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What Studio Monitor Cables Should You Get?

What Studio Monitor Cables Should You Get

Studio cables primarily look-alike – they all have wires and heads. Trust us, and we understand that all these can be confusing and overwhelming, especially for newbies.

This article will help you understand everything there is to know about studio monitor audio cables. The goal is for you to know which one to get towards the end of this article!

Table of Contents

Quick Overview: Best Studio Monitor Cables for Your Home Studio

Best Cables for Your Home Studio Monitors

Since there are different cables for studio monitors, we’ll list down the best ones in each type.

If you’re confused about the cable variations, don’t worry! There are sections below where we will thoroughly discuss what the terms mean in simple definitions.

Best XLR Cables

XLR stands for External Line Return Cables.

Here are the top 3 XLR connections we’re vouching for:

  • Mogami Gold XLR Cables 6ft. (~$72.60)
  • Cable Matters 2-Pack Premium XLR Cables for Microphones 6ft. (~$16.99)
  • D’Addario Classic Series XLR Microphone Cable (Planet Waves), 10 feet (~$12.59)

Best TRS Cables

TRS stands for Tip, Ring, and Sleeve.

Here are our top 3 TRS cable brands.

  • Mogami Gold TRS Balanced Cable Audio 6ft. (~$59.95)
  • LyxPro TRS Balanced Cable 6ft. (~$13.99)
  • Canare L-4E6S Star Quad, TRS Cable (~$36.40)

Best TS Connectors

TS stands for Tip and Sleeve.

Here are the top 2 TS connectors for us:

  • Mogami GOLD SPEAKER-06 Amplifier-to-Cabinet Speaker Cable 12ft. (~$63.95)
  • Hosa CPP-202 Dual TS Cable (~$9.45)

Best RCA Connectors

RCA stands for Radio Corporation of America.

Here are the top 2 RCA connectors in our reviews:

  • Mogami GOLD RCA Cable 12 ft. (~$63.95)
  • Monoprice Premium Two-Channel RCA Cable (~$7.11)

Best XLR to TRS Connectors

This is a combination of XLR and TRS wires.

Here are our top 2 picks:

  • Mogami GOLD TRS-XLRM-06 Balanced Audio Adapter Cable 6 ft. (~$59.95)
  • Seismic Audio 6′ XLR Female to 1/4″ TRS Patch Cable 3ft. (~$10.50)

Best RCA to TS Cable

This is a combination of RCA and TS wires.

Here’s the best choice we’ve found:

  • Hosa HPR-005X2 Dual REAN 1/4″ TS to RCA Pro Stereo Interconnect Cable, 5 ft. (~$19.30)

Thorough Reviews: Best Cables for Your Home Studio Monitors

If you’re curious about the specifications and features of the products listed above (of course you are!), this section will be the answer to that.

Here, we’ve listed down the essential descriptions and benefits of each cable model. We also grouped them per category (type of cable) to quickly identify what to go for.

As you’ll learn later, the different cable type matters to your specific purposes and audio needs. 

Best XLR Cables (External Line Return Cables)

XLR cables have three pins (positive, negative, and ground wire). You usually see this type on mic cables, and it’s used to connect the microphone to mixers or amplifiers.

Mogami Gold XLR Cables 6ft. (~$72.60)

Mogami Gold XLR Cables 6ft. (~$72.60)

Though more expensive, Mogami Gold has proven to be a premium brand for audio cables.

It has the following features and benefits:

  • It can be used as both analog and digital cables
  • It’s the best option for high-end digital and pro audio applications.
  • It’s designed with an Ultra-High Density spiral shield for noise-free audio signal transmission.
  • Commonly used for connecting studio monitors, mixers, amplifiers, preamps, speakers, etc.
  • Mogami products (including this) have a lifetime warranty.
  • It has female to male connectors.
  • It’s compatible with balanced signals and balanced analog applications.

Simply put, the Mogami Gold XLR Cables are more for professional uses. If you’re looking for a reliable studio cable or if you’re into recording music and whatnot, this will be the appropriate cable for you.

Cable Matters 2-Pack Premium XLR Cables for Microphones 6ft. (~$16.99)

Cable Matters 2-Pack Premium XLR Cables for Microphones 6ft. (~$16.99)

If you find Mogami too expensive for your needs and uses, the XLR cables of Cable Matters will be a better option.

Other than its decent quality and affordable pricing, this one comes with spare male-to-female connectors! That’s a win-win.

It has the following features and benefits:

  • It can be used as both analog and digital cables
  • It’s the best option for high-end digital and pro audio applications.
  • It’s designed with an Ultra-High Density spiral shield for noise-free audio signal transmission.
  • Commonly used for connecting studio monitors, mixers, amplifiers, preamps, speakers, etc.
  • Mogami products (like this) have a lifetime warranty.
  • It has female to male connectors.
  • Balanced cables for microphones.
  • It has gold-plated connectors.

Among the three (3) on this list, these XLR cables from Cable Matters strike the middle-ground. It can also be used for professional uses and recording, but it’s not as expensive and high-end as the Mogami Gold ones. Still, it delivers the purpose well, and you even get a spare cable for studio monitors!

If you’re new to the industry or want something to play with but still ensuring that the quality is good, this is the XLR cable you should go for.

D’Addario Classic Series XLR Microphone Cable (Planet Waves), 10 feet (~$12.59)

D_Addario Classic Series XLR Microphone Cable (Planet Waves), 10 feet (~$12.59)

This one’s the most budget-friendly on this list. If you don’t need fancy XLR cables and only need them for short-term uses, go for this option.

It has the following features and benefits:

  • The in-and-out technology has low capacitance for pure signal transparency.
  • Affordable price for longer cable length
  • XLR male to XLR female connectors
  • Noise rejection for a better stereo signal

If you’re on a budget and just need one as soon as possible, the Planet Waves XLR cables from D’Addario will be your savior. The price is very affordable, and you can get one with a long cable length for the cheaper price tag.

But of course, expect that the quality won’t be as good as the expensive ones. The use might not be as long-term too, but that’s already relative to your usage and if you get a faulty model. But overall, it gets the job done!

 

Best TRS Cables (Tip, Ring, and Sleeves)

If XLR connectors have pins, a TRS cable is generally an audio jack. Its primary purposes are either for balanced connections or (i.e., connecting to balanced equipment) or for running audio to both left and right mono signals.

Mogami Gold TRS Balanced Cable Audio 6ft. (~$59.95)

Mogami Gold TRS Balanced Cable Audio 6ft. (~$59.95)

Those looking for TRS cables to produce the best sound quality really can’t go wrong with Mogami Gold. Many professionals trust this one!

It has the following features and benefits:

  • Enhanced dynamic range compatible with any 1/4″ balanced wiring application.
  • Good noise canceling feature (95% quieter background as compared to others)
  • The gold-plated connectors maintain your instruments (i.e., guitar) unique personality sound.
  • Deals with electrical interference well.

You’ll see many Mogami GOLD products on this list mainly because they’re the known brand that gives excellent audio interface and audio signals. For balanced cables, this TRS cable will provide high-quality sounds for sure!

LyxPro TRS Balanced Cable 6ft. (~$13.99)

1_LyxPro TRS Balanced Cable 6ft

The LyxPro TRS balanced cable is more for heavy-duty uses. Its defining feature is its durability and longevity. As we call it, it stands the test of time!

It has the following features and benefits:

  • It can provide high-quality sound transmission.
  • The noise rejection is good.
  • 24 AWG Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) 95% Helical Shielding

Overall, we think the price is perfect for the quality this TRS connector offers. Even if it’s not as expensive, don’t think that it’s not as good.

The durability of the signal wires and its performance as a balanced signal cable and quarter-inch TRS plug will impress you.

Canare L-4E6S Star Quad, TRS Cable (~$36.40)

Canare L-4E6S Star Quad, TRS Cable (~$36.40)

If you travel a lot or need TRS connectors that can endure any type of temperature without compromising the sound quality, the Japan-made Canare Star-Quad will not disappoint.

It has the following features and benefits:

  • The 40 separate strands in each conductor can stand extreme cold weather.
  • The pure gold plated connectors enhance conductivity.
  • There’s thermoplastic insulation inside that avoids shorting of wires.
  • The Star-Quad design reduces almost all EMI noise.

Like Mogami GOLD, Canare is one of the best cables for professional use and connecting to good audio equipment. In terms of the audio signal and quality, you can also explore this one!

Best TS Cables (Tip Sleeve)

If TRS cables are two-signal wires, TS cables carry only one. For this reason, they’re usually called mono cables, which you may have heard of too.

Likewise, if TRS cables are for balanced cables, a TS cable is for unbalanced cables or unbalanced signals. The sound transmission is more straightforward – the audio signal is transmitted from the top to the electrical equipment.

Mogami GOLD SPEAKER-06 Amplifier-to-Cabinet Speaker Cable 12ft. (~$63.95)

Mogami GOLD SPEAKER-06 Amplifier-to-Cabinet Speaker Cable 12ft. (~$63.95)

Yes, Mogami GOLD is still on the list!

It has the following features and benefits:

  • It maintains the tones of your original sound upon transfer to the studio monitors.
  • Compatible with most amplifiers and speaker cabinets.
  • It has Mogami’s specialty Ultra High Density (UHD) spiral shield for superb transparency and noise rejection.
  • The connector type is coaxial.

Again, it’s more for professional use. If you need analog cables for unbalanced signals, Mogami GOLD has TS connectors to offer too.

Hosa CPP-202 Dual TS Cable (~$9.45)

Hosa CPP-202 Dual TS Cable (~$9.45)

But of course, not everyone will be willing to splurge a lot of money for unbalanced cables. The Hosa CPP-202 is the most affordable option with a very acceptable price range.

It has the following features and benefits:

  • It’s designed to interconnect gear with stereo unbalanced phone jacks.
  • It can be used for different kinds of audio equipment and applications.
  • Nickel-plated plugs.
  • Color-coded for easier assignments and distinctions.
  • Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) conductors for enhanced signal clarity

If you’re only looking for an affordable but still well-performing unbalanced cable for good unbalanced signal transmissions, go for this one. It can still connect studio monitors and speakers, has a good signal wire, and is still a known TS cable brand.

Honestly speaking, if you’re not a professional yet, you may not find the expensive unbalanced cables worth it, nor can you maximize the benefits that make them expensive.

Best RCA Cables (Radio Corporation of America)

For sure, you’re more familiar with the physical appearance of RCA connectors. You see this with your cable TV sets and old stereos! Well, that’s because an RCA cable carries not only an audio interface but also video signals. For modern equipment, the equivalent is HDMI.

Mogami GOLD RCA Cables 12 ft. (~$63.95)

Mogami GOLD RCA Cables 12 ft. (~$63.95)

This is it for those looking for an excellent digital cable for home theaters, DJ equipment, high-end studio monitors, and monitor speakers!

It has the following features and benefits:

  • It features low loss, neutral tone, and Mogami’s signature shielding for a dead-silent background.
  • Equipped with dual gold contact RCA male plug connectors and wired with Mogami Unbalanced 75 Ohm Miniature Coaxial Audio/Video cable.
  • Like other Mogami GOLD cables, this one comes in different lengths for different needs.
  • Mogami GOLD RCA-RCA-03 Unbalanced Cable: 3 ft. length.
  • Mogami GOLD RCA-RCA Unbalanced Cable: 6, 12, and 20 ft. lengths.

If you haven’t already noticed, Mogami GOLD’s specialty is their gold-plated connectors. They’re one of the best cables because their pure gold plates make the positive signal transmission better, and thus the better sound output.

Monoprice Premium Two-Channel RCA Connections (~$7.11)

1_Monoprice Premium Two-Channel RCA Connections

If you want gold plate connectors but don’t need to spend so much, the Monoprice Premium RCA Connections will be a good option.

It has the following features and benefits:

  • Premium two-channel audio cable made of RG-59 75-ohm coaxial cable.
  • It uses a 22AWG conductor and is shielded to prevent EMI or RFI interference from entering.
  • Connectors are gold-plated.
  • Color-coded rubber rings to ensure a firm grip when installing or removing the cable.
  • Lifetime warranty.

This is a good dupe for Mogami GOLD. This one does its job well, even if the price is lower.

Best XLR to TRS Connectors

These types are for XLR inputs to TRS connectors. They come with the two heads in one connector.

Mogami GOLD TRS-XLRM-06 Balanced Audio Adapter Cable 6 ft. (~$59.95)

Mogami Gold TRS Balanced Cable Audio 6ft. (~$59.95)

If you trust the Mogami GOLD XLR connectors and TRS cables, you can also trust their XLR to TRS balanced cables.

It has the following features and benefits:

  • It’s wired with Mogami Neglex Quad High Definition Microphone Cable, a balanced 4-conductor cable with good clarity and the highest noise and RF interference cancellation.
  • Compatible with nearly any kind of mixers, preamps, amplifiers, audio interfaces, loudspeakers, powered speakers, monitor speakers, studio monitors, etc.
  • For professional use.

Well, we’ll just repeat what we said above. It’s expensive but also the best XLR connection to TRS cable choice for professional use.

Seismic Audio 6′ XLR Female to 1/4″ TRS Patch Cable 3ft. (~$10.50)

Seismic Audio 6_ XLR Female to 1-4- TRS Patch Cable 3ft.

If you’re looking for more color varieties – which not many of these cables have – Seismic Audio can give you that!

It has the following features and benefits:

  • Multi-colored speaker cables for better customization.
  • Heavy-duty rubber jacket

The features of this product are pretty straightforward. It has XLR connectors and TRS connectors, and it comes in different color variations. It connects to any audio interface like studio monitors and such, suitable for balanced signals.

Plus, it’s not over-the-top expensive. That’s it!

Best RCA to TS Connectors

Lastly, we also have 2-in-1 cables for unbalanced signals. Like the XLR to TRS balanced cables, these come with two connectors in one.

Hosa HPR-005X2 Dual REAN 1/4″ TS to RCA Pro Stereo Interconnect Cable, 5 ft. (~$19.30)

Hosa HPR-005X2 Dual REAN 1-4- TS to RCA Pro Stereo Interconnect Cable, 5 ft. (~$19.30)

For your unbalanced inputs, go for the HOSA HPR-005X2. It comes with RCA and TS unbalanced connections.

It has the following features and benefits:

  • Rean connectors for superior signal transfer.
  • It’s durable.
  • 24 AWG Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) Conductors for Enhanced signal clarity
  • 90% OFC Spiral shields for effective EMI and RFI Rejection and Flexibility

The connectivity technology of this one is compatible with HDMI. It’s perfect for your unbalanced cable needs and those home theaters!

Things to Consider When Choosing Studio Monitor Cables

Things to Consider When Choosing Studio Monitor Cables

But as we keep mentioning the terms balanced and unbalanced cables, TRS cable, XLR connectors, and so on, you’re probably confused about what they mean.

Don’t worry! This section will explain the important things you need to know about them in straightforward terms. It’s essential to know the differences since it will be part of your considerations in choosing your cables for studio monitors.

Different Types of Studio Monitor Cables

First, understand that though these studio monitors’ cables look similar, various types have different uses. 

Balanced and Unbalanced Cables

Let’s start first with balanced cables.

Balanced cables have three (3) wires: two signal wires and a ground. Without getting too technical, the primary function of the two signals is noise cancellation. A flip of polarity (negative/positive signal) goes in with the transmission, which leads to the cancellation of identical sounds.

Balanced cables often run longer – which is why you see XLR connectors for microphones connected to amplifiers or studio monitors. For a balanced signal, the most common cable types are XLR and TRS cables.

Next,  let’s tackle unbalanced cables.

Unlike the three wires of balanced cables, unbalanced cables only have the signal and ground wires.

To put it simply, an unbalanced cable transmits and shields different kinds of interferences, but it’s not the best option for high noise cancellation. Though they block the interferences, it also picks up the unbalanced signal from outside sources.

It’s used for audio-visual purposes or instruments such as guitars and keyboards. The most common types of unbalanced cable are TS and RCA connectors.

TS and TRS Connectors

Okay, so we now know whether it’s a balanced or unbalanced cable, but what are they exactly?

Let’s begin first with TS and TRS connectors. As we’ve indicated in the sections above, this is what these names stand for.

  • TS: Tip and Sleeve (2 signal wiring; unbalanced)
  • TRS: Tip, Ring, and Sleeves (3 signal wiring; balanced)

The main difference between these two is the signal wiring. For a TS cable, it’s only two, while for a TRS cable, it’s three. Now go back to the explanations with balanced and unbalanced to further understand the significance of their different wirings.

XLR Connectors

We’ve also mentioned XLR connectors quite a lot, mainly because it’s one of the common types, especially for microphones. XLR stands for External Line Return Cables.

It’s widely used for microphones, and it’s a balanced cable. Think of it this way, when you use a mic to sing or speak, the goal is to amplify your voice. To make your voice crystal clear, you need a noise-canceling balanced cable to block out all of the unnecessary background noises.

Measure the Length that You Need

The second consideration is to find the right length—this one’s self-explanatory. You need a long wire to connect your microphone to your studio monitors, then go for that. 

Also, keep in mind that different lengths come with different prices; the longer, the more expensive.

How Do Audio Cables Work?

How Do Audio Cables Work-

You’ve also encountered the terms of digital and analog cables in passing. These have something to do with the transmission of sound through these cables.

Analog

Think of analog signals as signals of your analog televisions and radios. It works by frequencies which makes it subject to more external interferences. Because of this, you’ll more likely hear static and glitches with analog cables.

Similar to audio cables, expect this same experience when you use analog wires.

Digital

Digital cables are more modern, and the technology doesn’t rely on frequencies but compressed data. There will be fewer static and glitches.

Most equipment now (i.e., studio monitors) uses digital wires already. But if you have one that still relies on analog, it will be better to get cables compatible for both.

What’s Shielding?

Shielding in cables pertains to that additional layer of insulating conductors under the standard conductive layer. As the name goes, it has an extra shield that prevents it from different kinds of exposures.

You can often identify a shielded cable by its thickness in rigidity (i.e., a shielded TRS cable will be a lot thicker than an unshielded TRS connector).

Shielded cables reduce the electrical noise, which helps improve the sound quality. It’s suitable for recording and connecting to a studio monitor and such, but it’s not always the better choice, especially for industrial settings.

How to Properly Connect A Laptop to Studio Monitors

How to Properly Connect A Laptop to Studio Monitors

Connecting your studio monitors to your laptop is very simple, but different ways to do it depend on your laptop ports and studio monitor cables.

Some jacks are allotted for different wires and cables. You need to have a balanced line with a TRS cable or a TRS connector to connect your studio monitors to your laptop. Usually, people use an audio interface, but you can also do it without one.

Best Studio Monitor Cables Summary [TL;DR]

Best Studio Monitor Cables Summary [TL_DR]

That was a long read, wasn’t it? For a quick rundown, here’s a summary section of the products mentioned.

Best XLR Connectors

XLR connection is a type of balanced cable usually used for microphones. It has three pins (positive, negative, and ground wires).

  • Mogami Gold XLR Cables 6ft. (~$72.60)
  • Cable Matters 2-Pack Premium XLR Cables for Microphones 6ft. (~$16.99)
  • D’Addario Classic Series XLR Microphone Cable (Planet Waves), 10 feet (~$12.59)

Best TRS Cables

A TRS Cable is also a balanced cable, but it’s an audio jack instead of pins. It has three components (tip, ring, sleeve).

  • Mogami Gold TRS Balanced Cable Audio 6ft. (~$59.95)
  • LyxPro TRS Cable 6ft. (~$13.99)
  • Canare L-4E6S Star Quad, TRS Cable (~$36.40)

Best TS Connectors

TS connectors have only the tip and the sleeve (its main difference with TRS). It’s a type of unbalanced cable for an unbalanced signal.

Unlike TRS and XLR, noise canceling is not the strong suit of TS connectors. Instead, it’s for original sound retention and blocking interferences from frequency signals.

  • Mogami GOLD SPEAKER-06 Amplifier-to-Cabinet Speaker Cable 12ft. (~$63.95)
  • Hosa CPP-202 Dual TS Cable (~$9.45)

Best RCA Connectors

RCA connectors are also unbalanced cables. Think of this one as an HDMI type – it’s not confined to audio-only but also has a visual signal. It’s often used for home theaters too.

  • Mogami GOLD RCA Cable 12 ft. (~$63.95)
  • Monoprice Premium Two-Channel RCA Cable (~$7.11)

Best XLR to TRS Connectors

Combine what you’ve learned about XLR and TRS, and that’s basically what this is. In essence, you’re getting these two types of balanced cables in one wire. For example, you can connect the XLR head to your microphone and the TRS jack to the amplifier or studio monitor.

  • Mogami GOLD TRS-XLRM-06 Balanced Audio Adapter Cable 6 ft. (~$59.95)
  • Seismic Audio 6′ XLR Female to 1/4″ TRS Patch Cable 3ft. (~$10.50)

Best RCA to TS Cable

And lastly, this is RCA and TS combined.

  • Hosa HPR-005X2 Dual REAN 1/4″ TS to RCA Pro Stereo Interconnect Cable, 5 ft. (~$19.30)

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

We hope we were able to clarify the confusion when it comes to studio monitor cables. We understand that all the techy terms can be intimidating, but it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it!

Choosing the best cable for your studio monitors all boils down to knowing the functions of the different wire types and understanding which ones to use for specific purposes.

Good luck!

About the author

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After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Nick became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.