a good choice. For these application lengths, 10 feet will work well as an extra backup in case something goes wrong with one of the first few lengths you ordered.
Different types of connectors in XLR cables
XLR connectors are not standard audio plug types. They serve a specific purpose – to carry the analog signals in professional devices such as mixers and microphones. Instead of a 1/8″ TRS phone connector, XLR employs three separate contacts, which makes for a more durable connection with no chance for radio frequency interference (RF) like you might get with other plugs.
Connectors come in both male and female versions and can be used on either end of an interconnecting cable. Female connectors are mounted inside equipment or panels, while male connectors typically find their way into input devices that connect to equipment racks via screw-on jack posts or onto the mounting panel.
Troubleshooting common problems with XLR cables (e.g., hums, buzzes, noise)
If your XLR cable has a problem, it may be due to the following:
Fault in transmitter or receiver that is generating the noise. This could be interference with nearby power lines, disturbing magnetic fields, and more. Loose connection in one of the pins inside a connector.
Physical damage (nicks) in protective outer layer of wire will need to be repaired at some point you can also try taping over exposed ends where possible. Condition may include hums, buzzes, or noise on audio translated as fizzing or popping sounds when adjusting levels for recording.
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