I'm thinking of building a home recording studio. I have a budget of about £9000 and I have chosen the following equipment: an Alesis Masterlink mastering recorder/editor, a Mackie HDR 24/96 multitrack recorder, a Soundcraft 328 digital mixing desk, Tannoy Reveal active monitors, and a Behringer Ultrapatch Pro PX2000 patchbay.
The only problem I have is trying to decide what types of cables to use in order to give me the best signal possible for my final recordings. I would be very grateful if you could give me some information to help me with this matter.
Editor Paul White replies: For cabling between the mixer and the patchbay, foil‑screened cable is generally best, while for flexible connections, cable with a woven screen is most effective. You don't need anything too esoteric, but you should choose a good‑quality audio cable, and for this I suggest you check the Studiospares or Canford Audio catalogues. Take care to use balanced cables where possible, and use unbalanced‑to‑balanced cables when connecting unbalanced sources, such as synths, to balanced mixer inputs, as they will help avoid ground‑loop hum.
Pay attention to your mains wiring and avoid the use of consumer mains‑distribution boards where possible. You don't need anything special here either, but your studio should be on a separate ring main and have a separate earth if possible.
For microphones and guitar leads, I like to use conductive plastic cable. It doesn't have the best screening, but it's fine for short runs and has the advantage of low handling noise and a resistance to kinking.