Get Yourself Connected: Finding the Best Cables for Studio Monitors

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Studio monitors are some of the most important tools a recording engineer or audio enthusiast can have. Dedicated monitors provide accurate feedback while recording, but they also make a world of difference when mixing and mastering.

What I’ve learned over the many years I’ve spent in the studio is that people who are new to the world of recording are often confused about connecting monitors. After all, monitors look like regular speakers, so shouldn’t you just be able to plug into them like a regular speaker?

The truth is that different monitors have different inputs for different purposes. On top of that, you’re going to need the right cables to connect your monitors to your audio interface or computer.

To take some of the mystery out of selecting the right cords for your monitors, I tested nearly 50 products. While all had something to offer, I found 15 that I want to pass along to you in order to help you create better audio.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • How to select the right studio monitor cables
  • Features of some of the best cables
  • Tips for cable management
  • Must-have accessories to complete your recording experience

I should also note that although I’ve only included my reviews for the best cables, there were some that I tested that were still good, despite not making my list. For example, the Monoprice 10’ Premier Series 1/4” TRS and the Mogami Balanced Gold TRS-to-XLR performed well and would be welcome additions to studios that need fast, easy connection solutions.

Because of my preference for wired connections in the studio, I reviewed products that offered a physical-only option. Some audio gear can utilize both wired and wireless links, but I’m concerned with physical cabling for the purposes of these reviews.

My Top PickСable Matters XLR to XLR

Сable Matters XLR to XLR

What’s inside?

  • Designed using oxygen-free copper
  • Cabling is balanced with a soft PVC jacket
  • Available in lengths up to 20’

Killer feature: Gold-plated contacts reduce oxygenation for longer life

Check price on Amazon →

Check price on Cable Matters →

When choosing audio cords for monitors, keep in mind that many of these cords can pull double-duty. This means that many cords can be used for connecting mics to audio interfaces, guitars to amps and more.

As such, it never hurts to have a few extra cords around even if they aren’t dedicated for use with your monitors.

Also GreatHosa CSS-110 TRS to TRS

Hosa CSS-110 TRS to TRS

What’s inside?

  • Balanced wiring reduces electronic interference
  • Tip ring sleeve design can be used for connecting other hardware
  • Available in lengths up to 25’

Killer feature: Lightweight construction weighs in at 1.6 ounces for easy storage and transport.

Check price on Amazon →

Check price on Hosa →

Check price on Sweetwater →

Labeling your cables can make a huge difference in workflow efficiency. This is even more important when you’re using multiple pieces of audio gear in a small studio. Consider writing the name of each source or destination on a strip of paper and taping it to the appropriate cable.

Also GreatMonoprice TRS to XLR

Monoprice TRS to XLR

What’s inside?

  • Thick 16AWG wiring
  • Gold-plated TRS tip
  • Available in lengths up to 50′

Killer feature: Separate braided shield for extra noise reduction

Check price on Amazon →

Use caution when hanging cables, especially when they are connected to audio gear. A snag can cause damage to equipment or has the potential to lead to a fall and injuries.

Buyers Guide

You might think that all studio monitor cables are created equal, but there are a number of factors that can determine whether a cable is right for your needs. Connection products come in a variety of thicknesses, often measured by gauge.

Thinking About the Needs

The gauge of a wire inside of a cord can determine the amount of current it can handle. A gauge that is too thin may not deliver performance, but one that is too thick may add extra costs with little benefit.

Because cabling solutions are all different, below are some tips to help you find the right products for your studio’s needs:

Step 1: Analyze Your Budget

I almost always start any audio purchasing decision by analyzing my budget. Knowing how much you have to spend in the present is important, but you should also factor in the amount of money a purchase will generate in the future.

Every Purchase Starts with the Analyzing the Budget

It may make sense to make a bigger purchase now if you know that it will help you earn more down the road.

Step 2: Choose Between Balanced and Unbalanced Cables

Audio cables typically come in two different types: balanced and unbalanced. Which one works best can be based on how you’re using the cabling as well as the needs of your equipment.

Choosing the Right Equipment Is Not Very Hard

Balanced cables are often the better choice for canceling out signal noise, but not all audio equipment can work with balanced connections. For shorter connections, an unbalanced cable will usually work fine.

Below is an explanation of how the two differ:

Unbalanced Cables

An unbalanced audio cable uses two wires to make a connection. These types of configurations are usually found in RCA cables and standard 1/4” tip-sleeve (TS) cables.

Unbalanced Cable's Parts

This type of cabling configuration involves the use of a signal wire and a ground wire. The signal wire transmits the audio, and the ground wire helps to reduce electrical interference that can cause noise from equipment.

Balanced Cables

A balanced cable, on the other hand, is one that includes two signal wires and one ground wire. The ground wire still shields against interference, but the signal wires also serve this purpose in a balanced configuration.

Balanced Cable's Parts

The reason for this is that the signal wires carry a signal that has had its polarity inverted. When the signal arrives at the destination input, the polarity is reversed again, causing the signal to sound normal.

The difference is that any unwanted noise that is picked up as the signal travels will now be included and inverted when it arrives at the destination input. Since the polarity gets inverted at the input, any noise picked up along the signal path also gets inverted and therefore canceled out while leaving the original signal intact.

Step 3: Choose the Type of Connectors You Need

Once you’ve figured out your budgeting and have decided between balanced and unbalanced cables, you’ll need to consider the type of connectors you need. There are a number of different types of connectors used in audio gear, and some can utilize adapters if you can’t make a one-to-one connection.

Popular Types of Connectors

Here are some common connector configurations:

  • XLR to XLR
  • TRS to XLR
  • TRS to TRS
  • TS to TS
  • RCA to RCA
  • RCA to XLR

When choosing the right connector, your decision may simply come down to what type of connection is established by the input of your gear. Most manufacturers will state in product documentation what type of cabling works best for different connections included with each product.

Step 4: Consider the Length of the Cables You Need

Finally, you’ll want to take a look at your studio space and figure out the length of each cable needed. Keep in mind that the shorter a connection is, the better it will work in most cases.

Measure the Length to Get a Better Sound

The longer a cord is in length, the more chances it has to generate signal noise. Beyond that, a longer cable could potentially generate minimal amounts of delay that could affect syncing audio.

My List of the 15 Best Cables for Studio Monitors
Cable Matters

Best for studio monitor connections and microphones.

Category: XLR to XLR
My choice among XLR to XLR connections!
Amazon →Cable Matters →
Mogami

Best for female-to-male XLR monitor connections.

Category: XLR to XLR
Amazon →Sweetwater →B&H →
EBXYA

Best for outputting audio from TRS connections directly to monitors.

Category: TRS to XLR
Amazon →
DISINO

Best for patching connections between monitors and TRS interfaces.

Category: TRS to XLR
Amazon →BestViews →
Monoprice TRS to XLR

Best for making shorter connections between monitors and XLR/TRS outputs.

Category: TRS to XLR
My choice among TRS to XLR connections!
Amazon →
Cable Matters

Best for connecting audio interfaces to studio monitor inputs.

Category: TRS to XLR
Amazon →Cable Matters →
LinkinPerk

Best for patching connections between monitors or patch bays.

Category: TRS to TRS
Amazon →
Seismic Audio

Best for patch bays and outputs to studio monitors.

Category: TRS to TRS
Amazon →Seismic Audio →
Hosa CSS-110

Best for intermediate balanced connections between monitors and interfaces.

Category: TRS to TRS
My choice among TRS to TRS connections!
Amazon →Hosa →Sweetwater →
Hosa CPP-201

Best for stereo connections that require interconnected dual cabling.

Category: TS to TS
Amazon →Hosa →Sweetwater →
VIOY

Best for general patching between instruments, interfaces and studio monitors.

Category: TS to TS
Amazon →
Monoprice RCA to RCA

Best for studio monitors that accept two-channel RCA inputs.

Category: RCA to RCA
Amazon →Walmart →
Sydien

Best for connecting studio monitors in larger studio spaces.

Category: RCA to RCA
Amazon →Walmart →
TISINO

Best for patching monitors and portable recorders and converters.

Category: RCA to XLR
Amazon →
SiYear

Best for sending audio from mixing consoles to studio monitors using RCA/XLR.

Category: RCA to XLR
Amazon →

Below, I’ve reviewed 15 of the best cables for studio monitors from a variety of manufacturers. During my testing, I looked at not only how well these cables performed, but I also considered the durability of each, the thickness of the wiring and what lengths were available.

When reviewing, I tested a number of different connections because I know that everyone has their own preference when it comes to choosing studio monitors. Some monitors accept RCA connections only, but others use connections that accept 1/4” TRS and TS cables.

Because of the importance of studio monitors cables, I took the time to try out different brands to find the best. I also tried a number of different connection types across different monitors so that I could hear the difference each made for myself.

XLR to XLR

These are the best XLR to XLR models that I chose.

1. Cable Matters

Cable Matters
“Copper braided shielding of these Mic cables provides maximum cancellation of hum and noise.” — cablematters.com

I tried out the Cable Matters XLR cables with a variety of monitors for mixing. I liked that these came in two packs as it reduced my overall costs.

In terms of clarity, I found the signal to be perfectly clear. In fact, I had to double check my monitors and playback as I’m used to a warmer sound from other cables.

The length was perfect for my setup from the mixing console to the monitors; however, if you’re using monitor stands or have your monitors positioned further away, you may need to purchase longer models.

One nice thing about these cables is that they can be used for a variety of purposes. If you work in any type of live sound or film work in the studio, these cables can also be hooked up to DMX lighting as well as microphones and monitors.

Features

  • Gold plating on XLR pins
  • Strain relief on connectors
  • Compatible with DMX lights
  • Individual wire insulation
  • Available in lengths up to 20’

Pros

  • Available in packs of two
  • Can be used with camera mics
  • PVC jacket is very durable
  • Grip threads reduce connection loosening

Cons

  • No color coding
  • Signal clarity may be fatiguing
Cable Matters
Credits: cablematters.com

Best For: Connecting interfaces to monitors and mics to interfaces

Killer Feature: Copper braided shielding eliminates hum and interference

In this video, Sean Divine walks you through how to select the right studio cables for a variety of different pieces of gear. Sean provides insight regarding balanced and unbalanced cables as well as how each performs during recording.

I don’t usually concern myself with the type of metal used for the wiring of my cables because most of it will be copper anyway; however, gold plating on some metal used in audio gear can resist corrosion.

Buying Options

2. Mogami

Mogami

One of the nice things about Mogami’s XLR cable is that it is designed specifically for studio use. There is a stage version available, but it incorporates a slightly different feature set.

When testing these cables in the studio, I found the audio reproduction to be crisp and clear. I experienced no signal noise or RF interference, and I have a number of WiFi enabled devices around.

The cables feel well-made and sturdy with no difficulty in attaching, detaching or connection grip. I would caution that these cables are meant to remain out of the way as rough handling could cause separation of the shielding.

If you’re planning to use these to connect monitors in a live environment, I would recommend the stage version instead.

Features

  • Incorporates four conductors for extra isolation
  • Can be used with powered monitors
  • Balanced design reduces noise by 95%
  • Utilizes oxygen-free copper
  • Available in lengths up to 100’

Pros

  • Can be used with isolated subwoofers
  • Includes lifetime warranty
  • Works with vocal effects processors
  • Designed specifically for studio use

Cons

  • A bit heavy at almost a pound
  • Shielding is prone to separation from rough handling

Best For: Making XLR connections for monitors and preamps

Killer Feature: Quad-conductor design reduces RF interference and noise

A wired connection will almost always deliver a more consistent experience compared to wireless. This is especially true when using microphones, including those that utilize XLR. You can learn more about the best XLR microphones in this article.

Buying Options

TRS to XLR

These are the best TRS to XLR models that I chose.

3. EBXYA

EBXYA

Connecting TRS outputs to XLR inputs can be a challenge, but the EBXYA TRS-to-XLR cables made things easy. I had no issues making a connection between my interface output to my monitors, and the connections felt very secure with no wiggle.

Sound reproduction was faithful to the source material across a variety of monitors in the studio. I didn’t experience any RF interference, and I think this is owed to the double shielding incorporated in the design.

The connectors are made from a zinc alloy. While I only tested these cables for a short time, my experience tells me that they will remain durable for many years to come.

Best For: Connecting mixer consoles and monitors in-studio

Killer Feature: Zinc alloy XLR connector is durable for longer use

Features

  • Available in packs of two
  • Includes Velcro management
  • Dual shielding for added isolation
  • Balanced Lo-Z
  • TRS is plated with 24k gold

Pros

  • Can be used as a patch cable
  • Additional male/female configurations available
  • Utilizes oxygen-free copper
  • Can connect additional audio gear

Cons

  • A bit more expensive compared to other options
  • No color coding available

Although it may be tempting to wrap your cables from your hand to your elbow to save time, this can damage cables. Instead, coil loose cables over your palm in small sections to allow for some slack.

Buying Options

4. DISINO

DISINO

The DISINO 1/4” TRS-to-XLR cords I received felt very durable and professionally manufactured. I didn’t have much experience with the brand, but I was pleasantly surprised by these products.

When used with my studio monitors, I experienced very little in the way of hum. This may have been interference, but I think it may have also been an electrical issue on my end.

After checking all of my connections, the rest of my time was relatively noise-free. One nice thing about these cords is that they utilize 20AWG for the wiring. I think the thickness works well and improves the audio transfer across longer lengths.

Features

  • Copper wiring is 20AWG
  • PVC jacket wrapping
  • Gold-plated TRS tip
  • Rubberized booty at cord connection
  • Available in lengths up to 15’

Pros

  • 360-degree grip threading
  • Includes Velcro cable wrap
  • Works with a variety of audio gear

Cons

  • Connections may be a bit tight
  • A bit more expensive than comparable products

Best For: Connecting 1/4” outputs to XLR monitor inputs

Killer Feature: Oxygen-free copper resists corrosion for durability

If a piece of debris is blocking a cable input, never force a connection. Instead, consult your gear’s manual and manufacturer to discuss solutions to safely remove the debris.

Buying Options

5. Monoprice TRS to XLR

Monoprice TRS to XLR

One thing I really liked when reviewing the Monoprice Premier Series cords is that they use 16AWG wiring. As with other products I reviewed, the thicker gauge usually means that I experience fewer issues with noise.

These worked great, and I experienced no interference. I also like the price point compared to similar products.

Although I always recommend using the shortest cords possible when making audio connections, I find it reassuring that Monoprice offers these cables in lengths up to 50’ should they be needed.

Features

  • TRS uses gold plating
  • Separate braided shielding to reduce interference
  • Affordable pricing
  • Utilizes 16AWG

Pros

  • Can connect digital instruments directly to monitors
  • Available in lengths up to 50’
  • Prevents ground loop issues
  • Reduces modulation of interference into signal path

Cons

  • No color coding option
  • May need adapter if connecting directly to a mic

Best For: Large studios that need extra space for monitor placement

Killer Feature: Balanced design extends range without introducing interference

If you hear a buzzing or humming while a cable is plugged into your monitors, the problem could be the ground wire; however, you may also be using an unbalanced cable when you should be using a balanced cable.

Buying Options

6. Cable Matters

Cable Matters
“Sturdy metal connectors have gold-plated contacts to reduce oxidation and strain-relief molding on the XLR connector to maintain cable integrity.” — cablematters.com

Cable Matters makes some great products, and the brand’s TRS-to-XLR option I tried was no exception. I found the manufacturing to be solid, and the product felt durable in my hands.

Whenever I need to make a connection between TRS and XLR, I watch out for connection fit as even a slight offset can cause an interruption. With these cords, I felt the connection was solid with no jiggling or exertion of force required.

Once the connector was clicked into place, it remained stable with no interference during my entire testing session. The audio itself was faithfully reproduced and sounded clear across all of the studio monitors I tried.

Features

  • Oxygen-free copper
  • Flexible PVC jacket
  • Polyethylene insulation
  • 360-degree grip threads
  • Available in lengths up to 50’

Pros

  • Can be used for other connections
  • Foil shielding
  • Pro model features balanced design
  • Molded strain relief

Cons

  • No color options
  • Could cause hum if conductor touches metal
Cable Matters
Credits: cablematters.com

Best For: Making connections between studio monitors and 1/4” audio outputs

Killer Feature: Gold-plated connectors are housed in a PVC jacket for extra durability

In this video, Kennis Russell demonstrates a variety of different cables and connectors commonly used in the studio. Kennis also provides some insight on selecting the right cable for your studio’s needs.

If a connector is bent, even slightly, it can have a big impact on a cable’s performance. When dealing with a bent connector, you may be able to bend it back in place using hand tools, but if it’s warped out of position, replacing the cable might be a better option.

Buying Options

TRS to TRS

These are the best TRS to TRS models that I chose.

7. LinkinPerk

LinkinPerk

Measuring in a three feet, the LinkinPerk TRS cords I tried worked perfectly for my smaller home studio. Many times, longer cables can get in the way and get damaged, but these products were just the right length to make a solid connection between my mixer and my monitors.

I didn’t notice any interference during my testing, and once again, I likely owe this to the short length of these cords. I was also able to use them for my patch bay to connect my preamps and effects processors without a problem.

While I didn’t experiment too much with connecting audio players, I did have a chance to try out a portable field recorder I had on-hand. The audio transfer was once again clear and without any interference.

Features

  • Connectors are plated in 24k gold
  • Double-nylon braid housing
  • Oxygen-free copper
  • Available in lengths up to 15’

Pros

  • Works well to resist interference
  • Can be used with FX pedals
  • Zinc-alloy housing

Cons

  • A bit on the thin side
  • Slightly more pricey for shorter lengths

Best For: Linking studio monitors and connecting audio players

Killer Feature: Utilizes 24k 15U gold plating to resist corrosion

Remember that the quality of your audio is only as good as your source. If you’re playing audio from a bad source, a good cable won’t make any difference in sound quality.

Buying Options

8. Seismic Audio

Seismic Audio
“Has a heavy duty flexible rubber jacket.” — seismicaudiospeakers.com

When it comes to management of studio gear, I am a big fan of labeling with colors. This system gives me the chance to see what’s connected to what without having to go back to my handwritten notes.

The Seismic Audio SATRIX cords worked perfectly for this since they’re available in a number of different color combinations. Using these products with my monitors and patch bay, I felt that my workflow was more efficient and more productive.

Regarding sound quality, I experienced no interference across the number of cords I tried. I also like that these cables utilize a flexible rubber jacket that felt durable yet soft.

Features

  • Balanced cables to reduce interference
  • Fiberglass insulators
  • 22AWG wiring
  • RF rejection
  • One-year warranty

Pros

  • Color availability for easy organizing
  • Flexible rubber jacketing
  • Oxygen-free copper
  • Can be used to connect more than just monitors

Cons

  • Only 6’ length available
  • May require adapters for some connections
Seismic Audio
Credits: seismicaudiospeakers.com

Best For: Patch bays and monitor connections in smaller studios

Killer Feature: Available in over 15 color sets to easily label inputs and outputs

Labeling cables is helpful, but you can also use colors as labels to identify cables when reading a label is not feasible. Consider purchasing different colored cables for this purpose, or tape colored pieces of paper to each cable to identify them.

Buying Options

9. Hosa CSS-110

Hosa CSS-110
“This cable is designed to interconnect pro audio gear with balanced phone jacks. It may also be used as a stereo interconnect.” — hosatech.com

Testing the Hosa CSS-110 TRS cords gave me a chance to try out a brand I don’t have much experience with as Hosa is known for DJ audio. The design of these products was fairly basic in appearance, but they feel well-made and very durable.

I used a few pairs of monitors for testing, but because these are TRS-to-TRS, they don’t work with monitors that require an XLR connection. Hosa does make a number of other connector options, so you may need to check your connection types and look for other options from the company.

While I wouldn’t recommend them for connecting an audio source during recording, they worked fine for audio reproduction as this doesn’t affect the final product. I would also recommend getting the three-foot or five-foot models for use in your studio instead of a longer length.

Features

  • Nickel-plated plugs
  • Oxygen-free copper
  • Spiral shielding
  • Lightweight design a less than two ounces
  • Available in lengths up to 25’

Pros

  • Rejects electromagnetic interference
  • TRS design offers better shielding
  • Can use adapter to convert balanced to unbalanced signal

Cons

  • Can’t connect to 3.5mm inputs
  • May not be suitable for head-to-cabinet connections
Hosa CSS-110
Credits: hosatech.com

Best For: Larger mixing areas and medium home studios

Killer Feature: 10’ length provides more space to spread out

Check out this video where Pete Johns from Studio Live Today walks you through some best practices for cable use in a home studio setup. Pete also provides some details about balanced cables vs. unbalanced cables, the different types of connectors commonly used in a home studio and more.

Although audio cables are usually shielded and don’t carry much current, they can be an electrical hazard since they’re connected to electrical gear. As such, use caution when handling live wires to avoid injury or damage to equipment.

Buying Options

TS to TS

These are the best TS to TS models that I chose.

10. Hosa CPP-201

Hosa CPP-201
“It is ideal for use in a variety of professional and consumer applications.” — hosatech.com

I also tried the Hosa CPP-201 Dual 1/4”-to-1/4” stereo line. These cables are color-coded, and this is a big benefit when working with stereo sound.

As with some of the other products I tested, these won’t work with standard studio monitors that utilize XLR connections. They will, however, work perfectly if you need to connect left and right channels to inputs and outputs using basic TS connections.

I didn’t experience any hum or electrical noise during my testing, and the sound quality was comparable to any professional-grade options I tried.

Keep in mind that these are unbalanced, so interference could be a problem across longer lengths.

Features

  • RF and EMI resistance
  • Oxygen-free copper resists corrosion
  • Nickel-plated plugs
  • Spiral shielding

Pros

  • Can separate wires if needed
  • Color-coded
  • Price is budget-friendly

Cons

  • May need better model for pro audio
  • Doesn’t work well for microphones
Hosa CPP-201
Credits: hosatech.com

Best For: Unbalanced stereo connections between short distances

Killer Feature: Oxygen-free copper conductors improve sound clarity

You might come across people telling you to make your own connectors by soldering wires inside of your cables. This may be possible, but it can also damage your equipment and void your cable’s warranty.

Buying Options

11. VIOY

VIOY 

When it comes to general connections using TS 1/4”, I had no problems with the VIOY product. The connections felt secure on the first click and remained that way throughout.

Regarding sound, I didn’t notice any hum or noise from the cords themselves, but I didn’t feel that the audio was as crisp. Instead, it had a bit of warmth to it that I didn’t expect.

I don’t know if this was due to the unbalanced design introducing some sound I couldn’t identify or if this was just a matter of switching monitors often during testing.

In any case, I would recommend these products if you need general cables to connect between an audio source and studio monitors that accept a TS connection. The price point is very affordable, and the lengths are perfect for most general audio needs.

Features

  • Copper-plated silver-core wire
  • Inner TPE cover
  • Outer braided cotton mesh
  • Polished brass housing

Pros

  • Outputs stereo signal
  • 22AWG
  • 24k gold plating
  • Rejects electromagnetic signals

Cons

  • Unbalanced design could cause interference
  • Can’t be used with XLR monitors

Best For: General connections between monitors and audio players, preamps and interfaces

Killer Feature: Multi-use design can easily be swapped between monitors and other gear

When using interconnected cables for stereo sound, make sure you double check the left and right inputs to ensure they are in the correct spaces. Plugging in the wrong cable is a simple error that can lead to big problems with a mix when you have your channels reversed.

Buying Options

RCA to RCA

These are the best RCA to RCA models that I chose.

12. Monoprice RCA to RCA

Monoprice RCA to RCA

The Monoprice Premium RCA-to-RCA cords that I tried felt flexible yet thick. They included the standard red and white color coding that is conventionally found on RCA cables, allowing me to keep track of what was plugged into what.

When testing these on several monitors that accept RCA connections, the sound came through clearly without any color added. I will caution you that, as with all RCA connections, if the ground is not secure, buzzing can occur.

Thankfully, I found that these products made a tight seal and remained connected with normal use. While I tend to like thicker gauged wiring, the 22AWG on these lines worked fine and didn’t seem to make a difference in terms of sound quality.

Features

  • 22AWG
  • RG-59 75 ohm coaxial
  • Gold-plated conductors
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Rubberized rings

Pros

  • Color-coded
  • Can separate wires if needed
  • Available in lengths up to 75’

Cons

  • Not rated for wall installation
  • Unbalanced

Best For: Stereo connections between studio monitors and portable players/recorders

Killer Feature: Manufactured using 22AWG wiring for better conductivity

Most connections will click into place when secure. You’ll be able to both hear and feel this click, but if you don’t your connection may introduce noise and static as well as intermittent sound loss.

Buying Options

13. Sydien

Sydien

What I noticed right off the bat with the Sydien RCA cables I tested was the outer braided shielding. This looked nice, but it also provides extra durability which is a huge plus in a busy studio.

Because these cables are male-to-male, I was only able to test them from outputs to inputs that offered female connections. If you need to connect a male output, you’re going to need an adapter that forms as link.

I had no problems with audio during my testing. There was one instance where I heard a bit of digital fuzz, but this was because I hadn’t pressed the connection in far enough.

As long as the connections are snug, which they seem to be by default, I don’t expect that you’d run into any sound problems using these cords.

Features

  • Oxygen-free copper
  • 6.mm diameter
  • Connections have gold-plating
  • Plug is pure copper
  • Available in lengths up to 16’

Pros

  • Can be used for consumer audio equipment
  • Various male/female arrangements available
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Can not easily separate wires
  • More expensive than comparable products

Best For: Stereo connections leading from audio recorders to studio monitors

Killer Feature: High-purity, oxygen-free copper reduces unwanted signal noise

In this video, Matthew Stratton talks about how to connect studio monitors to an audio interface. He also provides some tips for troubleshooting and getting the most out of your audio gear.

To avoid damaging cords, use care when connecting and disconnecting. Connecting and disconnecting roughly can damage delicate pins as well as internal components within your audio gear.

Buying Options

RCA to XLR

These are the best RCA to XLR models that I chose.

14. TISINO

TISINO

While I typically prefer plastic shielding or a similar material to be used on the connection portion of a cable, I didn’t run into any problems with the TISINO RCA-to-XLR cords I tried. The only think to watch for it that you don’t allow conductors to come into contact with the metal housing used on these products.

They felt durable, and I appreciate that TISINO uses color coding to differentiate the lines. I was able to easily connect stereo outputs from digital recorders and audio interfaces to a pair of monitors without any problems.

The sound reproduction was faithful in that I didn’t notice any colorization or loss of tone. There was a bit of digital crispness that I sensed, but this is an issue across all digital recordings these days.

I would recommend these as a general connection option in small and medium studios, but consider purchasing the three-foot model since six-feet might be a bit too long. As always, this comes down to monitor placement and studio layout.

Features

  • Oxygen-free copper
  • Flexible rubber/nylon braid
  • Available in lengths up to 10’
  • Polyethylene insulation

Pros

  • 20AWG
  • Flexible design reduces tangles
  • Color-coded
  • Can be used to connect multiple devices

Cons

  • RCA can cause buzzing when plugged and unplugged
  • Metal housing may generate noise if wire contacts

Best For: Audio player and preamp connections as well as studio monitor connections

Killer Feature: 20AWG 4N oxygen-free copper for improved clarity

If you’re recording in the same room as your monitors, it can be beneficial to use studio headphones instead of listening through monitors. You might also consider the use of curtains and other sound treatments to isolate your audio source.

You can learn more about the best soundproof curtains for studio recording in this article.

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15. SiYear

SiYear

The SiYear XLR-to-RCA cords I tested utilize a bit of a strange color scheme. Instead of the typically red and white or red and black, these use red and green.

This wasn’t a problem since it didn’t affect the audio. I had no problems getting the lines connected, and the sound had no noticeable artifacts or interference.

One thing I do want to note is that these cords use aluminum foil material along with copper wiring. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but I would have liked it if the entire construction was copper.

The gold plating one the RCA jacks helps to make up for this a bit, however, as I expect the connections to last as a result.

Features

  • PVC jacket construction
  • Oxygen-free copper
  • Flexible housing to reduce tangles
  • Available in lengths up to 15’

Pros

  • Gold-plated connections
  • Can be used with additional audio gear
  • Resists corrosion

Cons

  • Color labels take time to get used to
  • RCA connection can lead to noise if bumped

Best For: Patching connections between studio monitors and audio gear using RCA jacks

Killer Feature: 24k gold plating resists corrosion and reduces audio interference

If you experience intermittent audio or audio with static, check your cabling for damage. Many times, small splits in the shielding of a cord can lead to disruptions in an audio signal or the introduction of static, noise and distortion.

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Other Must-Haves

Don’t Forget These Other Must-Have Items

Even the best monitors and cables are only going to get you so far in the world of recording and production. With only the bare essentials, you’re going to be limited in what you can do and what types of projects you can tackle.

That’s why I also recommend you check out these other must-have essentials:

Monitor Stands

The placement of your monitors can have a big impact on the quality of sound. If your monitors aren’t positioned properly at ear level and separated at the appropriate width, your perception of the output is likely to be skewed.

PERLESMITH

While it’s certainly possible to place your monitors on pretty much any flat surface while recording and mixing, I usually recommend getting ahold of a pair of monitor stands instead. Dedicated monitor stands can be placed exactly where you need them, and most offer the ability to raise, lower and even rotate monitors securely.

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Studio Headphones

Although monitors are useful for listening to a recording during the mixing process, I find that a good pair of studio headphones is invaluable during the recording phase. Studio headphones can be used to monitor a performance in real-time, allowing me to catch any mistakes and correct them before they become a problem in post.

OneOdio

Studio headphones are also ideal if I’m recording on-the-go or if I need to listen at a low volume with fine control. Many of today’s studio headphones can emulate the best monitor setups, so I recommend you look for headphones that are designed specifically for studio use as opposed to retail headphones designed for music listening.

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Acoustic Treatment

Having the right acoustic balance in a studio makes a world of difference in recording, but it also plays a huge role while mixing. Even the best monitors can sound bad if your console room isn’t properly treated with acoustic foam, bass traps and other types of sound isolation.

Sound Addicted

The art of acoustics is a technical topic that deserves its own attention, but I would recommend at least having some type of treatment in place to get the best sound possible from your monitors. Keep in mind that every hard surface can serve as a reflection point, so think about the direction your monitors are facing when installing acoustic treatments.

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Useful Resources

Conclusion

The best gear isn’t always the most expensive.

In closing, I want to leave you with a bit of advice I’ve picked up during my years spent in large studios: the best gear isn’t always the most expensive. Many times, you can get the same experience from a moderately priced piece of equipment as you can from an expensive one.

This is true for cords as well as things like headset microphones and more. In my experience, the best cables for studio monitors as the ones that get the job done right without any noise interference regardless of price.

If you want to know more about choosing the right gear, you can learn about the best headset microphones for recording in this article.

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