We know how much you can enjoy gaming or movies with a quality sound system. Think about it, even if you have a wide-screen TV with high resolution, without quality sound, the visuals mean nothing. That is why we have reviewed the best center channel speakers for you.
Thanks to technology, home theaters now have surround sound systems. Usually, the manufacturers calibrate the sound so that the system transmits the movie dialogue through the center channel speaker. While they reserve the left and right speakers for the special effects. Not only that, the center channel speaker goes a long way to add that exciting energy to the whole experience by enhancing the sound from other parts of the audio system.
The last thing you need is a speaker that broadcasts muffled sounds or to have a dead space in your room. A good center channel speaker enhances the output so that you can hear crisp, clear sound no matter where you sit in the room. It works by creating a central anchor for the sound and ensuring that sound is transmitted seamlessly throughout the entire system.
Now, there are tons of center channel speakers on the market, and to be fair, it can be overwhelming to find the perfect one for your system. You need to be mindful of all these factors to get the best home theater experience. That is why we are here. We will help in your journey to find the best center channel speaker for your surround sound system with a list of our picks. We will also include a few tips and tricks to help you buy the best product.
How We Chose The Best Center Channel Speakers
We didn’t randomly select products from the internet to make our list. After a great deal of work analyzing specs, we concluded on our best center channel speakers. Here are the factors we considered:
1. Frequency Range
Frequency range refers to the frequencies that a speaker can reproduce without distorting the sound. Therefore, we selected speakers with an impressive frequency range.
Sensitivity measures the loudness of your speakers. Sensitive speakers produce quality sounds at a low wattage. That is to say, with such speakers you enjoy better sounds without your energy bill increasing. We selected the most sensitive speakers to be on our list.
A center channel speaker should be affordable. We chose speakers with specs that justify their price tags, without compromising quality.
Design is fundamental for center channel speakers. Good cabinet design means that there will be no resonance inside the cabinet, producing excellent audio. All the products on our list score high marks for design.
Top 7 Center Channel Speakers
We dove into the depths of the home theater market to find the best center channel speakers for you. Take a look at our list to see our best options guaranteed to elevate your audio, visual, or gaming experience.
- Klipsch R-52C – Best Overall Center Channel Speaker
- Polk Audio Signature Series S35 – Best Compact Center Channel Speaker
- Yamaha Audio NS-C210BL – Best Budget Center Channel Speaker
1. Klipsch R-52C – Best Overall Center Channel Speaker
If you know anything about home theater brands, you will have heard of Klipsch. It is a household name for sound systems or anything to do with audio. So it is no wonder that their R-52C center channel speaker is at the top of our list.
The R-52C is an excellent choice for the center channel speaker because it provides crisp audio quality. With this speaker, you will be able to detect even the slightest changes in the audio.
Klipsch speakers come with their signature Tractrix Horn Technology to ensure that the system does not unevenly distribute the audio. Therefore, with it, you will hear everything the movie actors say. The R-52C has a frequency response range of 89 Hz to 21 kHz. Also, the speaker has a nominal impedance value of 8 ohms and a sensitivity of 95 dB
The speaker features a linear design which is great for placement. Ideally, you want your center channel speaker right below your screen. This product’s horizontal speaker fits perfectly in that position. The model has a closed cabinet style that reduces the bass response, which means you can place the speaker on the same shelf as your ornaments. The sound vibration is not strong, so nothing falls off the shelf.
Furthermore, the classic design is the perfect addition to your surround sound system because it is less likely to clash with the rest of the surround speakers. In addition to that, the high-quality cabinet has polymer veneer baffling, which means it won’t get damaged easily.
The customer response for the Klipsch R-52C brand is incredible. People have been raving about the center speaker’s capacity to reproduce human voices, which means they can really enjoy clear dialogue or music. Also, the speaker exceeds our expectations with its sound output, even at low volumes. You won’t have to strain your back to lean forward to catch every bit of action with this speaker.
|Frequency range:||89 Hz – 21kHz|
|Power handling:||400 watts|
|Dimensions:||7.62 x 18.75 x 7.3 inches|
- Frequency Response: 7
- Sensitivity: 9
- Cost: 6
- Design: 9
- Clear, crisp audio even at low volume
- High-quality, durable cabinet
- Easy to use
- Excellent design
- High audio sensitivity
- Portable at 13.50 lbs
- Needs subwoofers for bass
- Not for large spaces
Why We Like It: We like the Klipsch R-52 because its specs guarantee an incredible listening experience. The speaker is loud enough so you do not need to strain your ears to hear movie conversations. Above all, the speaker design blends with all interior settings.
2. Polk Audio Signature Series S35 – Best Compact Center Channel Speaker
Polk Audio is a California-based manufacturer of audio products. So, if you are looking to update your audio systems, this is your brand. It has a few fantastic features under its belt. Therefore, we rated Polk Audio Signature as one of the best center channel speakers. Let’s get into what makes this product great!
The S35 center channel speaker has a terylene tweeter dome that can deliver a frequency in the range of 53 Hz – 40 kHz. That means it can play the latest high-resolution files in a way that will make you feel as if you are in the movie.
Polk has fitted the S35 with its patented dual power port technology. The dual power ports exhibit a deeper bass, and the accompanying diffuser reduces distortions so that you hear high-quality audio. If you are looking for quality bass output, this speaker with its extended bass port is perfect for you.
You can set up the speaker with any of your surround sound system equipment ranging from 2.0 to 9.1 accessories. Since its features are versatile, you will have no difficulty finding a matching set.
Also, the center channel speaker has a sleek and modern look in terms of design. The speaker has a height of four inches, which allows it to fit into most spaces. Therefore, you can put it beneath your screen without worrying about it obstructing your view.
The speaker has a nominal impedance of eight ohms which is very low. We discovered the rating for its peak power handling to be 125 watts with a sensitivity of 88 dB. These specifications mean that you will not have to worry about the speaker’s loud output.
The customer’s response to the Polk Audio Signature Series S35 has been positive. Many people appreciate the audio quality produced by the speaker. They also like the speaker’s design because of how compact it is.
|Frequency range:||42 Hz – 40 kHz|
|Power handling:||125 watts|
|Dimensions:||10.6 x 20 x 7.5 inches|
- Frequency Response: 9
- Sensitivity: 7
- Cost: 4
- Design: 9
- Dual power ports
- Clear, crisp audio
- Compatible with multiple accessories
- Sleek design with 4’’ height
- Compact Center Speaker
- Boomy sound at higher volumes
- Inconsistent output
Why We Like It: We like the S35 for its compact design. Additionally, the frequency range is also pretty impressive. It is the perfect model for a standard audio system setting because it accommodates multiple configurations.
3. Yamaha Audio NS-C210BL – Best Budget Center Channel Speaker
The Japan-based Yamaha corporation has established itself as a strong competitor in the sound system market. Currently, Yamaha speakers can hold their own in the global and American markets. Hence, the NS-C210BL addition to our list of the best center channel speakers.
The Yamaha NS-C210 is a two-way bass reflex speaker, which means they have a dedicated subwoofer that handles low frequencies. On the other hand, it features a balanced dome tweeter for higher frequencies. This Yamaha speaker has a frequency response ranging from 65 Hz to 45 kHz. We can confirm that this is an impressive range for this model category.
You can set up the Yamaha NS-C210 by using the 5.1 and 3.1 configuration setups. Since audiophiles often feature these configurations, we think it is safe to say that you’ll love the speaker.
The woofers for this speaker use aluminum for that extra fast response. Therefore, you will not experience any lags when playing audio or visual content.
Also, the sensitivity rating of this model is 86 dB, which is pretty decent for similar products within its price range. In this context, sensitivity is a measure of how audible your music and movies sound through these speakers.
Yamaha reduced the nominal impedance value to six ohms which is impressive. It means these speakers will not be a burden on your amplifiers. Additionally, the NS-C210 has 120 and 40 watts power handling capability at the maximum and minimum points. These are impressive specs, especially considering the low impedance value of the affordable Yamaha speakers.
That said, this center speaker is portable. Yamaha NS-C210 weighs around 4.4 lbs and has a compact design. So you can place it beneath your TV screen where it will fit perfectly. Moreover, the speaker features bright LED lights, which makes it more aesthetically appealing.
We found many positive customer reviews for the Yamaha NS-C210BL. The speaker’s performance is excellent, according to these reviews. Folks also praised the speaker for having a compact design, which eliminates any worries about space or positioning. However, there were some complaints regarding the glued grill as people prefer it to be detachable.
|Frequency range:||65 Hz – 100 kHz|
|Power handling:||120 watts|
|Dimensions:||5.2 x 13.4 x 4.2 inches|
- Frequency Response: 8
- Sensitivity: 7
- Cost: 9
- Design: 8
- High-frequency response range
- Compact design
- Great audio output
- No removable shield
- Needs more than 5.1 configuration
Why We Like It: Let’s be honest here. We love the Yamaha NS-C210 because of the benefits we will gain for such a low price. The speaker has a great frequency range and is compact so finding a good position for it is easy.
4. Sony SSCS8- Quality Sound Output
Sony is the brand you think of when you want quality products, and this time is no different. The brand has a glowing reputation in the audio system market as well. You can find just about anything ranging from portable or fixed sound systems. While compiling this list, we came across their center channel speakers, and the SSCS8 just had to make this list. We are impressed with the level of audio quality and specs of this speaker.
The speaker comes with two four-inch woofers and a one-inch polyester tweeter. The manufacturers have reinforced the woofers’ diaphragm with mica, which delivers excellent sound quality and powerful bass. The wide dispersion tweeter is here to provide ultra-quality audio at high frequencies, reaching 50 kHz.
Also, Sony used the optimized crossover componentry to reduce signal loss. Thanks to this technology, the speaker can deliver excellent sound at even the most delicate audio points during a movie.
Furthermore, the SSCS8 has a peak power output of 145W, a nominal impedance of 6 ohms, and a sensitivity of 86 dB. These are impressive specs considering the speaker’s price range. These specs enhance audio output for movies and music. The bass for this speaker is so great that you’ll be mesmerized by the quality of your music.
On the other hand, the speaker is a bit heavy. It weighs 11 lbs. However, the beautiful design covers the inconvenience. The design is simple and easy to blend with any decor. Therefore, these speakers will find a perfect spot in your space.
Regarding the installation process, it is quite simple. It comes with a user manual that illustrates the step-by-step installation process.
We recommend placing the center channel speaker directly below your TV, but you can place it anywhere based on your preference.
The customer response for the speaker has been excellent. Customers praise the speaker for delivering excellent sound quality as well as impressive bass output.
|Frequency range:||55 Hz – 25 kHz|
|Power handling:||145 watts|
|Dimensions:||19.7 x 10.7 x 8.7 inches|
- Frequency Response: 6
- Sensitivity: 7
- Cost: 9
- Design: 8
- Professional quality sound
- Powerful bass
- Multiple placement options
- Low impedance
- Efficient power handling
- Broad frequency response range
- Not mountable
- Boxy sound at higher volumes
Why We Like It: This model is great for listening to music. The speaker’s powerful bass brings out the beat in every song. In fact, we had fun identifying musical instruments used to produce songs.
5. Polk Audio T30 -Sleek Design
Considering how good Polk speakers are, is it really a surprise that two speakers of the same brand made it into our list? Not for us! The Polk Audio T30 is the center channel speaker suitable for your entertainment system. With the T30, you can enjoy dynamic audio through a speaker built from premium materials. The speaker is an excellent choice for a user-friendly experience that we have come to associate with Polk.
The Polk T30 comes with a one-inch silk dome tweeter and two drivers. Polk has designed this speaker with its primary dynamic balance technology. This means that the audio sound will completely fill your room, giving you an immersive theater experience in your home.
The speaker has a peak power handling of 100 watts and a frequency response range of 65 to 24 kHz. The nominal impedance value for this model ranges from 8 to 6 ohms. Also, the sensitivity value for this Polk speaker is 90 dB. That means you should be able to enjoy your movies and music at any time. You can also connect the system to your gaming console to enjoy an incredible experience.
The speaker also has a bass port at the rear end that produces an outstanding bass output. With this speaker, you will get detailed sound, making the listening experience enjoyable. Also, the center channel speaker is compatible with most home theaters and stereo systems, meaning you should be able to set these speakers up with 2.0, 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, 7.1, and 9.1 configurations.
Regarding the design, Polk’s T30 is a sleek-looking speaker. The black speaker has a classic visual appeal that should blend easily with the theme of your interior decor. In addition, the speaker comes with a removable grille which you can remove anytime.
Many people rate this product highly in terms of performance. Folks have described them as a source of clear sound with a bass hint that elevates the listening experience.
|Frequency range:||60 Hz – 24 kHz|
|Power handling:||100 watts|
|Dimensions:||8.5 x 19 x 6.5 inches|
- Frequency Response: 6
- Sensitivity: 8
- Cost: 9
- Design: 8
- Compatible with most theater systems
- High-quality sound
- Removable grille
- No receiver required
- Not suitable for large rooms
- Low sensitivity rating
Why We Like It: We like the sleek design of this speaker. It is great for parties because of its dynamic sound that fills the room.
6. Pioneer SP-C22- Stylish Design
Pioneer has been in the sound system business for over 70 years, and it shows in its outstanding speaker designs. Their chief speaker engineer, Andrew Jones, is famous across the globe for his ability to deliver flawless audio systems. Jones designed the SP-C22 as well, and it certainly reflects his remarkable skill. The speaker produces an excellent audio output, and it is affordable.
The SP-C22 comes with a one-inch soft dome tweeter and two four-inch subwoofers. This speaker works with a six-element complex crossover, which enhances the audio quality. The crossover in the speaker ensures that the tweeter manages high-frequency audio signals while the subwoofer handles the low-frequency sounds. Moreover, the speakers have a magnetic shield.
Regarding the frequency range, it is 55 Hz to 20 kHz with a sensitivity of 88 dB. The sensitivity is higher than some of the other models on this list, which indicates the sound quality is really good.
Jones has designed this speaker using a curved cabinet design. That means that the cabinet is stiffer, which is excellent for sound quality. A stiff cabinet decreases the number of soundwaves in the speaker. That way, you hear the maximum sound output.
Looking at the size, SP-C22 is on the bigger side. The curved cabinet design increases the aesthetic value of the speaker. It also helps with the speaker’s placement meaning you can position it opposite your seat to have the best listening experience.
The buyers like the SP-C22. Many current owners commend the speaker for its high-quality sound. They have also acknowledged that it is affordable.
|Frequency range:||55 Hz – 20 kHz|
|Power handling:||90 watts|
|Dimensions:||8.45 x 18.13 x 7.13 inches|
- Frequency Response: 6
- Sensitivity: 7
- Cost: 9
- Design: 10
- Stylish speaker design
- Exquisite sound quality
- Magnetic shielding
- Increased sensitivity
- Low power handling – 90 Watts
- Not suitable for outdoor use
Why We Like It: The Pioneer SP-C22 is great for indoor use. We didn’t have any trouble with dead spaces when we tested it. Also, the speaker design is stylish. The price is another reason why we like it.
7. Definitive Technology Procenter 1000- Award-Winning Audio Quality
If you are looking for a center speaker to go with your home theater system, Definitive Technology has got you covered. Definitive Technology is a Maryland-based operation known for its award-winning audio quality. They have over thirty years of experience, so they certainly know what they are doing. Procenter 1000 is a testament to their obsession with sound quality.
Procenter 1000 features an aluminum dome tweeter that is excellent for reproducing sound. That is because the light material can easily vibrate to produce high-frequency sounds.
Definitive Technology’s Procenter 1000 is also remarkable for its small size, which does not compromise the exceptional sound quality. Many speakers of this size lack mid-range audio. However, Procenter is different because it avoids that pitfall. This is because the manufacturers have coupled their balanced double surround system (BDSS) with two 4.5 inches bass radiators. Thereby they created a larger space for bass production without increasing the speaker’s size.
Also, Procenter’s cabinet features a Polystone enclosure. This is essential because the sound will not resonate within the cabinet. That is to say, you will hear the actual audio sound from the movie or music. It also features acoustically transparent and threaded inserts in the rear, which are used to mount the speakers. The wall-mounting capability means you have more freedom to choose a suitable position for your center speaker.
Furthermore, Procenter 1000 is a five-inch speaker. It weighs about 7 lbs, putting it in the compact speaker category. Additionally, the speaker has a wide frequency range between 47 to 30 kHz. The Nominal impedance for the speaker tops off at 8 ohms while the sensitivity is 90 dB. Overall, the model is a dream come true for audio enthusiasts.
When we went through the customer review, we were happy to find that many people were pleased with their purchase. They expressed their surprise at the sound quality they were hearing from such a small speaker.
|Frequency range:||40 Hz – 30 kHz|
|Power handling:||200 watts|
|Dimensions:||5 x 10.5 x 5 inches|
- Frequency Response: 7
- Sensitivity: 9
- Cost: 5
- Design: 10
- High-quality sound
- Excellent bass sound
- Compact center speaker
- Polystone enclosure
- A bit expensive
- May produce noise at low frequencies
Why We Like It: Definitive Technology has outdone itself with Procenter 1000. We loved the size of the speaker. Additionally, the sound quality is intense, which is excellent.
Buyers Guide: Factors To Consider While Buying A Center Channel Speaker
Even though we have compiled a list of the best center channel speakers currently on the market, we know you need more than that to make your choice. There are many factors that you need to consider before making your purchase. Let’s go through these factors:
Budget will be one of the major, if not the major, deciding factor for the center channel speaker you choose. As always, it is essential to have a budget and then go for the center speaker that best fits your requirements within that budget. It is important not to overspend on a center channel speaker because you will also have to spend money on the surround speakers. However, you can’t just wing it with a center channel speaker because it will work perfectly with your sound system.
After setting your budget, this is the factor you need to be conscious of. If you have already assembled the rest of your theater system, you need to get a center speaker compatible with that system. If you can’t get something of the same brand, opt for a product that has a similar frequency response range. This is important for design too. You don’t want to pick a speaker that clashes with the rest of the surround sound speakers and decor because that can wreck the aesthetic appeal of your setup.
● Sound quality
Some people are only getting a center channel speaker because they want to have a great movie experience. In that case, it makes sense that sound quality would be at the forefront when you are in the process of deciding which channel speaker to buy. You need to check for the frequency range and choose a speaker that can adequately reproduce the best quality vocals.
If you want a speaker that can produce natural sound without static noise, you need to go for a center channel speaker with a high sensitivity rating. The advantage is that it is great for power saving, so you pay lower energy bills.
Before getting the center channel speaker, you need to consider your available space. Getting a massive speaker without having the space for it just isn’t practical. After considering the space, you can choose from selections of bookshelf speakers and compact speakers that go with the other speakers in your audio equipment.
You also need to consider the size of the room where you will be placing your home theater system. Some channel speakers might be overkill for small and medium rooms, while others might be too quiet for larger areas.
You need to consider why you are buying a center channel speaker. If you prefer that immersive experience while watching movies, going for center channel speakers that produce dynamic sound is a good idea. That way, you will hear every part of that crystal clear dialogue while enjoying the amazing sound effects. On the other hand, if you want to listen to music, you are better off with one of the low-capacity speakers.
● Customer Response
Sometimes it is best if you learn from other people’s experiences so you can avoid common mistakes with these center channel speakers. Don’t just rely on product analysis on nameless online platforms. Instead, go through customer reviews to see how the speakers actually perform when real people use them.
You Might Be Interested:
Best Center Channel Speaker Under $1000 in the Market in 2022
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are center channel speakers?
Center channel speakers are speakers dedicated to producing most of the sound in a home theater system. Center channel speakers are also responsible for making movie dialogues very audible. Moreover, they help to boost the special effects produced by the other speakers in home theater systems. That is to say, the center channel speaker anchors the sound so that you feel as if you are hearing the audio in 3D, directly from the screen.
2. What should I look for in a center channel speaker?
The short version of this answer is this- you need to consider audio quality and the space where you will be placing the speaker. You also need to consider how many speakers you need to pair with the center channel speaker. For more details, we recommend you read our buying guide above.
3. What are some terms I need to be familiar with while looking for a center channel speaker?
You need to know some technical terms while buying a speaker. We’ll give a brief description:
- Frequency response – Frequency response is the range in which the speaker is able to produce sound. The higher the range, the better it is.
- Impedance – Impedance is the strength at which a speaker will resist an electrical current. A high impedance means that it will be hard for the current to pass through the speaker, consequently consuming more power. That is why you should opt for a speaker with low impedance.
- Configurations – Configurations denote the number of speakers you can use at once in a system.
- Crossover – Crossover is a component in the speakers that separates the audio signals by their frequency and transfers them to the relevant part of the speaker. All you need to know is that great crossovers mean you hear an exceptional sound quality.
4. Can I use any other speaker as a center channel speaker?
The answer is no. You could try to use another speaker as a center channel speaker, but you will have trouble syncing it to your system’s other surround sound speakers.
5. How should I place a center channel speaker?
Ideally, you should place your center channel speaker directly below your TV screen. That way, you can feel as if the sound is coming from your TV screen instead of somewhere far away. However, if you choose to place it somewhere near you, be sure to tilt it towards your sitting position to have the best experience. You can mount some center channel speakers. These are the models you should place over your TV screens.
6. How will I know if my center channel speaker is compatible with the rest of my sound system?
If compatibility is your concern, you should consider searching for a speaker made by the same brand where you got the rest of your audio equipment. If you can’t do that, try getting speakers with the same mid-range vocals and frequency range as the other speakers in your system.
7. Is distortion typical with center channel speakers?
Distortion can occur at low volume, but it should not be too obvious. We recommend going for speakers advertised as ‘no distortion’ speakers to get the best products.
8. What is the difference between a center channel speaker and a soundbar?
A soundbar is a standalone speaker that is there to improve the audio quality of your TV. On the other hand, a center channel speaker is part of a home theater system and works with other speakers in the system to give you the best experience.
9. Can I use a soundbar as a center channel speaker?
No. We knew you would ask, and the answer is no. As stated earlier, you are not supposed to use a soundbar with the home theater system. Instead, you can use it independently to enhance your TV set’s audio quality. Even if you could use a soundbar as a center channel, you will have to pair it with speakers that have been specially made to work with it.
10. Can I use more than one center channel speaker?
No, you can’t. The reason for using the center channel speaker is to anchor the audio to a specific point. If you use multiple center channel speakers, you will hear audio distortions. We recommend that you just buy one high-quality center channel speaker.
11. Do I need other speakers if I have a center channel speaker?
We suggest that you use the entire system if you want a premium listening experience. The center channel speaker functions as a part of the surround sound system. Simply using parts of the system will not give you the sound experience you want.
So that has been our comprehensive center channel speakers review and a few things you need to look for when buying them. We understand that it is a tough decision and the variety on sale in the market is overwhelming. However, you don’t want to follow the crowd blindly because of popularly advertised product specs. If you do that, you are more likely to end up disappointed and broke. We recommend searching for the perfect product and then spending your hard-earned money on it.
Our verdict regarding the best center channel speaker on the market is the Klipsch R-52C. The model has a beautiful design, and the specs are incredible. In addition to that, the customer response has been fantastic. They have praised the product for its performance which wasn’t a surprise. So yeah, if you want an immersive experience where you can enjoy the highs and lows of your movie experience, go for a center channel speaker.
If you want to get the most out of your center channel speaker, place it directly opposite your position. In most cases, that means placing it below your TV. The goal is to position the speakers near your ears, for better audio quality.
Did You Know?
Impedance is the amount of resistance against the electrical current when it passes through a speaker. That means speakers with high impedance consume more power.
- Dual 5. 25" Spun-copper IMG woofers
- 1" Aluminum lts tweeter mated to a 90x90 square tractrix Horn
- CREATES A SOUNDSTAGE COMPARABLE TO ANY LARGE SYSTEM. Features two (2)...
- UNIQUE CURVED SHAPE BASED ON "TIME LENS TECHNOLOGY" – It is...
- Universal Design: Sound bar center channel speaker mount brackets...
- Multiple Adjustments: Arms will extend 7" - 11.5" from the wall....
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.