Despite numerous technological developments in recent years, sound tends to be overlooked by PC makers. And high-quality audio is nearly always the first thing to be sacrificed when a company puts together a budget desktop PC.

So it's good to know that the tiniest of tweaks can make a huge difference to your home audio setup - especially if you have surround sound. It's easy to achieve that sweet spot where Beethoven is divine and Bioshock can almost literally blow you away.

Here, we'll show you how to fine-tune your computer's audio setup.

1. Sound cards and speakers provide their own audio managers, but we'll look first to the generic tools provided with Windows Vista. To access these, double-click the Control Panel icon and select the Hardware and Sound icon in the main window. From here, click Manage Audio Devices.

Step 1

2. Vista will display icons for your sound card and speakers (you'll see more than one icon if you've got both onboard sound and a sound card installed). Click the icon for the audio card, then click Properties. You'll see tabs for input and output sound levels, as well as enhancements and effects.

Step 2