All things being equal, if your Active speakers accept XLR, then XLR cables will allow for the lowest noise floor.
+1 for Jazzman. But as Chord does not believe in balanced output for the Headphones i am not sure if there is a difference in the outputs on the DAVE. Input side and cables can be the difference though.
Not wanting to be that guy but….if you have both DAC and speakers, can you listen for yourself and decide for yourself?
I agree with Jazzman. As a general rule, a balanced (XLR) cable should be technically better than an unbalanced (RCA) cable, as it should do a better job of protecting the signal from electrical interference, especially over longer runs.
But then the choice of cable is also bound to make a difference – perhaps a good quality RCA cable is going to sound better than a lesser quality XLR. Or maybe in your setup it wouldn’t make too much of a difference and you could end up paying extra for a balanced cable and not hear any significant improvement. So, as Darko suggests, it’s probably worth listening to the difference for yourself if that’s an option.
Personally, I would always choose balanced/XLR, but that’s my bias.
Sorry, there is only one answer: XLR (and yes, at least decent ones, as with a Dave and the ATC50 you should be able to hear differences in cables). The ATC only have XLR input. So using RCA to XLR cables makes absolutely no sense to me, when there is the option to use fully balanced cables (as the Dave has an XLR out).
I also have the ATC50s, congrats to these wonderful speakers! (and the DAC is not bad, too 😉