LE is limiting and clipping my inputs w no effects

This is an OEM Cubase LE version 1 from 2004.
Lately it is behaving strangely, limiting the input volume to about 1/3 of full scale, and the signal it does record is flat up against a “brick wall” of saturated clipping even though the volume is extremely low. Absolutely no effects are in place. This is simple stuff - one microphone run “dry” for a show host and the rest is imported music.

Pre-existing projects open and play back correctly. Once in a blue moon if I opened an existing project, played with it a bit and set up to record, it worked OK. Then I would close that project and create a new one and be OK. That’s not working out for me anymore.

Other audio programs like Goldwave and Audacity record full scale with no problems from the same interface. In fact they play nice by sharing the interface whereas Cubase takes exclusive use of the interface. Not usually an issue because I much prefer Cubase to either of those programs. But they are my fall back and last weekend I was glad I still had them installed.

E-MU 0202 USB interface > E-MU ASIO driver > Cubase LE/Goldwave/Audacity

Windows 8 OS.

I realize E-MU does not had a driver specific to Windows 8, but Goldwave and Audacity are communicating fine.