10 Best Center Channel Speakers To Rock Your Home Theater [2020 List]

Center channel speaker is one of the most important speaker system in your home theater setup. This article reviews some of the best center channel speakers in the market. If you are planning on buying a center speaker, go through the product detailing mentioned below. We have detailed descriptions of product specifications and the latest technologies used to make these gadgets, which you might find useful. Let’s dive deep.

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Best Center Channel Speakers -Review & Buying Guide

We have handpicked 10 top products in this segment. Look at the below table to compare the products. To know more about the best center channel speaker check the later section on detailed product review.

Preview
Best Value Buy
Polk Audio T30 100 Watt Home Theater Center Channel Speaker - Hi-Res Audio with Deep Bass Response | Dolby and DTS Surround | Single, Black
Best Center Channel Speaker
Klipsch R-52C Powerful detailed Center Channel Home Speaker - Black
1st Runner Up
Definitive Technology Procenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker (Single, Black)
Title
Polk Audio T30 100 Watt Home Theater Center Channel Speaker - Hi-Res Audio with Deep Bass Response | Dolby and DTS Surround | Single, Black
Klipsch R-52C Powerful detailed Center Channel Home Speaker - Black
Definitive Technology Procenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker (Single, Black)
Color
Black
Black
Black
Best Value Buy
Preview
Polk Audio T30 100 Watt Home Theater Center Channel Speaker - Hi-Res Audio with Deep Bass Response | Dolby and DTS Surround | Single, Black
Title
Polk Audio T30 100 Watt Home Theater Center Channel Speaker - Hi-Res Audio with Deep Bass Response | Dolby and DTS Surround | Single, Black
Color
Black
Best Center Channel Speaker
Preview
Klipsch R-52C Powerful detailed Center Channel Home Speaker - Black
Title
Klipsch R-52C Powerful detailed Center Channel Home Speaker - Black
Color
Black
1st Runner Up
Preview
Definitive Technology Procenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker (Single, Black)
Title
Definitive Technology Procenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker (Single, Black)
Color
Black

Here is the detailed product review below :

Polk Audio T30 Center Channel Speaker

Polk Audio T30 Center Channel Speaker

amazon linkWhen it comes to center channel speakers, very few can compete with the mind-blowing audio quality of the Polk Audio T30. It is a dedicated center channel speaker with a peak power handling of 100 watts. It has Polk Audio’s signature Dynamic Balance technology. This technology enables the speaker create a spacious center stage marked by ultra-clear dialogues and vocals.

The T30 produces room-filling center channel sounds with the help of two 5 ¼ inch composite mid-bass woofers and one 1-inch silk dome tweeter. It produces impressive bass response through a rear-firing bass port. Recommended power handling per channel is 20-100 watts. Frequency response is 60Hz to 24kHz and nominal impedance is 6 ohms.

The speaker cabinet is 19 inches wide, 8.5 inches deep and 6.5 inches high. It is vented and made of acoustically inert furniture-grade MDF. It is specially designed to lower resonance and distortion so that every detail is brought forth beautifully. The outer surface of the cabinet has a smart black oak finish that blends in with the décor of most modern homes. The front panel has a removable grille.

The T30 speaker supports Dolby and DTS, two of the latest codecs in surround sound technology. You can hook it up with other components to create your own 3-, 5-, 7- or 9-channel home entertainment system. The rear panel features a pair of 5-way gold-plated binding posts. It helps connect the speaker to home theatre receivers, processors and stereo systems. In short, the T30 is pretty flexible. You can build a 5.1 surround sound system from scratch comprising of one T30 speaker, two T50 floor-standing speakers, two T15 bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer, all of which are sold by Polk Audio. Alternately, you can also team it with speakers of other brands, as long as they are well-matched.

The speaker is not powered and needs an external power source. You will need a receiver to drive it and feed it with input signal. You can use straight speaker wires or banana plugs.

Key Features :

  • 100-watt peak power center channel speaker.
  • Two 5.25-inch woofers, one 1-inch silk dome tweeter, rear-firing bass port.
  • Vented enclosure, black oak finish, one pair of gold-plated 5-way binding posts.
  • Dynamic Balance technology, support Dolby and DTS, MDF cabinet, requires a receiver.

Definitive Technology ProCenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker

Definitive Technology ProCenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker

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The ProCenter 1000 by Definitive Technology is another top-rated center channel speaker for home theater systems. It has a driver complement made up of five high-fidelity speakers that generate life-like effects. It has a frequency response of 47Hz to 30kHz and nominal impedance of 4 to 8 ohms. It is the best center channel speaker for movies and gaming.

The ProCenter 1000 is fitted with two 4 ½ inch bass/midrange drivers, two 4 ½ inch planar low-frequency radiators and one 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter. Most center channel speakers have a weak lower-midrange response i.e. the frequencies that make up the body and warmth of voices and musical instruments. But the ProCenter 1000 is different. It takes care of this issue by pressure-coupling exclusive BDSS (Balanced Double Surround Sound technology) cast basket drivers to a pair of mid/bass radiators of the same size. The radiators are strategically placed on the sides of the speaker for achieving greater tonal precision. This type of construction doubles the lower-midrange/bass radiating area of the speaker without increasing the size of the cabinet.

The speaker has a recommended amplification of 10 to 200 watts. It has magnetic shielding. It is 14 ½ inches wide, 5 inches high and 5 inches deep. The enclosure has a glossy black finish. You can place the speaker under the TV on a media console or shelf. You can also mount it above the TV if you like. The speaker has built-in feet that allow you to tilt the device to adjust the angle. Make sure you maintain ear-level height (when the listener is seated on the couch) for loss-less audio. Alternately, you can mount the speaker to a wall. For this you will need to buy two optional ProMount 80 articulating wall mounts.

If you wish to build your own home theatre system, Definitive Technology has a readymade solution. You can team the ProCenter 1000 with four ProCenter 800s or ProMonitor 1000s and a ProSub to create a complete ProCinema System. You will, of course, need to buy these components separately.

Key Features :

  • Centre channel speaker with BDSS technology.Two 4.5-inch BDSS drivers, two 4.5-inch planar low-frequency radiators.
  • One 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter, recommended power 10-200 watts.
  • Wall and table-top placement, integrated feet for angle adjustment.

Klipsch R-52C Dedicated Center Channel Home Theatre Speaker

Klipsch R-52C Dedicated Center Channel Home Theatre Speaker

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The next product to make our list of best center channel speakers is the Klipsch R-52C. It produces room-filling center channel audio that enhances your cinematic experience. It has 400 watts max and 100 watts continuous power handling. It has a frequency response of 89Hz to 21kHz +/- 3dB. Nominal impedance is 8 ohms and sensitivity is 95dB at 2.83V/1m.

The Klipsch R-52C features a pair of 5 ¼ inch spun copper IMG (Injection Molded Graphite) woofers and one 1-inch aluminum LTS (Linear Travel Suspension) tweeter. For tweeter suspension, Kapton, a rigid and lightweight material, is used. Kapton enhances resolution and detail for efficient tweeter performance. IMG, on the other hand, makes the woofer rigid and prevents cone damage.

Klipsch’s proprietary Tractrix Horn-Loaded technology makes sure you get cinema-like front row sound clarity. The R-52C has a 90×90 square Tractrix Horn which minimizes artificial reverb or filtering caused by indirect sound bouncing off of walls. The result is accurate sound reproduction with minimal departure from the original recording. This unique design of the R-52C pays off huge dividends and it does full justice to dialogues and vocals.

The speaker has an MDF enclosure with a scratch-resistant textured wood grain vinyl finish. It has a durable and flexible removable low-profile magnetic grille. For input signal a single gold-plated binding post is provided. The cabinet has a closed-back or sealed design for a flexible placement. You can place it on a home theater console or a shelf. The closed design also provides optimal bass response. Dimensions of the speaker are: 7.3 inches x 18.75 inches x 7.6 inches. It comes with 4 rubber feet. It works best with Klipsch’s tower speakers and bookshelf speakers from the same series.

Key Features :

  • Center channel speaker with Tractrix horn-loaded technology.
  • 400 watts peak and 100 watts RMS power handling.
  • Two 5 ¼ inch IMG woofers, one 1-inch LTS tweeter, 90×90 square Tractrix Horn.
  • Kapton tweeter suspension, MDF cabinet, removable magnetic grille.
  • Closed-back design, scratch-resistant textured wood grain vinyl, 4 rubber feet.

Dayton Audio C452-AIR Dual 4-1/2″ 2-Way Center Channel Speaker

Dayton Audio C452-AIR Dual 2-Way Center Channel Speaker

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The Dayton Audio C452-AIR is a powerful center channel speaker with a 2-way configuration. It is designed to complement other Dayton Audio speakers in a multichannel home theatre setup. It offers spacious center channel sounds with intelligible dialogues and vocals. It produces a wide centre soundstage with excellent sonic detail. If you like watching movies and music videos, this speaker should serve you well.

The Dayton Audio C452-AIR is built with two 4 ½ inch polypropylene cone woofers with a 4-layer vice coil. The woofers add a beefy low end and crisp midrange to the soundtrack. Between the woofers is a single 1-inch AMT (Air Motion transformer) tweeter which delivers soaring high-end frequencies around 20kHz. The AMT tweeter utilizes a folded Kapton ribbon diaphragm. This allows air to move through the diaphragm more freely which in turn lowers distortions. The result is precise dimensional sound which is something traditional dome-style tweeters can rarely achieve.

The C452-AIR has a 2-way design. It has an RMS power rating of 60 watts and a peak power rating of 120 watts. Frequency response of the speaker is 85Hz to 20kHz, impedance is 6 ohms, and sensitivity is 86 dB 1W/1m. It has a first order high pass crossover.

The speaker has a classic MDF housing with a textured black ebony pica vinyl finish. It has an acoustically transparent black fabric grille which can be removed if needed. For input there are spring loaded terminals. A speaker wire is included in the package.

The gadget can be placed on a flat surface such as a shelf or mounted to a wall under or above the TV. It comes with detachable rubber feet for vibration-free table-top installation. On the rear panel of the device are two keyhole brackets or wall-hangers for attaching it to walls using drywall screws.

Dimensions of the speaker in inches are (H x W x D): 5.5 x 15.75 x 5.7.

Key Features :

  • Wall and shelf mountable 2-way center channel speaker.
  • Dual 4 ½ inch poly cone woofers, 4-layer voice coil.
  • One 1-inch AMT tweeter, pleated Kapton ribbon diaphragm.
  • RMS power 60 watts, peak power 120 watts, 85Hz to 20kHz frequency response.
  • MDF enclosure, black ebony pica vinyl finish, acoustically inert removable cloth grille.

Acoustic Audio PSC-32 Center Channel Speaker

Acoustic Audio PSC-32 Center Channel Speaker

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The Acoustic Audio PSC-32 is a 2-way full-range center channel speaker. It is a passive speaker with a recommended power handling of 15 to 125 watts per channel. It has twin full-range woofers inside an MDF cabinet. It is ideal for watching movies, listening to music and gaming.

The PSC-32 is fitted with two 3-inch full-range deluxe woofers that handle all the frequencies of sound with amazing efficiency. It has a bass reflex enclosure for optimal bass performance. The box is digitally tuned for keeping internal vibrations low and making sure the audio is as natural as possible.

The speaker can be used to self-assemble a home theatre, surround sound or multi-room sound system from scratch. There are quick release spring loaded raw wire connectors at the back which work with any receiver with raw speaker wire outputs. For best results, we recommend pairing it with speakers/subwoofers by Acoustic Audio. All the speakers in the PS Series are voice-matched so they blend well with your room acoustics. Irrespective of the number of components in your home theater system, you can be sure of them working well together. There will be minimal inconsistencies in the sound as they have similar design and materials.

The cabinet of the PSC-32 is made of CARB compliant MDF wood. It has a black ash wood veneer finish. It is 4.21 inches high, 10.03 inches wide and 4.92 inches deep. The grille in front is acoustically transparent which means it doesn’t interfere with the sound. There are mounting hang tabs on the back for securing the gadget to a wall. You can also place it on a shelf or media console.

The speaker has a 2-way passive configuration. It needs to be powered by a receiver or amplifier. It has a frequency response of 85Hz to 20kHz, impedance of 8 ohms, and efficiency of 89dB.

The Acoustic Audio PSC-32 can be bought as a standalone single unit speaker. It can serve as a bookshelf speaker or be made part of a multi-speaker sound system.

Key Features :

  • 2-way passive center channel speaker.
  • Dual 3-inch full-range woofers, digitally-tuned bass reflex MDF enclosure.
  • Recommended power handling of 15 to 125 watts, black ash wood veneer finish.
  • Acoustically transparent grille, quick release spring loaded wire terminals, rear hang tabs.

Polk Audio CS10 Center Channel Speaker

Polk Audio CS10 Center Channel Speaker

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The Polk Audio CS10 is a top-selling center channel speaker on Amazon. It boasts quality sound engineering that offers superlative cinematic experience with life-like dialogues. It has an MDF cabinet inside which are two woofers and one tweeter. It combines the benefits of small drivers and narrow baffle geometry to create spacious audio with more reach.

The CS10 is timbre-matched with other speakers in the TSi Series. In other words, if you choose to self-assemble a surround sound system, you will get the same tonal qualities. The speaker is specially developed to eliminate internal resonances and dampen disturbing vibrations. It has angled CS enclosure flips for accurately aiming the sound at the listener’s ears. It makes the gadget more flexible, and you get a clear and warm center stage.

The driver complement consists of a pair of 5 ¼ inch round bi-laminate organic fiber cone mid/woofers and one 1-inch round silk dome tweeter. The tweeter has Dynamic Balance technology which is a proprietary technology of Polk Audio. It reduces distortion-causing driver and system resonances to offer a more realistic sound that is closer to the original recorded sound.

The CS10 uses Klippel Motor Optimization which is a laser measurement technology. This technique ensures a smooth excursion path so that the sound is equally good at both ends of the volume spectrum. The device works best in a small home theater setup. It has sufficient power handling ability to cover small to medium-sized spaces.

The speaker has a vented enclosure with a critically-tuned port. The port minimizes ‘chuffing’ and allows air to move smoothly through it. This paves the way for full-bodied bass response which improves effects like explosions and thunder. The cabinet is 20 inches wide, 9.75 inches deep and 6.5 inches high. It weighs 16 lbs and has pewter accents. It has a high-gloss piano-finish black top plate and is available in black and cherry wood grain finishes.

The rear wall of the speaker has pro-grade gold-plated 5-way binding posts. The crossover system has high-quality parts like Mylar bypass capacitors. These capacitors enhance the performance of the drivers by extending response in higher, more detail-oriented frequencies. Frequency response of the CS10 is 53Hz to 25kHz, nominal impedance is 8 ohms, and sensitivity is 91dB.

Key Features :

  • TSi Series timber-matched center channel speaker.
  • Two 5 ¼ inch fiber cone mid/woofer, one 1-inch silk dome tweeter.
  • Dynamic Balance technology, angled CS enclosure flips, Klippel Motor Optimization.
  • Vented enclosure, high-gloss piano-finish black top plate, 5-way gold-plated binding posts.

ELAC Uni-fi UC5 Center Speaker

ELAC Uni-fi UC5 Center Speaker

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The ELAC Uni-fi UC5 belongs to the Uni-Fi Series of surround sound loudspeakers. It creates a sterling center stage for movies and music. It has a unique 3-way bass reflex construction for added low end response. The drivers have a concentric design which combines the tweeter and the midrange diaphragm within a single voice coil. This ensures you get the most accurate sound from treble to midrange bands. All the three speakers in the Series – center, bookshelf and floor-standing – have this driver configuration. When you play them together, the audio is truly unbeatable.

The ELAC Uni-fi UC5 is built with one 1-inch soft dome tweeter and one 4-inch aluminum cone midrange. The tweeter is placed directly at the center of the midrange cone which generates a unified output, meaning the sound waves reach your ears at the exact same time. It is the inspiration for the speaker’s name too.

For bass, there are two custom-designed 5 ¼ inch aluminum cone woofers with large magnets and vented pole pieces. There are two rear-firing ports for jacking up the bass reproduction. The woofers flank the concentric drivers. The bass blends seamlessly with the waves from the tweeter and midrange drivers and you get a very uniform sound.

The Uni-fi UC5 speaker has a multi-element 3-way crossover that ensures smooth transition between the drivers. The enclosure is made of MDF and it has a black brushed vinyl finish. It has internal bracing which makes the walls more rigid to counter vibrations and sonic coloration. The front side of the cabinet has a cloth grille that attaches magnetically. The rear side has 5-way binding post speaker terminals.

Frequency range of the ELAC Uni-fi UC5 center channel speaker is 48Hz to 25kHz, sensitivity is 85dB and impedance is 4 ohms. Maximum power handling is 140 watts. Recommended amplifier power is 40-140 watts per channel.

Dimensions of the speaker are: 18.75 inches (W) x 10.75 inches (D) x 7.87 inches (H).

Key Features :

  • 3-way center channel speaker with concentric drivers.
  • One 1-inch soft dome tweeter, one 4-inch midrange driver.
  • Two 5 ¼ inch aluminum cone woofer, bass reflex enclosure with dual rear-firing ports.
  • MDF box with internal bracing, brushed vinyl finish, magnetic cloth grill, 5-way binding posts.

Polk Audio Blackstone TL1 Center Channel Speaker

Polk Audio Blackstone TL1 Center Channel Speaker

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The next premium center channel speaker is by Polk Audio. It is the Blackstone TL1 speaker with Time Lens technology. It has a smooth curved front exterior complete with a high-gloss Blackstone finish that matches flat screen TV finishes. It is designed to be used both as a standalone speaker and a center channel speaker. It works best with the Polk Audio TL150 5-Pack system.

The speaker is built with a single ½ inch silk dome tweeter and two 2 ½ inch Blackstone aerated polypropylene midrange drivers. The tweeter is positioned in between the midrange cones. The three drivers work on the principle of Time Lens technology which aligns their acoustic centers on the same spatial plane for advanced imaging. An acoustic lens located in the grille controls and evens out the tweeter’s high-end frequency response.

The midrange cone is made extra stiff to enable longer linear excursion in a small space. This increases the volume while keeping distortions low. The long-throw driver cone is specially tuned with Polk’s patented Dynamic Balance technology. This technology makes the sound more detailed and smooth. You will be surprised how loud and distinct the center stage is given the compact size of the speaker. Plus, the rigid steel plates make the inner chamber acoustically inert to avoid unnecessary coloration and resonance.

Another unique feature of the Blackstone TL1 center channel speaker is its Extended Linear Motion motor structure. Due to this the moving parts of the drivers are able to move farther and more smoothly within a limited space, allowing them to generate an output comparable with larger drivers in more sophisticated speakers.

The Blackstone TL1 has something called PowerPort Bass Venting. This technique makes the bass deeper and eliminates turbulence. As a result, low end effects like thunder and bomb explosions are more impactful. Frequency response of the speaker is 95Hz to 22kHz, nominal impedance is 8 ohms, and sensitivity is 89dB (1w@1m). Recommended amplifier power is 10-125 watts per channel.

The speaker has a compact structure which allows you the freedom to place it on narrow shelves.  It is 15 inches wide, 3.5 inches deep and 4 inches high. It has built-in keyhole slots and threaded inserts for mounting it to walls. The rear end of the speaker has gold-plated 5-way binding posts. There are status LED indicators that display amplifier-related information.

Key Features :

  • Center channel speaker with Time Lens technology.
  • One ½ inch silk dome tweeter, two 2 ½ inch Blackstone aerated poly midrange drivers.
  • Dynamic Balance technology, Extended Linear Motion motor structure, high-gloss finish.
  • PowerPort Bass Venting, wall and table top-mountable, gold-plated 5-way binding posts.

Klipsch RP-404C Center Channel Speaker

Klipsch RP-404C Center Channel Speaker

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The Klipsch RP-404C is a formidable center channel speaker by Klipsch. It is a part of the Reference Premier Series of home theater speakers by the brand. It is made with Klipsch’s in-house Tractrix Horn-Loaded technology which aims the sound at the listener’s ears with unmatched precision. This method significantly lowers artificial reverb caused by sound bouncing off walls, ceilings and floors. Consequently, the listener enjoys pure unadulterated sound with every detail intact.

The RP-404C has a compression-molded silicon face matted to the 90×90 Hybrid Tractrix Horn. This type of construction counters horn resonance and smoothens out the frequency response. The phase plugs are computer-molded and they act as mechanical filters to further improve the sound coming out of the tweeters.

The speaker has a single 1-inch titanium tweeter with a vented design. This combats standing waves behind the tweeter diaphragm. Titanium is also a better tweeter material than silk or polypropylene as it is lighter and stiffer. The tweeter works on the basis of Linear Travel Suspension, a Klipsch proprietary technology. This technique leverages a piston motion of the diaphragm to make higher notes more life-like. A ceramic magnet housing further aids the tweeter’s performance.

The RP-404C has spun copper cerametallic woofer cones. There are four of them, each measuring 4-inches. The cones are exceptionally light, rigid and strong. They are matted to a twin-layer copper-wound voice coil for better conductivity. They are housed in a non-resonating stamped-steel basket that is attached to a large magnet motor.

The speaker has a bass reflex MDF enclosure with a rear-firing Tractrix port. It has four cast aluminum feet for firm vibration-free table-top placement. On the back panel is a single 5-way screw terminal compatible with banana plugs and bare wire up to 12-gauge.

The gadget is available in three finishes: ebony vinyl, walnut vinyl and piano gloss. The first two finishes are scratch-resistant and have satin-painted baffles. The third type has a hand-sanded mirror-like finish. All models come with copper anodized trim rings and a removable magnetic grille.

Frequency response of the speaker is 59Hz to 25kHz, sensitivity is 97dB and nominal impedance is 8 ohms. Peak power handling is 500 watts and continuous power handling is 125 watts.

Dimensions of the speaker are: 26 inches (W) x 13 inches (D) x 5.7 inches (H). It weighs 28lbs.

Key Features :

  • Large high-output center channel speaker with Tractrix Horn-Loaded technology.
  • One 1-inch titanium vented tweeter with Linear Travel Suspension and 90×90 Tractrix Horn.
  • Four 4-inch spun copper cerametallic woofers with twin-layer copper-wound voice coil.
  • Bass reflex box with rear-firing Tractrix port, 5-way screw terminal, four cast aluminum feet.

Yamaha NS-C210BL Center Channel Speaker

Yamaha NS-C210BL Center Channel Speaker

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The last product on our list of best center channel speakers is the Yamaha NS-C210BL. This speaker is an ideal choice for HD sources. It works brilliantly with Blu-ray discs and digital broadcasting, reproducing HD audio with excellent clarity and detail.

The speaker has a 2-way bass reflex enclosure. It is fitted with a pair of 3 1/8 inch aluminum cone woofers and a single 7/8 inch balanced-dome tweeter. The aluminum cones provide rapid response. Due to their lightweight and stiff design, they enable high-speed cone movement. This helps produce a deeper and fuller bass response. The tweeters capture minute high-end nuances of HD audio. You enjoy soaring treble notes without distortion and coloration.

The Yamaha NS-C210BL lacks magnetic shielding. This allows for the use of a larger-than-usual magnet which in turn allows more sonic information to be extracted from the source device so that the final sound is as close to the original as possible.

The speaker has a frequency response of 65Hz to 45kHz, impedance of 6 ohms and sensitivity of 86 dB/2.83 V/1 m. It has an RMS input power of 40 watts and a maximum input power of 120 watts. It is a passive speaker and requires powering by a receiver.

The NS-C210BL has a slim frame that matches latest flat-panel TVs. It sports a chic piano black finish. It is also available in three other finishes that complement various home interiors. The front of the speaker is guarded by a smooth curved grille. The rear panel has keyhole mounts for securing it to walls. Metal brackets and screws are included for DIY installation.

The speaker is 13 3/8 inches wide, 4 1/8 inches high and 5 3/16 inches deep. It weighs 4.4 lbs.

Key Features :

  • Best center channel speaker for HD sources.
  • 2-way bass reflex enclosure, two 3 1/8 inch aluminum cone woofers.
  • One 7/8 inch balanced-dome tweeter, passive speaker, curved front panel.
  • RMS input power 40 watts, max input power 120 watts, available in 4 finishes.

Role of a Center Channel Speaker

A home theater system has several speakers. The center channel speaker is the one that sits in the middle, either below or above the TV. It is the most important speaker in a home theater system as it takes care of the dialogues, vocals and 50% of the soundtrack. Together with the two left and right front speakers it makes up the front sound stage. It focuses on the dialogues and action while the other two support it with sonic detail, providing a sense of space.

Importance of a Center Channel Speaker

When you watch a movie or a music video on stereo speakers, the audio information gets divided between the left and right speakers. While that is not a problem, sometimes it might cause an imbalance in the audio coming from the two speakers. That is because a crucial part of the soundtrack, one that contains the dialogues and the vocals, gets split between the stereo speakers, making spoken words muddy. If this can be avoided, the track stays intact and words are easy to understand. This is where a dedicated center channel speaker comes in. It does away with the need to divide the input information and singlehandedly bears the responsibility of reproducing the dialogues. In doing so, it leaves the two front speakers free to concentrate on their part of the job which is to generate the front action details. Consequently, every word is accurately reproduced and you don’t miss a single syllable. The sounds emanating from the front and center of the screen are well-rounded and uniform.

Another important function of the center speaker is to balance the sound coming from the left and right speakers. It allows your ears to process the sound from the two speakers more naturally and seamlessly.

Selecting a Center Channel Speaker

You want your center speaker to match the left and right speakers in size, construction material and power handling capability. This gives you a more consistent front sound stage as things pan across the screen. Ideally, it is better to stick to speakers from the same series by the same brand. But if that is not possible, try and match your left, center and right speakers in whatever way possible. For instance, if you have large floor-standing front speakers, you might want to get a similarly sized center channel speaker. If you have small bookshelf speakers, you might want to get a compact center speaker.

When is a Center Channel Speaker Needed

If the room in which you have your home theater system is small and cozy, and both the front speakers are placed pretty close to the TV screen, a dedicated center speaker might not be so necessary. On the other hand, if the room is huge, and the front speakers are spaced out and at a distance from the TV screen, a center channel speaker might be needed. It ensures the audio is consistent and there are no gaps.

Placement of the Center Channel Speaker

The center speaker should be at the level of the listener’s ears, assuming they are seated on a couch in front of the TV at a comfortable distance from it. Point the speaker directly at the center of the listening area – the center of the couch, in this case. If required, you can tilt the speaker a little to maintain ear height.

Depending on your needs and the décor of the house, a center channel speaker can be mounted to a wall, built into a cut-out in a wall as an in-wall speaker or placed on a shelf under/above the TV. If you have it on a media console, it is advisable to use rubber feet to isolate the speaker from the cabinet and minimize vibrations. If the feet are not included in the box, you may purchase them separately. You can also buy an isolating pad for added protection.

Lastly, you want to make sure there’s nothing between you and the speaker. No furniture or hard objects. Maintaining line-of-sight with the speaker’s drivers is crucial for avoiding muddy sound.

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