When you're testing new headphones, we already know its best to use old music. But what about when you're testing, say, home theatre speakers? These multimedia speaker tests will help you make sure your new speakers are up to snuff.
It's easy to test headphones and speakers for music, since in general, you know what you want your music to sound like. It's a bit more difficult when you're testing speakers for your home theater—you can't always pinpoint what that sound effect or actor's voice is supposed to "optimally" sound like. Eminent Technology has some free speaker tests, though, that should help you out: just download the WAV files and play them on your speakers. Eminent's download page will tell you what each should sound like. For example:
Pink Noise Monaural - Pink noise is a form of noise that theoretically contains all frequencies. It should sound somewhat like rain on a rooftop. Pink noise is defined as having equal energy per octave and it is an important signal for loudspeaker testing if you have speaker measurement equipment. In this example, if your speakers are in phase, the sound should appear to come from the middle of the monitor.
If what you hear doesn't jive with their description, your setup is probably off, or you'll want to see about exchanging those speakers for a better pair (or get them repaired if they're a bit older). Hit the link to check it out.