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I’m no techie but I believe XLR cables are purposely made with a male on one end and female on the other. Check the labeling on your equipment, output on one component should go to input on the other. It may sound silly, but it’s an easy mistake to make. The cables are made to support that format. Classe Audio equipment is very clearly marked. Be sure to check carefully.
For some reason, the XLR connectors for my Classe Audio DR-8 amp and DR-5 amps both need male connectors. It does not make sense.
Below are links to pictures of my equipment so you can see for yourself. I am thinking the DR-5 pre-amp should have the female connector, but it doesn't. Was this is a mistake when the unit was made?
Your pictures support what you said. I can’t explain it. I did check the Tara Labs balanced cables that I used between my DR-6 and DR-15, and there is male on one end, and female on the other. I can’t explain the female output on your preamp. I can only guess that they were replaced incorrectly in the past, or installed incorrectly when manufactured and no one tried to use the XLR receptacle until now. You’re right, it does seem strange. Someone else may have a better explanation.