AES/EBU XLR pinouts


I need to make up some AES/EBU XLR connectors to connect a PS Audio PWT to my Bryston DAC. But I cannot seem to find the pinouts from either Bryston or PS Audio's website.

A websearch yields some sources (forum responses) that say pins 2 (+) and 3 (-) are connected and pin 1 is left unconnected. The shield is connected to the XLR connector shell.

I am confused because some claim to be using these AES/EBU cables for their analog balanced XLR connections, which have the cable shield connected to pin 1, and the connector shell is left unconnected.

A third choice is to connect pin 1 to cable shield at the source end (PWT) and not connect it at the other (BDA-1).

So which is correct for digital AES/EBU?
dhl93449
Cables are usually just made to one standard. XLR each pin goes to the same pin on the other end.
The ONLY time a cable is made differently is for some oddball use. (and that cable should have permanent markings/ways to KNOW it is not a normal connection inside)
AES/EBU XLR cables are all the same three wire standard XLR so pin 'one' at one connector is pin 'one' at the other.. same for the other pins.
I bought some great homemade cable off eBay wit the final cost pretty much the retail cost of the parts. Like thim a lot on my AES/EBU connection.
An email response from engineering at PS Audio confirmed that pin 1 should be connected to the cable shield.

However, there are independent sources that suggest pin 1 be connected to the shield at one end of the cable only, the source end. This could prevent ground loops between the two chassis while still providing a grounded shield. If the receiving device is transformer coupled (and I think the Bryston is) this should work fine.

I think I'll build two cables, one with shield connections on both ends and one with it lifted at the D/A end and see if there is are any sonic differences.

I understand what you mean by standardized wiring practice. I just wanted to confirm that AES/EBU XLRs were wired exactly like analog XLRs. When I did a GOOGLE search for AES/EBU wiring I got a response on the (DYI Audio) forum where one author cited leaving pin 1 disconnected and use the connector body as ground. This is clearly not audio XLR standard practice. There is also some discussion that hot (pin 2) and cold (pin 3) are reversed in some older equipment. For balanced digital this does not matter, but would result in polarity inversion in analog audio connections.

There is also some discussion that hot (pin 2) and cold (pin 3) are reversed in some older equipment
that is true,usually some japan stuff has such pin layout
Interesting thread.I bought such cable with neutrik plugs,Musical fidelity v-link192 with Aes/ebu out to connect to bryston bda1 dac.
I have question for you related with usb connection.Sometimes when computer is connected to bda1 in such manner I hear some cracking sounds going from left to right channels.Have you experienced something like that?May be it has somehow related with computers OS system
"I have question for you related with usb connection.Sometimes when computer is connected to bda1 in such manner I hear some cracking sounds going from left to right channels.Have you experienced something like that?May be it has somehow related with computers OS system"

Sorry, but I have not used the USB input on my BDA-1. I have read however, there can be numerous problems when steaming USB from a computer. That is why Bryston developed the BDP-1. It is a purpose built PC with a bare bones MB running Linux, no hard drives (only SS memory), and a special sound card.
Here's an update to this post. I built an XLR cable with DHLabs D-110 AES/EBU digital cable and Neutrik XLR connectors, about 1.5 ft long.

First version of the cable had the shield drain wire connected to pin 1 at BOTH ends of the cable, as in standard analog practice.

I connected the PSA PWT to the Bryston BDA-1 with the AES/EBU cable and compared it to the two units connected with a 75 OHM coax cable. Results were close, but I actually preferred sound of the coax cable.

However, the best results were obtained when I lifted the connection of the shield drain wire at the XLR on the Bryston side of the connection. So in this configuration, the shield is grounded at the PWT side only.

The sonic differences were not subtle, with the modified cable giving the best ambience, 3d sounstaging, bass response, and transient attack. I was very surprised myself to find such a large difference.
First version of the cable had the shield drain wire connected to pin 1 at BOTH ends of the cable, as in standard analog practice.

I made described version with van damme digi grade aes/ebu cable with neutrik xlr plugs gold plated pins and run it from musical fidelity v-link 192 which is connected to computer via usb.First impressions are:improved high freuqencies,overall sound sounds like some trash,clicking noises has been removed from the sound .
I see that many people state coax cable sound the best with bda1
Extra...:

Try your cable with pin 1 disconnected at you A/D and let us know what you think.

In my experience the dual grounded XLR AES/EBU sounded about the same as coax to me. The single gounded XLR sounded much better. But this may be a quirk related only to use of the PS Audio PerfectWave transport connected to the BDA-1. Other systems may not confirm those results.

James Tanner of Bryston recommends the AES/EBU over coax FYI (his personal choice).
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