To make a microphone cable, you’re going to need a piece of microphone cable cut to length, as well as a male XLR connector and a female XLR connector. The cable I use is the Seismic Audio – SA-MIC500 (500 ft), the male XLR plugs I use are the GLS Audio XLR Male Plugs (20 Pack), and the female XLR connectors I use are the GLS Audio XLR Female Plugs.
Cut a piece of microphone cable to the length you require with your utility knife.
Unscrew the base of an XLR connector and slide it onto the cable, along with the inner protective cover. Your connector may or may not have come with a protective cover, so don’t worry if you don’t have one. It’s important that you don’t miss this step because once you solder the head of the connector to the cable’s inner wires, you won’t be able to get the connector’s base onto the cable.
Make an incision about 1/4” back from the end of the cable, and slowly roll the cable beneath your utility knife using light pressure. You’ll be able to feel when you make contact with the wires inside the cable; leave them intact. Remove the rubber exterior.
Pull back the cable shield (ground wire) to reveal a bundle of string. This string is used to provide tensile strength to the cable to prevent it from stretching over time.
Cut back the string to reveal the “hot” and “cold” wires.
Use your fingers to twist together the ground wire.
Cut away the casing around the “hot” wire and “cold” wire using your wire strippers.
There are three different wires within this cable, and three pins a part of both your male and female XLR connectors. There’s a standard called EIA Standard RS-297-A that dictates pin 1 is the chassis ground, pin 2 is the positivity polarity “hot” terminal, and pin 3 is the negative polarity “cold” terminal.
As you can see in the image below, male XLR connectors have their pins labeled 1, 2, and 3.
Female XLR connectors have their ports labeled 1, 2, and 3 as well. As you can see, these ports are arranged in a way that will allow a male XLR connector’s pin 1 to enter port 1, pin 2 to enter port 2, and pin 3 to enter port 3.
Align the ground wire with pin 1, the “hot” red wire with pin 2, and the “cold” white wire with pin 3. Use your Helping Hand to assist you with this process. You need your hands free to solder the wires to their respective pins.
I recommend configuring your Helping Hand in a way that allows you to solder the wires from above the pins. This will allow you to melt the rosin core solder midway up the wires and have it drip down onto the pins.
With all three cables connector to their respective pins, you’re now ready to put the assembly together.
Push the base of the connector towards the head, along with the inner protective cover (if there is one), and screw the assembly together.
To attach a female XLR connector to the other side of your microphone cable, you’re going to follow the same steps that you did for connecting a male XLR connector, making sure to solder the ground wire to port 1, the “hot” wire to port 2, and the “cold” wire to port 3. Remember, these ports are labeled.
Once you’ve finished making an audio cable, it’s important that you wrap it correctly; this will prevent the internal wires from warping and wearing away over time. Watch the following 1-minute tutorial to learn how to wrap your cables the right way.
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