Thanks for all your help thusfar. Sorry I was MIA yesterday - my “easy” day turned into the busiest of the week. At any rate, here’s what I’ve done.
The stock driver/hardware combo for this computer (Realtek), unfortunately, does not give me options to tinker with its settings. I was able, though, to disable noise reduction for the built-in mic. I did have the mic disabled already, but tried that anyway. No change.
Though my computer said that my driver did not need updates, I found there was a patch. That didn’t help me, though.
I had an unopened copy of Cubase AI-4 booting around (came with my Audiogram6), so I contacted Steinberg and got activation codes. I had not planned on learning a new system as I have used Audacity on and off through the years & am also familiar with Adobe Audition, which feels similar to me. However, I thought it may be worth a try to see what that sounded like.
Long story short, The audio was not improved any by running it through the ASIO4ALL driver & Cubase.
Another option will be to hook my Audiogram6 up to my gf’s desktop. On the plus side, I know her machine is more powerful than mine and has a better sound card. On the other hand, the best location for me acoustically is our garage attic - there are no electronics there, it is isolated from house noise, and has a sloped roof & dormer windows to break up echoes.
I did find that if I record a bit hotter than I feel comfortable it lessened the effect, which points to you being right - that there is some sort of noise cancelation going on that I’ve not yet found access to.
Regarding my reason/goals for recording, short term it’s simply a creative outlet. Mid term, I wouldn’t mind eventually making a little pin-money to upgrade my mic or get a dSLR that’s capable of doing decent video.
Thanks again for all your help.
ps: Love the “Morgan Freeman” version of my voice!