You’ll hear regularly in the pro audio world that your studio is only as good as its weakest link. And the weakest link is? Cables.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t use cheap cables in your studio. Every single piece of equipment that you will use for making music in your studio will be connected using a cable, so focusing on good cables is important.

I’m not advocating going out and buying the latest gold-plated, oxygen-free, organically-fed, free-range, thousand-dollar cable out there, but don’t spend $4.95 on a cable either.

As I’ve mentioned several times in this series already, you get what you pay for.

Using a good cable as opposed to a cheap one will help you in a number of ways.

  • They will help reduce the amount of noise and interference that gets picked up by your audio signal as it passes through the cable. Home studios are noisy as-is; so the less noise your cables add to your system the better off you’ll be.
  • They will preserve the frequency response of your system. Cheap cables can really affect the audio that passes through them, especially in the lows and highs. I’ve heard lots of stories of people upgrading their cabling and raving about how much better their equipment sounds afterwards.
  • They will last a lifetime. If you use cheap cables, you’ll need to re-buy them in a year or two. Good cables will last forever, or at least they’ll have a lifetime warranty, so if they do wear out you can have them replaced.

What I Use

In my home studio I have mainly Pro Co cables with some Monster cables and some Blue cables.

In the meantime, be sure to give some serious consideration to what cables you’re adding to your shopping cart. Good cables aren’t THAT much more expensive than their cheap counterparts, but they can make a huge difference in the sound of your studio.

  • HardlineFeminists

    They use Asterope audio cables at the production studio where I work,
    they are the absolute best sounding, cleanest, most interference-free
    cables I’ve ever used: http://www.fishman.com/asterope

    The audio guy told me artists like Prince, Santana, Pat Metheny, Garth Brooks etc use them, so I figure if they’re good enough for superstars, why wouldn’t they be good enough for aspiring stars like me too?

  • Patrick Talbot

    How about these ones?http://www.innerearmag.com/reviews/cables/Siltech_Emperor.shtml
    Sweet price, right? I love how the reviewer seems to believe is own BS!
    Now I wonder if I’m it’s worth getting a mortgage to plug my speakers, what do you think? 😉

    • I think everyone should have at LEAST two dozen of these. 🙂

  • CAMBAM

    I’ve heard that under 20 feet, the type of XLR cable you have doesn’t really matter. Is this true?

  • As an electrical engineer, I’m appalled at how much people spend on cables. Here’s the deal:

    1) Search for images of Canare L-4E6S. You want cable that has at least one twisted pair (balanced!) and a woven shield (not just a third wire).

    2) Buy a good brand from a reliable vendor (even a high eBay rating counts). Please don’t buy Monster; you’re just paying for the name. Whirlwind, Hosa, Mogami, Pro Co…these guys all make great cable. And buy online if you can, rather than in-store. Shop around and get a good price.

    3) It also matters how you connect and run your cables. Even the nicest cables will be noisy if you run them parallel with power cables, or if you connect two devices which are grounded in two different locations (a gold plated cable will only get you a gold-plated 60Hz hum, lol).

    4) Take care of your cables. Don’t use the extension cord method, wrapping them up over your wrist and elbow. Coil them up using the over-under method (Google it – over under cable wrap) so those internal conductors don’t get all twisted up in ways you don’t want.

    By the way, cables sometimes get a bad rap – before you go replace all your cables, make sure your gear isn’t making noise.

    Hope this helps!

    • Great insight, dude. I’ve bought some Monster. Yes, they’re more expensive, but I’ve done shootouts on just the TRS cables, and they had more low and high end than my ProCo cables. Also, they’ve got the lifetime warranty, so you only have to buy the cable once. Once it breaks or dies, you just take it to a dealer and get another one for free. That’s kinda cool.

      You’re absolutely right, though. There’s more to cable than just the cable itself.

      Here’s a vid I posted on wrapping cable.

      http://www.homestudiocorner.com/wrap-cable/

  • Get some CBI cables affordable at great value.

  • CBI company http://www.cbicables.com/ they make very affordable great quality cables.
    You can get them at zzsounds.com store.

    The monster cables are overpriced I would say.

    Peace.

  • Daniel

    Get some canare and magomi cables

  • Can’t wait to hear a face-off…I’ve been curious as to how much difference it really makes and how much you really need to spend. I know good cables are important…but how important? Is the middle line ok? BTW this blog is a great resource, thanks for sharing your personal insights :).