compiling a kernel is not that big deal...it's quite easy after you've done it few times
and with a little help you'll surely succeed. but before going into that, I suggest you shoot a question to your modules, like this:
modprobe -l | grep sound
so you get the names of all the modules that are related to sound. chech out what pops up, and if you see something that could have something to do with your soundcard, try to
where <modulename> is the name of the module (without any path) you wish to load. try this if it helps...and for the kernel recompilation, what you need to do if you need to compile your own kernel, is to find the module you truly need for your card and enable it either in kernel or as a module. but your card seems (to me, at least) quite ordinary so stock kernels should have support for it..?
I myself have not-so-new soundcard, not any sb live but somekind of integrated card...at first (with my Arch) it didn't work out, and I figured out that my kernel didn't have a module/builtin support for it...I added it & recompiled, rebooted and got my music play
so check out the modules you have, and try modprobing them...