The Myth Of The Perfect Mic Cable

2012 Mar 16, 2012

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 disrespect to anyone who has asked this question, but the “perfect mic cable” is just a myth.


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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