thanks everyone. as to software, audacity is fine for me. it used to be enough for my modest ambitions as a backyard folk singer, and all i want is to retrieve the sound quality i had before whatever it was that went wrong went wrong. i think the problem is with the hardware, so i suppose i'll just have to take the time with the jargon (and spaghetti) as best i can.
thanks for the link, katie. i noticed it at the time but was snowed under with work and couldn't follow it up, as i can now. i love your music, incidentally, yours and corwen's. very thrilling, exciting, stuff for us colonials - a drop of the pure!
and i'm beginning to understand that the digital keyboard has a lot more to offer than i originally thought, but still the same sound problem.
i'll tinker with what i've got. thanks everyone.