More Newbie Balanced Cable Help


I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of a VAC Phi 30/30 amp, that will temporarily be used with my Audible Illusions Mod 3A pre. I will need to purchase a cable to run from the pre to the amp, and will most likely used balanced. Is there some kind of convention where the XLR connectors on the preamp end of the cable are always female or male and vice-versa for the amp end? When I see used cables on Audiogon I've ever seen this addressed.

If there is a standard, what type of RCA to XLR adapter would I need for my current preamp, i.e. male RCA to female XLR, for example?
Think of it this way: The male XLR represents an output and the female an input. Whether on components or cables this means the male pins offer signal and the females accept signal. This is the convention but in the odd case may be ignored. Can't say who makes the preferred RCA to XLR adaptors.
Thanks. Can a balanced cable with XLR to RCA adapter be used coming out of a single ended preamp, or do you need to run an RCA cable with the appropriate adaptet to the balanced input of the amp?
You can do it either way.