We’ve used nearly every XLR cable on the market, and we put this guide together to share what we’ve learned from our experience.

It can be surprising to learn about all of the different components that separate high-quality XLR cables from cheap XLR cables. We’ve done our best to demonstrate the differences and explain why it matters in your home studio for music production, podcasting, live streaming, and other audio applications.

Best XLR Cables

  1. Canare Star Quad (Best Overall)
  2. Mogami Gold Studio (Most Expensive)
  3. Amazon Basics (Least Expensive)
  4. Hosa Technology Pro (Great Value)

We’ve selected the top 4 cables that we think you should consider when looking for XLR cable. Depending on your needs or budget, you will find what you’re looking for.

Quick Answer: We believe that Canare XLR cables offer the best value. They have excellent quality, shielding, flexibility, connectors, and they’re available in various color and length options. Canare XLR cables are suitable for the studio and on stage.

XLR Cable Considerations

Every XLR cable is made of three parts:

  • Connector – Used to connect the cable to your equipment (Microphone, interface, mixer, etc.)
  • Conductor – Internal wires, or cores
  • Shielding & Insulation – How the Conductor is protected. Typically a combination of pvc, foil, cotton yarn, copper, and/or TAC. The shielding may be wrapped, braided, or non-existant on various XLR cables.

Below, you will find some of the criteria worth considering when comparing XLR Cables.

XLR Cable Price

XLR Cable Parts

Of course, price is essential. You want to ensure that you’re not overpaying or spending money on features you won’t notice. We only recommend XLR microphone cables that we believe offer high value and accurately reflect the quality you’re expecting.

XLR Cable Flexibility

As a general rule, your XLR cable in the studio doesn’t need to be as flexible as the XLR cable used on stage.

Studio cable will generally prioritize better shielding and sacrifice some flexibility.

Cables used on stage (live events) will generally need to be more flexible and don’t require as much shielding because it’s not as noticeable in a live environment.

XLR Cable Conductors

Twisted Pair vs Star Quad XLR Cable

There are two popular cable conductor options:

  • Two Copper Wires (Twisted Pair) – More flexible, less expensive
  • Four Copper Wires (Star Quad) – More stiff, better noise rejection, more expensive

An XLR cable with two copper wires is the most popular option for most XLR Cables. The Star-Quad design with four copper wires is more expensive but is becoming increasingly popular.

Generally speaking, the more copper you have in your cable (four wires vs two), the more reliable your audio signal will be.

XLR Cable Shielding

Braided vs Spiral XLR Cable

There are three popular forms of XLR Cable shielding:

  • PVC – Plastic/Rubber Combination used to wrap individual copper stands and/or the entire xlr cable.
  • Cotton Yarn – Used to wrap internal sections of the cable.
  • Aluminum Foil – Also used to wrap internal sections of the cable.
  • Copper Spiral Braid – Extremely popular form of shielding.
  • Copper Braid – Better Shielding, Less Flexible, more expensive
  • TAC Braid – Tin Plated Copper

XLR Connectors

XLR Connectors

There are many different manufacturers of XLR Cable connectors, but as a general rule Neutrik Connectors are known to be much better than the competition (Rean, Monoprice, Sunrise, etc.)

Gold is not as good of a connector as silver but has a greater level of corrosion resistance. Many people prefer the look of the gold-plated connector.

Some low-quality manufacturers will have connectors that are slightly out-of-spec and don’t easily fit in all devices. Even a small difference can make the cable unusable.

As a side note, we always prefer black XLR connectors. They look better on stage and on camera.

Best XLR Cables – Our Recommendation

1. Canare Star Quad XLR Cable – Best Overall

We believe that Canare XLR cables are the best value XLR cables on the market. They have great quality, shielding, flexibility, connectors and they’re available in a variety of color and length options.

These are the cables that we use in our studio.

Flexible, satin-smooth to the touch, and extra strong, this is the most versatile XLR cable that we have ever used. We recommend this cable to everyone as their first choice.

The Canare XLR Cables offer high-quality shielding for the studio while somehow (magically?) offering an extremely flexible cable for use on stage.

  • Price: Medium-High (Check Current Price)
  • Application: Studio or Stage
  • Color: Black, Blue, Green, Red, White, Orange, Purple
  • Flexibility: Highly flexible & easy to use
  • Cable Conductors: Star Quad (Four copper conductors)
  • Cable Shielding: 95% Tinned-Annealed Copper (TAC) Braid
  • Connector: Pro-Grade Neutrik XLR Connectors Black/Gold

2. Mogami Gold Studio XLR Cable – Most Expensive, Best Shielding

Mogami Gold Studio XLR Cable is a high-quality, star-quad cable engineered for maximum rejection of RFI and EMI, accurate signal transmission with low noise, and durability.

The Mogami Gold Studio XLR Cable is the most expensive out of all the cables that we tested. They are more stiff than the Canare XLR Cable but include heavier shielding. If you’re in an environment with A LOT of Electronic interference, you may require the Mogami Gold Studio XLR Cable.

  • Price: High (Check Current Price)
  • Application: Studio
  • Color: Black
  • Flexibility: Stiff
  • Cable Conductors: Star Quad (Four copper conductors)
  • Cable Shielding: PVC & Bare Copper Spiral
  • Connector: Pro-Grade Neutrik XLR Connectors Black/Gold

3. Amazon Basics XLR Cable- Least Expensive

Amazon Basics XLR cables are the least expensive XLR cable that we can find on the market.

In general terms, the Amazon Basics cables work fine and are a decent option if you don’t have the budget for a higher quality cable. In most environments, you will find their shielding is suitable. However, if you’re having issues with your equipment, we recommend upgrading these before trying anything else.

  • Price: Low (Check Current Price)
  • Application: Stage, may receive interference in Studio
  • Color: Black
  • Flexibility: Light weight and flexible
  • Cable Conductors: Two copper conductors
  • Cable Shielding: PVC & Bare Copper Spiral
  • Connector: Generic/Unknown Natural/Silver

4. Hosa Technology Pro XLR Cable – Affordable, Good Value

If you’re looking for a “middle of the road” XLR cable. Hosa XLR cables have always been extremely good to us. The price is affordable if you need to buy a high volume of cable (production company, live sound, DJ, etc.), and the cables have a great quality.

We trust Hosa with a ton of different cables in our studio and with our live sound company. They are one of the best options if you don’t need, or cannot afford a star-quad cable (Canare, or Mogami).

  • Price: Mid (Check Current Price)
  • Application: Stage
  • Color: Black
  • Flexibility: Flexbile and very usable
  • Cable Conductors: Two copper conductors
  • Cable Shielding: 90% Oxygen-Free Spiral
  • Connector: REAN XLR Connector Black/Silver

Best XLR Cable Comparison

Canare XLRMogami Gold XLRAmazon BasicsHosa Pro
Best UseStudio/StageStudioStageStage
Cable ColorVariousBlackBlackBlack
ConductorsStar QuadStar QuadTwisted PairTwisted Pair
TAC Braid
Copper Spiral
Copper Spiral
OFC Copper Spiral
ConnectorNeutrik XLRNeutrik XLRGenericREAN XLR
XLR ColorBlack / GoldBlack / GoldSilver / SilverBlack / Silver
KC Rank1243