My comp's onboard soundcard sound output is very soft, barely audible even though I push the volume controls to maximum. Check the speakers and they work fine in another comp. Does anyone know what's wrong with my sound card or any program that can pump up the volume further?
Double check exactly which output jack you have your speakers plugged into. I once had onboard sound with two jacks, one CLEARLY labeled "Output". It was actually the input for a microphone. I had the exact same problem you did when I hooked everything up by the book.
Plugging my speakers into the "microphone" jack fixed all my problems.