RCA to RCA versus RCA to XLR

I was planning to order a new interconnect cable and considered having this made with one end terminated with RCA connectors and the other end terminated with a XLR connection. The RCA end would go into my Scott tuner and the XLR end would go into my ARC pre-amp. My question is whether or not there would be any significant sonic advantage to doing this, as opposed to simply ordering an IC with a RCA termination on both ends.

I agree with Mike. Wouldn't mix if the their is an option to have RCA's on both ends. 
This is an older HH Scott Tuner? Stick with the RCAs, be prepared for ground loop noise too. A lot of those were 110 vac.. Get a ground loop eliminator. That will fix you right up.. Doesn’t matter if you use a balanced input or not. The RCA is not.. it’s single ended just use RCA to RCA. The noise eliminator may work better on one end or the other too.  You may have to ground the the little gadget, they have that option..

Without seeing the preamp schematic I can't say for sure but it is likely you'd get an improvement in ground noise rejection as long as ground is connected to only the cold wire (XLR pin 3) at the RCA end. This may come at the cost of increased thermal noise, again depending on the input architecture of the amp. If you have no issues with ground noise then you may be best sticking with unbalanced.
Without seeing the preamp schematic I can’t say for sure but it is likely you’d get an improvement in ground noise rejection as long as ground is connected to only the cold wire (XLR pin 3) at the RCA end.


I try to explain thing simply.

The Tuner has RCAs only, going TO a pre amp with both, RCA (single ended) and XLR (a few variance). There would be ZERO benefit for the Tuner and the pre amp supposedly has a lower floor noise because of onboard XLR tech, anyways.

Now going from the pre amps XLRs to another piece of gear with XLR plugs, should have a benefit. Though they are not ALL wired the same much less balanced just because they use an XLR plug.

BUT the source, this OP has, will see NO improvement other than enjoying a better type of termination. XLRs, if they were used, you loose the ability to move a ground loop eliminator on either end of the run..
I think that is a better reason to have RCA to RCA on both ends..

If you really want to help with noise (RFI EFI or getting high :-)) use a weave it is one of the best noise eliminator via no shielding.
RCA benefits big time from using JUST a weave..

I try to explain thing simply.
Thanks for the simple explanation, I'll try to explain as simply as I can why you are not correct. If you connect ground to pin 3 then it will be inverted at the input and there will be some benefit of the balanced common mode rejection (summing of inverted interference with signal interference). In addition to this the ground signal will see the input impedance which will vastly reduce the amount of current flowing through it... current flowing through ground is the definition of a ground loop.

I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m saying YOUR way has no benefit to the TUNER, it can’t it is a single ended RCA going to the pre amp not from it. Your way may reduce noise in the cable via the shielding but not by inverting the signal. Doesn’t it have to terminate and then compare to cancel the outside noise, if there is a problem with that?

I’m just an old mechanic I’m always open to being taught by those MUCH wiser than me.. I welcome your experience pounding it through my thick head.. :-)

Second (ly) I’m pretty sure its a 110vac unit. It will have a difference in voltage vs the 120 vac preamp it will have noise. I was adding the ability to put the ground loop eliminator on either end of the run.. That was the biggest thing for me.. The weave addressed a great way to reduce noise without shielded cable.. Your way has it. AGAIN shielded cable gives way to certain SQ issues I can eliminate differently..

Is my way wrong? OR is there a bit of "different" thinking going on. Teach me.. :-) I’m ALL EARS.. It’s the second day of the week I’m ready for school.

With great respect and regards..
I don't think their would be any benefit to doing this. This would be a good question for Ralph to answer. 
 is there a bit of "different" thinking going on.
Yep, there's always more than one way to skin a cat... I was just addressing the comments saying there there was no benefit going RCA to XLR. If you have no issues with RF, ground noise etc. then RCA in most cases is the way to go. With ground loops there's a specific problem where current flows between grounds on different circuits, it just so happens that RCA to XLR stops this... it wasn't even the primary reason for balanced interconnects as far as I know.
For all I know a ground loop eliminator might work great, there are always options out there.

What about shielding on cable, are you a fan? I’ve found that shielding in the real world is a God sent. BUT in the stereo world it can really dummy up the sound, I mean really mess with the clarity and SQ.

I’ve found some shielding in my world was a robber of just about EVERY audiophile term ever invented. Then small separate woven stranded types of cable (helix) work wonders in SQ improvement and noise floor reduction. 6 years for me..

Ribbon cable and flat wire cable construction are pretty amazing thing too. Zero noise issues.. HERE..

There was a truck rout right next to my home. Trucks with CBs and CHPs with Ham. The rout was changed 15 years ago and CHP use a different type of radio now, so. NO NOISE.. Better cabling.. :-) Things I’ve learned HERE. 40 year now.

I think sun spot are through the roof too. Weird crap going on here the last two, three weeks. (X-Files theme song)

I think shielding like most things is down to circumstances, I've got wifi with around 30 devices attached (god knows what they all are). So I can't do without it, the only issue I've had is TT interconnects as the capacitance adds to the cart loading so low capacitance interconnects where possible. If you're in a low noise environment then you're lucky and can get away with trying some other options.
No good you are not getting the benefit of a true XLR 
by going part xlr it can’t neutralize the signal path noise .
just stick with just XLR if itis truly balanced on both pieces of electronics , if not truly balanced stick with RCAs 
no benefit might even cause an impedance mismatch because of the age of the scott
Thanks.. There is a LOT of WiFi signals to pick from HERE.
They are not affecting mine so far.. I run a lot of valves and a few RCAs. I run MI carts 4.5 to 5.5 no need for a SUT. Little ZP3 is not very susceptible to WiFi, that I can hear.. BUT just 2 cell phones, and a router are on WiFi. Everything else is hardwired except the burglar alarm phone.

I may be a little unrealistic but I’m not a personal fan of WiFi..

I’m a bit of a tin foil hat person.. Cell phone stay away from me unless I’m using one.. Not to often now..

It would be nice for Ralph to weigh in, I always like his commentary, easy read, but very thorough.