10 cheap and easy ways to get better sound from your old hi-fi

7. Go for a warm up

Just like the rest us, your hi-fi rarely works well from a cold start. Switch your equipment on for 20-30 minutes before you sit down to listen - the results will sound all the sweeter.

8. Set up your speakers

One of the biggest and best changes you can to your hi-fi is to make sure your speakers are positioned correctly. What works for you will depend on what your room is like (size, shape, furnishings, etc), and what kind of speakers you have.

Ideally you should place them an equal distance apart and at least 12-inches away from any walls to the back or to the side. You should also toe them in slightly so they're pointing towards your listening position - this will help creating the so-called 'sweet spot' that conjures a 3D-effect soundstage in front of you.

To get the distances right, use a tape measure or string where possible - and don't be afraid to experiment. Above all you need to find something that works for you. Finally, you'll get the best results by mounting bookshelf speakers on stands so the high frequency tweeters are at ear height when you sit down to listen.

9. Go Blu

Blu-Tack, that is. Hi-fi forums the world over are replete with praise for the humble blue sticky stuff. That's partly because it has so many uses - you can stick it on the bottom of your bookshelf speakers to stop them moving around, for example - but also because it performs very cost-effective duties when it comes to minimising unwanted vibrations.

We're even heard tell of people who stick Blu-Tack to the walls of their listening room - ostensibly to help break up unwanted standing waves that can emanate from your speakers.

10. But don't go mad

The best and worst thing about hi-fi tweaks is that many are part magic, part snake oil; it all depends on what works for you. We've tried to bring you some of the cheapest and most sensible solutions, but there are literally hundreds, if not thousands more. Just remember this: it's relatively easy to kick new life into an old or budget system - write in and let us know what your favourites are.