My one question is how were you able to daisy chain cable and anti-cable without them annihilating each other?
This is funny! Sorry to quote you twice in one day...I'm not stalking.
+1 that balanced interconnects are the solution here.
Given the obvious advantages of balanced/XLR, I wonder why more gear just doesn't have it. Even if it's not fully differential through the unit, the signal transport is far superior. I know, it probably depends a lot on the preamp design...
One other point - Tascam and Henry Engineering make some pretty good quality single-ended to balanced converter boxes. You might not want to use them permanently but it's a decent interim/testing solution to see what kind of degradation you're getting from single-ended runs and whether a balanced connection would be optimal.