- Application Notes
Price is for one cable, Order 2 for a stereo pair.
Benchmark Studio&Stage™ Analog XLR Cables combine the best cable, connectors, and construction techniques in order to offer performance that meets the demands of world-class studios, while providing the strength and reliability required for stage applications. Our professional cables are also well suited for hi-fi applications because they meet or exceed the electrical performance of the best high-end hi-fi cables.
These same cables withstand daily use at all of our Audio Precision test stations. Here the cables continue to reliably deliver precision measurements after experiencing many thousands of insertion and removal cycles. Every converter, preamplifier, and amplifier that we build gets tested, and every test requires the insertion and removal of cables at the test stations. Our own daily use of cables at our test stations has helped us to determine which cables and connectors are the most reliable. We have found that Canare StarQuad L-4E6S cable and Neutrik XX series connectors are a winning combination. Together they provides the most reliable high-performance cables.
Canare Star Quad L-4E6S Microphone and Audio Line Cable is flexible, satin smooth to the touch, and extra strong. The 4-conductor Star-Quad construction provides excellent immunity to hum-inducing magnetic fields. The high-density braided copper shield provides excellent shielding from RF interference. The internal construction keeps handling noise very low. The 40-strand conductors provide excellent flexibility and resistance to breakage. The satin smooth jacket remains flexible at low temperatures. The low capacitance per foot provides excellent high-frequency response. Benchmark highly recommends Canare Star Quad L-4E6S cable for microphone and line-level balanced interconnections. This is the finest microphone cable available.
We use Neutrik's premium XX series connectors. These feature gold contacts and a black housing. The XX series are the most reliable XLR connectors available - providing excellent contact quality, strain relief, pullout resistance, and durability. Neutrik XXR color coding rings can easily be added to assembled cables if desired - order rings separately
Benchmark Studio&Stage™ Analog XLR Cables are handcrafted in the USA with true silver solder. Benchmark-branded strain relief sleeves at each XLR connector provide a controlled cable bend radius to significantly extend the life of the cable at the most common point of failure - the entrance to the connector body. Look for "BenchmarkMedia.com" at each end of the cable - this is your assurance that you have purchased genuine Benchmark Studio&Stage™ Analog XLR cables.
Never underestimate the importance of star-quad cable! The geometric symmetry of this 4-wire structure provides immunity to magnetic interference. Electrostatic copper braid (or foil) shields block radio signals but they do not block magnetic fields! Magnetic fields are transmitted from power cords, power supplies, transformers, computers, AC power lines, lighting ballasts and the lines leading to and from SCR light dimmers. Star-quad cables are highly immune to these magnetic sources of interference, but traditional 2-wire cables have very little immunity. Tests show that star-quad wire reduces magnetic interference by as much as 25 dB (a factor of 18:1). These same tests show that Canare Star Quad L-4E6S cable is 10 dB ( a factor of 3:1) more effective than Mogami Neglex 2534 star-quad cable. We suspect that this difference is due to the accuracy of the 4-wire geometry in the Canare L-4E6S cable. Insist on the best star-quad cable, Canare L-4E6S, and eliminate magnetic interference problems!
"Evaluating Microphone Cable Performance & Specifications" (12-page test report)
Do not use these analog XLR cables with digital signals! Digital and analog XLR cables have conflicting requirements - select the cable that is correct for your application.
Analog XLR cables should never be used to carry digital signals. Digital signals may not transmit reliably through analog XLR cables. Digital (AES) cables require a 110-Ohm impedance for reliable data transmission.
Digital XLR cables will work for analog audio, but they will not provide immunity to magnetic fields because they usually do not have star-quad wiring. For RF reasons, the XLR shells are usually grounded on digital cables, and this can lead to ground loop problems if these are used for analog applications. For these reasons, digital XLR cables are less suitable for analog signals.
Keep your analog and digital XLR cables separated and clearly identified. Benchmark digital XLR cables have a blue jacket to make them easy to identify.
Order Benchmark digital XLR cables here →
Benchmark has recorded a lab demonstration that shows what happens when a standard two-wire cable is exposed to common sources of magnetic interference.
You will be able to hear the interference, see it on an oscilloscope, and view its spectrum on an FFT. A star-quad cable is exposed to the same sources of magnetic interference and the results are compared. This demonstration shows the dramatic difference between the two cables. The star-quad cable provided a 20 to 50 dB reduction in magnetic interference, keeping the interference below audible levels.
Note: The interference will play through the left channel while Benchmark VP and Director of Engineering, John Siau, narrates on the right channel.
Price is for one cable, Order 2 for a stereo pair.
This Benchmark product was designed, assembled, and tested in the USA using USA and imported components.