so after a few hours twiddling, it becomes increasingly evident that i should pull my sound blaster live card out of my other <.< computer and put it in here. primarily because there's a couple programs (thinking specifically of freebirth, but also the live effects thingies) that don't have any way of saving what you've done or outputting the sound at all. and the sound card that's in there now won't let me record and play on the fly at the same time, so it’s either that or pipe my music to the other box anyway (which i’ll need to do if the live card doesn’t work, but it should).
i’ve gotten part way through the first track for this though, but it’s mostly a background at the moment. it needs bass and…something else. i also was able to uncover some essential cables (one of which being my midi cable) so when i do get the new card in there, i can start recording live instruments.