How to Make Your Own XLR Mic Cables September 03, 2011 19:28 12 Comments

Soldering your own microphone cables is one of the most satisfying DIY projects you can undertake. No kidding! There are few things more gratifying than slicing through the soft rubber coating with an x-acto knife and joining the conductors to the connector with perfectly shiny solder joints. On top of that, building cables is a great way to get your feet wet soldering, and it's one of only DIY projects that is guaranteed to save you money. Check it out:
  • A 20' Monster P500M20 XLR Cable from Sweetwater costs $59.95.
  • A higher quality DIY cable using Canare Quad Core and Neutrik XLR connectors costs less than $12.

That's almost $50 saved on one cable! Imagine how much you'll save over a lifetime simply by learning to solder your own cables.

Here are the components I recommend using:

  • Cable: Canare L-4E6S Quad Mic Cable
    • Canare's quad core cable uses two conductors for each audio signal (hot and cold) and a woven shield to reduce noise and improve flexibility. You can go with Mogami cable if you're inclined, but I've found the Canare to be excellent for half the price
    • Available from Redco Audio
  • Connectors: Neutrik X-Series (silver contacts)
    • Neutrik has an extensive line of connectors, but I stick with the X-series because they're what I've used in the past and they haven't failed me yet (plus they're the cheapest). I opt for the silver contacts because, while the gold is resistant to corrosion, the gold plating tends to wear off after a few hundred plugs and unplugs anyway.
    • Available from Redco, Mouser, and pretty much anywhere components are sold.
Best of luck with your cabling endeavors. Please share this video with your friends if they're spending way too much on pre-fab cables!