A center channel speaker makes your home theater experience more enjoyable. For movie lovers, a large part of the thrill stems from the quality of the sound produced by your speakers. To get the whole experience, you’ll need to scout for the best center channel speaker. In short, they ultimately contribute to giving you a fulfilling theater experience.
The center channel speaker carries a vast majority of dialog and melodic vocals. Additionally, character voices need to come from specific points at alternating volumes in a convincing manner. As a result, the relevance of center channel speakers is undisputed.
This article has put together a list of the best center channel speakers under $300. Moreover, we have further given the necessary specifications and buying guidelines for new users. You can buy all of these off Amazon as well. After taking a few minutes to thoroughly read through our guide, you’ll be able to choose which center channel speaker best suits your needs.
How We Made This List
To come up with the perfect list for you, we thoroughly evaluated the center channel speakers available. So, here are a couple of things we looked out for:
- Performance: When creating our list, we paid attention to how well each center channel speaker performs. For example, we researched what each speaker’s frequency range is. Certainly, it’s best to opt for a speaker with a wide frequency range, as this will provide good audio, particularly for dialogue. As a result, anyone sitting in front of or around the speaker will have a pleasant audio experience.
- Sensitivity: Another factor we considered when creating our list was sensitivity. Sensitivity determines how loud your speaker is going to be. The sensitivity of a speaker can generally be found on the speaker’s side. Additionally, sensitivity is usually measured in decibels or dB. Moreover, your speaker should have an average sensitivity of about 88 dB.
- Cost: As suggested by the title of this article, we paid close attention to the cost of the center channel speakers we’ve included in our list. We looked for high-quality speakers without the burden of an unreasonable price.
Best Center Channel Speakers for Under $300
- Polk Audio CS1 Series II Center Channel Speaker
- Klipsch R-52C Powerful Detailed Center Channel Speaker
- Definitive Technology Procenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker
1. Polk Audio CS1 Series II Center Channel Speaker – Best Choice
The CS1 series II speaker gives cinema lovers that movie theater feeling right from the comfort of your home. This speaker has a great high-frequency response and replicates audio without any distortion. Additionally, this CS1 series speaker has a well-designed port on its rear that produces excellent bass. So, you can enjoy the high-impact sound with ease.
Moreover, this speaker’s unique design lets you orient the speaker at any angle. Place it below ear level for crisp, clear audio. Such a feature is quite useful when operating in spaces with specific layouts. CS1 Series II has a magnetic shield. As a result, this speaker can be placed close to display devices such as TVs and LCD monitors without losing sound quality.
|Dimensions:||9.6 x 7 x 18 inches|
Ratings (1 – 10)
Frequency Response: 9
- Wide frequency range
- Lightweight and portable
- Produces rich, distinct audio
- Flexibility in placement positioning
- Voice-matched for lifelike surround sound environments
- Absence of midrange driver
Why We Like It: We like the Polk Audio CS1 series because of its ability to produce satisfying sound quality. As a result, you are sure to have an exceptional listening experience with this center channel speaker.
2. Klipsch R-52C Powerful Detailed Center Channel Speaker – Best Value
Klipsch brings the most cutting-edge audio technology into your home. A one-inch Linear Travel Suspension (LTS) lightweight and weather-resistant aluminum tweeter is an essential feature in Klipsch’s center channel speaker.
Moreover, the R-52C has a dual 90 x 90 tractrix horn technology instead of dome tweeters, eliminating reverberation and providing clear-cut sound reproduction. It also has a double 5.25-inch spun-copper injection-molded graphite (IMG) to produce extremely low frequencies with minimal distortion. Additionally, the IMG is lightweight yet sturdy.
The Klipsch R-52C speaker comes with a reinforced MDF design. As a result, this construction minimizes cabinet vibration for reduced perceptible coloring and greater sonic accuracy. As a result, this speaker provides you with the best long-lasting listening experience.
The closed-back design of the Klipsch R-52C gives you flexible placement options. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about it getting too close to the wall. The closed-back design also has an excellent bass response irrespective of your system shelving.
|Frequency Response:||89 Hz – 21 kHz|
|Dimensions:||7.62 x 18.75 x 7.3 inches|
Ratings (1 – 10)
Frequency Response: 10
- Uses the most recent sound technology
- Revolution Tractrix horn technology
- Can handle up to 400 watts
- Easy to set up
- Great vocals and crisp highs
- Includes an auxiliary bass radiator
- Lower tweeter levels
- Light on mid-lows
- No speaker grill
Why We Like It: We highly recommend the R-52C to binge-watchers. This speaker can handle up to 400 watts of peak power, which is incredible.
3. Definitive Technology ProCenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker
This powerful center channel loudspeaker, responsible for up to 75% of a movie’s soundtrack, allows you to experience understandable dialogue and lifelike details. Moreover, its acclaimed engineering and acoustic achievements produce Definitive Technology’s unique sound.
The ProCenter has high-definition balanced double surround system technology drivers. Additionally, these drivers are pressure-coupled with two mid or bass radiators strengthening the lower-midrange response. As a result, this fantastic system build-up is what allows you to enjoy the warm, rich, and realistic sound quality.
Apart from producing powerful and distinct sound, the ProCenter 1000’s striking design adds defining beauty to your room or space. Moreover, this speaker’s compact design makes it possible to put this speaker on a shelf. Definitive Technology is known for producing aesthetically pleasing electronics over the years. This Definitive Technology ProCenter 1000 is no different on that front. Enjoy movie theater-like moments with your friends or family with all the cinema-like features this speaker has.
|Frequency Response:||47 Hz – 30 kHz|
|Dimensions:||5 x 10.5 x 5 inches|
Ratings (1 – 10)
Frequency Response: 10
- Produces crystal clear sound and dialog
- Esteemed finish
- Built-in adjustable stands
- Great value
- Requires a subwoofer
Why We Like It: The ProCenter 1000 just had to be on our list because of its high quality. From its pleasing aesthetics to a clearly defined sound output, you’re sure to be satisfied.
4. Polk Audio T30 100 Watt Home Theater Center Channel Speaker – (2) 5.25″ Drivers – Best Price
The Polk company produces some of the best center channel speakers. Moreover, the Polk Audio T30 speaker is the most affordable channel speaker compared to other center channel speakers on our list.
With a one-inch tweeter and two 5.25 inch Dynamic Balance Drivers, you get to enjoy well-balanced surround sound in your home. Additionally, this speaker also produces massive bass even at low frequencies. Place this speaker anywhere in your room, sit back, and be mesmerized by the sound quality produced.
The Polk Audio T30 has a sleek finish, making it a beautiful speaker. Additionally, this speaker is also compatible with most home theater AV receivers. The compatibility allows you to set up your speaker almost anywhere.
Ratings (1 – 10)
Frequency Response: 9
|Dimensions:||8.5 x 19 x 6.5 inches|
- Very affordable
- An excellent match for many AV receivers
- Easy to setup
- Clear dialog
- Produces full sound in a small space
- Two 5.25 inch drivers
- Receiver required
Why We Like It: For people on a budget, the T30 is perfect for you. As a result, you’ll be able to achieve excellent sound quality at an affordable cost.
5. Pioneer Elite SP-EC73 Andrew Jones Home Audio Center Channel Speaker
The Pioneer Elite SP-EC73 competes with other center channel speakers to be the best center channel speaker. Designed by the highly-acclaimed speaker designer Andrew Jones, the SP-EC73 produces a crisp, detailed sound that immerses you in action on screen. The 3-way configuration of its core speaker’s circular driver results in a revelation in sound accuracy.
If you’re searching for a center channel speaker under $300 that gives clarity and outstanding performance, then this is the right stop for you. For optimal clarity, the Elite CST driver inserts its tweeter in the middle of its midrange cone. As a result, that removes temporal distortion, resulting in a more consistent sound.
A long-throw 5-1/4 inch aluminum cone woofer is used in the SP-EC73 to deliver tight, articulate lows that mix in perfectly with the CST driver. Moreover, a 5-1/4-inch passive radiator adds to the bass response while keeping it tight and tuneful. The passive radiator eliminates the requirement for a port. As a result, the speaker can be placed inside a cabinet or up against a wall without compromising sound quality.
Curved edges characterize the Pioneer Elite SP-EC73. That helps in eliminating standing waves that are associated with box-edges. The curved edges also make the speaker very convenient and easy to use. Another feature of the Pioneer Elite SP-EC73 that most users appreciate is its compact nature. That makes the speaker easy to move around.
|Frequency Response:||45 Hz – 20 kHz|
|Dimensions:||9.7 x 19.5 x 7.4 inches|
Ratings (1 – 10)
Frequency response: 8
- Crisp, solid lows, and perfect mids
- Clear vocals
- Can function without satellites or a subwoofer
- Forward-facing passive radiator enhances bass response
- Has curved edges that facilitate easy handling
- Speaker is quite large and heavy
Why We Like It: The Elite SP-EC73 is a three-way speaker that gives you the ultimate movie theater experience. This speaker offers you crisp lows and perfect mids.
6. Sony SSCS8 2-Way 3-Driver Center Channel Speaker
Sony is one of the first names that you think of when looking for the best products in electronics. The Sony SSCS8 2-Way 3-Driver Center Channel Speaker is the company’s most popular and efficient device. It has everything it takes to outperform the competition and remain a top contender in the center channel speaker market. Furthermore, the company’s innovative materials and cutting-edge technology make it stand out.
Thanks to the all-new Wide Dispersion Super Tweeter, you can expect natural-sounding vocals that go straight to your heart. Additionally, the super tweeter is explicitly designed to transmit an ultra-responsive, high-frequency audio response.
The Sony SSCS8 speaker is sure to rock your senses with its speedy and powerful bass response. That is achieved through precise timing alignment across the entire frequency range.
Ratings (1 – 10)
Frequency response: 8
|Frequency Response:||55 Hz – 25 kHz|
|Dimensions:||17 x 5 ¾ x 8 ¾ inches|
- Quality texture of sound
- No excessive lows and highs
- Includes a wide dispersion super tweeter
- No mounting holes present at the rear
Why We Like It: Once again, Sony’s outdone itself with the SSCS8. The speaker produces a quality sound that you won’t regret investing in.
7. Polk Audio Signature S35 Center Channel Speaker
The Polk Audio Signature S35 speaker is a flexible, highly efficient speaker that makes all the difference amongst other sound systems in your room. In addition, it features six visible drivers that contribute to its strong sound. The sound is powerful and loud (as you could expect with six drivers).
The sound is deep, and the impediment-free technology ensures that the deep sound produced is also smooth. Moreover, the S35 has been timbre-matched to other Polk Audio floor-standing and bookshelf speakers for seamless speaker-to-speaker blending effects in multi-channel setups.
Designed for versatility, Polk Audio Signature provides you with vertical or horizontal placement options. Additionally, this speaker performs as well as a left or right-channel speaker. Its four-inch-tall slim profile enables it to fit into spaces other center channels do not easily.
The Polk Audio Signature S35 Speaker also features a hi-resolution certification, a new dynamic balance-designed acoustic array, and an anti-diffraction grille. The magnetic anti-diffraction grille is present to reduce sonic interference. Furthermore, the grille is intended to be removable while maintaining reliability.
This product from Polk has a modern crossover feature. This feature ensures there is little to no signal loss, leading to a smooth sound. Signal loss results in loss of energy which needs to be controlled.
|Frequency Response:||39 Hz – 40 kHz|
|Dimensions:||6.1 x 24.4 x 4.1 inches|
Ratings (1 – 10)
Frequency Response: 8
- Six three-inch drivers and one one-inch terylene tweeter
- Excellent sound, style, and clarity
- Low sensitivity rate
Why We Like It: The Signature S35 has incredible features and a suburb sound output. As a result, we decided to include this speaker in our list of the best center channel speakers.
To get the perfect center channel speaker for your home, you need to be a knowledgeable buyer. Below are a few things to look out for when shopping.
When you set out to purchase a center channel speaker, the first thing to look out for is the brand. Products from well-recognized brands are known to have superior quality products. Thus, popular brands like Polk and Klipsch are very reliable. These brands have been in the business for a while and have maintained an excellent reputation.
That is not to say you should completely avoid newer brands. After all, it takes time to build popularity. When choosing products from newer brands, consider their product reviews before making a concrete decision.
Some features are standard across all center channel speakers and are considered vital to the product’s success. On the other hand, some individual brands and products have unique features that further add to the product’s desirability. When choosing a center channel speaker, ensure that the speaker includes many or all of your favorite features. For example, one feature you might want to consider is size. Some speakers are bulkier, heavier, or slimmer than others.
Finding an affordable yet high-quality center channel speaker can be challenging. That said, there are many affordable options available on the market. Before purchasing, ensure that you compare the value of the product you’re considering to its cost. If a product is relatively expensive with no unique features and mediocre reviews, it’s best not to purchase that speaker. As mentioned in the title of this article, all of the speakers we’ve included in our list are under $300.
A lot of popular brands have products with higher price tags. This is because these brands usually ensure that their products are top-notch. If you can afford to spend more on a brand-name speaker, you’re more likely to receive high-quality sound. However, note that there are brand-named products out there that are simply overpriced.
● Technical Specifications
Before purchasing a center channel speaker, there are several technical parameters to consider. For example, you might choose to consider crossover frequency. Crossover frequency involves the splitting of signals into different portions. The signals are also redirected into other speakers and interpreted as sound. As a result, higher crossover frequencies are preferred because the transition is usually undetectable. Thus, making for an overall better experience.
Another technical factor that you might consider is whether or not a speaker has magnetic shielding. Most speaker manufacturers use magnetic shielding to prevent interference. Moreover, magnets placed in sound systems are likely to interfere with other electronic equipment within close range. You should opt for a speaker with magnetic shielding to prevent such from happening.
● Customer Reviews and Ratings
The answer to every question you have concerning a product lies in its customer reviews and ratings. Before you add any product to your shopping cart, take a minute or two to read the reviews from previous customers. Additionally, you can also find more about the functionality and quality of the products from the reviews. More of the honest ones are in the 3-star rating section.
If you find out the positive reviews are higher than the negative, you’re good to go. However, you know what to do if the negatives exceed the positives.
● Product Warranty and Customer Service
Product warranties serve as protection tools against defective products that fail to perform satisfactorily over the warranty period. As a prospective buyer, you should find out if any of the companies you are purchasing from offer a reasonable warranty.
Customer services are also quite relevant factors to look out for when shopping for a center channel speaker. Brands that offer quality products usually have excellent customer service. Furthermore, customer reviews and ratings can offer you more information about the quality of the brand’s customer service.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Which speaker is best for the center channel?
The best speaker for a center channel can be picked out from among the best and top-rated center channel systems. The Polk Audio signature series and Polk T30 speaker are rated the best for their excellent performance. Klipsch speakers are also among some of the best. For example, the Klipsch R-52C is a beautiful speaker that produces crystal clear sound.
- Can you use any speaker for the center channel?
Yes, you can use any speaker for that purpose. To do so, you’ll need to update your AV setup to include the speaker information. There are several downsides to doing that, however. Firstly, it isn’t easy to find a speaker that can be placed beneath or above the television. Furthermore, if you have a 5.1 surround sound system, using any regular speaker as a center channel would drastically reduce the sound quality.
3. Should the center speaker be louder?
No. Your center channel speaker should be in sync with your surround sound system. While it should be loud enough to produce a rich and sound of extraordinary clarity, it shouldn’t outperform the rest of your system.
4. Does the center channel speaker have to match my other speakers?
The tonality of your center channel speaker must match that of your left and right speakers. If your audio speakers aren’t matched, the sound will vary in different places. Therefore, you can enjoy a seamless movie or TV viewing experience by matching the tone of your various sound systems.
5. How big should my center channel speaker be?
A more prominent center speaker produces greater sound output at lower frequencies. The choice in size is dependent on the type of room you’re in. For example, setting up a large center speaker in your small bedroom is not advisable.
6. What should I look for in a center channel speaker?
A center channel speaker is required to have a complete surround-sound home stereo system. They correctly duplicate the conversations, music, and sound effects that the director and production engineers intended. Additionally, it’s worth noting that a center channel speaker is responsible for up to half of your system’s audio quality. When making a selection, consider compatibility, size, and placement opportunities.
7. Why does a center channel speaker have two woofers?
A woofer helps to extend the sound frequency and improve sound and sonic effect localization. Additionally, the horizontal arrangement of the woofers enhances these factors even more. A center channel speaker with two or more woofers can assist reduce phantom noises from a speaker that isn’t perfectly positioned. Therefore, the more woofers a speaker has, the better sound quality you’ll receive.
8. Do I need a center channel speaker for movies?
If you want excellent sound quality for your at-home movie nights, you’ll want to invest in a center channel speaker. These speakers enhance the sound quality of dialog, transmitting them throughout your viewing space. Moreover, if the movie you’re watching includes musical scores, a center channel speaker will boost the quality of the movie’s soundtrack. The center channel speaker serves as an anchor for audio delivery while taking distance and location into account.
9. Are center speakers worth it?
If you’re someone who appreciates great sound quality when watching movies or television shows, then a center channel speaker is worth every dime. In fact, a center channel speaker is a vital addition to any excellent speaker system. The center speaker is needed to transmit crystal clear and distinct sound to the user.
A center channel speaker plays an essential role in your surround sound system. In fact, it’s a necessary addition to your home theater. If you’re anticipating a fantastic time while watching your favorite movie or listening to your favorite music, then a center speaker will do the trick.
Take the time to search for the best center channel speaker for you to achieve clear, high-quality sound. Our list includes some of the best center channel speakers under $300 to choose from. We highly recommend the Polk or Klipsch center channel speakers, as these are a couple of our favorites.
Always look for a “three-way design” with a vertically-aligned tweeter and midrange when shopping for a center channel speaker. These features make your speaker sound more like a full-range speaker. Furthermore, they’ll emit a more dispersed sound field.
Did You Know?
The first center channel speaker was made in 1957 by Klipsch, called the Heresy speaker. It was also the world’s first commercial center channel speaker.
- Dual 5. 25" Spun-copper IMG woofers
- 1" Aluminum lts tweeter mated to a 90x90 square tractrix Horn
- Center channel speaker perfect for your home theater setup
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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.