i am currently considering buying a sound card, but i dont know what to get, i dont know what i should be looking for! i want to able to record music from alternative sources with out the lost of quality or any interference that i currently have with my onboard sound car.
I think it depends on how fussy you are, a friend of mine is a musician and is a very good guitar player he burned some disks of MP3 at 320bps and says the quality is noticably worse, personally I can't hear the difference. If you are really keen on your sounds then you can't go far wrong buying something like a Soundblaster Audigy 2 card click here but personally I think a cheaper card a 4.1 or 5.1 would do me you can get them for about the £25 mark as dfghjkl has said.
Whatever you do, do not buy one of those really cheap cards for £10-£15, that look exactly the same as the Creative ones. The quality deteriates quickly, and the stereo eventually goes. I have had 2 Creative's and two cheap makes - The Creatives are the best in my opinion. I currently have their Soundblaster 5.1 Live, and I think it is excellent. Good Luck with the search.
I also have a Soundblaster 5.1 Live! and find the sound quality very respectable through my IBM 2.1 speaker system.
However, prior to that, I used the C-Media 8738 onboard sound chipset for four years and was always very impressed by the sound quality; yet PCI versions of this chipset (there's also a superior 9738 version) only cost from £4-£6 and feature surround sound, 3D sound and SPDIF facility.
I'm not suggesting that you buy one - the Soundblaster is a superior component - but it proves the old hi-fi maxim that the speakers are a critical part of the overall system.
"Record what you hear" basically does what it says on the tin. If you have, say, a cassette recorder plugged in to your line in socket on your sound card - you can play the cassette and record the audio straight on to your HD. What comes out of the PC's speakers while doing this is what's being recorded. With the Audigy card you can then convert the wave file you've just recorded to an mp3 file, using Creative's WaveStudio - which is bundled with the card (not sure if that's the case with the OEM version).