Having a modest system is not keeping me from trying to squeeze the last drop of great sound out of it; on the contrary. If you care to know, please read on:
Since I began reading the Norwegian HiFi magazine "Fidelity" online a couple of months ago, and subsequently went on different audio forums, I have managed to find a path to the most easily audible way to start tweaking efficiently. Earlier on I didn't pay much attention to the fact that tweaks are best performed in a certain order, and the very first step, I have happily ignored for years.
Finally when I did persuade myself to do the hard and dusty work of dressing my cables (separating them = step 1), it became so much easier to establish which parts of my system actually played out of correct phase if any. It turned out that the sub and the turntable did in fact play out of phase.
Having corrected that, I began concentrating on speaker positions. In my living room, they have to stand on bookshelves (Yikes!), and on top of that, very close to the wall behind them (even more yikes!). I have doors in the way of a proper position for any stand, no matter the size. Now you are thinking "He can't possibly get a good soundstage, not to mention a decent middle bass reproduction!"
Well, you're not right if you do think so. I have actually - during a long period of time - tuned the ports with woollen socks, both on the satellite speakers and on the sub, and with remarkable results. The effect of this is a very dry and fast midbass/bass, but with a sufficient output level. Also speaker cabinets have been effectively isolated from bookshelves/floor, so my room response at 34 Hz is tamed to a most satisying level. Also the damping material underneath the speaker cabinets have been experimented with a lot, and during a rather long time. I found that regular kinds of foam didn't do the job very good, so I kept on searching. I never wanted to go for spikes. So in the end I stumbled over some strips of hard foam, that was originally made for garage walls, in order to protect the car doors. I don't play very loud, but there are NO vibrations in the bookshelves at all now. Applying that, I also found that tilting the cabinets 5