How to Choose a Microphone Cable

Choosing a good microphone cable can ensure that you are spending your money wisely. Some cheap consumer grade cables may be adequate for occasional use, but if you are interested in making more serious use of your musical equipment it will be worth investing in a better quality cable. There is no point working with professional quality microphones and equipment if you are going to use cheap, poorly manufactured cables that will only carry a low quality audio signal and which are likely to require frequent replacement.
A balanced cable will produce the best quality signals. If you use an unbalanced cable then some of the higher frequency signals may be lost, and you will also suffer from more interference form electrical appliances in the surrounding environment. This is particularly true when the unbalanced cable is very long. A balanced cable will not be affected by this type of interference, and it will therefore transmit a higher quality signal.
Microphone cables commonly have either XLR or jack plugs. All XLR plug cables are balanced, but some jack plug cables may be unbalanced. The type of plugs that you require will depend upon what sorts of connectors are available on your equipment. Try to find a cable that will work with as many different pieces of your equipment as possible, in order to avoid having to buy additional cables.
Microphone cables are also available that have USB plugs. These can be connected directly into a computer, and they are, therefore, useful if you want to record straight into a computer program.
You should try to buy a microphone cable that has been well constructed and which is made of high quality materials. This will ensure that the cable will last as long as possible. A high quality cable will transmit high quality signals for longer. Poorly made cables can cause degradation of the audio signal. It is also useful if the materials from which the cable has been constructed allow for it to be coiled up easily, particularly if you are going to be moving and storing the cable a lot.
Before you buy a microphone cable, make sure you know how long you need to it be. You don't want to end up with a cable that is too short to reach where you want it to or one, which is so long that it gets in your way all the time. If you are using an unbalanced cable you will need to be particularly careful since the quality of the signal will deteriorate as the cable gets longer.
If you will be using your cables in public, you might also want to consider their appearance. An ugly or obtrusive cable may not be appropriate in some settings.

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