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Old September 16th, 2007, 09:36 PM   #1
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Favorite XLR cables?

I've spent the last few months building my kit one piece at a time -- a microphone here, a boom pole there. Finally, all the pieces came together this month, just in time for a shoot I had this afternoon. I had a Rode NT3 that I'd bought on eBay and a Gitzo carbon-fiber boom pole I'd bought from FullCompass; the eBay seller had thrown in a long (25 feet, I think) XLR cable for the NT3.

My one mistake? I didn't test the cable. I knew the mic worked; I'd used it with a short XLR cable and an on-camera mount earlier this summer for a quick intro to a customer service video (before I got the boom pole, which took six weeks on backorder).

So I got to the shoot this afternoon, set up the boom pole, did a sound check -- and got nothing. After a couple of tries, I narrowed down the problem to the cable -- I put the NT3 into the on-camera mount, plugged in the short XLR cable, and I had sound. Not the ideal setup -- fortunately, this was a volunteer job for a friend, and the sound was still pretty good (just a bit echo-y from bouncing off the walls).

But now I'm on the lookout for a good XLR cable. B&H and FullCompass both have LOTS to choose from and a wide range of prices; any recommendations?
Katrina Spires is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2007, 04:47 AM   #2
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Huh Katrina? you got nothing with that cable? Mighty strange indeed, you need to find out why. First off as the cable has XLR connectors either end, you did plug them in fully? Try it again and check the correct settings are on the cam. Sorry to seem so basic here.

Does that cable have scuff marks on it?, does it look used, are there dents in the plugs? Did it come wrapped in a new packaging?

What brand names are on both XLR connectors and the cable? If there's none at all, then that's an indication why the seller wanted to get rid of it.

But if there's respected names like Canon or Neutrik on the plugs, then maybe it's wired up wrong. Take it to a sound shop and ask them to test it. Maybe it took a wrong turn at the makers shop.

But if you're well past all that, all similar cables you buy from BnH will work. Go by price to get the quality. 25 feet is not very long in terms of balanced audio.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 04:59 AM   #3
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For best noise rejection with long cables, quad cables are more reliable than regular cables, though some might say a bit more fragile. The "big names" are Mogami and Canare. Connectors from Neutric, Canon, Switchcraft. But in truth, most any mainstream manufacturers cables should be just fine. Get yourself an inexpensive cable tester such as the one from Behringer - only about $50 - to make sure everything is up to par before leaving for a shoot - anything can break.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 07:15 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Katrina Spires View Post
... any recommendations?
I recommend building your own. It's not difficult, and once you learn how, it can be a benefit whenever you have cable problems in the future. If you use high quality components, build it right, and take care of it, it'll last as long as anything you can buy 'ready made'. I'm still using mic cables I made 30 years ago! Oh, and ALWAYS keep a spare around, "Just In Case".

If you need help locating the parts, let me know, I'm not far from you.

These are my own opinions, based on my own mistakes...
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