when i use amplitube to play, cleans sound great, but distortion is eh. lots of background hiss even when using the noise gate. right now i run my guitar into the stealth cable 1/4'' to USB into my laptop and monitor with headphones. would a better soundcard help, or is it just my tone?
I had a stealth plug at one time and they are noisy things. Other things you have to consider is sometimes guitars pick up don't like to be close to electronics an can cause interference. If I were you I would look at a USB Audio Interface.
Yes. An interface will make your sound clear.