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Thread [b]Balanced vs. Unbalanced I/O[/b] & RCA vs. 1/4"

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1 [b]Balanced vs. Unbalanced I/O[/b] & RCA vs. 1/4"
Hi everybody,

I'm in the process of setting up my home studio, and while I know a bit about music, I've never learned much about recording... until now :shock:

Right now I'm looking at getting a new PCI card, most likely an Audiophile 2496 or Audiophile 192. Then connecting a small mixer. And recording through that.. (guitar, bass, keyboard, mic's)

The main difference I see between the two cards is one has RCA ports and one has balanced 1/4". If I had to guess, I'd say 1/4 is better, but I have no idea why. Can anyone tell me if there is any significant difference to between using balanced/unbalance I/O or RCA vs. 1/4"

It looks like the mixer I was looking at has both RCA & 1/4" ports, so I could really go either way? (FYI: I'm looking at a Soundcraft Compact 4 or 10)

Any questions or feedback on the issue, or the gear I mentioned would be super appreciated! Thanks for the insight in advance.
-rg 8)