Hey everyone! Need quite a bit of help, I apologize in advance for sounding like a real newbie, yes I do have a vast knowledge of IT, but sound recording and hardware confuses me very much. I have been recording vocals for quite a long time now, I use to record them on my old pc with a cheap £10 USB Microphone and with Sonar I believe, but when my motherboard died and would of ended up costing more to fix it than to replace it, I decided to get a quality laptop instead that I could focus much more time in to recording. I purchased the Sony Vaio AW, which I thought was a very nice laptop and would have managed sound recording very well, but I started to notice that my cheap microphone really wasn't doing the job, my recordings didn't sound good at all, so I thought I would do a little searching on the net and see if I could find some nicely priced high quality Microphones that would work on my laptop, whilst searching I found out about the XLR format, and read that it was used for high quality microphones, so I really wanted to get one, after lots more searching I found out about the Samson Q7 microphone, and read a LOT of nice reviews for it, getting compared with much more expensive microphones and being very similar, so without any further thought I went out and purchased one. Of course laptops don't have XLR ports so I bought a XLR to USB converter, which cost £30, I couldn't believe it was that cost just for a converter. Connected it all up, set all my hardware up using adobe audition and I must say the quality was much better than my old £10 microphone, but still, it was nowhere near professional quality, the sound was either too loud or too quiet, a lot of interference, I really didn't want to produce these sort of sounds. So Back on the net I started searching for external hardware that would enable me to produce nice clear recordings, I didn't have a clue whether to buy an audio interface or a sound card, I came across some nice M-Audio interfaces, but a lot of users said they had problems with 64 bit operating systems so I gave it a miss, I came across an external sound card, which had lots of positive reviews, was a nice price and I really thought it would do the job, it looked amazing, and it had a remote with it which I thought was awesome, it was the ''Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1'' so I bought it straight away, I was so excited to receive it, I wanted to connect my mic straight up to the card, so I got a jack-XLR converter so I could put the mic straight in the cards mic in port. Got the card today, I was so happy as it was shipped to me really fast, I thought I was gonna plug everything in, and i was going to have nice sounding recordings, how wrong could I be. Where do I start, when I finally got the drivers and software sorted got it connected, disabled my laptops on board sound to stop any problems occurring, plugged my headphones in so I could test a FLAC file and yeah it played nice and loudly and clear but it would sound quite unusual every few seconds, making buzzes and cutting out, but I ignored this as I was too excited to see what my microphone sounded like so I plugged that in, and as soon as I did, I was greeted by a loud buzzing and crackling sound, sounded terrible, so I messed around with the settings a little bit, maybe the volume was just too loud, or maybe the live option was on where you hear what your saying as soon as you plug it in, so I turned that off and I started up Adobe Audition. It was a nightmare setting up the hardware in adobe, wouldn't seem to recognize it, and couldn't get it to playback, so I tried sonar and when I finally got it to playback, the sound was 10x worse than my laptops on board, the crackling was unbearable and there was a really loud buzzing sound and there was a lot of cutting out, I tried everything to try and get a clean recording but it just wasn't happening, so I have just had to unplug the card and go back to my laptops on board sound. I am really upset, as I don't have much funds as it is and £50 is a lot to me, that I feel I have just wasted, could I do anything to produce a better sound with this card, am I doing anything wrong, could the bad quality recording be anything to do with the cable I am using. If anyone has any experience with this card and recording with it PLEASE let me know. If I am doomed with this sound card what could I buy to actually produce a nice clean recording without spending an insane amount of money. I am sorry I have written an essay here, but I don't know who to ask, and I am such a newb. Thanks so much.