I had the same problem, thinking about re-terminating my Cardas Hexlink Golden 5C's on one end, to try another preamp.
So I called Audio Advisor and ordered a pair of Cardas female XLR to female RCA's,
very high quality and I received them today, for just over $50.00 shipped in 2 days !
Personally, I don't think you will hear a difference between the two you mentioned, unless you buy a pair of el-cheapos from a local music store, but who knows ?
I once needed these adapters in a hurry, so I bought, as Rx8man says, a pair of el cheapos from a local music store. Later on I got a set from Cardas. The Cardas are very well made, but I never heard any difference.
I have not owned or listened to the Purest Audio Design adapters, but I have owned the Cardas adapters for about a year. It became necessary to insert XLR to RCA adapters in my system because of the preamp I had chosen. All I can tell you is that they DO effect the sound. Sonically, there is a slight 'darkening' of the sound when they are inserted into my system. As mentioned above, they are very well built. (My system has a CD player with both RCA and XLR outputs with a volume control as well. This allows me to A/B the interconnect with and without the adapters in place.)
http://cgi.ebay.com/XLR-Male-to-RCA-Adapter_W0QQitemZ7353233355QQcategoryZ41460QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem look at these i got them and they are fine. just do a search on ebay for rca to xlr adapters
I needed some XLR female to RCA female so I could use my balanced only out's to my single ended amps without rewiring (short term solution until the final evolution of the system) and found Neutric adapters at Markertech.com for ~$5 each, they make and stock every type (f/m) conceivable, and will ship USPS Express at cost as well....
If you want to save some $$, check them out
I've used the ones from BAT and Cardas and like them both. Didn't really here a difference between them.
The website I bought the Neutrik ones from is
They were $9.95 ea.
I have a pair of Cardas adapters in my system now and they are working out well. Like some others, I started with a pair of cheap Chinese-made adapters, and then upgraded to the Cardas pieces. The difference between the two was subtle, but was audible nonetheless. Also, the Cardas adapters improved noticeably with 20 or so hours of break-in, whereas the cheapos never improved a bit, IMO.
Now that I think about it, I have to agree with Bwyoung's assessment that the Cardas lend a slight darkening to the sound. That's the Cardas sound and it's amazing how it manifests in everything they make. Or is my mind imposing my mental image of the Cardas sound on every piece of their gear I try? Oh, the existential questions of audiophilia...
Thanks for all the suggestions. It seems that most people are pretty happy with the Cardas adapters. I noticed some darkening to the sound when using an unbalanced cable terminated RCA to XLR. I put it down to feeding the balanced inputs of my pre-amp with an unbalanced signal, so maybe all adapters would have the same effect. Otherwise it was just crap cable!
Nelson Pass suggested I use the item in the link below. It ain't cheap at $200 per stereo pair.
Check it out at the link below:http://www.jensentransformers.com/pc2xr.html
Wow - that is a serious looking piece of kit that Mitch4t suggested! For $200 I could reterminate my balanced S-X Ltd to RCA and then back again later if I change my source! I take it there is a real advantage to getting the Jensen transformer?
This Jensen solution requires an additional set of interconnects, yes? So,
it may be an excellent answer to the problem, but the total cost of the
solution is well beyond $200/channel.
We bought ours from member infinity_audio here on Audiogon.
Around $40, and they work great.
Tvad, you're right....it will require an additional set of interconnects. I hadn't thought about that.
This audio hobby is insane. There is no end to the madness.
IMO, Mitch4t, you can use some excellent quality adapters, properly configured, and you will never know the difference.
At the very least, the experiment will only cost you in the range of $50. It seems logical to start there.
However, if you are the type of person who wonders "what if I had only gone for the Full Monty", then buy the Jensens and second set of interconnects and don't look back.
Get the Cardas. I am using them on my own Nirvana S-X Ltds. for a similar problem, needing to turn a balanced cable into RCA. They are relatively inexpensive and I have not detected any sound coloration whatsoever. A simple solution.
Got an interesting email from an Audiogon member. He says:
Using a transformer or an active circuit adds "processing" in the audio path - don't do it!
My friend had Cardas and switched to Tara Labs adapters, which he thought are better. With either one, you must open it up and cut the shorting wire between pins 1-3.
It is a major stupidity of this industry to do so!!!
Your best bet is still a single cable with RCA on one end and XLR on the other, but an adapter is a cost-effective way to go.
Well - in spite of previous posts, I did get some Purist Audio adapters and they work perfectly.