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In most cases, upgrading your speakers will have the biggest effect on the overall quality of your sound system. Speakers are the final link in the chain of your audio system. Good high end speakers have a way of exposing the shortcomings of the components connected upstream from them.
How do you find the weakest link, and improve your audio experience?
• Swap out different components with friend that own better systems to see if a change is heard
• Experiment with heavier speaker wires and RCA cables with gold plated connectors
• Remedy low-level hiss and audible ground loops with some well built cable
• Instead of using the amplifier which is built into your receiver, try a separate amplifier/preamp combination. A high-quality standalone amplifier will put many integrated receivers to shame.