1) take a look at your speaker connections – if there are four posts connected by a brass ‘jumper’ you’re in for a treat. turning the power off, remove the brass jumpers and strip the speaker wire down an additional couple inches. now thread the wire through both posts on the positive side and the negative side, making sure the wires don’t touch. the idea here is that speaker wire makes a much better conductor than the brass posts – if you don’t hear the difference you’d be the first.
2) take the so called ‘bookshelf’ speakers off the bookshelf – you want to place them about ear level on something that will not resonate; believe it or not cinder blocks are some of the best speaker stands you can buy and they cost just a couple bucks. don’t like the look of concrete in your living room? wrap ‘em in a fabric or something – besides after you hear what your speakers were meant to sound like you’ll agree that any other way just looks dumb.
3) decide where you want the sound to sound best - i choose the seat i use most often, yours might be directly in front of your TV (mine would be too if i had a TV). the speakers should be equal distance from this seat. think symmetrical and experiment! if the bass is too boomy, pull the speakers away from the wall, if its too hollow push towards. if you are trying to cover a broader area (say a couch) leave the speakers facing directly out. if you’re training in on a single seat you may try angling them in towards the seat. the speakers should never be farther from one another than they are from you but be careful not to put them right next to your TV as this can effect you picture and cause permanent damage to the TV’s tube.
4) Set the bass and treble or equalizer controls to “0″. Contrary to popular belief turning everything to maximum doesn’t make things sound better and the equalizer is not there to make pretty patterns.
5) if you have a DVD player or VCR buy a set of red.white RCA cables and patch the audio from your movies through your stereo – movie soundtracks are an integral part of the experience and TV speakers are tyically good only for talk shows. besides you’ve paid for a stereo you might as well use it! also – unless your CD player is brand new chances are your DVD player has more sophisticated guts. if so you might as well sell your CD player and put it towards…
6) a set of computer speakers, preferably one with THX 2.1 certification. you can find these for about $100 and given that most people i know still use the system their parents bought for them when they went away to college, they’ll be a huge upgrade – i’ve heard systems that cost 10x as much that pale in comparison.