RCA to XLR vs XLR to RCA... Converting Input or Output - Does It Matter??

I just picked up a new DAC that only has RCA outputs whilst my preamp only has XLR inputs.  realizing that a DI box like the Jensen ISO-Max is the proper way to resolve this incompatibility, that's not an immediate solution for me.  in the short term, i was going to use adapters on either the DAC outputs or the preamp inputs.  given the following options, is there any benefit to one vs the other (emi/rfi, noise, etc)...

Option 1:
convert the RCA output on the DAC to XLR via an RCA Male to XLR Male adapter and connect the components using an XLR cable.

Option 2;
convert the XLR input on the preamp to RCA via an RCA Female to XLR Male adapter and connect the components using an RCA cable.

as an alternative to the above, i could also use a converter cable, RCA male to XLR male as a short-term solution.

i know none of the above will turn an unbalanced signal to balanced - these are really only to address jack incompatibilities - and the proper solution is a transformer.  until i'm able to implement that, is there a preferred method from those above?

thanks for any inputs.  
Either will work. You seem to be aware that XLR is significantly superior to RCA. Pro level balanced XLR (higher signal level than cheap consumer grade) is the best you can get.
Which Jensen ISO-max model would even do the job? I don't see one that accepts RCA inputs and has XLR outputs. I've just switched to a single ended Nagra phono stage and am feeding its output into my BAT balanced line stage. Currently I use a pair of single ended cables from the Nagra output and convert via Neutrik adapters at the BAT XLR inputs. Understanding that theoretically "adapters are bad" and add a potential point of entry to noise, what would be a better approach? Perhaps having a cable made that's RCA to XLR within the cable? Don't see too many of these being offered, but I can probably have one made using Mogami cable or something similar...
FWIW, at least the Nagra is battery powered, eliminating any AC noise at the phono stage. Cheers,
Bob, to be sure it’s clear, while Spencer wants to convert RCA inputs to the transformer to XLR outputs from the transformer the PC-2XR will do the opposite. Spencer, the PI2-RX would be suitable. You can find it at the following link at a slightly better price than if it is ordered directly from Jensen. (Choose RCA input connectors in the drop-down menu near the bottom of the page).


Note that this device requires XLR cables on its output side that are short (e.g., one or two feet or so), and do not have high capacitance per unit length. The RCA cables on its input side can be any reasonable length.

A single-channel version (PI-RX) is also available, for use with monoblocks.

SRosenberg, I doubt that which of the two options you described would be best can be predicted with any certainty, and I suspect that whatever difference might result would be component and cable dependent. And very conceivably there may be no difference at all.

Best regards,
-- Al
Do you lose gain when using adapters ?
Purist Audio can custom make any cable you could imagine and beyond that. For the price.
@sbank as was already mentioned, Jensen can configure their transformers RCA to XLR or XLR to RCA - take note of the order of the X and R in the product ID as this will indicate the ins and outs.  there are three units: PI, PO and PB as detailed here: https://www.cs1.net/learn/jensen_transformers_application_guide.htm

And as Inna mentioned, you can have cable made from a number of places... PAD, BlueJeans, Benchmark (yep, they sell cables, too).

@almarg thanks for the note... good to know there's not an absolute 'right way' to handle the jack adapters.
You might ask BAT how well their preamp does with single-ended inputs.
Our balanced preamps don't seem to care much if the input is single-ended, in fact we provide RCA connections for that purpose. The preamp converts any single-ended input to balanced. I suspect the BAT does too, as one of their founders owned one of our preamps before starting up BAT.

The reason for this is the gain section, like our preamps, is likely a differential amplifier with a fairly high CMRR (Common Mode Rejection Ratio) figure. The higher it is, the less the preamp cares about whether the input is balanced or not, and there is a tipping point where that will be preferred over an input transformer.
@atmasphere Ralph, BAT says their preamps do fine using adapters into their xlrs & they sell adapters like I currently use without trouble. I was just wondering if replacing the adapters w/Jensen tranny and adding another cable would be likely to provide enough Sq improvement to justify the cost.
@almarg thanks for clarification on the various models. Got an opinion on if it would be worthwhile? Cheers,
I was just wondering if replacing the adapters w/Jensen tranny and adding another cable would be likely to provide enough Sq improvement to justify the cost.
I doubt it very much. The less transformers in the signal chain the better IME.
@sbank, I have no reason to doubt Ralph’s good comments. And especially given that the Nagra is battery-powered, which eliminates any possibility of ground loop issues with the Nagra/BAT combination, that a Jensen transformer would be able to resolve.

Best regards,
-- Al
Thanks guys, I will take your advice and stick with what I have for now and if I run into an rca  to XLR cable down the line, perhaps I will give that a shot just to eliminate the adapters. Cheers,