The Myth Of The Perfect Mic Cable

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Which brand of microphone cables will help you get the best recordings? It seems like such an absurd question really. But recently I’ve received a few emails from readers asking for my opinion on this very topic and it troubles me. I mean no dis-respect to anyone who has asked this question, but the “perfect mic cable” is just a myth.


TRR128 The Myth of the Perfect Mic Cable

Via Andres Moreno Flickr

You’re Missing The Point

If you’re looking to improve your recordings you’ve come to the right place. I don’t claim to be the expert on all things recording, but this website is chock full of helpful tips, tricks, and tutorials that will take your recordings to the next level. But if you’re starting to zoom so far into the gear equation that you are debating microphone cable brands, then you are missing the point.

Have you mastered mic placement? Are you using EQ and compression as well as you can? Do you reference your tracks on multiple speakers? If you already have all of that down and there is absolutely nothing in your studio for you to improve upon then be my guest, go buy some expensive XLR cables. But for the rest of us, debating mic cable brands is a grand waste of time.

A Cable Is A Cable

Are all microphone cables created equal? Not according to a lot of people I suppose (people who make and sell cables). Whether it’s the thickness or materials used, there is a business model that exists to hype features that you don’t need in order to sell you a more expensive product. That’s all.

Sure a more expensive brand cable might be better made, could last longer, and might have a better warranty, but as far as sending signal from your mics to your preamps, they sound just the same as their budget counterparts. If you think you can hear the difference then you are either blessed with super human hearing or you are just fooling yourself.

Looking In The Wrong Place

My biggest problem with the microphone cable myth is that it distracts people from what’s truly important, the art of recording. If you truly want better recordings, spend your time and energy on things like mic placement, performance, EQ, compression, not swapping out random gear. Not to mention there are so many more areas in your studio’s signal chain that actually affect your sound (preamps, converters, plugins etc.), why would you look at your mic cables?

If you’ve ever wrestled with this myth, please don’t take my words as insensitive or ignorant. I’m not calling you out. I just don’t want people to waste their time, money, or energy on things that won’t help. 


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88 Responses to “The Myth Of The Perfect Mic Cable”

  1. Bruce

    I def get what your saying in this article. I would like to say tho i have def seen that certain brands are better than others in terms of noise. I just purchased a presonus eureka off ebay. For the longest time i kept hearing some kinda noise. Not noticiable but was def not there before. I tried a diff mic cable. Noise was gone. Im not writting better songs because of it but i def am glad i made the switch.

    • Chango

      I tested two different cables on volcals. One sounded harsh in the mids and highs.the other cable made my mic sound the way it supposed to sound smooth and low noise.could this just be a faulty cable?all settings in where the same by the way.

    • Clark Souter

      Cables matter hugely! Almost every huge hit engineer will tell you this. From instrument to mic, it is a relatively inexpensive way to make things sound better. And I don’t think there is any signal analysis device that can measure all that makes one cable sound better than another. Use you ears and A/B something like the most basic gtr cable against a Mogami platinum and your ears will tell you! BIG DIFFERENCE. Just ask the worlds most successful producer Mutt Lange.

      • A

        this is insane.. i can now dismiss about everything grant says regarding gear. not all of us are “just learning” and working with mickey mouse gear. if you haven’t heard the difference in two cables by now you’ve had your head in a hole. not just in tone, but rejection of EMI and RFI, not to mention noise floor. MAAAAAAYBE mic line/ balanced line levels suffer the least of the line levels we deal with out there, but venture into instrument cabling and speaker cabling, and these examples will show their extremes.. if your tweaking plugins on some yamaha whatevers in your bedroom, don’t worry about your cables, they won’t help. but if you actually have the situation, almost anyone can hear the difference in noise performance.

  2. Dave

    If certain cables were empirically better, you could see the difference in the analog waveforms… which the manufacturers would be posting pictures or graphs of all over the place. But they don’t. I wonder why?

    • rick

      sorry. wrong. (and what cheap ass brands are you using, where they dont show the improved waveforms, which are self-checkable, btw.

  3. Chuck

    Agreed. I am a big fan of for mic cables. The price seems too good to be true (often under $10), but they have held up really well so far in the 4 years I have been using them.

    I tried their guitar cables too… not so good. They were microphonic (all kinds of noise just from moving around), but MonoPrice has good customer service and took them back without issue. It’s also a great place for HDMI cables and all kinds other cables (no, I don’t work for them, just love their prices).

  4. Frank Nitsch

    Hi Graham,

    in general I second your opinion on the question about mic cables. It’s the same (silly) question like what is the best microphone, what is the best mic preamp, what is the best guitar and what is the best guitar amp. In order make a statement about the best unit we would need to have an agreement on the term “best”. What characteristics are influencing the judgment? A mic cable is fortunately one of those pieces of equipment most people want to let the signal travel through without coloring. However there might be situations, where coloring is desired as an effect. Still there is no cable, which works best with all microphones and all mic preamps. There are always different capacities and inductances attached to different devices and finally all connected pieces need to work together. Taking only 3 different mics, 3 different cables and 3 different preamps gives you 27 different combinations you would need to compare. They would sound different, but you could hardly tell, which one sounds best. You could only tell, which one works best for the given signal you want to record. Correction: which one you like best for the given signal you want to record. Of course you could test all 27 combinations in an acoustically treated test room with analyzers and reference equipment to find the most linear sounding combination, but guess what: it wouldn’t be the combination that sounds best with your signal source – most probably…
    I believe to remember one of your articles about limitation. It just helps to NOT go into this level of detail as you already mentioned. It distracts you from the goal of recording music. You could easily spend all your time optimizing your equipment on this level, but it would be of little help at the end.
    I find myself doing such comparisons – not being after the most linear signal, but after the best sounding -, but that’s because I like to spend time for such technical things. It’s hard to not loosing focus due to such activities though. 😉

    Take care


  5. Bob Sorace

    I agree with you on this however, spending the extra money on a monster cable can save you in the long run with their lifetime warranty (if you feel like jumping through the hoops and wait for a replacement.) But you’re right about “hearing” a differance, I get into arguements with sales guys all the time about this when I’m buying an HDMI cable or audio cables… Cables are kinda like buying a soda at Jack in the Box: the soda costs them next to nothing, the cup costs pennies but they charge you $1.89 for a medium drink. That’s where they make their money, same with cables, the cost to make a cable is next to nothing, but they charge an arm and a leg for it. Scam, just like extended warranties!!!

  6. Matt

    If you just want to make great music, focus on songwriting and technique (props to Graham). But if you’re like me and actually enjoy geeking out on the minutiae of gear quality, make your own cables! You can make Monster-quality cables yourself for a fraction of the price and it’s fun! 5-minute tutorial:

    • rick

      theres no difference in mono guitar cables. you shouldn’t hear any difference. mic cables are drastically differnet.

        • ToxicTabasco

          I agree, I have several guitar (instrument) cables that I use. 3 have very different tone characteristics, and all 3 are different lengths and quality. One is very clear and works great with guitars, and one has a good low end so I use it for bass, and the other sounds muddy, so I don’t use it. However with mic cables, I hear no difference in tone, just very little volume differences. The cheapest one has noise and carries a weak signal. The shorter more expensive ones show no noise on my DAW and their signals are stronger, or should I say the volume level is higher. Not a huge difference but one that can be seen in wave form.

  7. Martin

    I couldn’t agree more with this, I’ve got XLR cables with Neutrik connectors, but in all fairness I really can’t tell the difference in sound between those and my cheaper cables. The only time I’ve ever heard a noticeable difference with cabling is with instrument cables, I had a cheaper instrument cable once that I then upgraded to a Planet Waves one. All of a sudden, my guitar tone sounded clearer, it had more low end and the mid-range sweetened.

  8. Andrew

    I’m sure people are willing to stone me after making this comment but:


    Now as for will it hold you back from making a great record if you have a decent cable (No it won’t!!!!!). Although a crappy cable can cause ground buzz and other recording problems so it can be debatable.

    Aside from that I recommend the mogami cables for Vocal mics and monster cables for guitars (Mogami cables Especially if you use an Sm57 which needs a lot of gain and you don’t want electrical buzz. Relatively cheap and you don’t have to worry about buzzes considering you have a DECENT interface and other stuff. Noticed I stressed DECENT.. it doesn’t have to be EXPENSIVE to make quality recordings).


    Alright.. I am ready to be stoned LOL!

    • Frank Nitsch

      I think nobody said that people should use crappy cables and that it wouldn’t make a difference compared to decent cables. Of course one should use decent quality cables to avoid noise, crackling sound and buzz. But that’s it mainly. Well, don’t get the cheapest stuff, but don’t spend a bargain either. Graham just meant that I would say… 😉

  9. Pete Woj

    Graham, I dig what you’re saying here. But, I was recently using budget/cheap cables in my project studio and was suffering from unwanted noise/lack of clarity in some recordings. Working backwards I found out this noise was coming from the cables… (i buy from Unique Squared a bit and they often throw in 20 ft Whirlwind XLR cables with purchases). I also just added another set of monitors to my studio (I wanted a very different type of monitor to compare and contrast mixes from my current set of monitors and headphones) and was debating upgrading all of the cables in my rig as well. I emailed Joe Gilder (i own and have studied every video you and Joe have available for purchase) asking what his opinion on high end cables were, to which he replied, and I quote, “Nicer cables DO sound better than really cheap ones. I’ve shot out Pro Co with Monster before, and even my wife heard a difference. Not that you need super high-end stuff, but you definitely don’t want the really cheap stuff either. It takes away too much from the sound (esp the lows and highs).” I kind of agree with him, and recently outfitted my entire rig (outboard gear link cables, balanced monitor cables, and XLR & 1/4″ cables for mics and instruments) with Mogami Gold Quad cables, and the sonic difference is tremendous. The cables are dead silent, and I’m now hearing low and high end frequencies that I couldn’t hear before.

    Now I’m not saying you need to get Mogami or Monster cables to have a quiet, highly detailed sounding rig, but you def don’t want the cheap stuff. In my opinion, there is a substantial difference between the cheap WhirlWinds I had versus the Mogami’s I am currently using. I completely agree with you on how vital mastering mic placement, using eq and compression properly/to the best of our ability, and referencing tracks on multiple speakers/sound sources…. Dont get me wrong. Those things are way more important than outfitting your studio w/ Mogami’s. BUT: if you are doing a lot of those things mentioned well and often, then upgrading your cables (IMO) is worth it. Just my $.02. Keep up the fantastic work, Graham! Cheers : )

  10. Andreas Frantz

    Not so long ago I started to notice this buzz from my microphone and I was suspecting my old mic had seen it’s last day but then I borrowed a cable from my room-mate and the buzz was gone. I’m not saying you should strive to get the best cable available and that the cable will do the job for you, but don’t buy the cheapest cable in the store because there might be worth it to add a couple of dollars for the one in the price range just above that one. I had had my cable for a couple of years but still, it’s something to think about.

    A cable won’t make you better at recording but it can help to solve some problem that is really hard to fix in the mix (even though you should never use that expression, it fits quite well here, haha).

  11. Evan Bradford

    Cheap cables die… and quick if they’re used regularly. I highly recommend buying a soldering iron (awesome and inexpensive from and making your own. You can get Mogami cable and Neutrik connectors from Redco or Markertek and make high quality cables for a fraction of what they’d cost to buy preassembled… probably close to the cost of a cheap one. And if they break, you can repair them yourself.

    In my opinion, basic soldering skills are indispensable to anyone involved in audio engineering for a number of reasons, one of the most important being that it can save you TONS of money. Buying pre-made cabling for all of your gear is insanely expensive compare to DIYing it.


  12. Brooks

    I think it is also a quantity v. quality issue… I can only afford a 4 input interface, I don’t need to be wasting money on trying a bunch of cables to find the ‘best’ one.. or the one that will improve my recordings.. that being said, if I could buy 1 or 2 cables (figure different connectors will be needed) that were of lasting quality, and while not discernible to my ear, supposedly sonically better, i’d rather do that then continue to purchase, or bulk purchase budget cables which I have had wear out on me on a regular basis.. I’d rather save that money to eventually purchase one or two other quality pieces of gear.

    All that being said.. I truly appreciate the ‘just go for it’ mentality that you project on your blog.. making a recording doesn’t require mogami.. and doing it is what is most important.

    Every gear purchase should be an investment, cables are no exception. Making a reasonable (to your situation) and effective investment, and then rolling with it is what is important.. spending more time researching than actually practicing is where any gear question begins to negatively affect your progression as a mixer.

    I am extremely guilty of that, just for the record.

  13. Russell Barton

    I’m pretty sure Graham is not diminishing the necessity for quality cables. There are so many factors that can mess with your signal. The gauge of wire used (larger diameters allow for less resistance and better signal flow) not that I can say what is best for various mics and preamps, it’s just basic science. Also, another thing that some people don’t even realize, is that length can effect the drop in signal if it is excessively long. If a signal is just way too quiet, ask yourself if your cable may be too long, or longer than necessary, especially when applied to low impedance output sources. Use the shortest possible cable for the job, or at least if it has to be longer check the wire gauging to see if it will adequately carry the signal. One more thing that effects signal which is relative to length issues… coiling your wire… How many times if we have a cable that is too long for the application, we resort to coiling it into a neat little stack to keep it out of the way? Coiled wire = electro-magnetic field. Of course it effects sound, it is what drives our speakers. And then again this can be remedied by the appropriate length, as to keep us from coiling the extra footage. One of the old timer tricks we learned in welding was to coil our wire if we wanted some drop in amperage. It was useful for fine tuning a perfect heat, and kept you from running back and forth to the welding machine 😀

    I believe the whole point of this article though is to wake us up and keep ourselves from making progress and music, and not get hung up on popular opinion about brand names or marketing fads. After all, my Chevy can get me just as big a speeding ticket as my neighbors Porsche at 1/4 the cost.

    God Bless!

    • Brooks

      I think that is spot on. Electronics is like pipe and water, you have to find the balance between pressure and diameter to maintain an good flow.

  14. bobby

    i have not compared high-end mic cables to budget or low-end mic cables. not being a wise-ass, but it sounds as none of the others who commented have either. mogami, monster cable, ect. is not high end by any stretch of the imagination. it is one step above quality of cables supplied with cheap audio components. high end are brands such as audioquest, nordost,acoustic zen, shunyata research. i don’t know if they make mic cables, [probally do], but i own and can comment on interconnect, speaker, and power cables from some of these companies. they make a HUGE difference. but to give an example of prices of true high end cables. nordost offers a 1 meter pair of interconnects for around $3,500.00 purist audio designs has some for around $15,000.00 per 1 meter, some power cords go for $4,000.00-$6,000.00. and yes you can hear the difference, on good equipment. my wife, upon hearing a power cord i was testing, told me i was not returning it, she wanted me to buy it, and the washer and dryer we needed could wait. again, i have not compared mic cables, but this is my experience with power, interconnect, and speaker cable.

    • Brooks

      i think you are talking Boutique to say the least, especially seeing as you are posting on a blog aimed at home and small business recording establishments. Perspective has a lot to do with the idea of ‘high-end’ and ‘budget’.. i hope no one here is planning on taking out a second mortgage on their home or business to buy a couple metres of cabling, regardless of it’s purpose.

      • Pete Woj

        I concur with Brooks. This is not the blog/website where anyone in their sane mind would spend between 3,500 to 15k for a meter of cable. Gearsluts this is not. Anyone who would spend 15k for a meter of cable needs a psychiatrist, not a home/project studio.

    • Evan Bradford

      It’s funny how different the audiophile world can be from the recording world (not knocking it by any means). I’d agree that the brands you mentioned are audiophile/boutique, and that’s awesome, some people are into that. A big difference is that audiophiles are striving to have the best quality audio reproduction systems and environments, so they focus on amplifiers, speakers, room acoustics, etc, while studio owners/engineers need to focus on these things, but also microphones, preamps, consoles, outboard gear, software, etc to capture AND reproduce multiple sources at once. My point is that the scope of gear and whatnot in the studio world is larger than audiophile, and there are numerous places where they could spend those thousands of dollars that would make a much bigger difference than on cabling.

      I work at a world-class studio, and it’s all wired with Mogami. I honestly can’t fathom how much it would cost to do the literal miles of lines in a place like that with the boutique/audiophile stuff. And unless someone just has WAY too much money to spend, especially with the rate at which the big studios are shutting down, I’d say it’s a safe bet that none of them are. In my experience, Mogami is pretty much standard for high-end audio applications. And definitely better than the budget stuff – I had a Pyle Audio snake for a while that I used for some live stuff I was doing. It started to fail, and I naturally assumed it was the connectors, so I started replacing them. Well, I got a few done, went to test it, and it was still having the exact same issues. The only thing that I can figure is that the actual wiring inside the snake was failing. Just some food for thought.


      PS – I’ve also had experience with multiple microphone cables from my local music store being wired out of phase. Granted, these were branded by the local store, but I would imagine they’re made by one of the budget companies and rebranded. Something worth checking.

  15. Havard

    I agree with you on the audible differences – they are none. However, del cheap cables may have bad or no shielding, which makes them prone to pick up noise. Cheap cables also typical have cheap xlr plugs, and thus the lock tend to break. Also, with cheap solder points, they tend not to last very long. A good cable will have sufficient shielding, good solder points, and good xlr plugs, and will last for years of use.

    • ToxicTabasco

      I agree. Good mic cable is worth the money if you spend a good cash on a DI and Bass guitar. After all, some people pay upwards of $30 to change strings on a bass before recording. I would not hesitate to drop $50 to $60 on a decent XLR cable from my DI to interface. And, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop $100 on a good instrument cable to run my bass to the DI. Lifetime warranty is a good thing to have if you’re young, and plan to play instruments and record for a long time. I consider cable management a investment.

      Nevertheless, I understand what Graham is saying. And I agree, most decent $30 mic cables don’t have a significant difference in sound quality as the $100 mic cables. With that said, if I was using a $1500 ribbon mic, I would not hesitate to drop $100 on a good quality built mic cable that had a lifetime warranty. Because If I was recording with high end gear, I would need to make a lot of money, and money is time, and $100 for a good mic cable is time well spent.

  16. Harvey

    While this is true in the respect that often it’s an unnoticable difference, for an extra few quid it’s worth getting a better quality cable as I’ve had lots of crap XLRs break on me and inconvenient times. Plus you need to be careful you get BALANCED xlrs otherwise you’re inevitably going to pick up more noise in your recordings… havent seen many mentions of that in this thread

  17. Matthis

    I agree that in an overall mix you might not hear detailed differences but it’s not true that you will get the same sound with every cable.
    I have tried it several times and depending on the length an material som cables really cut off some of the high frequencies. no kiddin, some of them work like a low pass filter

  18. Mike Sorensen

    Hi Graham,

    Enjoyed the article on mic cables. I know engineers who use just two different cable types which they say produces two different “sounds”. They like the sonic flexibility.

    I think this is an usage that fits well with placing the art of recording first over the gear. Maybe a set of two different cable types with the same gear does give the engineer a little more “paint on the palette”.

    The hi-fi world has some wild examples of cables. I saw a speaker cable the other day that was $6,000 USD a pair for 8′. Yikes!


  19. Eliot

    There is a great difference in types of microphone cable and guitar cable.
    Standard mic cables are all about the same you are correct.
    But there are different kinds of cable.
    A diamond quad microphone cable actually does help reduce outside interference, and as one poster thought, they do post pictures of the difference on an oscilloscope. That is very real and empirical. Mogomi makes some and so does Canari. On guitar cables it has to do with the impedance of the cable, very high is what you want so that it doesn’t load the pickups which are very high impedance.
    Also, there is no substitute for a gold plated connection, if you don’t have gold at least on one side of a connection the connector can pick up radio signals, which I’m sure we all have witnessed. Using gold can totally eliminate radio pickup.

    • Frank Nitsch

      Hi Eliot, is it really that easy to getting rid of radio signals? Why is this the case? Currently I don’t have a “reliable” situation for picking up radio signals, that’s why I cannot try it out. If this however was true, it would be wise to have a gold plated plug on one side of each cable – just to be safe… Would it be important to have different materials on the junction points or just gold plating on at least one side (or even on both)? Some background on this would be great. 🙂

      • Eliot

        Sure, a gold to gold connection is always the best chemically speaking.
        The reasons are many; gold does not tarnish or rust – always a good contact. no other metal can claim this; any other dissimilar metal junctions form a semiconductor known as a diode or Rectifier. Diodes allow current to pass easier in one direction. Diodes made of galena and a “cat’s whisker” (small steal wire) where used as diodes to turn high frequency modulated radio waves (AM) into audio. These were called “Crystal sets”. Crystal sets are made of a coil of wire and a diode. In much the same way a long microphone cable and a tin to copper connection for example is essentially a crystal set waiting to receive a signal. Guitar cords because of their high impedance are extremely sensitive to this.
        Gold on one side of a connection can often get rid of the scratchy sounds made when moving the connector while in use passing audio. Frank you are correct, if you can get gold on both sides of a connection it’s as good as it can get, which is very good. Even a slight connection is good.
        Again you don’t need solid gold, gold plating will do.

        Dissimilar metals (unless one side is gold) are always bad and a risk. This applies to all connectors in any industry.

        all of those other claims on high end $5000 speaker and mic cables about oxygen free conductors and such? Well they are just ready to rust.

        I’ve purchase many gold plated microphone cables over the year at very low cost ($5). In fact I have some over 20 years old and they still work great.

        • Eliot

          I should clarify; copper microphone cables with gold plated connectors on each end.

          And for the hi-fi guy Bobby, buying $5000 speaker cables instead of a washer and dryer… Some good thick copper welding cable terminated with gold plated terminals at each end will outperform what you have. Around $150 but well worth it. You will hear the difference. My God…. I should should be selling this Stuff! LOL

  20. johnny cash guitar chord

    Hi just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of
    the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a
    linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same results.

  21. Jess

    I agree with the basic premise of this, however, it is factually wrong. A mic cable is not just a mic cable. The gauge, material number of conductors and shielding all are important, so are the quality (and I am talking the tolerances) of the connectors, Gold plating does you no good on something you are always plugging in and unplugging because A: the gold will eventually wear off and B: if you are plugging and unplugging things often, it wears away any “corrosion” or “tarnish” that connector had, which is the main reason for gold plating connectors in the first place. I would never in a million years waste my money on monster cables when I can buy quality cables with quad core, copper conductor, shielded cables with nuetrix or switchcraft connectors. They will last just as long as monster cables, the quad core rejects more noise than the standard dual core cables. But let’s be honest, for long runs it’s almost a must, for runs of a few feet, you can easily get away with dual core conductors. Whatever the case, the quality of the connectors must be good, if they break or wear out after a few uses, or don’t fit right to begin with, it doesn’t matter whether you have space age, oxygen free, octo-core, gold plated copper wire inside, you are still going to have issues with noise.

    • Eliot

      Jess, I’m looking for your “factually wrong” section. So, you agree the basic premise is correct. In my industry XLR cables can stay plugged in for a long time (decades to minutes) gold stays clean, silver and other connectors do not. I’m assuming that to get good thick gold plating you have to buy a good quality connector that was manufactured properly and the proper sizes etc. Nuetrix are the best IMHO. If I have to “Exercise (more like exorcize)” a connection to get rid of noise or rf bleed from somebody’s Blackberry someone’s going to be replacing that crappy non-gold connector. The best use for star quad is for short runs on very low output microphones, like ribbons and $2000 shot gun mics. They also help knock out mechanically induced sounds called microphonics. Using star quad for long runs (> 100 feet) is not a good idea because this will produce high frequency roll off. Use regular professional cable on those. Wait! better yet, hit a 24 bit A to D converter within about 20 feet and then distance doesn’t matter anymore. Seriously though, you have a good point on quality parts. It still is amazing to me people spending far too much for Monster cables when simple professional grade will do. But in defense of Monster,I don’t think they sell anything that isn’t gold plated. Anyway it is great seeing people doing high enough quality recording that things like this matter. thanks for the comment Jess!

      • Karl

        Eliot please get your names of brands correct. Some things you say sound educated, then you misspell every brand you speak of which makes me have serious doubts about your attention to detail and actual experience. I would like give you the benefit of the doubt please make it easier to do so!! hahah \

  22. Greywoud

    It would be neat if someone held an opinion based upon experience. What I have mostly read is assumption or circumstance. I met a guy from Audio Envy that provided several live demonstrations on my equipment and the difference was appreciated. In the end I bought several cables because the sound improvement was worth every penny. Doubt it if you want, when it sounds good it IS GOOD:)

    • Eliot

      I agree Greywoud, if it sounds better, it is better, for your situation.
      By the way, what cables did you buy from Audio Envy? I can tell you from first hand experience that almost every time I’ve had a connector problem it was because of inferior non-gold plated connectors on cables. I have also found that people don’t consider things like output impedance of the microphone in comparisons. 50 ohm microphones always seem to sound better on 50 foot cables than 600 ohm microphones; particularly if they are dynamic mics. FYI most audio cable is around 65 ohms. So you do have roll offs according to the particular impedance mismatch. I listened to a demonstration of a 300 ohm unshielded audio pair on a U87 and it sounded better than a normal 50 foot mic cable. Lots of variables. Some people do find the best sounding mic cord for a particular mic and only use that particular cord on the mic. And it makes good sense.

      • Greywoud

        I own the Audio Envy: Studio-Elite, Cinnamon-Pepper XLR, Live – instrument, and SP5 speaker wire. From what I understand, the shielding is a necessary evil that adds capacitance. Audio Envy developed a solution to minimize the problem.

  23. beerski

    Long story short- don’t waste your hard earned dollars on $100+ Mogami cables. Monster is good enough!

    • Pete Woj

      Actually, Monster cables are more expensive than Mogami. Lets use a good ol’ Male to Female XLR as an example. You can’t compare a Monster 100 series (mediocre, dual core cable) to a Mogami Gold Quad. You just cant. That’d be like comparing a Fender made in Mexico to a Fender made in the Custom Shop. They both get the job done and both Tele’s would twang, but one is a clearly superior instrument. With that said, lets compare a 10 foot Monster Studio Pro 1000 XLR ($79.95) to a 15 FOOT Mogami Gold Neglex Quad XLR ($54.95). You go with Mogami and you get the SAME Lifetime Warranty as Monster, you SAVE $25.00, AND you get an extra 5 feet of cable. Sweetwater doesn’t sell Mogami, just Monster. So go check out Musicians Friends cabling, prices, etc. and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that Mogami’s not only sound better in my humble opinion, but give you more cable for less $$$.

  24. HH Taylor

    Graham, I wish to show respect. However, maybe it is your hearing that is at fault. Numerous scientific methods disprove. A cable is just a cable. Personally I hear the difference. Just to make sure I visited a doctor for extensive hearing tests. Mine are pretty normal and I still hear huge differences . And again, I do not mean any harm or sarcasm. But have you actually had serious hearing tests done? You might end up being surprised. Respectfully, HH

    • Graham

      Not disrespected at all 🙂 I have friends in the industry that claim to hear a difference from cable to cable, but my point of view is that it’s really missing the point. You can make MUCH BIGGER strides in getting better recordings by improving your mic technique.

  25. Mark

    I would say it all depends on what kind of equipment you have on both ends of the balanced cable, as there might be different ways to wire up the cable internally that might help. Ex: lifting the ground on one end. Using drain wires, etc… A good cable is supple, well jacketed, and has good connectors… The contacts are all clean… The grounding scheme is right for the equipment you’re using…

    Here’s a good paper to read:

  26. Robert

    I agree for studio use where the cable is stationary, but I do think it depends on use. For ENG work where the cable and a boom pole will be moving a cheap cable can induce noise. RF can also be a problem with cheap cable.

  27. Joe Sacker

    I like your videos and articles. But this one… ehh…

    «If you truly want better recordings, spend your time and energy on things like mic placement, performance, EQ, compression».. Yeah I agree. I always spend lots of time on those things, and it makes big difference.

    But this?? «[…] why would you look at your mic cables?»

    Well the answer his here:

    The only difference is the cable. One with Klotz and one with Evidence Audio Melody.

    • Graham Cochrane

      The point of this article is that so many people look to everything else to get better recordings, rather than things that make the biggest difference: mic placement, choice, etc. Performance, tuning, arrangement, etc.

      • Mark Swantkowski

        I’ve used many different mic cables over the years, and I don’t hear any difference between high-end boutique cables and good quality general cables… I have settled on a good brand and quality level, and they are not very expensive: Audio Technica Premium mic cable… You can buy it with Neutrik connectors, and I think the connectors are just as important as the cable, maybe more so… Also the quality of the soldering makes a difference… Note: No affiliation with AT… Also agree that placement and judicious use of gain setting is important… (m.)

  28. Joe Sacker

    @Graham @Mark:

    I quote the article:
    «Sure a more expensive brand cable might be better made, could last longer, and might have a better warranty, but as far as sending signal from your mics to your preamps, they sound just the same as their budget counterparts. If you think you can hear the difference then you are either blessed with super human hearing or you are just fooling yourself.»

    Take your time and listen to this (only 20 seconds):

    The above link is a comparison of Klotz «standard» mic cable with Neutrik connectors, and Evidence Audio Melody with Neutric connectors.

    I believe YOU are fooling yourselves not taking the time to find a good sounding cable.

    I never said that this ain’t true: «If you truly want better recordings, spend your time and energy on things like mic placement, performance, EQ, compression» – I totally agree!

    But I am saying that the statement «A cable is a cable» is a lie!

  29. Realtalk

    This graham kid is a moron, mic cables all sound very different and you have to pick accordingly.

    • Hank Taylor

      Graham, you could not be any more uneducated on this matter. I have had hearing tests and I am not supehuman…But windings, guage, connection, all make a difference on any decent mic. Humidity in the room is huge, temperature is almost definable in the outcome of the produced sound. Ipromice I am not being rude, but you sound so arrogant about this and at a rather young age.

      • Graham Cochrane

        Hi Hank – It’s not arrogance. I just feel for so many of these people who are wasting their time swapping out cables when they should be practicing their craft in order to get better.

        Like I mentioned in a comment above – the point of this article is that mic cables aren’t the most important element of getting a great recording.

        It’s the same issues with converters and monitors. Everyone wants to look at gear as the missing ingredient in their recording’s quality when the majority of the time it’s the skill of the engineer, not the tool(s) he is using.

  30. Corpsecrank

    I’m more concerned with specific features like the shield type (spiral vs foil vs braid) and build quality of the cable as needed for specific applications. I think the best cable is the one that does what it should and holds up under the type of conditions it is in. If you need a cable that will be moved around a lot or stepped on a lot you need something durable. If you have a setup that is not moving at all you can get some really delicate cables and they will never break.

    I would have loved to hear more about the benefits of quality cables in this because I think a lot of people are looking for suggestions on cables not to improve sound quality but because they want a cable that is affordable and durable.

  31. Pierre Lefebvre

    Hi Graham,
    I understand your point when you said that people should work on mic placements, learning EQ’s, comp, etc. That’s the best advice you can give to us.
    That being said. I can say that there are a differences between a very good cable and a cheap one.

    There are people who cannot hear a difference and there are people who can affort it. (…)
    If you dont hear a difference… Well dont buy it.
    Why a telephone cable is so small ? Because it’s cheap. Because it only carry a part of the spectrum. Because high audio quality is not needed.
    If you want a better sound. Buy a cable with a bigger guage or with a better technology.

    People buy guitars and let pass the sound through a $25.00 cable. A bad cable will give a harsher sound. Less details in the mid frequencies, less bass.

    A good cable, (I mean a real good one) will give more presence. Try it with a bass and you will hear more details. Yes. even in the low frequency register.

    The example i can give you is it’s like if it put all the travelling signal in phase. That means that High frequencies, mids ans bass frequencires arrive at the same time at the other end of the cable when it enter in the microphone. less loss of bass. less nasal mids, less harsh frequencies. And more details.

    BUT… If you are using a $69.00 microphone. Dont but a cable that cost 4 time the microphone price. Go and work the microphone placement, etc. Lol
    By the way Graham, you did a real nice job on those recording and mixing. I think that people get the point. You dont have to have expensive gear to record and mix music.

    But dont tell cables will not make a difference. It will. Especially in studio. On stage, it’s another story.
    I suggest you to try some of these compagny. Especially those on that page:

    Good cables does make a sonic difference.

  32. Steve Walker

    Noise floor, Noise floor, Noise floor! Bad cables too noisey, good cables much quieter (50.00-70.00 variety). Higher end cables…a vain waste of money. I sell them, use them and listen to them for the past many years, and beyond a good OFC copper cable noise is almost non existent and nothing is more important than controlling noise in your recording technically speaking…nothing. Learn gain and compression for sure, but a good cable makes a huge difference and a very expensive cable is money you should put elsewhere…oh yeah killer mics rule too!

    Just a crusty old guy still twisting the knobs.

    • Graham

      Great thoughts Steve. Hope I’m still twisting knobs when I’m a crusty old guy 🙂

    • Pierre Lefebvre

      Reducing noise is one thing. Having a better signal is another. Steve and i didnt have the same ears sensibility. It’s funny. Some people try to convince others to not buy quality cables because they dont ear differences by themself. If you are not able to point out the (differences) Like better definition, Better bass. Less harsh highs, More present and clear mids and highs. Etc… And, if you have the chance, try different companies. It’s like guitar strings, they will gives different results.
      BUT ! What graham suggest is. The first and better way to get a good mix is to learn your software and how to tweak it to get the better sound possible. So, you can have a Formula1 car. But you have to learn how to drive it first if you want to win the race. And please, stop to look at cable specs. Cable specs will never tell you how it can sound. You have to listen to them to hear how they do sound.. Of coarse, you need to not have hearing problems and of coarse, you have to have the money to buy them… Tweek the knobs before buying gear… Lol

  33. Isaac Grinsdale

    I absolutely love The recording revolution. Graham is full of absolutely fantastic advice, and he should be listened to 99% of the time. This time he is WAY off… this is just totally untrue.

    Recently in the studio we compared a cheep Thoman cable on a re-amping session to a planet waves one. I could not believe my ears. Night and day difference. I was absolutely shocked that a simply cable could make such a difference!

    Actually quality cables are really empowering. And it really help down the line when mixing, things just sound…well more balanced. I’m currently selling some beloved gear to replace the cheeper cables in my recording chain.

    Anyway, don’t trust me… just do your own tests and you’ll see. I dare say Graham hasn’t, and he’s just resting on the assumption that ‘it’s just a cable’.

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  37. Jordan

    I disagree completely. Many cables have better signal to noise ratios. Less noise equals more headroom in your mixes. Also don’t replace your cables until you check the solder joints . Learn how to fix them as well. Don’t disregard anything in audio. Give it the respect it deserves

  38. Zarik

    Like other comments, I desagree completely and I’m surprised by your opinion. Better cable will give always better signal, and by the wat better sound.

    if the cable is so unimportant, why bother with balanced connections? You seem to think that people “lose time” to choose good cables. It’s not a waste of time, it is simply the pursuit of quality. Once the cable is purchased, the problem is solved, and we move on.

  39. Winston McMiller

    Totally disagree with you on this one, Gram.

    Coming from audiophile background. I was approached microphone cable wanting to use the finest materials available. 100% pure silver conductors came to mind. My Pure silver cable deliver fast transients and extended highs. I love them . Why not use silver XLR microphone cables? I kept getting this buildup of harsh frequencies around 1500hz on my vocals. Was it the microphone? Plugins?…Nope , IT WAS THE $800 MICROPHONE CABLE. I switched to a $14 copper XLR microphone cable and I didn’t even need a deeser at that point. Cables matter but don’t over spend.

    • Greywoud

      I agree that cables can add distortion and they can also step towards fidelity. They are a lot more fun than the public gives them credit for. If you shop wisely you can get a nice performance return on your dollar.

  40. Juan Carlos

    Hello from Mexico, I use Google translator.

    I am an architect and I know of electric cables, the quality is in the purity of the metal (gold until there is a difference in purity: 24k, 22k, 18k). A poor quality cable, consumes more energy.

    I guess the same goes for the sound.

    In the audio cables transference is different according to the purity of the metal, can verify this with different cables:

    Connect two wires of different brands, and record without using microphone, only cable and see their frequency analysis. The cheap cable increases the frequency after the 200 hz.

  41. Dan Grimm

    Most of you are as silly as the companies that brainwash you.


    Has no one here written a paper and cited PROOF?

    Without that, I reject most all of what you, and the persons’ opinion you recite, say.

    Sound is SCIENCE, and almost none of the posters here have posted ANY of that.




  1.  ‘The Myth Cable’ by The Recording Revolution blog | emiliano | caballero
  2.  Why Smart Engineers Wield Microphones With Purpose » The Recording Revolution

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