No problem, it’s something that often we might not think of, but if we think logically about it… without the soundcard your only able to listen at 16bit. That’s only 16 frames (or snaps of the audio per second) which isn’t a lot at all. Because of this your computer would fill in the missing information with Loggerythmic information meaning the signal would distort in those spaces, adding noise to the signal. This ultimately makes the sound louder but the quality goes down which is the issue we face. A higher bit rate enabled us to overcome this which is why an AI is essential for professional work.
Your NI station is great, so I’d not worry about that. If it works then keep it, mine Novation is about 7 years old and I still love it. I have no issues and the weight is great for me despite being used to a normal piano weight.
As for USB interfaces. I’ve honestly had no issues and I use around 10 usb inputs atm so I’m not really at liberty to say anything but I have a 1st gen focusrite 18i20 and it’s great. Goes up to 98bit rate, awesome sounding preamps and I enjoy it’s warmer tone. It’s never really failed me except for once when I downloaded the wrong driver… oops the only issue I find is past 4 o’clock the noise floor goes up to about -21db which is a little high… though I use izotope to clean it up if it becomes an issue so it’s all good… having said that it’s never been an issue as I record at quieter levels as it’s good practice to