Beginner hardware recommendations

Hi all, I hope you can help (as support don’t seem to be at the moment).

Cubase Elements was suggested to me as a beginner to music recording some years back, I only started using it properly for recording last year as I had a USB mic given to me as a present and since lockdown I have had more time to play about with it.

So far I have had to install an ASIO driver to actually get the USB mic to work with cubase, and it uses the same driver to playback through my speaker setup, but I keep getting problems with distortion through the playback and the mic doesnt seem as clear as I think it once was when it was first given to me - I am thinking I need a new mic but want to avoid these problems again, so wanted to ask the more experienced what would be the best and quickest setup for a beginner.

What would you suggest I spend my money on? Is there a USB mic that anyone can recommend that will work with my laptop and cubase, or do I need some intermediary hardware also?

Thanks everyone!

It depends what you want to do. A usb mic is very restrictive. You would be better with a usb audio interface and separate mic