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I have one black cord/wire/cable (best term?) for use with my two microphones (a Shure SM57 and an Audix OM2) with XLR connectors on both ends. The problem is that when those mics (or another dynamic mic I borrowed) are used through that cord, the sound is VERY VERY QUIET.

When I use the same mics (or the borrowed one) with a different (borrowed) cord, the sound is properly loud. If I crank the gain on the amp the mics are going into with the low cord, I can hear/record my voice, but it is at least 1/10th as loud as it should be, so much so that it is useless.

My questions are: what could cause this? Can I fix it? (and is it worth it? I've never bought a mic wire before, just got this from someone). I should note, I've long used a rather bent XLR-to-1/4" adaptor onto the end of the cord, with the "prong" bent 20 degrees from true, so this may be part of what messed up this cord.

I'd just like to understand how this works.

Thanks.

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2 Answers

My advice would be that it's not worth it to waste time repairing that cable (best term in my opinion). An XLR cable can be bought for something like $10 on ebay.

The reason why a cable has stopped working well? Well, there are many. It could range from bad cable from the beginning, broken or bad connection inside, bad soldering, etc. If you dropped the cable a couple of times, the pins could be damaged (with a XLR cable it is very rare) but if you put on a bad adapter, I could have damaged the pins...

So my advice again, buy another cable and put that one in the trash :)

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There could be a bad solder to one of the pins or a damaged wire inside the cable (they're always "cables", to me at least! Wires go inside cables - aka 'cores' - and leads are only for power transmission).

Is the XLR wired correctly? There are nonstandard cables floating around with XLR ends - there's no quick way to tell except unscrew an end and examine the pin config.

Fundamentally though.... It's buggered. XLRs are ten a penny these days, just bin it and buy a couple more. ;-)

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