What is your best kept secret in mid-fi?

We all come across some enlightening revelations as we strive for what this sonic nirvanah promises, and think to us, I wish I had known this t h e n (especially before we spent umpteen thousands on ?). If you have keys to good sounds for all to enjoy (affordable), it's satisfying to share them, and is educational to the readers.
Dedicated Circuits. Worth every penny in improved sonics and actually would have saved me time, money, and hassle if I would have had them installed sooner rather than later.
Invest in discs and LPs that are made using the very best recording and mixdown techniques and equipment. Although such media usually is more expensive than the average product, the resulting audio quality, even when played through a "MidFi" system, far exceeds the subtle improvements possible (?) when the typical disc/LP is played through multimegabuck equipment.
Give up the lowest frequencies (<40-50Hz), which allows you to use smaller speakers which in turn can be easier to drive. You'll get better performance above 40-50Hz for a reasonable cost, and your amplification will be cheaper as well.
Newer is not necessary better. There is nothing wrong w/older technology. Especially true w/tuners. Good sound can be had for very little $. Recently been shopping on "E-bay" and have bought excellent older equipment for cents on the dollar. Most of the equipment I remember reading about or actually using/or selling. Always check on the seller's feedback and e-mail them a question.(Make sure they know how to pack well!) Interconnects/spk. wires/power cords are very important. Don't skimp and buy used if possible. (Not always the cheapest! I've seen Van de Hul's selling for more
than ordering new directly from England.) AC conditiong is very important as well as having dedicated lines if possible. At the very least change the inexpensive outlet to a higher-grade outlet. Clean your contacts. Seperate your interconnects/spk. wire from AC cords. Equipment break-in/settling time is very important. Do your research. Reading these forum topics you'll get a sense of the equipment's orientation, whether on the lean or warm side of the spectrum. It all boils down to system matching/the room and a person's expectations. Hopefully you'll put a satisfying system together on the first time around but this unlikely, that's why it's very important to have lots of pieces around for the puzzle! :) Once you get "it" right, sell off the excess and get off the "merry-go-round" and be content if possible.
I agree with Rsbeck, however I’ll take it one step farther and say put one or two 5 KVA (or larger) isolation transformers into the equation. If you thought the dedicated circuits were a great improvement, wait until you hear the additional improvement using the isolation transformer with or without the dedicated circuits. Of course the dedicated circuits with cryo’d outlets and the isolation transformer is the way to go.
It’s hard to believe how good a mediocre or good sound system can sound with clean filtered power!
Absolutely, CURRENT DELIVERY. To quote from Mark Levinson's 2001 Playlist, "A common misconception is that amplifiers actually make a small signal larger. In reality, they convert the power from an AC outlet into several successively larger, but painstakingly accurate, copies of the input signal." So, it is impossible to get accurate sound using dirty power. Almost all my recent upgrades have been concerned with current delivery. Dedicated circuit, power conditioner and power cords - all make a significant difference.
Geez,I thought anything that is worth knowing about in audio can be discoverd on these BB's.

Right now the DAK is the newest piece to hit the marketplace. Before that it was the MENSA DAC. I think people are beginning to discover that upsampling is not the way to get the bext sound through DAC's. I guess I am a separatist.

In Cables I think OTA is a great cable ,but highly priced by 47Labs. There are other versions that outperform it though.

If someone were to market a non-metallic RCA that could be used with variable gauges of wire then that would be a great product.Eichmanns are the best RCA's at the moment being little Metal is used that gets in the way of the original signal.

A well kept secret appears to be the fact that a CD straight out of the box is an unfinished product. Yes, it will play but any CD can be greatly improved:

step 1: bevel the outer edge of the CD using the Gläss CD - SOUND - IMPROVER.

step 2: color the inside and outside edges of the CD with a dark felt pen (I use black but other claim that green is best).

step 3: apply auric illuminator.

Do not apply these techniques on LPs.
I agree with many of the previous writers and I want to add what I think is the most important tweak available for relatively few dollars. Resonance tuning. Using a combination of wood cuboids like Cardas myrtle cuboids and Walker discs (1/2" and 1") start with amp and preamp and tune them with the same care you would take adjusting VTA on your tonearm. My starting postitions usually are along the front to back center line almost always at the rear end with two 1" discs butted up. If you have cuboids try them under the discs. move back along the center line and experiment with moving them back to where one is hanging over the back up to 1/4". You may be skeptical but I urge you to try this. Once you have tuned the amp and preamp then do the same for your SACD/CD player (this will make the difference between Hifi and Awesome analog like space filling sound)and your phono preamp.

If you like that one try changing the direction of your fuses on any equipment where you can. This one came courtesy of Lloyd Walker and crazy as it sounds, It got me an extra 10 percent of truth in my sound.
good interconnects - xlo

i have very good success with a xlo "signiture seconds" from fatwyre. it was designed to be the signiture series but had a different jacket color. incrediblely neutral cable. bested harmonic tech and zen in my system ( i live close to both companies in san diego). can be had for $300 in 1 meter.

the marantz sa8260 player

made me a beliver in digital playback despite going back to repair to marantz for the second time. it is very musical..unusual for digital playback & cost only $600-$800.

alon II speakers

very close sound of a planar in dynamic dipole design, but with bass & dynamics. extremely revealing of everything upstream ( not bright). does a amazing disappearing act and reveals everything in a recording and gear. i would call it a "poor mans" review speaker that is very neutral, revealing, and musical if your gear is up to it.... can be had used for $600-$800. nothing in that price range comes close. kills vandersteens 2's in the midrange, top end, and imaging.

hope that helps !!

Move your speakers out from the front wall! At least three feet, but more is better. Will probably make more (positive) difference than anything else you can do.
Move your speakers as far apart as you can. Point them in some if you loose center fill. I wnet from 6 feet to 8 feet and moved "into" the performance. The speasers now pressurize the whole room with sound.
picked up some asc 1/4 tube traps, that are placed in corners.

incredible !!!!

better than a inteconenct / speaker cable change.
Thanks for taking time out to share info. gotten from years of experiment - they will improve my listening pleasure for sure.

Europian magazines stress the importance of the source in determining the quality of sound. Some audiophiles place inportqance in the speaker. Now I am beginning to think a system sounds only as good as the weakest link. All these tweaks are necessary in putting together a good sounding system.

Just a word of caution for DIY tweakers - be careful when around electricity. Even an unplugged unit is dangerous! Know what you are doing, before opening up any units.
Amongst the many already mentioned, a couple that were big improvements in my system.
1. Shielded power cord for the CD player.
2. Separate dedicated AC outlet for CD player.
3. Clean CD's with mold release remover.
Geez,I would tell you,but then it would no longer be a secret!LOL

No one yet has said that--sorry ,I thought it would be a wise statement.
Clean your CD's ann vibration control.
Acme Audio's silver plated and cryogenically treated outlets provided the biggest bang for the buck in my own system.
Nearfield triangle away from front wall, dedicated lines, Canare starquad cables, my own (ErnieM) PCs.
...and Neuance iso/absorb shelves!
Tiptoes under a turntable - probably the most intense "I can't be hearing what I'm actually hearing" experience of my whole audiophile career.