Sound card question

I have an Alesis QS8 keyboard hooked into my sound card. When I play MIDIs, it plays through that, so the instruments are much more lifelike that those used on my AWE64. But, when I have my headphones into the keyboard directly, the quality of the MIDIs improves noticeably, and it is because they are in stereo. I’d like to record the MIDIs in stereo, but I think my sound card won’t let me. I have it plugged in to the line in port. Are there settings I should adjust, or does the AWE not do stereo recording, and if not, what is a good, cheap card that does?

(The cable setup connecting the two is like this: 1/4" to 1/8" headphone jack converter, to 1/8" headphone-to-2-female-RCAs Y cable, 2-male-RCAs-to-1/8" headphone, which plugs into the line in. Is the stereo lost in there somehow?)

No Stereo should be preserved assuming you use a stereo 1/8" cable. You are probably just getting better stereo separation using headphones. The quality of your PC speakers is also suspect here. Most of them are crap.

A better solution than the cable you describe is a 1/4" to 1/8" stereo cable or a 1/8" to 1/8" male to male cable with the 1/4" adapter you describe. Each connection is costing you signal strength and clarity.

Perhaps I am presuming too much here, but i figure if you havea QS8, then you are atleast semi-serious about your music, so might a reccomend a sound card (and/or speaker) upgrade. YOu could go really high end with a multi channel card like the new protools system or something by Mark of the Unicorn, or if you are looking to spend a little less, check out the Sound Blaster Platinum from creative for good distinct stereo imaging and midi control. Its only running around a $150 or so these days, and is a great entry level sound card.
Also based on that rats nest of patching you have there, Id reccomend you get your hands on some kind of a physical mixer. Anything from a cheapo radioshack thing to a decent 300 dollar Mackie 1202 would help your situation, depending on what you want to spend.