Digital XLR Cables

Hello my question is: I'm hooking up a digital processor to a DAC. the DIP has 1 XLR out to the DAC. Can I use any XLR cable or does it have to be special in some way??? I have a pair of Nordost XLR's and a couple lesser choices.
62671a5b b3dc 4800 8bed 5e576f7e11a1mattmiller
You need an AES3, commonly known as an AES/EBU cable. It is 110 Ohms vs 75 Ohms. I would also double check the pinout on your processor and DAC, as sometimes these aren't consistent.
It will function, and there is no harm in trying those cables. However, dependent on many technical variables involving both the components and the cable, chances are that it will not be optimal sonically.

A balanced digital cable should ideally have a "characteristic impedance" of 110 ohms. It can be calculated from the data at the Nordost website that the characteristic impedances of most of their balanced analog interconnects are MUCH lower than that. The result will be some degree of waveform distortion caused by signal reflections that occur in the case of digital or other high frequency signals as a result of impedance mismatches between the cable and the components it is connecting. That in turn stands a good chance of causing an increase in jitter to some degree, at the point where digital is converted to analog in the DAC.

You might have better luck with the "lesser choices," if their characteristic impedance happens to be higher than that of the Nordost. But personally I'd purchase a cable designed for digital applications, although a number of people here have reported good results in their particular systems using analog cables.

-- Al
UPDATE- I have been using the Nordost valkyrja AES/EBU 110 ohm cable. And I tell you it is almost invisible. I really dont think a specific "digital" XLR cable is going to out perform it. Note: I also tried a Cardas XLR it sounded very colored....Amazing.

Matt M
Matt, it sounds like you have what you required, a 'digital' xlr. As posts from Al & Riffer pointed out, balanced digital transmission should be at 110 ohms.. Glad it works!