The Best Center Channel Speaker

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To understand what a center channel speaker is, you need to know more about surround sound. Surround sound includes several speakers in your home setup, namely 3, 4, 5, or more. You position the center channel speaker between the left and right channel speakers or under and over your TV screen. But what does the center channel speaker do? 

The center speaker transmits the vast majority of all on-screen dialogue and music vocals. The sound it transmits accounts for all panning, e.g., the distance and location of different sound pieces in the audio being played. Because of this, it is said that the center channel speaker is the essential piece in your sound system.

The soundstage should seamlessly depict the on-screen action, and adding a center channel speaker in your home setup has the purpose of creating a smooth and powerful soundstage. You can tailor its features by using different placements of the center speaker. 

Polk Audio T30

The Best Center Channel Speaker 1

Polk Audio T30

It features 100 watts of true max power, clear audio, and an easy setup. It delivers clear dialogue, and you can measure its sound against a theater’s. Wide dispersion 1″ tweeters and drivers project an expansive sound for a three-dimensional listening experience.

Best Overall

The Polk Audio T30 Center Channel Speaker is a great affordable center channel speaker for your home system. The T30 is a spectacular option and delivers quality audio, and its classic and modern look makes it easy to fit in with your home decor.

Best High-end Center Channel Speaker

If you are looking for a high-end and luxurious option – the Definitive Technology CS-9060 center channel speaker is the one to go for. It has full range clarity to help you hear every nuanced moment of the instruments, special effects, or vocals. 

Best Budget-Friendly

The Micca MB42X-C is a great budget-friendly and versatile center channel speaker option. It performs well audio-wise and can double as a bookshelf speaker. Its modern design helps it blend in with your interior styling, and the audio quality is relatively good for its price. 

Loudest Volume

The Klipsch RP-500C has a total output volume of 96dB – making it perfect for movie nights and as part of your home surround sound setup. The RP-500C is a medium-sized center speaker that focuses on Linear Travel Suspension for enhanced audio performance – the LTS tweeter is the hallmark of previous designs. Low frequencies also travel through this speaker easily thanks to the custom-designed inner flares reducing air turbulence in the Tractrix port with a vented tweeter and Tractrix geometry. 

Best Frequency Response

The Yamaha NS-C210BL has a vast frequency response of 65Hz to 45 000 Hz, making it exceptional at reproducing frequencies from low bass to the absolute high tops audio wavelengths (even higher than our actual hearing). The speaker is paired with 86dB output volume, creating a pleasant listening experience with accurate frequency reproduction. 

Should you Match your Soundstage? 

A common question is whether to mix and match your speaker setup – commonly referred to as soundstage. Should you mix brands? And can you swap the Left speaker for a Center speaker?

Separating or Matching Speaker Brands

Manufacturers recommend pairing their central speaker with left and right speakers from the same line. This is because the speakers are part of a system. However, you can technically mix and match brands, but you need to deeper understanding to do so successfully. 

Understanding the speaker’s role and specs is crucial if you mix brands. Some speakers have a specific frequency reproduction range and can or cannot reproduce all frequencies equally well. In this instance – swapping out a center channel speaker for the right channel speaker could be disastrous in terms of audio reproduction. 

The left, center, and right front speakers are separate units, but the left and right speakers usually come as a matching pair. You may be able to match your left and right pair speakers with a different center channel speaker from another brand. But it is not recommended. Before mixing up your speaker setup, let’s look at vital features to consider. 

A center channel speaker should reproduce 70% of the audible sound. Mixing it up and using the left channel speaker in the center could change how you hear the output – even tonal changes in an on-screen voice.

Instruments are panned differently, and music is mixed differently, so swapping out your center speaker for a different one might end up eliminating certain frequencies where you want them the most. Because of how sound bounces off surfaces in a room, some frequencies must be kept center stage – like bass frequencies, more commonly referred to as “low end.” If the lows are spread out too much, your audio output can become muddy and sound effects or conversation can become inaudible. 

Most recommendations conclude that using the same brands creates coherency and ensures consistency in tonal qualities, which is what you want. 

Our Top 10 Center Channel Speaker List

 1. Polk Audio T30 Center Channel Speaker

Polk Audio T30
  • Dimensions:
    6.5″ x 19″ x 8.5″
  • Power Output: 100W
  • Frequency Responce :
    55Hz – 24kHz
  • Sensitivty (1W/1m):
    90dB

The Polk Audio T30 Center Channel Speaker is a quality speaker which can be measured against the more expensive speakers on the market today. It delivers clear dialogue, and you can measure its sound against that of a theater. Wide dispersion 1″ tweeters and drivers project an expansive sound for a three-dimensional listening experience. 

It has 5-way binding posts which provide an array of secure wire-hookup options. So it is simple to set up, and it supports DTS and Dolby and can connect with various stereos, home theatre processors, or theatre receivers. Updating your center speaker can make a huge difference in sound performance. It provides an immersive experience when streaming series, movies, or watching sports – even when listening to music. Audio enthusiasts and sound professionals alike can appreciate this classic Polk center speaker. 

This speaker is only available in black, making it adaptable to any home decor or office space. It’s sturdy and built to last, and it includes a 3-year warranty if anything should happen. It comes in a horizontal rectangle shape with vented driver enclosure types. On its left and right front side are the two main 5.25″ mids/woofers, and in between those two is one 1″ tweeter. The driver enclosures are round in shape in an attractive silk dome.

The manufacturers have made sure that you can match it with its predecessors in the Polk “T” series – therefore, you can set it up and use it together with previous speaker models of that same series. The speaker is made for an entry-level setup but shows to be very reliable and versatile, and its sound will fill up a room. It has a conveniently small size to fit on bookshelves and is a splendid addition to a surround sound setup.

Reasons to Buy the Polk Audio T30 Center Channel Speaker

  • High peak power handling of 100 watts
  • Wide frequency response range 
  • Sleek and modern design

 2. Definitive Technology CS-9060

Defintive Technology CS 9060
  • Dimensions:
    5.95″ x 20.75″ x 12″
  • Power Output: 150W
  • Frequency Responce :
    32Hz – 40kHz
  • Sensitivty (1W/1m):
    91dB

The Definitive Technology CS-9060 center channel speaker has a great sounding full-range frequency response as well as tweeters that deliver clarity to every action scene in your favorite movies and help you experience the audio in fine detail. It allows each sound effect to come to life. 

CS-9060 comes in a classic black and will blend in seamlessly with your TV, stand, and left and right speakers. This speaker has an anti-resonant construction to make way for clean sound. Anti-resonant design decreases the chances of bass frequencies resonating and creates an unwanted buildup of noise that makes the box vibrate.

Essentially, what it means is that its resonance-free cabinet makes way for beautiful and clean sound, which improves sonic accuracy. The inert and resonance-free cabinet is created through strategically placed bracing made of aircraft-grade aluminum crates that help with rigidity. 

Definitive Technology has produced a speaker with two round BDSS 4.5″ mid and bass woofers paired with a 1″ round aluminum dome tweeter – but that is not all. The CS9060 has an integrated 8″ powered subwoofer with Intelligent Bass Control. The subwoofer allows for more depth and power than a system with a center channel speaker without a sub – more impact leads to better and more immersive audio.

The integrated subwoofer helps this center speaker in its sound performance. Its bass is deep, the highs and mids sound great, and add clarity to any vocals or music. The woofer makes sure the distribution of low frequencies is even throughout your living room. 

The center of any sound system is critically important for more than one reason. In many films, the sound effects are in the center, so we get clarity on voice and dialogue and impactful sound effects with this center channel speaker. It has focused on the “whole picture” in terms of sound.

Reasons to Buy the Definitive Technology CS-9060 Center Channel Speaker

  • Intelligent Bass Control 
  • Even bass distribution
  • Resonance-free cabinet

 3. Micca MB42X-C

Micca MB42X C
  • Dimensions:
    5.3″ x 15″ x 7.1″
  • Power Output: 100W
  • Frequency Responce :
    60Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivty (1W/1m):
    86dB

The Micca MB42X-C sounds as good as it looks! The style is neat and classic, with two woofers and a silk dome tweeter in the middle. It is a very affordable center channel speaker with lots to offer. If you not only wish to use it in your surround sound setup, it is possible to use it for stereo imaging with a set of two speakers – just purchase two of the MB42X-C’s, and you have a new set of splendid bookshelf speakers.

This is a seriously attractive-looking speaker. The design is modern, cool, and with a touch of grit because of its dark wooden-like facade. The MB42X-C can be used in a stereo setup if you wish, and it would look just as neat. Design-wise, it has classic contours and looks very stylish. It has carbon fiber cone woofers and a silk dome tweeter with a ported enclosure and can be tilted towards the listener for a good audio experience. 

Size-wise they come in a suitable, portable size for your bookshelf, below or above your tv, in between your left and right surround speakers. There is an MB42 and an MB42X speaker – yet the newcomer: MB42X-C, has even more to offer. It utilizes a 9-element crossover with all 18dB/octave alignment and compensation networks.

The crossover means that the audio coming out of this center speaker is even more dynamic and balanced. Its full-size 5-way speaker wire binding posts and hex fasteners add to the specs of the X-C, and it is fine-tuned and sophisticated for accurate audio imaging. The two 4″ woofers are made from carbon fiber cones with *rubber surround. 

The MB42X-C produces good crisp and clean audio performance. The cups move as you play the music through them. They have great low-end performance and present an attack-sharp image. They are indeed budget-friendly, so the sound is not as big as you would expect from a high-end speaker. However, these still produce a good level of clarity and detail at high volume, which is essential when looking for a center speaker. 

Reasons to Buy the Micca MB42X-C Center Channel Speaker

  • Compact  
  • Doubles as a stereo speaker when used vertically
  • Highly optimized 9-element crossover

 4. Klipsch R-52C

Klipsch R 52C
  • Dimensions:
    7.3″ x 15″ x 7.1″
  • Power Output: 100W
  • Frequency Responce :
    89Hz – 21kHz
  • Sensitivty (1W/1m):
    95dB

Built in 2018, this Klipsch center speaker comes in a very aesthetically pleasing style and has components of some of the best speakers in the world. Using LTS tweeters, Klipsch speaker trademark, this R-series uses modern technology and rugged materials, resulting in a highly polished, good quality, and high-class speaker in the R-52C center channel speaker.

Talk about design – this Klipsch R-52C can seamlessly fit in, OR stand out, in home decor. Fashionable and suitable for most modern homes, it has subtle touches that are rare to see. Copper spun bass woofers that make it stand out, or use the magnetically attached speaker grilles for a lesser in-your-face look. It features an MDF cabinet with a textured wood grain vinyl finish, and the scratch-resistant cabinet helps with durability and looks cool. The lack of rear vents allows for hanging it close to the wall for a minimalistic look. 

With 100 watts of continuous power handling and 400 watts of peak power – this speaker gets as loud as 95dB. The dual 5.2″ bass drivers and injection-molded graphite woofer cones are lightweight yet static, producing great low end and minimal distortion – a big plus in this center speaker. 

The 0.9″ Tractrix Horn-loaded LTS tweeter can produce high and clear vocals – an exclusive Tractrix horn technology that delivers a music experience with as natural audio as possible. The LTS technology and Kapton material used in the tweeter suspension provide improved audio resolution. This speaker weighs about 13.5lbs and includes four rubber feet in its accessories.

The copper-spun bass cone produces great sounding bass – helping keep a balance between the left and right speakers, and making sure impactful sounds in action scenes come alive. Any home cinema speaker system that Klipsch has to offer can be combined with this center speaker. 

Klipsch is famous for its horn-loaded treble units. This speaker continues the tradition with Tractrix horn tweeter surround (90° by 90° tractrix horn) – making sure dialogue and other high-frequency elements come to life and is clear and audible. A tradition of horn-loaded treble units, the R-52C carries on with its Tractrix horn tweeter surround. This gives this speaker a highly direct and precise sound that reveals every dialogue detail.

Reasons to Buy the Klipsch R-52C Center Channel Speaker

  • Eye-catching copper-spun styling woofers
  • Balanced sonic signature
  • Deep and punchy bass

 5. Polk Audio Series S35

Polk Audio Signtaure Series S35
  • Dimensions:
    4.125″ x 24.4″ x 6.1″
  • Power Output: 150W
  • Frequency Responce :
    53Hz – 40kHz
  • Sensitivty (1W/1m):
    88dB

Polk Audio created a slim, neat, and great sounding center speaker for just over 200 bucks with this Polk Audio Series S35 center channel speaker. It has a detachable magnetic grill and a well-balanced sonic structure. Polk Audio has been around since 1972 and strives to create products that are accessible and available for all – and at the best possible price. 

The S35 speaker has a tall and slim profile and comes in two color choices – a washed black walnut and a classic brown walnut. Both look great – which one to choose is just a matter of what sort of interior design color scheme you have got going on at home. This speaker can fit spaces that larger built boxes cannot. It can be used vertically and horizontally and is easily wall mounted. 

This cool-looking speaker weighs about 14lbs and features a 1″ round tweeter and 6 3″ round mid/woofer. It has something called Power Port – Pol Audio’s patented design that evenly transitions air flow from the speaker’s port into your listening area at home. It extends the bass port to provide a larger surface area to eliminate unwanted noise and distortion. This port offers 3dB more bass output than traditional ports do. 

This center speaker balances your center soundstage with outstanding sound quality and upgrades from the previous Polk CS10. It is timbre-matched and designed with similar components as the previous S-series to achieve smooth speaker-to-speaker blending in multi-channel systems. Polk has brought a large surround sound experience home and has succeeded in its quest with the S35 center speaker.

Reasons to Buy the Polk Audio Series S35 Center Channel Speaker

  • Detachable magnetic grill
  • Slim and sleek profile
  • 3dB of extra bass reproduction

 6. Klipsch RP-500C

Klipsch RP 500C
  • Dimensions:
    6.81″ x 18.50″ x 9.5″
  • Power Output: 100W
  • Frequency Responce :
    60Hz – 25kHz
  • Sensitivty (1W/1m):
    96dB

A 2018 Klipsch design – the RP-500C is a medium-sized center speaker that focuses on Linear Travel Suspension for enhanced audio performance – the LTS tweeter is the hallmark of previous designs. Low frequencies also travel through this speaker easily thanks to the custom-designed inner flares reducing air turbulence in the Tractrix port with a vented tweeter and Tractrix geometry. 

Size-wise it is a somewhat large and heavy speaker. In terms of design, there is a range of styles to pick and choose from, depending on your preference. The RP-500C comes in ebony and walnut vinyl, as well as in piano gloss. Not only are the ebony and walnut beautiful, but they have a scratch-resistant finish. This indicates that their beauty should be long-lasting and weather some unexpected turbulence. The premium piano gloss cabinet is processed differently and has been meticulously hand-sanded for a clear and mirror-like finish. 

The speaker has a flexible, removable grille – which means you can hide it discreetly if you instead wish to have a less flashy piece of equipment. With copper anodized trim rings and a laser-etched logo – the RP-500C has a contemporary yet exclusive look.

Besides its Klipsch Tractrix ports that help reduce air turbulence entering the port, leading to better bass – it has a 90° by 90° silicon composite hybrid horn. A way to increase detail and audibility in the higher frequency range. The bass woofers are sturdy but lightweight and promote minimal noise for maximum clean and deep bass performance. This speaker makes up a 1″ vented tweeter and dual 5.25″ cone woofers.

Easily paired with RP series left and right speakers, this center speaker ensures smooth frequency response because of the compressed molded silicon face and phase plug. The vented tweeter design reduces standing waves – unwanted noise, harmonics, and distortion. Center speakers aim to provide as much clarity in the high-frequency range as possible, and Klipsch has succeeded with a good speaker for just over 500 bucks. High frequencies are reproduced well but without sounding harsh, something more common in lower budget options. 

Reasons to Buy the Klipsch RP-500C Center Channel Speaker

  • Modern and premium look
  • Removable magnetic grill
  • Excellent sound

 7. Pioneer SP-C22

Pioneer SP C22
  • Dimensions:
    18.11″ x 7.12″ x 8″
  • Power Output: 90W
  • Frequency Responce :
    55Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivty (1W/1m):
    88dB

Pioneer came out with the SP-C22 in 2012. It has since then been a great affordable option for those looking for elegance in a center speaker that also reproduces audio exceptionally well. The importance of the center channel speaker is great, and Pioneer has understood that importance through this Jones-designed center speaker. 

Andrew Jones, a speaker designer with a reputation for designer budget-friendly speakers that sound great too – has come up with this Pioneer center speaker. 

It is affordable but quite large with a height of 18.11″. The speaker itself has a fashionable but rather unusual curved cabinet design resulting in a stiffer cabinet wall – eliminating standing waves, a sort of combination of sound waves that results in unwanted sound interference. The SP-C22 has stylish speaker grills that look good and do a fantastic job protecting the drivers.  

The speaker has two 3.9″ cone woofers and two 0.9″ soft-dome tweeters. Its maximum input power of 90W makes it quite loud and has a good frequency response range of 55Hz-20kHz with a six-element high-quality 3kHz crossover. The crossover’s job is to break the audio signal into low, high, and mid-range frequencies using circuitry – like inductors or capacitors. It helps ensure accuracy in sound performance.

A phenomenal bass response provides optimal value and comes across as a smart buy for those not wanting to spend much. This speaker also reproduces the upper-frequency range well, and dialogue seems to be clear and able to cut through the noise of sound effects and background noise in a home theatre environment (which is the reason for considering purchasing a center channel speaker in the first place). Besides using it placed center in your 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound setup, they can be used as a left and right setup. They are user-friendly, easy to connect, and have regular connectivity options. 

Reasons to Buy the Pioneer SP-C22 Center Channel Speaker

  • Spectacular quality for a cheap buck
  • Authentic audio reproduction
  • Sophisticated six elements high-quality crossover

 8. Yamaha NS-C210BL

Yamaha Audio NS C210BL
  • Dimensions:
    13.37″ x 4.13″ x 5.19″
  • Power Output: 120W
  • Frequency Responce :
    65Hz – 45kHz
  • Sensitivty (1W/1m):
    86dB

Yamaha has come out with this high-quality NS-C210BL center channel speaker – that can handle 140 watts of peak power and with the ability to project up to 45,000 Hz.

It weighs roughly 4.4lbs and is small in size – but elegant, and comes in a Yamaha Piano Black finish. You can also choose from three other finishes to easily match your room decor. 

The slim design is neat and functional as it easily pairs with a flat-screen TV. It includes built-in hasps to hang it on the wall, and it works well, particularly in a smaller-sized room. Unfortunately, the cloth screen on its front is not removable and could be slightly challenging to dust-clean. However, this is a small negative outweighed by the many positives.

This center speaker has a good frequency response range of as low as 65Hz and up to 45kHz – and can reproduce the lowest subs to the highest high frequencies and anything in the mid-range (speech, clarity, music). It has a ⅞” balanced dome tweeter and dual three ⅛” cone woofer, and its woofer uses light aluminum cones that bring a hyper-fast audio response. 

The NS-C210BL allows for a maximum input of 120watts and nominal 40 watts of power which is more than enough for you to enjoy your favorite music, movies, and tv shows. 

Not only is it easy to set up, but the Yamaha NS-C210BL speaker has excellent sound quality, good power output and is easily paired with a previous Yamaha Reciever or subwoofer – for example, the YST-SW216. It can be compared to a higher-end system and is designed to reproduce the dynamic sound of various HD sources. Overall, a good center channel speaker!

Reasons to Buy the Yamaha NS-C210BL Center Channel Speaker

  • 2-way Bass Reflex
  • Slim design that matches flat-panel TVs
  • A lot of power

 9. Definitive Technology Procenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker

Defintive Technology Procenter 1000
  • Dimensions:
    5″ x 14.25″ x 5″
  • Power Output: 200W
  • Frequency Responce :
    47Hz – 30kHz
  • Sensitivty (1W/1m):
    90dB

The ProCenter 100 Center speakers produce quality audio and can reproduce from 47Hz to 30kHz, picking up small details in sound effects, dialogue, or music. They go as loud as 90dB with a power output of 200 watts and in a modern look and style. 

It comes in a classic black and white finish – modern and easily paired with different home decor. Definitive Technology has a signature look, and it very much comes out in this center speaker. It is relatively small in size, making it easy to fit in or mount in the center of your home entertainment setup, and weighs about 8lbs. They can be paired up as a stereo speaker pair. A good investment for under 200 bucks!

The ProCenter 1000 has an aluminum tweeter – which is light yet stiff and excellent for a driver like this. It reproduces insanely high frequencies, creating clean but accurate highs for balance and depth in the home tv room. Two 4.5″ woofers with Balanced Double Surround System – creating well-balanced cone excursion. The BDSS enables the speaker woofers to produce bass of larger drivers. It also has an anti-resonant launching pad for additional cone excursions.

A good amount of bass thanks to its passive radiator. Top-of-the-line models all include BDSS drivers – and the same goes for this ProCenter 1000. They have combined it with planar pressure coupled mid/bass radiators for great sounding home setup sound quality. 

A similar speaker of the same small size would suffer in the low-mid audio range – but not this one. Thanks to the BDSS technology drivers, there is great warmth coupled to mid/bass radiators on each speaker’s side – without increasing the speaker enclosure size. 

Reasons to Buy the Definitive Technology Procenter 1000 Center Channel Speaker

  • High tonal accuracy
  • Small in size and fitting in a smaller space
  • Wall-mount option

 10. Cerwin-Vega SL-45C

Cerwin Vega SL 45C
  • Dimensions:
    6.52″ x 27.58″ x 7″
  • Power Output: 300W
  • Frequency Responce :
    55Hz – 26kHz
  • Sensitivty (1W/1m):
    89dB

Cerwin-Vega has been in the industry for an impressive period of over 65 years, and this Cerwin-Vega SL-45C Center Channel Speaker made it to our Top 10 Center Channel Speakers. This speaker delivers delicate and clear highs and lots of power for just over 200 bucks. It has a removable grille and is part of the SL series offering high-performing speaker models. 

The design is a classic style black cabinet with a removable grill and is easily paired with other speakers in the SL series – this fits in with just about any home decor. It comes with red details, suitable for a more daring and youthful style preference. 

Featuring 4 x 5.25″ drivers, this 18lbs weighted home theater speaker has a removable grill and an internal brace reinforcing its structure to provide resonance elimination inside its cabinet. It comes with five-way binding posts to quickly and securely install and mount it. 

The speaker’s bass reflex system makes sure there is solid bass reproduction. It does not only produce good bass but has pretty decent high-frequency intelligibility too. It suits as part of your surround home setup. You just need to power it up with your favorite amplifier. It delivers excellent midrange clarity and can be paired up with other SL series speaker models.

Reasons to Buy the Definitive Technology Procenter 1000 Center Channel Speaker

  • Youthful design
  • High power peak output
  • Great vocal intelligibility

Center Speaker Placement Tips

When you have purchased your center speaker, the first thing you need to look at is placement. The more you care about where you place your speaker and how it is tilted – the better the audio outcome. It will, quite literally, sound best in a specific spot. 

You need to ensure that the speaker is always tilted and pointed towards the listening position. If possible, try to keep it at ear height. That is how you will get the most direct sound. 

Follow the checklist below to place your center speaker correctly.

  • Place above or under your screen: Place it closest to your listening position and possibly ear height. 
  • Tilt towards the listening position: If you cannot place it at the correct height, at least tilt it to make sure you will hear direct sound for optimal clarity and not sound bouncing off the walls (reflected sound never sounds good). 
  • Make sure it is placed center: Do not place your center speaker further right or further left – it is called the center channel speaker for a reason. 

Ultimately, the main front speakers can be placed with the tweeter at what is quite literally the ‘head level’ of the listener when they are seated. The center channel should come directly on-axis to the primary listening position. If the speaker does not fit in your AV furniture, using a stand mount at ear level is a good option to achieve correct placement.

Things to consider when looking for The Best Center Speaker

What will You Be Using it For?

One of the first things to consider is what you will be using the speaker for. Ask yourself – are you mainly going to watch movies with your surround setup, or are you looking to use it for gaming, or perhaps for music? 

Think of what sort of soundscape each of those categories involves. Games include heaps of sound effects, especially those with heavy bass and many high-frequency sounds. This plays a significant role in the game’s audio design. On the other hand, you want to hear the audible dialogue in movies and TV shows while not deducting any bass from large impact action scenes. 

The balance between the frequencies is crucial to its performance. And perhaps you want a center speaker that fits all those usage areas.

What are the Acoustic Properties you are Looking for?

A speaker’s acoustic properties include how well the speaker material sounds and how it can affect frequencies transmitted through it. For optimal sound reproduction and tonal qualities, consider the frequency range of the center speaker before making your purchase. 

For example, while some speakers have superb sub-bass reproduction, others do not. Each speaker is different in this regard, and therefore it is important to note. Say you will mainly listen to blockbuster soundtracks, then opt for a good low-end speaker that can push enough volume to keep the bass punchy. 

Device Compatibility

It is imperative to make sure your speaker of choice is compatible with your screen, TV, and the rest of your surround or stereo setup. Be sure to check what brands your speakers are and their specifications and take into account what type of left and right speakers you have in your setup. Consider whether they are powered or not and require additional cabling or mounting options. 

Understanding your Speaker’s Crossover Coverage

Let’s get into more of the nitty-gritty of speaker specifications. A speaker’s crossover coverage may not be exactly clear to the regular speaker buyer. Don’t worry; we have it covered (pun intended).

Simply put, the crossover frequency indicates the point at which the input signal in a speaker is split to separate areas or zones inside the speaker – feeding different amps and drivers. This is necessary because all drivers cannot handle the same frequencies. Some drivers are meant to handle high frequencies, and others are intended to handle lows or mids. The crossover helps divide the signal and distributes it to its correct zones. 

There are often two or more speaker drivers in monitor speakers to cover the frequency range with accurate power handling. We call them the ‘woofer’ and a ‘tweeter’. Woofer stands for the bass-mid driver, and tweeter deals with high frequencies. The actual crossover frequency depends on the driver’s size and other parameters.

Controlled Directivity

When talking about speaker directivity, we mean the signal’s directivity and how it reaches the listener’s ear. Speaker placement is essential in getting a clean audio experience. Placing speakers next to a wall will result in sound reflecting off nearby surfaces, and when it reaches the listener, the sound can seem scattered or even boomy or muddy.

Using speaker placement and optimizing your space in a room is important whether you use central speakers, a stereo setup, or surround sound. Try moving your speakers around and listen until you find what sounds best, or look up a guide on “how to place your speakers” online. Which placement is best depends on the speaker and room size, and its acoustic properties affect sound quality.

Frequency response

The frequency response is often mentioned in a speaker specification sheet – but what does it mean? It directly correlates to how well the speakers will sound. Measured in Hertz, or kiloHertz (a thousand Hertz), determines how well and accurately a speaker converts and reproduces frequencies coming into the speaker. 

Each speaker has a frequency response range, from the lower frequency part of the spectrum to the high mids or high-frequency spectrum. Some specification sheets even have a frequency response chart, a curve that will show decibel (volume) variations across the spectrum to explain how well that speaker reproduces frequencies at different volume levels. 

Impedance 

Impedance shows the resistance level to an electrical current flow – and is measured and written out as ‘Ohms.’ A speaker’s impedance should essentially match the amp impedance when looking at speaker specs. This is to avoid damaging any components inside the equipment. 

Sensitivity

When mentioning speaker sensitivity, we talk about the volume output produced from a given input level. Some speakers have high sensitivity and will yield a specific output level. In contrast, low-sensitivity speakers will produce lower output levels and, in turn, have lower maximum output volume (measured in SPL – Sound Pressure Level). 

Frequently Asked Question – FAQs

Will the Distance Between my Speakers from the Audio Source Affect my Sound Quality? 

In surround sound setups, the speaker placement has a somewhat significant impact on sound quality. Place the center speaker as close to your TV screen as possible – either in front or behind. But always make sure that the speaker is angled at the listener, and mount it at ear height if possible. Since nearly 70% of audio comes through your center speaker – you want it to be placed accurately and for wide sound dispersion across the listening position. 

Can I use any Speaker as a Center Channel? 

A center channel speaker is the most important speaker in your sound system. And because of this, it is advised that you use a speaker aimed to provide a great center channel listening experience – focusing on bass, vocals, and tuned to accurate dialogue reproduction. Clear vocals are crucial. A good center speaker should have a “three-way design” with a vertically-aligned tweeter and midrange. So if your chosen speaker has these main qualities, you can try using it as a center speaker but always opt to purchase a speaker designed for these purposes.

Are a Soundbar and a Center Channel Speaker the Same Thing?

A soundbar and a center channel speaker are not interchangeable. The difference is that the soundbar uses three front channels, namely left-right and center, while a center speaker only uses a center channel. A soundbar is generally more straightforward than a complete surround system using left/right and center-channel speakers. It leaves you with a duller sound experience – sacrificing quality sound. 

Can you Connect a Soundbar to a Receiver? 

A soundbar may come as an active speaker, providing its own amplification. On the other hand, a surround sound speaker amplifies its sound externally (called a passive speaker), which is a vital reason why connecting a soundbar to a receiver is a bad idea. It would amplify the sound above what the soundbar can handle and possibly damage your equipment.

Polk Audio T30

The Best Center Channel Speaker 1

Polk Audio T30

It features 100 watts of true max power, clear audio, and an easy setup. It delivers clear dialogue, and you can measure its sound against a theater’s. Wide dispersion 1″ tweeters and drivers project an expansive sound for a three-dimensional listening experience.

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Author: Rebecka Lundqvist

Born and raised in Sweden, Rebecka is a music and sound enthusiast at heart, with a Diploma in Audio Engineering and Production in her back pocket. Enjoys everything from podcasts to music production and sound design. Besides writing articles, you’ll find her spinning decks at different events under the DJ name Miss Bex.

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