Long XLR cables - help me decide


I need a set of fairly long XLR cables to go between my preamp and monoblock amps. The amps will sit behind the speakers, so the right channel amp needs a cable that is around 25ft. I think it makes sense to use equal length cables, although I doubt it makes much difference (except for potential sale in the future). 

I'm currently using somewhat shorter (17ft) DIY cables made from DH Labs Pro Studio bulk cable. I like the way these sound, so I could just make another set of cables with this, but I'm wondering if there is something that might be better (and I like to experiment). This is a silver plated OFC copper stranded wire with PTFE foam insulation.

I made a set of cables using Connex The Natural One from Parts Connexion. This is a tin plated copper with natural cotton insulation. I found this cable to be kind of flat sounding - lacking in detail and energy. Fortunately, it didn't cost much.

I'm considering making cables from Neotech NEI-3001 Mk III, which uses a combination of solid core OCC copper and silver plated copper wires with FEP insulation and air tubes. I already have connectors so this would cost me about $730. The DH Labs Pro Studio would cost me a bit less, but I think the Neotech is a higher quality cable (at least from a materials and construction perspective).

Another option I'm considering is Audio Envy (not sure which of their two models). This would be less expensive, but I'm not sure if it would be as good. 

Any other options I should consider under $1000. I have tried Blue Jean cables and don't like them as much as my current cables.
Ag insider logo xs@2xjaytor
I use a 28 ft pair of Signal Silver.  They were about $700 for  the pair.  Before that I had a 25 ft pair of Mogami Gold.  The Signals are much better.    I think the Signal Silver is really good for the price.   BTW, I tried the Signal Coppers, which are about half the price, many years ago and didn't like them.  Rather dead sounding.  
My advice:

Use any balanced wire, that you may find. You may try at the next music shop. those have such cables ready.
For connectors: the best are Nutrik. Swiss made, high quality, the entire industry use it. They go on eBay or at your local shop for 5-10$. 
The cable might be (depends of length) 20-40S.
I see no reason to pay more than $100.-

You’ll have to look for a (raw bulk) cable design that has the attributes you seek..all while remembering that your system is off kilter in the area of not having a perfect noise aspect, or perfect s/n ratio in the realm of dynamics or micro distortions that color sound. So you are looking for a good fit to what you have.

Looking for a perfect cable, means you have fixed everything else beforehand... and that is a very tall, very expensive, and very complex - order.

So, ask yourself what you want and then look for cable that is in the range of being known to be subtly to strongly in those directions...and take a shot at it.

eg, if looking for more detail, be aware that the rest of the noise inherent in your system comes along for the ride and that... is ultimately a smaller window of sound quality, if the asked for increase in one area (with a new cable) is too much in effect.

It’s like a series of connected, one after another, of EQ’s where the sliders are all up, and all down in the next and then all up in the next..and then after 5 eqs all like that, the exiting sound out of the last..is just sonic mud of the worst kind.

Many audio systems are constructed like that.

Perfect dynamics and neutrality in each part, including the inidivudal cables, is the real way to get to sonic nirvana, but so few can do it.

Most just end up with series of sequential tone controls, that are EQ’s... and it’s sonic mud/screech.... for breakfast, lunch, and supper.

Even though we all desperately want to and try to avoid that.

We tend to try and fix a bent bone by breaking it in another direction, in a different spot. No, just....no.

IMO, always head for neutral and highly dynamic, and then each piece analyzed in that way.... and then biting the bullet on pride, ego, and cost (re think the entire system and devices therein)... and getting to the right spot, finally.

So, in that kind of mindset, search for a clean, dynamic, and neutral cable... and then work your way out of the hole, the hole we are all in...
@brownsfan - Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check them out. I assume you re referring to Signal Cable Silver Resolution. I've had mixed results with all-silver interconnects. I had a set of fairly long Silver Audio Hyacinth XLR interconnects a while back that I found to lack body and be a bit harsh sounding. But I now use a set of DH Labs Revelation between my DAC and preamp and really like this cable. 

I have found that balanced cables impart less of their character on the sound than RCA interconnects do, but the differences are still noticeable. 

@teo_audio - I agree with your priorities (neutral and dynamic), but it's not easy to figure out which particular cables exhibit those characteristics the best (or the best within my budget anyway). My long cable length requirement limits the options quite a bit.

In my current setup, these interconnects will be used with amps that drive the speakers from about 80Hz up. I am building a new set of speakers that will shift the crossover point up to about 170Hz, so low bass performance is less of a factor. Separately driven stereo open-baffle subs cover the lowest frequencies.

I am intrigued by the Neotech cable mentioned in my OP, primarily because Neotech has an excellent reputation re the quality of their cables, but I haven't been able to find any listening impressions on this particular cable. 
@jaytor , right, Signal cable silver resolution.  I've seen the same thing with XLR ICs.  They are not completely transparent, but they impart their own character much less than single ended ICs.  I've also found that XLRs typically sound better than their single ended counterparts, which has allowed me to get by with ICs that don't break the bank.  

Unfortunately, no one, regardless of cost, has 25-30 ft ICs as a stock item, so you have to buy to try.   I've used the Signal Silvers as both XLR and single ended several times, and they have not disappointed me yet.   They might not have the meat on the bones that can be had with the best copper, but if you are going to set a $1K upper limit, your choices are somewhat limited.   I have not found the Silver Resolutions to be bright in the sense of putting one into a system that was well balanced and thinking, no, got to get these out of here.   I've gone about half copper and half silver in my system, which I think is about right for me. 

If you are serious about DIY, I would take a look at wig's  post on the Duelund Helix ICs.  

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/duelund-conversion-to-diy-helix-geometry-cabling

If you read the thread, you will find a link to williwonka's webpage where there is a recipe for Helix XLR ICs.  You might be able to make a set for under 1K.  I have been thinking about giving those a try, but I haven't priced out a project yet, so I don't have a feel for what it might cost.  There are a number of golden eared audio goners that are swearing by the helix design, so you might give that some thought.


You might ask Chris at Parts Connection if he prefers the Natural over Connex BL-Ag solid silver bulk IC cable. Both are made by DH Labs. In recent years BL-Ag has become my reference. It is further improved with a double run per channel(Schroeder method), for a total cost of $32/stereo ft. For a step up from Neutrik connectors, use Oyaide Focus 1, Eizz, or Bocchino XLRs. Eizz and Bocchino use compression terminations that improve on the sound of a soldered connection.
Steve over at audio sensibility *

take 5 audio

Parts connection

*when it comes to PCOCC, he’s as close the OCC situation as you will get. As in Dr Ohno, being a friend of the family. Seriously.

(OCC=Ohno Continuous Cast)
@dgarretson - Thanks for the pointer regarding the Eizz connectors. These look excellent. I've ordered a set to use with whichever cables I decide on. 

@teo_audio - Thanks for the pointers. I don't think I've visited the Audio Sensibility site before. 

I'm kind of leaning toward sticking with the DHLabs Pro Studio since I know these sound good in my system. It's the audiofool experimentation bug that's making me considering other options. 
Neutrik is not Swiss, its stuff is made in Liechtenstein.
Im using long XLR interconnects as well.....tried a few......they all sound pretty much the same.   That's the joy of differentially balanced circuits.
@stringreen  - While I agree that balanced interconnects impart less of their sonic signature on the sound, and thus sound more similar to each other, I have still been able to notice a difference between every balanced interconnect I've tried - some more than others. 

I've decided to give the Neotech cable a try. I have had good experience with other Neotech wire/cable I've used (although I've never tried the NES-3001) and this seems to be a well made cable with logical material and construction choices. Order placed with Sonic Craft. I'm going to use the EIZZ connectors.
Jaytor.....I'm using Neotech as power cables with the top Furutech ends.  Very satisfied.
FYI, Neotech NES-3001 is a speaker cable - I believe their best copper speaker, or at least it was their best.
NEI-3001 is an interconnect cable that in its former configuration sounded rather dark and boring IMO. The newest configuration has added silver but it has both stranded and solid core connectors so it may be a bit conflicted about how it should sound.
The associated power cable is NEP-3001, now in its MK3 configuration.
The speaker cable (which is a heavy gauge of multiple solid core OCC copper wires that are individually insulated in Teflon) holds the most interest to me, although I mostly stay away from the sound of Teflon.
I do have a couple of Neotech power cords and they sound good.
@mitch2 - yes, my mistake on the model number. It's the NEI-3001 Mk III that I ordered.
I agree that Sonic Craft is an excellent choice. They will create the cables for the length that you require at a great price.

Earlier this year, Sonic Craft made me a 4 foot power cable using Neotech NEP-3002 MK III, Furutech FI-28 Gold plated plugs, and a Marinco right angle adapter. The build quality and affordable assembly fee made me a happy customer.
I like the Audio Envy cables but they're a bit on the delicate side and might not be ideal for such a long run.
Assuming you have true balanced connections, I'd buy sets of balanced cables from Benchmark Media Systems in Syracuse, NY. On their site they have some demonstrations of their cables versus others for magnetic interference, etc. If you DIY you can build your own since they have nothing to hide but I don't have the time or ability to make them up myself. Obviously the pricing is dirt cheap but they sound great when compared to those priced in the stratosphere.