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 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.

We’ve selected the top 4 cables you should consider when looking for XLR cable. You will find what you’re looking for depending on your needs or budget.

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)

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 TAC. The shielding may be wrapped, braided, or non-existant on various XLR cables.

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

XLR Cable Price

XLR Cable Parts

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

XLR Cable Flexibility

Generally, 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), your audio signal will be more reliable.

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 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 a connector as silver but has greater corrosion resistance. Many people prefer the look of the gold-plated connector.

Some low-quality manufacturers will have slightly out-of-spec connectors that 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, and connectors and are available in various 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 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 we tested. They are stiffer 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 we can find on the market.

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: Lightweight 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 great quality.

We trust Hosa with many 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 XLR
Mogami Gold XLR
Amazon Basics
Hosa Pro
Best Use
Cable Color
Star Quad
Star Quad
Twisted Pair
Twisted Pair
TAC Braid
Copper Spiral
Copper Spiral
OFC Copper Spiral
Neutrik XLR
Neutrik XLR
XLR Color
Black / Gold
Black / Gold
Silver / Silver
Black / Silver
KC Rank

Best XLR Cable FAQ

Do high quality XLR cables make a difference?

Yes, a high quality XLR cable will provide better shielding agains interference and will last longer. High quality connectors will have a better fit with your microphone.

Does it matter what XLR cable you get?

Most XLR cables “work”, but a high quality XLR cable with reject interference better and be more reliable over a long period of time.

What XLR cable should I buy for SM7B?

We recommend using a Canare Star Quad XLR cable for the Shure SM7B. It’s not as expensive as Mogami, but it still has a star quad design, high quality shielding, and Neutrik connectors. You can get Canare XLR cables in a variety of colors and they are our favourite cables to use.

Why is Mogami the best?

Mogami has the best conductors and shielding out of any XLR cable that we’ve tested. This means that they have an extremely low signal to noise ratio and will protect the integrity of your signal better than other cables.

Are Mogami XLR cables worth it?

Mogami XLR cables are very nice, they’re the best quality cables that we’ve tested. That being said, I don’t believe they are worth the cost over other high quality brands like Canare.

Are cheap XLR cables OK?

Cheap XLR cables may work for you but they have smaller conductors, less shielding, and worse connectors than a high quality cable. Over a long period of time, you may notice that you get some interference or the cables don’t last like a high quality cable does.

Is Mogami better than Canare?

Mogami cables have more shielding than Canare, but aren’t worth being double the cost. Both cables have a start quad design and more than enough shielding to protect you from interference in the most demanding environments.

Is it OK to daisy chain XLR cables?

Yes, you can connect XLR cables together up to a theoretical limit of 1000ft (300m). In practice, the results will vary depending on the quality of cable, connectors, and shielding that your cables have.

Are XLR cables different than DMX Cables?

Yes, XLR and DMX cables are different. You should always use an XLR cable for audio and DMX cable for lighting.