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Sound level problems - Left channel higher, recorded waveform strange

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I'm not sure what to say about this problem of mine. I'm a musician who records using a microphone plugged into the microphone socket on a soundcard which came with the pc (realtek?).
I never had any problems with it in the past, but recently it's started giving me problems. I'm not sure whether this is hardware or software related, but hardware seemed the best place to put it.
Basically the problem seems to be the left channel, which has.... well, look at these screenshots.

The input level:
Posted Image

A recording (this was after I upped the volume. I have to, because I used to use mic boost, but all of a sudden it started to pick up clicking and crackling so I stopped using it. That might be related.):
Posted Image

As you can see the upper/left waveform seems to have recorded on one side only, with some strange lines. Because it's in mono, you seemingly can't hear any difference. But when I added it into my composition, it made that part far too loud, and also off to the side.
I don't know whether any of that made sense, but hopefully the screenshots will give you the best idea. I'd love any help you can give, as I've tried everything I can think of within reason, and I can't seem to find the problem. It's also worth noting that it's not the microphone because I've tried a different microphone, and that those input levels stay the same whether a microphone is plugged in or not.
Cheers. :whistling:
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