10 tips for a TV set-up to wow your friends

Beat the experience your local multiplex charges big bucks for

7. Set your sound levels

This is the bit that causes home cinema novices the most sleepless nights. With up to seven different speakers firing sound at you, plus a deep-bass generating sub, it's important to ensure that the sound from each speaker reaches you at the same time and at similar volume levels. The easiest way to achieve this is to either buy a home cinema amp with its own calibration microphone; or to use a sound pressure level meter. Amazon UK has a decent selection starting at around £20.

8. Become an ace of bass

Adding a subwoofer to your home cinema setup can make a massive difference to your enjoyment of movies, but you need to set it up correctly: think precision-guided bomb, not bad-tempered elephant. Set aside a couple of hours with some bass-heavy tunes and tweak the subwoofer's volume control until it integrates seamlessly with your system's sound. You may also need to experiment with your sub's crossover frequency settings, phase switching and even positioning in a room to get the best results.

9. Choose the right speaker cable

While you obviously want to avoid the bellwire that comes in the box, you'll also need to avoid snaking fat cables over the Axminster to the surrounds - especially if you want to keep cuddling up to the missus at night. The solution is to plump for some conventional speaker cable up front for the key left, centre and right speakers in your setup. Then choose an ultra-flat cable you can stick under the carpet or around the skirting board for the rears. QED's Qontour is ideal, and costs around £2 per metre.

10. Soften up the sound

One of the easiest ways to improve the sound in a room is to use soft furnishings, rugs, carpets and curtains. Sounds daft, but they can help break up the standing waves that can mess up the sound from your system - especially if you currently have bare walls, windows and floors. While you might not want a carbon copy of the inside of a multiplex, those opulent furnishings are there for a very good reason.