Ok, I really need some help. I ve put some decent money into what I thought would be a good recording package and no matter what I try and do I can't make it work.

So, I'll explain my situation again:

I am on an Acer laptop running windows with I believe an ASIO soundcard. On my old desktop I used to use audacity and was happy enough with the results I got (but I don't have that comp anymore). I bought a tascam us-122l audio interface which came with an ld-74 mic. When I record on audacity on my laptop, even with the new mic, it seems to "cap" my volume at 50 percent. The visual bar will only fill up halfway and if any sounds are louder than that, it becomes completely distorted.

So I tried cubase, which came with the tascam equipment, but I can't figure it out at all. I've tried recording through the tascam mic but i can't get any sound back to me, and when I turn on the monitor i just get an echo that repeats itself louder and louder till it maxes out the volume.

So, finally I got acoustica mixcraft, and I liked the options and the look of it all. The problem was that it would show visuals saying it had recording my sounds, but when I played them back nothing would come out - unless I turned on certain soundeffects in the program, which I found really strange.
to try and get around it i bought a 1/4 to 1/8 adapter for the interface yesterday and tried both playing and listening through the interface. No luck at all. It's nothing different and still won't work properly.

I am begging anyone for a solution. I am craving the old days with my banged up desktop where I used to plus in a ten dollar mic, turn on audacity and hit record and it was that easy. Please, help!
Well, you can get a trail for Mixpad. It's no Audacity but it should ease the cravings until you can find something permanent.

But you should consider getting your Audacity checked out, it's by far the best I've used.
a trail for mixpad? i don't know what you mean by "trail" or "mixpad", but i am interested. can you elaborate?
i got my act together and googled it. found mix pad and it seems to get the job done. still be nice to figure out the other options and what wrong, but thanks! (and trail = trial - i shoulda got that one)