I need help

I’m back at using ntrack after being too busy for it for the last 5 yrs or so (got married and had 3 kids in the meantime, lost most of my hearing (meniere’s disease))
Now I’d like to do some simple recordings, but this is so frustrating.
I don’t want to dump a lot of money into this, so I don’t have much equipment but there are some things that drive me insane:
- I don’t know if it’s called latency or what, but it sucks. I lay down a track (say piano) with the metronome through my headphone, no effects nothing.
Then I go back to lay down a second track - say a vocal one, and now I play back the first track + metronome, and the metronome is out of step with the first track. WTH is that?
-I need a simple mike setup but my computer mike which is in the monitor seems to pick up all kinds of noise, especially if I enable “boost”. Then I have this crappy realistic mixer from radio shack and a small microphone (says on it Concertone 880M). The signal fom that is just too weak if I put it in the soundcard.

I like the idea of doing this on my computer, but I really don’t want to spend a ton of money on equipment. I just need something halfway decent. I’m using a HP Pavillion machine it’s a 514X which I guess uses a Celeron processor at 2GHz and I have 760M ram in it
I don’t see why this should have any problem with say 10 tracks
the sound card is what came with it, and I think it’s something like realtek ac97 audio??
anyway, I hope I can get this to work without a pooring a ton of money into it I mean dear God, I’m almost deaf so what kind of crappy music could I make anyway. So no, I’m not going out to get a $1000 mixer
By the way, I’ve played piano for 30 years and I’ve done quite a bit of sequencing in my better days, but now I have to rely on other people’s ears to do the mix since my one ear (the other one never worked) is on its way out and the main problem is distortion.

It seems like your needs are pretty modest, and I’ve been there with the 3 kids thing, too.

Might I suggest a vist to the pawnshops for a used Shure SM58 or similar, an ART Studio V3 mic pre (cheap enough you could buy new, and they sound OK), and the best Soundblaster card you can afford with what’s left over? You might get the whole load on Ebay for less than $200.

Alternatively, you might skip the mic pre and buy a higher grade soundblaster with a breakout box and pre’s built in. Check out m-audio cards too.

I’d definitely condemn and disable the stinky on-board sound card.