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Problem could be in either the record or playback circuits of unit. Try playing back a tape in another machine to see what the volume is like. If also low then the issue is with the record amp circuits.
Fixing will not be cost effective, however.
Try connecting them to another amplifier...you can use the speaker output of a guitar amp as a quick test. If the amp (and mixer) check OK, it sounds like you are about to become good friends with your local speaker reconing shop.
Remember...Distorted Audio Can Kill Speakers even at low volumes. It happens because sine waves become square waves. Google it for additional information.
Have you connected the speakers correctly. When you connect the cord to the ports on the back do you get a popup asking what has been connected and there are options for headphones,line-out etc. Can you see a speaker icon in the status bar? The area with the time on it. Double clicking will bring up the audio properties. Check the volume levels for all like wave,sw-synth etc an check if none of them are muted and even check the main volume , last but not least check the volume on the external speaker or headphones , could be that they are set low. Hope this helps..
Your volume levels and effective impedance becoming too low can lead to a receiver self-protecting. It's trying to tell you something and will eventually die completely if you don't address the cause.
We would need more details regarding models and exact configurations. Keep in mind that an amp driven to distortion is very dangerous to itself and the attached speakers as distortion lacks the smooth sinusoidal transitions that normal audio has. Square waves or briefs burst of DC will take a toll eventually.
I'm sure you went to Control Panel, opened device manager, and and checkeck for any yellow
checks for your sound, video and game
controllers. If there are none, your system is go. Then go to your
audio manager on control panel, and set it up for whatever speaker
configuration you have. I have realtec audio manager. This step is a
must for configuring—you choose whether your laptop will use its
own speaks or use your external speakers—you have to turn off the
internal speakers and turn on the external. Did you forget?