XLR cable in RCA inputs

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Early B.

XLR cable in RCA inputs
« on: 29 Aug 2018, 03:21 am »
I'm interested in replacing the digital cable between my transport and DAC. The cable I'm considering is XLR. I have an XLR output on my transport and the DAC has an RCA input only. Will I cause problems with impedance matching (or whatever) if I use an XLR digital cable with an adapter on the DAC end?

Thanks.

Armaegis

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Re: XLR cable in RCA inputs
« Reply #1 on: 29 Aug 2018, 06:37 am »
Maybe yes, maybe no. It really depends on both of the components. There may be an impedance mismatch. There may be a digital mismatch.

You can play it safe and get something like this: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/880865-REG/Neutrik_NADITBNC_FX_Digital_Impedance_Transformer.html

JLM

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Re: XLR cable in RCA inputs
« Reply #2 on: 29 Aug 2018, 10:39 am »
The digital output from the transport must a two channel AES/EBU port, which looks like an single channel analog XLR port.  Note that AES/EBU cabling is supposed to be 110 ohm rated, using a standard XLR cable may not work.

The digital input to the DAC that looks like RCA must be SPDIF coax.  It is not compatible with AES/EBU.  You'd have to find a AES/EBU to SPDIF coax converter and corresponding cables to connect the two existing components.

Speedskater

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Re: XLR cable in RCA inputs
« Reply #3 on: 29 Aug 2018, 01:00 pm »
AES/EBU digital and SPDIF digital are sort of the same thing. One is balanced and the other is unbalanced. Also the voltage levels are different. THey both use the same digital format. But being robust systems they often work with each other.

So just try it.

jcotner

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Re: XLR cable in RCA inputs
« Reply #4 on: 29 Aug 2018, 01:52 pm »
OK I'm trying to understand the comment "going to replace". What are you using now?

With regards to AES/EBU to SPDIF, been there done that. I decided to get a converter and convert the coax to optical and then optical to the device. With the differential to single ended coax I didn't like what I saw on my digital oscilloscope and I seemed to be getting a lot of bit errors. This effect will be more pronounced on a longer cable run, so if it's short you may not have an issue. It's been long enough ago I might have built this, don't remember.
With newer stuff, just level conversion is probably good enough.

If you want to know way more than you need to about this issue, here is a great reference article. https://www.rane.com/note149.html
They also describe multiple schemes to achieve level conversion.

Oh and if you use the Neutrik solution mentioned above make sure to consider the cable ends, as the Neutrik is BNC and sounds like your device has a RCA plug.

Early B.

Re: XLR cable in RCA inputs
« Reply #5 on: 29 Aug 2018, 03:43 pm »
OK I'm trying to understand the comment "going to replace". What are you using now?

I'm using an RCA digital cable.

Sounds like the XLR option isn't worth pursuing.

jcotner

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Re: XLR cable in RCA inputs
« Reply #6 on: 29 Aug 2018, 05:46 pm »
Sounds like the XLR option isn't worth pursuing.

Balanced lines are best for long runs or electrically noisy environments.
If you don't have either of those and the RCA works, go with a good
quality single ended cable (RCA) and be done with it.