From church, I took home two XLR Cables (16 AWG) that I considered may be broken, so that I could test them in a more controlled environment.
My Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 has been working great in the past month with my own mic cables and MacBook Pro 16".
My Tests (In Sequence Order)
- Home Mic Cable: As a control, with my home microphone and my mic XLR cable I recorded a bit of audio from my microphone and played it back. GOOD; just as expected.
- XLRCable1: I was able to record and playback from my 2i4. GOOD; albeit it was quieter... XLRCable1 seems to be working.
- XLRCable2: Soon after I plugged it into my 2i4 multiple things happened: a) the secondary input meter light started to flash (though I plugged into the primary input), b) I could not hear any microphone signal through my headphones (which was connected to the 2i4), c) I began to hear digital noise (like digital pulses) through my headphones.
My hunch: The XLRCable2 was so broken that it some how internally broken my audio interface.
Two Hours Later: It's been many hours of restarting my computer, unplugging and plugging in the audio interface and I can not get any audio to play (e.g. Spotify music), and I still hear digital noise. Even when I go back to using my Home Mic Cable (my control), I cannot record any signal anymore!
Q) Can a bad XLR cable harm/break an audio interface?
Yes, I had phantom power on at the time, to power CloudLifter CL-1.