Long run XLR cables

Are there significant improvements to be gained by using home audio specific cables versus high quality pro audio cables such as Mogami or Monster. I don’t like frittering money away unnecessarily but I recently switched my main cables from Mogami gold to SVS soundpath when I need new subwoofer cables and I noticed a slight veil over the sound when I switched. Any thought and insights would be appreciated.


I have been trying out some XLR upgrades recently and the differences are quite stark between brands. I am currently using some Wireworld Eclipse 8’s and these are excellent with a very full sound. On deck is a pair of Acoustic Zen Matrix II’s. I am replacing a mix of Benchmark and Blue Jeans cables. This has been a big upgrade, and worth the price. 

My only attempt was a 25' run XLR, inexpensive from Amazon, I returned them.

Used long RCA's, sounded great. IOW, we are not backstage with many sources of potential problems, we do not have a real need for XLR, I suggest you try long RCA, just to compare, ones you can return, you may be surprised.

I am using Blue Jean cables lowest cost XLR's for 18 ft run. They use the same connectors as the more expensive brands. 

Another vote for Mogami gold. It's a fantastic baseline to test other cables to. Mogami also has a non-DIY Platinum version which is a couple gauge larger + higher end connectors

When i work w recording engineers - granted it is a relatively small orbit but growing… i get a LOT of eye rolls when they see the two “ exotic “ XLR cables i bring to the female vocal or Piano microphone selection trial…  ( MIC to Pre > Pre to X )…. Then if the mics are Royer or better…. those eye rolls turn into ;-)… Except when the artist or producer likes studio built Mogami… 

Also…just a bit OFF topic… bring along a great LPS for the other bits in the chain….

Note - the circle i mention are working in the realism zone of audio recording vs DAW synthesis ( this is not a qualitative statement, just clarity )

Of course, i carry Magami as spares / backup - a superb and durable value.

If a system is differentially balanced, then expensive XLR interconnects should not sound differently from Mogami or Gotham Cable or Canare XLR interconnects.

If components are not differentially balanced, or transformer coupled, then all bets are off.

I use 25-foot and 15-foot Benchmark XLR cables between my preamps and amps. If they did not sound good, I would blame in on the gear since I know those cheap cables are fine between a preamp and amp. Meaning more expensive consumer XLR cables between preamp and amp did nothing better for me.

My gear in this case is CODA, Benchmark, and Holo Audio.

Thanks for all the good info! As far as differentially balanced equipment I'm not sure. I'll have to do some poking around and check my documentation. I'm working with a Lexicon MC-10 pre/pro and a 90's vintage Mac MC7200. As far as my experience with what I have now I thought the SVS soundpath cables were as step back from the Mogamis which were too short for my new routing. Adding a pair of new Rel subs so I bought them for those and thought I'd try them on the mains. No go! A lot of praise for the Mogamis so I might go with a longer pair Of those (maybe the platinums) for an upgrade if I can find them in the right length.

On a side note, I I play quite a bit of vinyl in two channel with the screen out of the way but the system is doing double duty as a multi channel system and the amp for that is all connected with XLR so I feel inclined to not use single ended for the mains for that reason. Both amps are supposedly fully balanced AB amps but I'm not that clear on the topography.


Typically the quality of the interconnects is more important than whether XLR or single ended, provided your components don’t strongly favor (sound better) one connection type. It can be cost effective to use RCA.


Mogami are widely regarded as performing equally for the money with other audio cables. So, if we are talking about a $100 pair then they would (in general) compete with similar audio cables. This is important because in high end audio these are very budget oriented interconnects. Certainly appropriate on many systems… but are unlikely to raise performance much. 

When putting together a system I do not start thinking about “high performance” interconnects until components are over a couple grand. 


I agree with botrytis . I also use Blue Jeans XLR cables for long and short run, no issues whatsoever. Prices are great and customer service is beyond reproach, order a custom cable on Monday, and 3-4 days later you have it.

I have no commercial affiliation with Blue Jeans Cable, just like their products.

The Belden BAV are a really good mid level cable. Iconoclast are the best but not as flexible as the BAV.

The Iconoclast XLR are excellent. I have a 21 FT run going from my Clearaudio Master table and Sim Audio 810 phono preamp to my AR Ref 10 and love them! Believe I paid $3100 for the pair. This is their best interconnect. Stunning quality and great service. Just spoke to them at Axpona.

Mogami and Canare are the pro industry standards, with Whirlwind using Accusonic cable. 

I'm using Canare L-4E6S cable wherever I can.  System is dead quiet, no hum, no rizz, no noise of any kind.  Benchmark DAC3, Mini-DSP SHD and Benchmark AHjB2 amp.

Notes from John Siau.

The Importance of Star-Quad Microphone Cable

Truly transformer balanced ins and outs are what you really need for long balanced cables to do their thing...like in studio and PA stuff where you might go hundreds of feet, and I've also noticed over the years that better quality balanced cables do make a difference.

If a system is differentially balanced, then expensive XLR interconnects should not sound differently from Mogami or Gotham Cable or Canare XLR interconnects.

If components are not differentially balanced, or transformer coupled, then all bets are off.

@tvad Good to see you posting here again.

The actual issue isn't whether its differentially balanced, its whether the output of the source or preamp supports AES48 (Audio Engineering Society file 48), the balanced line standard. If it does not, the cables will affect the sound and 'all bets are off' as you put it. But transformers can do the job quite well.

Put another way, there are fully differential balanced preamps that don't support AES48 (actually quite a lot of them at this point) so they can't drive long interconnects and you hear differences when you change from one cable to another, which should not happen if the balanced line standard is being observed.

I use Mogami Neglex at home and don't worry about the 'sound' of the cables, but the equipment in my system supports AES48.

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How is the best way to verify your preamp supports AES 48 aside from auditioning expensive cables?


The issue is on both ends though, and usually it's the amps that don't support it.  Usually, just ask if they use "truly differential" XLR connections.  That will often be enough.





Thanks for that Erik! It’s a McIntosh MC7200 and I believe it is. I’m getting a pair of Rel s510 sub and planning to connect them via high level inputs so I’ll need to verify for hookup anyway.


Based on the owners manual, page 6, it looks like this is a truly balanced input.  You will be OK.  :)




Thanks Erik, just off the phone with a very helpful guy at McIntosh who confirmed that. He also said anytime you have balanced connections they will outperform single ended no matter how much you spend according to results of bench testing. He also has a 7200.


Glad to hear it. I’d be curious to know if his results were more than just about common mode noise reduction. This is proven to be better with differential lines, but not sure how often it matters in short runs at home where EMI/RFI pickup is already pretty low.


His point, I believe is that all the things that can be verified by bench testing are a known quantity and anything after that is subjective. He conceded that the ears and brain are far more sensitive than the test equipment and there can be differences beyond the measurement equipment but the quantifiable results are the baseline.


In any event I’m glad you got your question answered. :) I use XLR cables where I can, just not sure that in my case 2’ long matters. I would ONLY run XLR’s at 25’ long though.

There's NO doubt that XLR's have superior noise performance, at all.  At 2'-3' long though most listeners won't hear a difference.  Those that are right near a radio station may feel  otherwise!