Last updated: August 19, 2021

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This time we have an article that will be useful if you are looking for the best microphone cable on the market. This is a crucial element in audio systems that is not often given much attention.

The use of electronic audio devices has long since ceased to be the exclusive domain of professionals. On the contrary, we often find ourselves in situations where the link between the microphone and the sound receiver can frustrate our plans for an evening of singing or the production of a home podcast.

That's why we at Monederosmart set ourselves the task of researching the trends in a specialised market and bringing them to you in the easiest and quickest way possible. In the following lines we will tell you about some aspects that you should take into account, such as features, price comparisons and points of sale.




Summary

  • The microphone cable is the link between the audio source and the interface that will receive it. Generally, the top-of-the-line cables are analogue, although technological advances have diversified the market towards digital versions.
  • There are two types of cables: analogue and digital. Analogue cables allow noise-free capture due to their material; digital cables, in addition to being sound isolating, can transmit data from the source to the interface.
  • It is essential to ask ourselves what the product will be used for. This factor will allow us to choose the right cable not only based on price, but also on factors such as length and sales packages.

The Best Microphone Cable: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about microphone cables

Accessories are just as important as the base product. To help you make the right choice, here's a little insight into the nature of microphone cables, their usefulness and what you need to consider to make the best choice.

You are just one cable away from enjoying your amplified voice. (Photo: 691806 / Pixabay.com)

What is a microphone cable and what are its advantages?

A microphone cable is the link between the sound transmitter and its receiver. That is, it is the channel through which the audio frequencies picked up by the microphone will travel to either the mixer or audio card, the computer or directly to the amplification device (speakers or home component).

Analogue cables are used to transmit balanced audio signals

In this case, analogue cables are used to transmit balanced audio signals, which results in a reduction of interference and a more "pure" reception of the sound. We could say that this is the main function of the cables: to pick up the sound in the highest possible quality and without interference.

Microphone cables are usually balanced in nature, consisting of three different wires that receive positive and negative signals, with the third wire being responsible for noise cancellation.

Advantages
  • Noise reduction
  • Output audio clarity
  • Analogue and digital diversity
  • Quality assurance
Disadvantages
  • Poor ergonomics
  • Handling complexity

Digital cables or analogue cables - what to look out for?

While analogue cables remain the traditional choice par excellence, technological advances have allowed the market to expand and diversify. In the case of digital cables, the most important thing is to understand what type of cable you are buying and how it suits your needs.

Analogue cables. Analogue cables are characterised by specific electrical (or, in this case, audio) wave balancing functions. The advantage of these cables is that you will only find three types of connectors: XLR male, XLR female and TRS, the latter being a version that fulfils the function of both input and output.

Digital cables. Digital cables tend to cover a much more diverse conduction spectrum, focusing on specific input and output sources. In the case of audio, there are three connectors that are most useful for linking the audio interface and the computer: USB, Firewire and Thunderbolt.

Analogue Digital
Connection type XLR male, XLR female, TLS USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt
Functions Audio Audio, data, power
Cable types N/A MIDI, Fibre optic, BNC, AES/EBU, Cat5e

It is important that you consider the type of activity you are going to carry out in order to contemplate the technological complements you may need. If what you need is a standard cardioid microphone connection, analogue is the viable option. For more professional issues, it is worth looking at the digital options.

For home or recreational use, analogue cable is the best option. (Photo: Skitterphoto / Pixabay)

Amplify the impact of your words. Analogue cables are noise and interference isolators. (Photo: Uschi_Du / Pixabay)

Purchasing criteria

As you might be thinking, buying a microphone cable can become a complicated task if you think about it too much. Therefore, we'll give you a few specific elements to consider before you open your wallet.

  • Specific use
  • Output type
  • Length
  • Materials of manufacture
  • Sales packages

Specific use

The first step is to ask yourself what you are going to use the microphone for. Part of financial intelligence lies in understanding the value of investments in the medium and long term, so it is essential to establish whether the cable will be used in a specialised way or not.

Non-specialised use. If you are interested in setting up audio systems for recreational or non-specialised use (karaoke sessions, audio at cultural or social events, or home recording), analogue cable is the best option because of its versatility and affordability.

Specialised use. When working professionally in a sound studio, it is advisable to opt for a digital cable that provides specific features for the needs of the recording in question. The price is a bit higher. However, it will be reflected in favourable results.

Output type

As mentioned above, cables have a wide range of inputs and outputs based on the devices they can link. Here are some specifications on the different connections so you can identify the one you need.

XLR. The most common analog cable connection. It usually has a male input (which corresponds to the hardware) and a female input (which, in this case, connects to the microphone). You can make use of this connection on systems that route to a professional interface or contain multiple audio inputs.

TRS. This can be considered a "hybrid" of the analogue cables, as it can be used for both input and output systems. It is similar to the one used in headphones, so it is an input accessible to home or non-professional devices.

USB/Firewire/Thunderbolt. These are digital cables. Unlike analogue, these connections are capable of transmitting data. The difference between each lies in the speed and therefore the price. If you are looking to make professional productions, this is your best option.

Length

Most people have experienced a pitched battle with cables when it comes to winding them up for storage or transport. It is always best to consider the length before making a purchase, not just for convenience, but for utility.

Between 3 and 6 m. Shorter cables are often used when the microphone will not be too far from the interface and will also be at a fixed point. They can be useful in specific cases, but may cause problems if there is a need to travel longer distances.

Between 7 and 10 m. The intermediate size is in this range. This is an ideal size for open spaces where the distance between microphone and interface is greater. This length is also suitable if the microphone wearer plans to be constantly on the move.

More than 10 m. Conventional cables are often up to 15 m long, which allows for a more comfortable distance between the microphone and a possible operating booth. It is recommended to tape part of the cable to the floor to prevent accidents.

Materials of construction

This is one of those small details that can make all the difference. It is not only the conductive materials, but also the materials covering the wires. PVC is the most resistant material, but it is also important to check for the presence of noise insulating materials, such as aluminium.

You can find microphone cables of all kinds, and a whole range of them. (Photo: Marvin_ahlers / pixabay.com)

Sales packages

Electronics often involves a constant investment in add-ons and tools related to the main product. The range of cables on offer can go beyond the connector itself, so you should be careful when choosing one of the possible scenarios mentioned below.

Bundles of two or more cables. Sound equipment users often use more than one microphone at a time. If this is not your case, rule out this possibility so that you don't overspend.

Feeder cables. This is often used when you don't have a sound card to interface between the microphone and the computer. If your intention is to make professional productions, check the best option for you.

Microphone + cable. There are versions of microphones that already come with their own cable and usually have a TRS tip output. This is a basic modality for those looking to get out of a tight spot, so it might be an option to consider if you don't already have a microphone.

(Featured image photo: Taken / Pixabay.com)

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