The importance of your listening room’s acoustics cannot be overstated. It can make or break the sound quality of your system, even if you’re using high-end equipment.
Here’s a quick way to get an idea of what you’re dealing with acoustically in your listening room. Walk into the middle of your room and clap your hands with a single sharp clap. To be able to do the clapping test, you need to train your ears. Do the single clap outside, where you’re a substantial distance away from walls that reflect the sound. You should hear the clap and nothing else; no echo or any sound of the clap occurring after the initial clap.
Then go inside and try the clap. You should be able to hear the initial clap and then some additional sound as it reflects off walls and other objects and travels back to your ears. If your room has a lot of reverberation and the sound seems to continue, this could present acoustical problems. However, if the sound dies out very quickly, your room may contribute to better sound quality. Sometimes these issues can be alleviated by adding furniture, carpeting and wall treatments. Sometimes, the room correction built into receivers, such as Audyssey can help.
Practice the clapping test in different rooms to see if you can hear the difference