XLR cables for a reasonable price?

I've seen lots of threads where it is stated that balanced components are "insensitive" to cables.  Does this mean that spending a lot of money on XLR cables is probably unnecessary, as it offers no sonic benefit over cheaper XLR cables?

I would like some recommendations on reasonably priced XLR cables that give excellent sonic performance.  Thanks for your replies.


Based on this discussion, I believe that equipment following the AES48 standard will exhibit no differences in sound between properly built cables. I also believe that there is well designed “balanced” gear that does not completely follow the standard and may be affected by cable design and quality. 

My question, how do you know whether a piece of equipment meets the AES48 standard to the letter? And what happens if you mix and match?


The standard addresses EMI rejection. More to sound quality than noise and interference.  

For example, if one were to compare silver wire XLRs to copper wire XLRs do you really believe there would be no difference in the sound?

The standard addresses grounding and EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) through connections between cable shields/screens, shielding enclosures, and any EMI circuitry.  

As if there were no other good amps or engineering approaches. There are, and many. I believe that manufacturers and dealers should be honorably dismissed. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge and skill they might have, this is not a proper place for them to be.

@inna If you want a good S/PDIF cable, it will have to be a certain characteristic impedance and is based on AES3. A good USB cable will meet the standards required by the USB standard. The standards are required by the principles of operation. Manufacturers usually know that if they are to make a cable for those applications they will have to adhere to the standards. The same is true of manufacturers of the hardware itself.

The puzzling thing is why the balanced standard is so commonly ignored in high end audio. In any other field of electronic endeavor, it would be considered bad practice and the manufacturer of such equipment would likely be out of business fairly quickly.

I’m not saying (as I pointed out earlier) that high end audio equipment that does not support the standard does not sound good. I am saying that when it does not, the cable is a veil in the system. That’s all.

Manufacturers choose whether or not they want to deal with that problem. Its not a value judgement on my part but I sense that you think it is. Personally I don’t get why anyone would want to have a cable be a veil in their system, but maybe the realization that the cable will be exactly that simply hasn’t dawned. Plus people get into this sport for very different reasons. I like to listen to music, but some like horse trading equipment, looking at how manufacturers solved certain problems (pick up a copy of The Art of the Motorcycle, which illustrates how this works in the motorbike world), being able to say how much they did or didn’t spend and so on.