Wiring your own microphone cables can save quite a bit of money over buying cables from a retailer, and also allows you to create custom lengths for any application. Microphone connectors are available from most electronic supply stores, are inexpensive and are standard throughout the industry. Microphone cables use three wires to carry an audio signal, and can be assembled with a soldering iron and a few basic tools.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- XLR cable
- Microphone connectors
- Soldering iron
- Rosin core solder
- Wire stripper/cutter
- Phillips-head screwdriver
Purchase your cable and a male and female microphone connector for each cable you wish to assemble. These are available at most electronic supply stores and are also referred to as XLR cables and connectors.
Cut your cable to the desired length using a wire cutter. Strip 1 or 2 inches of the rubber casing from each end of the cable using a wire stripper. This will reveal the three inner wires. Two inner wires are shielded, and the third is a bare wire that must be gathered and wrapped together by hand. If there is any paper or foil wrapped inside the cable, it can be cut away and discarded.
Strip 1/4 inch of shielding from the wires at both ends of the cable.
Open the casing of the connectors using a Phillips-head screwdriver. The inner connector and contacts should slide out of the metal housing after the screw is removed. Notice that the contact points are labelled 1, 2 and 3 on both connectors.
Apply a small amount of solder into the ends of each wire on both sides of your cable with a soldering iron, and allow to cool for a few moments.
Solder the bare wire to the number 1 labelled contact of each connector.
Choose which colours to assign to the number 2 and 3 connections. Typically XLR cable will contain a red and black wire. The standard sequence is red wire for number 2, and black wire for number 3 connections. You may use a different combination if you wish, as long as it's consistent throughout your wiring.
Solder the number 2 and 3 connections on each end of your cable to their contact points on the connectors. Allow the solder to cool for several minutes, and replace the connector housing. Line up the notch in the connector with the groove of the connector housing, slide it into place and secure it with the original screw.
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