If you are the type of person to relax in front of the tv while a good movie plays on, you know the importance and need for quality sound. If you do not perceive the sound perfectly, there is no fun in watching the screen.
The center channel speaker plays a vital role for home theater enthusiasts or people who prefer good sound quality with their tv. The center channel speaker is to the sound system like the heart is to your body.
Suppose you are thinking of skipping the center channel speaker altogether and going with the other two speakers. Hold that thought. It is not an ideal situation to leave the center channel speaker out, at all.
Now the question arising in your mind must be where to put center channel speakers? First, let’s talk about what a center channel speaker is, and then we’ll explain where to put it.
What Are Center Channel Speakers?
Center channel speakers are part of a surround sound system. A surround sound system is when more than two speakers surround the person to give a cinema-like sound experience.
In this surround sound system, a center channel system delivers dialogues and the main sound of the movie while the left and right speakers control the action or other sound effects.
The center channel speaker is the most crucial part of the sound system. It perfectly balances right and left channel speakers. It delivers the dialogue of a movie. Well, without dialogue, what else is there to hear?
Channel speakers bring out the best mini theater experience. Whether you need it for a big screen or a small LCD, you will find channel speakers of all desired sizes. You need to know your requirements and budget. Then you’re good to go!
Does the Location of the Center Channel Speaker Matter?
Even to set up your home theater system, there are some requirements that you need to fulfill. You might be wondering if you could place the center channel speaker anywhere and have a good time. Not quite. You might even do so for a while until you discover what the actual sound is supposed to be.
When dealing with sound coming from a speaker, certain factors come into play. It could be the speaker’s placement (vertically or horizontally) and directed towards the listener. All of this matters, especially if you want to get the most out of your surround sound.
Wrong placement of the center channel speaker can dull the whole experience of your sound system, and that is not what we want for you.
Where to Put Center Channel Speakers?
We have talked about why the location matters. Let’s talk about how to decide that location?
The positioning of a center channel speaker is not a tricky task, but one thing that you have to get right.
Similarly, if you do not place the center channel correctly, you will not achieve the desired sound quality. It’s not like the world will end if you get it wrong, but your cinematic world definitely will.
So, where should you put the center channel speaker?
● At the Center
There is a reason it is called the center channel speaker as that is where it is supposed to be; at the center. The center channel speaker’s primary purpose is to provide a balanced sound from the left and right speakers. Thus, you cannot achieve its actual purpose if you place it in the corner.
The left and right channel speakers transition between different sounds. Certain sounds will only come out of the left speaker and not the right. But in the case of a center channel speaker, it provides balanced sound. If you place it in the corner, it will feel like only one ear can hear the sound.
● Close to the TV
Top-quality sound can be achieved through the speakers if placed near the TV. It’s not that the speaker will produce obscene noises when placed far. It’s an illusion of how you perceive the sound. If you are not putting the speaker near the TV, it will feel weird when the sound would not match the scene playing ahead.
It can either be in front of the TV or behind it. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s nearby.
● Vertical vs. Horizontal Position
So far, we have established that the ideal position for the center channel speaker is right underneath or above the TV. As for the horizontal or vertical positioning, you should place it horizontally. Lie it down on the cabinet at the same level as the left and right channel speaker’s tweeters.
● The Angle of Sound
Another essential factor that you should consider is the angle of the center channel speaker. The placement of the speaker must be facing you directly. It would be best to place it directly facing your ears, whether you place it above or beneath the TV.
That is because sound tends to travel in a specific direction at higher frequencies. If the speaker is not facing you, you might not avail yourself of the whole experience.
The furniture you have makes a fundamental difference to the center channel sound. Now, we are not asking you to buy entirely new furniture just so your speaker would fit in. But there are certain things you should cross-check while placing the speaker.
When placing the center channel speaker, make sure it is not in a closed walled cabinet or hidden underneath a thick layer of the furniture. It should be exposed directly to you, so you get the required sound.
● Place Center Channel at the Front of Cabinet
Placing the center channel at the front of your cabinet is crucial. You cannot stick it to the wall and then spend the day frustrated, wondering what’s wrong with the speakers.
When you do not place the center channel at the front, you keep it from its original sound. When you leave some space ahead of the speaker and do not place the center channel at the center, the free cabinet surface will reflect its sound. Thus, this affects the sound quality as it travels after being reflected.
● Transparent Screen
If you are using a projector or a transparent screen, the ideal placement of the channel speakers is behind the screen. Place it at an elevated position behind the screen to get the top sound quality.
In that way, all tweeters are at the same level, enhancing the sound. Plus, the elevated position gives the sound more room to travel easily.
Tips For the Best Center Channel Setup
● Do Not Mix Up Brands
It would be best to get a center channel speaker from the same brand as your left and right channel speakers. It is even better to buy the whole set from the same series since such differences tend to disrupt the sound quality.
● Tweeter Height
To get the best quality sound from your center channel set up, you need to ensure that all three tweeters (left, center and right) are at the same height.
Since the tweeters determine sound direction, their height is a vital instruction. If your center channel is placed well below the other two channels, then make sure to elevate it to align with the other tweeters.
● Do Not Skip Out Center Channel Speaker
We have talked about the right location for a center channel speaker throughout this article. If you still skip buying it, then what can we say?
Well, we’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again, don’t skip the center channel speaker! It is not the right decision to do so. Skipping out the center channel or buying a cheaper one will not solve your problems or save money. Instead, you’ll be displeased by the faint sound you will get without the center channel whenever you’re watching TV.
Finally, the center channel speaker is neither a fancy word nor a lavish speaker. It is something you can get to enhance the in-home theater experience.
Once you have bought the speakers, the next crucial step is placement. It is preferable if you research on the internet beforehand.
Although the placement of speakers for each person is different, depending on your furniture and the speaker type, there are still some specific points that you need to know before setting up your surround sound system.
For your convenience, we have answered your question above; where to put center channel speakers.
John Fleming is the senior editor for Audiophilez.com, covering everything from headphones to smart speakers. He is a graduate of Music Production and Technology. Before Audiophilez, John began his career as a staff writer for two different magazines, where he became a skilled storyteller across different mediums. When he isn’t writing, he can be found biking, reading books, and playing the piano.