XLR to RCA interconnect. Does mixed connectors provide less noise compared RCA to RCA?

I am currently using Signal Audio Cable which is XLR to RCA. between the pre-outs of Rogue integrated amp and a Balanced Audio Technology VK-200 amp which has both XLR  and RCA connectors.  I

 was holding out to replace the Rogue with either a BAT pre-amp with both XLR and RCA or another brand of pre-amp which is equal to the BAT.   However, I got a great deal on a Conrad Johnson PV-14L SE ( with the upgraded caps) which has all RCA's. 

My questions is it worth getting the same XLR to RCA to connect an Ayre CX7e mp CD player which has  XLR outputs to the CJ preamp's CD inputs, or just stay with the Harmonic Technology "Truth Link" RCA to RCA  IC  ( previous model but highly rated) I currently use. 

Is there one brand of XLR to RCA interconnects that is better sounding than others. I almost bought  a Mogami XLR to RCA, but it was too long and more money.    Thank you

One reason to go TO an XLR at the amp is when the XLR inputs have greater impedance than the RCA equivalents, often XLR inputs are double.
Usually, although not always, the reason for the doubled impedance on XLR interfaces (inputs or outputs) compared to RCA interfaces is simply that the XLR spec reflects the sum of the impedances of the two signal legs. And the impedances of the two legs are generally made equal, to optimize noise rejection. So driving a single-ended signal into one leg of a balanced input, with the other leg of the input grounded, will in most cases not improve impedance compatibility compared to an RCA-to-RCA connection of the same equipment. And for the same reason an XLR-to-XLR connection will often result in an impedance ratio between two components that is no different than an RCA-to-RCA connection between the same components.

Although in some designs, in which the XLR and RCA interfaces are handled by circuit stages that are separate and independent, the balanced and unbalanced impedances may differ by either more than or less than the factor of two that is commonly seen.
Using an XLR output to RCA may help isolate from ground loops as the RCA pin and shield will be actively driven, with very high impedance to ground and the shield only connected on one end.
Assuming a direct XLR to RCA connection is made (i.e., a transformer such as one of the Jensen models is not being used), obviously a return conductor must be provided between the two components, whether it be a shield or, alternatively, a conductor within a shield that is connected at just one end. Assuming the RCA input is unbalanced (a balanced RCA input would be very unusual), if that return conductor is actively driven the actively driven signal will usually end up being connected to the destination component’s circuit ground, which in turn will usually be connected to that component’s AC safety ground through some low impedance or in some cases even directly. Not good news either way, with hum or conceivably even damage very possibly resulting.

As suggested by some of the others a Jensen transformer (or at a considerably higher price point something like an SMc Audio Flex-Connect, which is also transformer based) is the ideal way of interconnecting XLR and RCA interfaces.

Best regards,
-- Al

The only real benefit that you might get is if you run a true XLR cable and then use a Jenson Transformer XLR-to-RCA converter
The Jensen Iso-Max is a good device. As auxinput stated, you can
use a fully balanced XLR cable from the CDP and convert the signal to RCA . The question is whether or not this will result in superior sonics compared to a good RCA interconnect.

The Jensen unit does require a low to medium impedance cable be used. I found the Jensen to be very transparent sonically, so the sonic signature of the interconnects being used remain true.

Thank you to all who responded. I wish I had relatives who were as courteous.

Nevertheless, I need to  study each response.

BTW, there is a toggle switch on the back of  the Ayre CD player that offers either RCA or XLR  connectors.  More than likely I will buy a better XLR to RCA interconnect if such exists  than the Signal Audio cable. 

 As far as CD player, I currently use an older Harmonic Technology  "Truth Link" IC which sounds good and is well made. The speaker cables are HT's Reference Pro 11+ which was highly praised in past reviews.  No BS in the reviews, the cables are  highly coherent and deliver good sound. Unfortunately, they as thick as an Anaconda snake.

P.S.  We all know that as soon as you make a :"mighty" product decision, something else pops up on the radar.  In this case, it is a almost mint BAT VK-3i tube pre-amp with remote. It offers both XLR and RCA inputs. It is tempting to buy it and pllay Russian roulette with the CJ and the BAT pre-amps.  It is available by a vendor on e-bay that sells by auction only 

However, I don't want to give the wife more ammunition to commit me

Alas, happy holidays to all   sunnyjim  


Question for Almarg - Al,  would the impedance of the XLR be different to the RCA - if so could that have an impact on sound qualjty?

Any thoughts as to which one should have the greater impedance


Hi Steve (Williewonka),

In this particular case, per my second post in the thread it appears very likely that the RCA output of the CDP is provided with the same signal that is provided to XLR pin 2 (the non-inverted signal in the balanced signal pair). Assuming that is the case, there would of course be no difference in impedance or any other signal characteristics between those two points. And if an adapter cable is used, XLR pin 2 is what would be routed to the RCA input of the preamp.

A lot of components which provide both RCA and XLR outputs are designed that way. And likewise in many cases for components which provide RCA and XLR inputs. In many of those cases involving inputs the center pin of the RCA connector and pin 2 of the XLR connector are wired together, and a switch is provided to ground pin 3 of the XLR connector when the RCA input is being used.

In some other designs, though, separate and independent driver or receiver stages are provided for the RCA and XLR connectors. In those cases, of course, impedances as well as overall sonic performance can differ in either direction depending on the specific design.

Sunnyjim 11-21-2016
BTW, there is a toggle switch on the back of the Ayre CD player that offers either RCA or XLR connectors.
Are you sure about that, Jim? I’ve looked at the manual and at several rear panel photos and the only switches I see are one that turns the player’s digital output on or off (the digital output is provided on an XLR connector, as AES/EBU), and a switch that selects between "measure" and "listen" modes.

Best regards,
-- Al