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I have a home studio with 10 microphones cabled up. These cables all connect from the audio interface to the microphones, and follow generally the same path. I have heard that parallel cables add noise to each other.

Is this really a problem? How can I avoid this, given that they are all coming from one place?

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You shouldn't have any trouble with this. The voltages coming from microphones are next to nothing, and phantom power is DC and from the same source. Think of a snake cable with 32+ channels in it, running a couple hundred feet.

You only need to be concerned about power cables running in parallel to your microphone cables. Even then, it generally isn't a huge problem.

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Why do you have to worry about power cables in parallel? What kinds of problems can occur? I've never heard of this but it sounds plausible due to the higher voltage. –  Warrior Bob Jun 7 '11 at 16:07
    
@Warrior Bob, I meant power cables running in parallel to your microphone cables. You can get quite a bit of noise from them, depending on load. This is especially true with dimmer packs, as @Phil pointed out. –  Brad Jun 7 '11 at 16:24
    
That makes perfect sense - thanks for the explanation. –  Warrior Bob Jun 7 '11 at 17:04
    
Additionally: as long your microphone cables are XLR you are immune to external electric noise since the signal transfer is balanced: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_audio_connector –  Eduard Wirch Jun 17 '11 at 22:27

Is this really a problem?

I doubt it but you can work this out yourself with a simple experiment. Set up your environment as you would for a real recording session. Record a minute or so of silence with all 10 microphones. Repeat with just 5 connected, then 1, then none. Compare the difference in the "silent" recordings e.g. is the peak amplitude of the background noise larger for your 10 microphone setup than any other?

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If you have 10 mics plugged in at all times, I can see that'd be a bit of a mess. However, if you're using good-quality XLR cables and using proper XLR connections (i.e., no XLR-to-1/4" connectors), there's no reason you should be getting a lot of noise unless the cables are very long indeed.

I've never heard that parellel cables add noise simply by virtue of them being parallel, (although I'm not as electrically inclined as I could be).

Are the mics all plugged into your audio interface, or are they plugged into a mixing board first? Have you eliminated the board as a source of noise? If the board is plugged into your computer (I would hope it is!), what cables are you using? TTry testing them for noise as well.

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I've never had problems cross talk between Mic channels, if you think about a standard gig setup the Mic leads will be parallel for >150m without problems. More likely to cause issues are power cables, in particular dimmed power from lighting racks, which is something I've experienced many times.

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What you're asking about is called crosstalk. That kind of signal at those intensities - it shouldn't be a problem. Just like everyone else is saying :)

I'd have commented but I can't do so here yet.

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