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Old March 15th, 2005, 06:20 AM   #1
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Different brands of XLR cables

I'm needing to buy some XLR cables. I see
B&H sells mostly Hosa and Audio Techinica
for about the same price. I know Audio
Technica usually has alright stuff, but
don't know about their cables specifically.
Hosa sounds like an off brand, but don't
know for sure. For twice as much cost I could
go with Canare cable and Neutrik
Anyone have any thoughts on or experience
with these brands?
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Old March 15th, 2005, 06:26 AM   #2
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I have used Hosa without issue for quite a few years. Seems to be the budget offering but so far has performed well...
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Old March 15th, 2005, 08:15 AM   #3
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Canare StarQuad isn't that expensive considering you'll use these cables probably for the next 20 years.

Click here for the Trew link.

I don't know who else stocks this stuff and the prices are pretty competitive considering you're getting the absolute best. I've got ONE Hosa cable and it definitely isn't nearly as nice as the StarQuads with Neutrik... for $10(ish) extra (per cable) it's a no-brainer. On some lengths the cost difference isn't even $7.

Also you may not have realized that you now have a Trew up in CA... so you can check 'em out in person if you like.
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Old March 15th, 2005, 08:26 AM   #4
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B&H also sells Canare. I'm absolutely with Matt here....get quality. Hosa, Tascam, and Ryder are all made at the same factory and jobbered in under various brand names. They are so cheap, you get the warranty because it's easier for them to replace the cable while causing you to wait....than it is to build more, better quality cables.
You'll have better noise factor, smoother coiling, much longer lasting, and better sounding cable with Canare or Mogami. Plus, they come in lots of cool colors, helping you identify lengths quickly. We use dark colors for short runs, bright colors for long runs.
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
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Old April 5th, 2005, 01:45 PM   #5
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It all depends on your application, but when I was doing recordings in a project studio we switched from Hosa to Mogamis w/ Neutrik connectors. We started with the drums, and the difference was like night and day! Nothing else changed, not the micing position, nothing. Just the cable.

After hearing the Mogami's, the Hosas just sounded like utter, muffled, crap. I was very surprised that the cables made such a big difference. I expected something, but not nearly what I heard.

For my guitars and stuff I stuck with Blue cables (Blue is the brand - they make mics & cables), and my Blue KIWI sounds better than the Mogamis of the same length did, but they were also much more expensive. You can actually buy bulk mogami quad cables and neutrik connectors and make them yourself (even if you are beginner at soldering like I am), and you can make them for less than half of what it costs for buying a pre-made Mogami. Plus you can custom make lengths.

Basically for everything OTHER than giutar I am going with Mogami quads & Neutrik connectors.

I have heard of Canare, but never actually heard them. I do not know who they compare to Mogamis in price or quality.

Alex F
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Old April 5th, 2005, 03:01 PM   #6
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I had no idea that cables made a difference in sound quality. I thought it was just a reliability issue. We've been using AudioTechnica for years and they've seemed just fine.
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Old April 5th, 2005, 04:06 PM   #7
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Compatently designed cables (correct shielding, impedence, resistance, capacitance, especially resistance) all sound identical. However, what you do want, as pointed out above is quality connectors and construction. It's a pain to troubleshoot an audio problem, but it's even trickier when you've got a dodgy connection to contend with.

Anyone who thinks audio cables make an audible quality difference has been sniffing way too many solder fumes....

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Old April 6th, 2005, 12:36 AM   #8
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I could easily hear the difference between the Hosa & Mogami cables. So could everyone else in the room. So could a friend of mine that was practicing down the hall that stopped by to visit.

Has nothing to do with sniffing solder fumes. :-)

We didn't think that there was anything wrong with the Hosas...

...until we used the Mogami's.

In comparison, the Hosas made the drums sound more like cardboard boxes. THe Mogami's really brought out the high end, and the overall sound was fuller, more life-like, and crisper.

We didn't know what we had been missing.

Furthermore, look around the 'net and read reviews of cables like Mogami, Canare, & Belden. You will particularly see many reviews of Belden speaker wire for home stereos (simple because there are more people w/ home stereos than there are with need for XLR cable). Read what they say. They all say the same thing, even from folks switching from the (insanely overpriced) Monster Cable. The Beldens made a world of difference in the sound.

You mention "competently designed"...

I'm sure that the Hosas are competently designed... they cut corners in order to increase profit, and did it deliberately. They probably, as a company, don't want to get into the high-end cable market. Simple things can set apart something like the Hosas from the Mogamis:

The actual materials used can be VERY different.
Mogamis cable has more strands in the twisted wire.
Mogamis have better sheilding
Mogamis probably even have better "wrapping"
Mogamis probably have better quality control.
etc. I could go on.

It's kinda like saying "well 2 guitars made from the same tree's wood using the same plans and the same methods are going to sound the same" That is not true, either.

I know, I CAN hear the difference. And I am not alone.

Alex F
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Old April 6th, 2005, 01:13 AM   #9
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Whirlwind -- any good?

Anyone know the quality of Whirlwind Lo-z 20 ft XLR-XLR Microphone cables, model EMC20?
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Old April 6th, 2005, 06:13 AM   #10
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It's not too hard for an electrical engineer to maniplulate the basic parameters of a cable, Resistance, Capacitance and Inductance to make a cable sound "different". It's basically turning the cable into a tone control. There's nothing magic about it, just the basic electrical properties of filters.

One of your cables was either broken, or engineered to be less than flat in it's frequency response over the distance you were using it. It doesn't sound like you were sniffing the fumes.

Long cables can attenuate the high frequency response if they're not adequately made, with low resistance and correct electrical parameters.

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Old April 6th, 2005, 06:56 AM   #11
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You could get ahold of Darren at Giant Squid to custom build your cable...he only uses Canare cables and Neutrik connectors. He is a super guy to deal with plus you get to talk to the "person" who is actually assembling your product
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Old April 7th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #12
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I like Star Quad and canare. That's what I bought for the studio. But as
an old road warrior, Belden 8412 and Switchcraft is what i have for my own kit.
Jacques Mersereau
University of Michigan-Video Studio Manager
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