Are XLR microphone leads and XLR speaker leads exactly the same thing?

No, the type of cable and the connections are entirely different. Normal XLR cables are designed to carry low voltage low impedance audio signals over two cores and a shield whilst the speaker version will only use two very much thicker and heavier duty cores.

If you use normal microphone cables for speaker connections you will damage the cables and potentially the amp and speakers as well.

Unless you have a powered mixer, the outputs will go to the amp and will need cables the same as a microphone to carry the signals. If it is a powered mixer and it has XLR outs (quite unusual these days) then you will need special XLR speaker cables.

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