Let’s take an in-depth look at the Amazon Basics XLR cable. We test, tear down, and review this budget-friendly XLR cable to give you our thoughts and recommendations.

Quick Answer: The Amazon Basics XLR cable is a great cable to get you started if you’re low on budget. However, if you’re being paid to work and need 100% reliability, we recommend investing in a higher-quality cable.

Amazon Basics XLR Cable Specs

Manufacturer specs are a great way to quickly compare similar pieces of equipment. Unfortunately, Amazon only publishes size and weight information for their XLR cables. These aren’t exactly the most influential factors in deciding which cable to buy.

So, we cut open an Amazon Basics XLR cable to walk you through the various components used. Keep reading to discover what we believe you should consider when thinking about buying this cable.

Check out our XLR cable buying guide for more detailed considerations and comparisons.

Amazon Basics XLR Cable Price

The Amazon Basics XLR cable is one of the most, if not the most, inexpensive microphone cables that you can buy. They have a lot of purchasing power, but they will also have made some cost-saving decisions on the quality and features of some components.

The big question is whether or not they have gone too far cutting corners to keep costs down. Let’s jump into the review to find out.

Amazon Basics XLR Cable Colors

We prefer to buy XLR cables in various colors, especially in the studio, where we do a lot of patching. It allows you to see where each cable is going, which really speeds up troubleshooting.

Amazon Basics XLR cables only come in black. This is the color we’d pick for longer cable runs, but it’s a shame they don’t offer shorter cables in more color options.

Amazon Basics XLR Cable Lengths

The Amazon Basics XLR cable is available in a range of lengths. You can’t buy it in bulk, so large 500′ reels for DIY cable makers are not an option.

That said, given the price of Amazon Basics cables, you wouldn’t save much money making your own. They’re so inexpensive, you’re better off buying the finished product.

Amazon Basics XLR Cable Flexibility

These cables are incredibly flexible. They’re potentially the most flexible XLR cables we have in our inventory. The flexibility makes Amazon Basics cables very easy to work with; they’re super easy to wrap, lay and organize.

Amazon Basics XLR Cable Conductors

Twisted Pair vs Star Quad XLR Cable

Amazon has used a twisted pair (two conductor) design with their Basics XLR cable. This is the most popular, more traditional XLR cable design. Star-quad (four conductor) cables are a more modern, more expensive alternative.

Learn more about the differences between twisted pair vs. star-quad XLR cables in the linked article.

A twisted pair cable carries two copies of the audio signal. One version is phase inverted at the departure end of the connection. The inverted signal is realigned at the destination and used to cancel out noise picked up along the cable run.

Twisted pair cables work really well over a long run or in environments where there isn’t a lot of electromagnetic interference. This is commonly the case at live events.

Amazon Basics XLR Cable Shielding

Braided vs Spiral XLR Cable

Underneath the outer PVC protective layer, the Amazon Basics XLR cable has a copper spiral to shield the conductors. Amazon doesn’t publish exact specs, but it looks similar to other cables claiming to have 90-100% copper coverage.

The single copper spiral shielding contributes to the cable’s flexibility. One downside to this design is that gaps open up in the spiral when the cable is bent. These gaps won’t restore, so the overall coverage degrades over time.

Braided shielding found in the Canare L-4E6S XLR cable is less flexible but more resistant to degradation. The interwoven strands work together to close up any gaps.

There’s also a layer of cotton yarn in-between the shielding and the twisted pair conductors. This prevents friction and shorting inside the cable and helps to maintain the cable’s shape.

Amazon Basics XLR Cable Connectors

We would say that the XLR connectors used by Amazon are medium to low quality. We haven’t experienced it, but there are a lot of online reports that these connectors don’t fit every XLR device.

The connectors are silver, which is something we like to avoid, as we think black connectors just look a lot better. The XLR pins are also silver, making them less resistant to corrosion than higher-quality gold components.

In terms of wiring, we found the connections were well soldered and protected with shrinkwrap, which isn’t a common feature on budget cables.  

Amazon Basics XLR Cable Applications (Studio & Stage)

Amazon suggests that this cable is suitable for use in both studio and live sound environments. We think it’s better suited to live sound due to the strengths of the twisted pair design.

We’d estimate that around 10% of users would have issues with buzzing and other electromagnetic noise using this cable in a studio setup. Especially if you’re running it near guitar amps, speakers, computers, and monitors.

Amazon Basics XLR Cable Overall Recommendation

If you’re brand new to audio and trying to record your first podcasts or live streams, the Amazon Basics XLR cable is a great option for you. If you have problems with it, any downtime returning it to Amazon for a replacement isn’t a huge deal.

However, if you’ve invested a lot of money in a microphone and audio interface, you’re obviously wanting quality. I that case, we think you’ll be much happier with an XLR cable that is known to be more reliable than the Amazon Basics model.

If you’re doing professional work for paying clients, you don’t want to suffer the embarrassment of an inexpensive cable failing. It’ll make you look bad and unreliable, which is terrible for business.

Amazon Basics XLR Cable Review Equipment Pricing

Amazon Basics XLR Cable Review Topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:05 – Specs
  • 0:29 – Price
  • 1:02 – Available Colors
  • 1:23 – Available Lengths
  • 1:54 – Cable Flexibility
  • 2:18 – Cable Conductors
  • 3:25 – Cable Shielding
  • 5:45 – XLR Connectors
  • 7:46 – Application (Studio & Stage)
  • 8:40 – Recommendation
  • 10:16 – Final Thoughts