Recently, while pondering the anonymous-yet-crucial role of the lowly microphone cable in studio and on stage, Fjord Audio owner Spencer Tweedy found himself in a quandary: could there be high quality XLR cables made in the USA that look, feel, and sound great? All without breaking the bank? It was a tall order - usually it's a "pick two" situation (see John Baccigaluppi's End Rant [Tape Op #87] titled "Done Fast, Done Good, Done Cheap") - but after a successful crowdfunding campaign, Fjord Audio Classic microphone cables now exist, and I think Tweedy nailed it.

Inspired in part by Conway Electric's beautiful AC extension cords, Fjord Audio cables are based around Canare Star Quad Cable cores (for maximum RF rejection) wrapped in custom designed cotton fabric. Color pattern options have cheeky names, like Muscle Shoals Gold or Record Plant Red, and all look fantastic, vibrant, and vintage/classic. The cables feel great - luxurious - and are just stiff enough to wrap sensibly and consistently. The Switchcraft AAA series XLR connectors have gold-plated contacts and are the type of plug that actually, truly work universally (unlike some XLR connectors that simply don't play well with certain newer microphones, for example.) Fjord Audio admits this is perhaps a "beauty item" that may not be an absolute studio necessity, yet I know they can brighten an otherwise dingy room. Moreover, there's something to be said for beautifying one's surroundings in the interest of creative inspiration.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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