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XLR Connectors. Pros & Cons Saturation Plugins
Old 24th November 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 
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Question XLR Connectors. Pros & Cons

When it comes to XLR connectors, it seems that most people rely heavily on Neutriks.

My question is what is the benefit of using their ends over another brand using the same exact cable? Is there a drop in signal strength, or is it more of a durability issue?

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing some of your responses.
-N
Old 24th November 2009
  #2
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At least in America, there are only a couple of "professional" grade XLR connectors. Neutrik, as you mentioned, Switchcraft, and perhaps, Cannon (if they are still manufactured).

Any of them should be perfectly suitable as far as performance is concerned and I know that Neutriks and Switchcrafts come in a variety that includes gold plated contacts which tarnish less (none) than the nickel over brass.

I use Neutriks almost exclusively on my XLR cable assemblies because they are robust, and easy to assemble. As well, Neutrik is pretty good about correcting ideas that don't work so well in their designs. It is really just a matter of choice. The Switchcraft connectors have as good a rep, and I use other of their connectors as "first call" all the time. These include the 1/4" phones, mini-phones, the TA series, their RCA, etc. Great stuff.

So pays yer money and takes yer choice.

What's the word in this style of connector in the EU and in Asia? Anyone?

D.
Old 24th November 2009
  #3
Some people swear by Switchcraft, claiming they have better connection with the gender counterpart, but I hate them. Their standard XLR assembly is clumsy, breaks easily, and is hard to remove. Neutrik has the very easy to use, and very effective chuck assembly that clamps the chord more effectively. They also look betterthumbsup. Definitely worth the extra $1 I think.
Old 24th November 2009
  #4
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Neutrik 100% except for TA3's which are Switchcraft.
Old 24th November 2009
  #5
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I also like Neutrik XLR's soley because they're easy to put together. For 1/4", though, I typically choose Switchcraft (or since I usually order from Redco, I'll go with their less expensive version).
Old 24th November 2009
  #6
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For what it's worth, I talked to the guys at Redco about this a few months ago, and they also felt like the engineering on the Neutriks was better in terms of strain relief, solderability, etc.

They did say, though, that for road applications where connectors are apt to get stepped on or otherwise abused, Switchcraft gear can be a bit more robust.
Old 25th November 2009
  #7
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We had Neutriks at a national cable network and after experiencing audio breakup in the mic lines they were all replaced with Switchcrafts. Never had a problem after that.

I see Amphenol XLR connectors marketed in Australia but I'm not sure about the U.S.
Old 25th November 2009
  #8
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Switchcraft preferred here
Old 25th November 2009
  #9
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Smile

Definitely Neutrik for me - never had a single problem in 30 years or so.

For new cables, though, I have upgraded to the new Neutrik EMC XLRs.
Old 25th November 2009
  #10
I have found that Neutriks are tougher to mate with Neumann mic's than the Switchcraft - for some reason it's a tight fit. The Switchcraft goes in much more easily.

That being said, I use mostly Neutrik XLR's - ease of assembly and repair over the Switchcraft.
Old 25th November 2009
  #11
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post
I have found that Neutriks are tougher to mate with Neumann mic's than the Switchcraft - for some reason it's a tight fit. The Switchcraft goes in much more easily.
That's because the Neumann has the corrugated rubber ring in the bottom of the XLR - this is needed for the Switchcraft connector to stop it moving.

With the Neutrik connector, you can take out this ring and it will mate perfectly and easily.
Old 5th January 2013
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
That's because the Neumann has the corrugated rubber ring in the bottom of the XLR - this is needed for the Switchcraft connector to stop it moving.

With the Neutrik connector, you can take out this ring and it will mate perfectly and easily.
What do you think of Bocchino Audio XLR, or DH Lab XLR Connectors compared to the Neutrik?
Old 5th January 2013
  #13
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I only think Neutrik.
Very good service in the UK
Old 6th January 2013
  #14
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This thread started a long time ago!

In Australia, by and large the best represented brand is Neutrik. I still have some of the original design on cables in my kit. Some occasionally have difficulty in mating modern connectors, but connection quality is still high. I appreciate some of the recent innovations including the Resistor Colour Code range of coloured boots and rings. Good in sorting out 'vipers' nest' cable runs.

Cannon XLRs (and others) were owned by Alcatel and were manufactured here in Melbourne. They are still visible on a lot of installations. Some of my older connectors started to show signs of corrosion in the shells

I have in the past used Switchcraft but they are much less visible here.

Due to declining eyesight (presbyopia) and occasional arthritic moments, I am now having difficuty terminating XLR5s and smaller. XLR3s are still manageable. Anyone like to design an "XLR for seniors"?
Old 6th January 2013
  #15
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Here we standardized on the UK made DELTRON xlr connectors. Very robust and long lasting. Deep wells on the lugs to accept lots of solder. Also the lugs are larger and accept heavy weight copper cable such as Mogami Neglex W2549. Deltron also resists bending and deformation very well.

Of course the others brands are good too.
Old 6th January 2013
  #16
If the Neutriks xlrs are metallic then they are equivalent to Switchcrafts but I don't like the all-plastic ones. I don't much like the twist-on shells which pass torque onto the freshly positioned cable. Switchcraft 1/4" and rcas are more robustly made and I find longer-lasting.

Neutrik Speakons are remarkably well-designed and made, but again, the twist-on shell seems to be a system-wide weakness. They're always coming undone, on xlrs, trs and speakons. I have to rewire a speakon every month or so, especially the monitor cables which get plugged/unplugged with regularity. I like and use the right-angle adaptors.

I do prefer deeper solder cups, whoever makes them and I find the Switchcraft grub screws hold the rubber bungs really well, if you take the trouble to line up the curved pressure plates properly. Yes, they require a couple more tools and some peace & quiet to effectively repair in the field, but so do Neutriks require pliers to efficiently tighten down the screw-on shell and they both need a soldering iron.

I think, but can't prove, the nickel plated pins keep their coatings intact longer than the gold plated pins, which I frequently see worn down to bright silverish metal. When I make new cables, I either use canare L-4e6s or mogami 2791, with aa3fb/aa3m plugs.

On some jobs, I use what I'm given and I can't help noticing how long-lasting some of the ancient Switchcraft cables have held up.
Happy soldering,
WalterT
Old 6th January 2013
  #17
S21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panatrope View Post
Due to declining eyesight (presbyopia) and occasional arthritic moments, I am now having difficuty terminating XLR5s and smaller. XLR3s are still manageable. Anyone like to design an "XLR for seniors"?
You could use big power connectors for audio: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...2/16A-plug.jpg

Of course a 32 channel mixer done up in these is going to be a monster. Probably not too convenient on the end of a mic either...
Old 6th January 2013
  #18
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90% Switchcraft here. They are more robust then most of the competition when used in the field. I have some from the 70's that still work fine. For studio use, doesn't matter much as long as they are not Chinese knock-offs.

Deltrons are nice, but hard to find in the US. They do make the best banana plugs.
Old 6th January 2013
  #19
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In my experience, if they are properly torqued down, Neutrik XLRs do just fine in the field. The torque on the screw-down endcaps is transmitted smoothly via the black insert perpendicularly to the cable. I've not ever seen a standard bit of Belkin or Mogami single-pair mic cable twisted from the pins by tightening the endcap... although I might be able to believe it if a large rubber cable (think SJ) was used for some reason.

I've had far more connector failures from older Cannon and Switchcraft XLRs (and cheap 3rd party clones) from the setscrews coming loose (or, worse, out) and relieving the pressure to strain relief the wire. Try finding those screws, either in your cable trunk/bag/drawer/plastic bin, or as replacements on the road... and without any one of them, the connector is worthless, except for the parts.

I'll still buy Switchcraft TS/TRS when I must... but my first choice has been Neutrik since they showed up on the scene. I totally agree with nixing the all-plastic shells... metal only (nickel, bright or black) for me.

YMMV... one man's opinion for well-nigh two decades.

HB
Old 6th January 2013
  #20
I use both Switchcraft and Neutrik here in house and for remote recordings. I prefer the Neutriks due to the ease of construction but both are, IMHO, GREAT and both do the job for which they were intended.

I guess it is worth mentioning that the Switchcrafts are not available with the gold plated contacts but the Neutriks are in case that makes a difference to you.
Old 6th January 2013
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radeng View Post
90% Switchcraft here. They are more robust then most of the competition when used in the field...
That's what my friends found after having switched to Neutriks because they were easier to wire.
Old 6th January 2013
  #22
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While Neutrik are undeniably easier to attach, Switchcraft appear to have machined steel shells while Neutrik have significantly weaker moulded metal, almost as weak as "pot metal" (some sort of die-cast zinc alloy).
Old 7th January 2013
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcrowley View Post
While Neutrik are undeniably easier to attach, Switchcraft appear to have machined steel shells while Neutrik have significantly weaker moulded metal, almost as weak as "pot metal" (some sort of die-cast zinc alloy).
I reckon I should qualify that I am a sole proprietor who builds 90% of my cables (and sub snakes, and splits) and who requires that "helpers", paid or otherwise, treat my gear as if it were, well, mine. That said, ease of construction (and occasional repair) is more important than "ultimate toughness" to me. That spells "Neutrik". I have yet to see a broken Neutrik shell... but I have seen (and repaired) several cables with Switchcraft shells bent so badly by carelessness (i.e., run over by a cable trunk) that I couldn't straighten them. Lop off the offended shell, strip the wires down while the gas iron heats up, zip open the Neutrik bag (much easier to carry that loose parts, IMO), and solder it up. Done, and done.

As I said, MMV.

HB
Old 7th January 2013
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
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Any of the pro audio magazines (remember those?) ever do a XLR "shoot out"? My experience with unplanned crush testing is opposite of HB's. I have seem far more pot metal Neutriks cracked apart than steel Switchcrafts that got bent. Plus a row of Switchcraft XLR's plugged into the back of a console just looks better to me. So there.
Old 7th January 2013
  #25
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THE MOST important thing about an XLR connection is the soldering job from wire to connector.

Sure a bad XLR end will crap out fast, but not faster than a bad soldering job.

End of story.
Old 7th January 2013
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radeng View Post
Any of the pro audio magazines (remember those?) ever do a XLR "shoot out"? My experience with unplanned crush testing is opposite of HB's. I have seem far more pot metal Neutriks cracked apart than steel Switchcrafts that got bent. Plus a row of Switchcraft XLR's plugged into the back of a console just looks better to me. So there.

Sorry. Didn't mean to offend. I'm just happy with Neutrik. You're happy with Switchcraft (or whatever). I did not say they were better... just that, for me, they are my choice, and my reasons for choosing them, based on my specific experience. No "there" here.

YM obviously does V. Good for you.

HB
Old 7th January 2013
  #27
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We're fortunate to have more than one source of quality XLR's.
Old 7th January 2013
  #28
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There are many cheap and nasty chinese Neutrik copies,some with painted shells....
Old 9th January 2013
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Here we standardized on the UK made DELTRON xlr connectors. Very robust and long lasting. Deep wells on the lugs to accept lots of solder. Also the lugs are larger and accept heavy weight copper cable such as Mogami Neglex W2549. Deltron also resists bending and deformation very well.
Do you find the Deltrons tend to tear up your hands from the rough edges?

I had a few of them, thinking they would be more resistant to crushing than the Neutrik boots, but was put off by the rough finish. IIRC, Neutrik bought Deltron a number of years ago. I haven't seen any new ones around here since then.

The new Neutrik XX-series seem to have addressed the only complaints I had with the older X-series: the boot threads inside the shell, so it's less likely to be crushed and split, and the latch receptacle on the male connectors is just a recess now instead of a hole in the shell, so it's much less likely to be dented (the same design Switchcraft has used for as long as I can remember).

Geoff
Old 9th January 2013
  #30

The new Switchcraft AAA series are nice. Almost as easy to put together as the Neutrik and they look nice.

Seems to be plenty roubust....



-tINY

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