Thanks for replying! System sounds & audio- & video files play fine. I tested Windows Sound Recorder, it records and plays back fine. It is not a pirated version - I am the legal owner of my Cakewalk SONAR LE and it is registered with Cakewalk :)
Take a look in the options setting for which sound card it's using. Make sure it's the real sound card and not some windows virtual card.
Try a couple of different tests. record a standard audio wave file save it then try to play it with Windows media player or any player of choice you may have installed on your system. Does it sound bad? try playing a wave or mp3 file you already have on your system that you know sounds ok. What does it sound like through Cakewalk.
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