But then again you do get people denigrating xlr (better) compared to rca (worse) .... getting it the wrong way round as they haven’t really tested.
In my experience of designing the cables and analyzing the technology employed..single ended RCA is a lower jitter format than AES/EBU.
AES/EBU starts of with a problem it cannot surmount. That balanced inherently has a problem that cannot be overcome. That the two halves of the signal in opposite polarity cannot be the same. It’s impossible. Therefore the reflection of the two against one another, is off kilter.
It happens in the transient domain. the transient domain is where the human ear hears. the rest of the signal is irrelevant to the ear. the ear literally does not hear the rest. the physical body of a blanced cable is literally impossible to make as being a perfectly accurate reflecting pair. there will always be a residual out of kilter micro difference at best, between the negative copy of the signal vs the positive copy, so perfect cancellation of the two cannot happen. It literally cannot happen. And the error is entirely in the transients. And the ear hears exclusively in the transients.
AES/EBU is much the same. The fault happens in the transient domain, and is doubled and even worse, compared to single ended RCA. As the leading edge of the square wave is distorted and mis-cued between the unmatched off kilter pair. The misalignment of the paring of transients in the balanced design, creates a reflection that is realized as jitter.
AES/EBU, like balanced analog audio.. was designed to go long distances, with low interference. Fidelity was and is an entirely secondary and lesser concern, in either application.
Theoretically it is perfect but practice in the real world, makes it a case for signal degradation. Degradation in the signal area, where 100% of your hearing is listening: transients. Studios use it as single ended in studios is an impossibility due to the run lengths and potential for signal interference. So balanced became the norm. That it is inferior to single ended, in ultimate sound quality, was lost in the mix.
The best, in a home, or small space and small distances, is single ended RCA, for analog audio and for Digital transmission. It suffers the least amount of transient degradation. Transients being the critical part, as it is the only thing the ear hears.
The trick is to understand that smeared and mis-aligned transients are first heard (grasped by the ear) as being increased detail. After close listening, it can be discerned that it is ultimately ..just smear...and not correct.
No two people, and no two systems -are the same.... so it is quite easy to argue it.
Since we are not all the same, some figure this out, and some don’t. Some never will, some are on their way to getting it, and some are well past it.