Smart DJ Tips: How Often Should You Replace Your Cables?

July 27, 2017 by Jason Rubio

As a DJ, you need cables. Every DJ needs them, and mobile DJs need a lot of them! There is different literature out there that suggest different things, about replacing your XLR cables, power cables, RCA cables, etc. I’ve heard some DJs say they replace cables every year, some say every 6 months, and others say only when they need to be replaced. As a long time DJ, I’ve learned over the years, that there’s no perfect approach or timeline of when you should replace cables.

When and how often you should replace your cables depends on your use of them. How often are you using your cables? Daily? A few times per week? A few times per month? Your answer will vary, of course, but as a general rule of thumb, the more often you use them, the more often you’ll need to replace them.

Be Nice to Your Cables

How you treat your cables also makes a difference in how often you replace them. In general, cables will wear out over time due to normal wear and tear use; however, cables that have been dropped, stepped on, pulled, twisted, or bent, often, will wear out much faster. Never wind-up your cables by holding the end (usually the XLR or RCA male/female end) as it places stress on the ends, making them more susceptible to damage. Take your time putting up your cables; be gentle with your cables and they’ll last much longer!

Choosing XLR Cables

Generally, it pays to invest in the better cables, since you’ll have to replace them less often than the cheaper ones. All cables are NOT created equal. Things to look for in cables include: braided copper shielding, insulation and outer jacket, cable strain relief, silver or gold connectors (silver works well, but may become tarnished faster, so cleaning is necessary), and lastly, a good warranty! (Good companies often backup their products with a good warranty, not just the 6 month or 12 month warranty). Good cables that we love are: LyxPro cables, and Hosa cables (I’ve attached the links to learn about these and purchase them, from Amazon).

When to Replace Cables

If you notice static, buzzing in your sound, or intermittent sound issues, always check your cables first. It could be a bad cable, or a grounding issue. That being said, ALWAYS keep a set of backup cables with your gear. Keep extra XLRs, RCA, 1/4″ cables, power cords, etc. Yes, this means a heavier crate/setup box, but it also means you’ll have everything you need, if you have a problem! So overall, keep backups of your cords, and replace them when you notice an issue. There’s no need to replace a perfectly working cable, just because it’s been “6 months.”

Jason Rubio Jason Rubio (71 Posts)

Jason Rubio is the co-owner and founder of Austin’s Best DJs, a professional DJ & photo booth company that provides music and entertainment for events in the Austin and central Texas area. Jason started his DJ career as a mobile DJ, at age 13, in 1991, and has since DJ’ed thousands of events, providing music and entertainment for clubs, bars, radio, concerts, festivals and various other events. In addition to writing for Mobile Beat, Jason also writes for “The DJ Insider” for Rent My Wedding Magazine. Jason is also a graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education, as well as a Master’s of Public Administration, from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Though Jason worked in the education field since 2003, he continued to DJ public and private events, and later founded Austin’s Best DJs & Photo Booths, with his wife, Diana, who also DJs, in 2012. Today, Austin’s Best DJs provides music and entertainment for approximately 300 public and private events per year, in the Austin and central Texas area. Visit us: www.AustinsBestDJs.com


Filed Under: Mobile DJ Business, Sound Engineering for Mobile DJs