5/51 rating

Modern home theater systems backed by Dolby and DTS surround sound has a more elaborated encoding than a common stereo setup. Besides the traditional left and right channels, they also have a separate center channel designed to regulate the vocals and dialogue in surround sound. While a phantom center spot in stereo audio is impossible to control, the best center channel speaker allows you to change the volume of the center channel irrespective of other two side channels. Therefore, you can get more satisfaction by adjusting the level of the center channel and so achieving the most advantageous listening position.

Read on as you will see below, three groups of center channel speakers within a different price range and with unique specs.

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Smart Center Channel Speaker Reviews

Best Center Channel Speaker Under 200

Polk Audio T30

Polk Audio T30
The Polk Audio T30 is a smart way to empower your home theater with great-sounding audio. It can be hooked up to any stereo system or receiver, which enables its wide application and versatility.

You can view theis polk center channel speaker as the best center channel speaker for a variety of technical reasons. Firstly, a built-in 1-inch tweeter and 5.25-inch composite drivers refine the produced sound and deliver crystal clear vocal parts. Secondly, Polk’s Dynamic Balance technology backing up the stereo performance allows achieving room-filling power with the minimum noise and distortion that you can usually hear in low-end audio devices. Next, the firing bass port in the back serves to reinforce the bass frequency response. At last, this polk audio center speaker has the support for Dolby and DTS and so provides the user with an infinite number of entertainment options. You will be also pleased with the high-grade firm cabinet construction which reduces vibrations when the speaker is turned on.

With regard to all positive features, the Polk T30 offers superior audio at an affordable price. If you seek to get a multifunction channel speaker with extended connection options, this music speaker will clearly live up to your expectations.

Pros
  • The center channel speaker has a wide airy high-frequency response.
Cons
  • The T30 can be too sharp at a very high volume.

Cerwin-Vega SL-45C

Cerwin-Vega SL-45C
Its major value is above all related to mature performance it can deliver in any room environment. The design features five 0.25-inch drivers which enhance the sound clarity and eliminate the problem of distortion, while a 1-inch soft dome tweeter provides crisp highs and a balanced response. With the music capacity of 300W, the device generates excellent midrange noise-free sound quality.

Yet, I cannot call the SL-45C a versatile channel speaker. It is more fit to the user’s specific purpose, for instance when you are in need of professional audio equipment or in search of more Cerwin-Vega’s components to boost your sound system of the same brand.

The SL-45C model is, therefore, a desirable option for those who are narrowly focused on a single speaker configuration with the technical parameters similar to these.

Pros
  • With the SL-45C, you don’t need any subwoofer.
  • Its compact size fits even small rooms.
Cons
  • Magnetic shielding is clearly weak, so you will get a distorted image on the monitor placing the center speaker next to it.

Polk Audio CS10

Polk Audio CS10
Polk makes another try to satisfy audiophiles by offering the Audio CS10 with immersive lifelike sound.

The channel speaker has two 5.25-inch composite drivers that promote highly efficient performance and prevent audio distortion. The big advantage of this model is a balanced dome tweeter with neodymium magnetic protection. This feature will let you place the CS10 right next to the TV without risk of getting your picture flawed. The frequency response is large enough to enable the realistic reproduction of audio in any type of entertainment content. A number of 5-way binding posts increase the level of connection security.

The construction reinforced with MDF reduces vibration noises and increases product durability and service life. The Polk CS10 goes in two colors: black or cherry wood. Either will add even more stylishness to the device view.

The Polk Audio CS10 is one of the numerous listening options in the market, but it is the one-of-a-kind surround sound center speaker with such a great capability to recreate real-life sound in the listening area.

Pros
  • The speaker handles quite an extended range of vocals and instruments.
Cons
  • There is no direct audio connection interface between the TV audio panel and the speaker one.

Best Center Channel Speaker Under 500

Klipsch RP-250C

Klipsch RP-250C
This Klipsch center speaker features a 1-inch LTS tweeter responsible for eliminating the slightest distortion. Tractrix technology underpinning the device’s design provides an extensive frequency response and improved damping. The built-in magnets minimize high-frequency reduction, whereas the Tractrix port enables the rapid transmission of audio data from the speaker.

The enclosure braced with MDF has increased protection. Rigid cerametallic woofers add no particular weight to the RP-250C but ensure it is safe from the breakup. The black-and-orange low-key design is perfectly suited to any décor.

Though at a higher price point, the Klipsch RP-250C is among the top rated center channel speakers. Its natural room-filling sound lets the listener reach the maximum pleasure while playing the music.

Pros
  • It has the support for the Dolby system.
  • Dialogue in movies is absolutely hearing even at the lowest volume.
Cons
  • The size of Klipsch R-25C is quite bulky.

Definitive Technology Procenter 1000

Definitive Technology Procenter 1000
Backed by the exclusive BDSS technology, two drivers boost the sound power and prevent any weaknesses in the speaker’s performance. The mid/bass radiating area allows achieving the right tonal accuracy. The built-in foot provides the user with the ability to adjust the device so as to attain the most appropriate listening height. The Procenter 1000 has a magnetic shielding, so you won’t be forced to deal with the issue of distorted video on your TV screen.

The design is strictly minimal and so works with any room environment. The buyer is free to choose between two basic colors: black and white.

The Procenter 1000 delivers rich and loud realistic sound and doesn’t take much space in your room. Despite the medium price, you can derive the most benefits from this product.

Pros
  • The sound output is loud and flawless.
  • It works even better when hooked up to a stereo system.
Cons
  • The high-frequency range may be somewhat messy.

Klipsch RP-450C

Klipsch RP-450C
It is another klipsch center channel speaker with promising specs and an enhanced level of sound output.
Since the Klipsch RP-450C belongs to the same loudspeaker line as the RP-250C, they have a set of tech parameters in common. The powerful LCT tweeter along with copper cerametallic woofers allow for the production of crystal clear and noise-free sound within the entire frequency spectrum. The Tractrix technology lying at the core of the speaker’s design is aimed at fast audio transfer and distortion reduction. The cabinet is made of MDF materials providing the construction with increased rigidness and mitigating the risk of cone damage. The 450C has also the magnets preventing diffraction when audio content is played close to the TV or monitor.

The only major distinction between these two products lies in the quality of components used in manufacturing channel speakers. So opting for the Klipsch RP-450C, you invest your money in a more reliable product and get more refined sound quality.

Thus, the Klipsch RP-450C has every chance to become the best center channel speakers in this loudspeaker class due to its superior sound technical capacity.

Pros
  • The RP-450C reproduces every detail and nuance of audio without mess or distortion.
Cons
  • The price may be a bit expensive for a would-be buyer.

MartinLogan Motion 8

MartinLogan Motion 8
The Motion 8 has been included in the center channel speaker reviews for its undoubted upsides over other speaker options in this category.

The speaker design has an advanced folded motion tweeter outperforming a conventional 1-inch tweeter and characterized by an increased level of sound accuracy and faster transfer rate. The tweeter surface area is also eight times bigger which results in more dynamic and flawless sound with no risk of distortion. The push-up terminals facilitate the connection, while the rubber end caps ensure better safety. Besides the higher sound power levels, the user would benefit from a stylish look of the device. The enclosure has a curved shape and ultra-modern design, which makes the Motion 8 particularly flexible in application. You can easily place it on a bookshelf or wall-mount at any angle.

If you look for a budget-friendly and high-end center channel speaker, the Motion 8 can get your home theater to a new listening level with stunning audio quality and impeccable clarity of sound.

Pros
  • The speaker delivers exceptional clarity allowing you to perfectly hear the vocals and dialogue at any volume level.
Cons
  • The grille is not firmly attached to the shell, so it may get slightly shaky overtime.

Best Center Channel Speaker Under 1000

MartinLogan Motion 50XT

MartinLogan Motion 50XT
This MartinLogan’s speaker is a pricey gizmo. You may ask why the price point is so elevated in comparison with the MartinLogan Motion 8. The answer lies in high-class tech parameters delivering increased auditory capacity which will eventually please even the most demanding user. Despite the folded motion tweeter common with the Motion 8, the Motion 50XT has its strength in 6.5-inch aluminum cone woofers providing a rich and extended bass response and the Vostro crossover promoting enhanced sound clarity and precision. The model comes bundled with 5-way binding posts enabling firm connection with other audio equipment. Besides, the speaker features bass ports located at the back which serve to resist turbulence during operation.

The Motion 50XT style is entirely black-colored with a moderate gloss finish so that you will be able to match it with any décor or furniture.

This advanced variant of Motion model is suited for users having a refined taste in sound and willing to pay a sizeable amount to purchase a center channel speaker with tremendous sound power.

Pros
  • The speaker is voice-matched with any product from Motion Series.
Cons
  • The price is much higher than average on the market.

KEF Q650c

KEF Q650c
Of all the high-cost center speaker reviews, this KEF Q650c has a special place. In spite of concise specs, it is strong enough to generate astonishing sound power within the broad frequency range.

The speaker is remarkable for boosted 6.5-inch Uni-Q bass drivers with a damped tweeter required to deliver deep and intelligible sound. The low-distortion indicator is designed to make the low-frequency response more accurate and clear.

The Q650c performance is equally reinforced on the construction level. In particular, the midrange enclosure degrades excursion, hence preventing audio distortion. The product is marketed with two types of finishing: matte black and vinyl white. The speaker design is quite simple and fit in any room environment. Optional magnetic grilles are in the kit.

The KEF Q650c is a mighty center channel speaker with high-grade components ensuring you won’t hear the slightest distortion while enjoying your favorite records.

Pros
  • It generates room-filling life-like immersive sound.
Cons
  • The size is quite bulky, so you won’t be able to mount it on the wall.

Definitive Technology CS-9060

Definitive Technology CS-9060
Here goes the last variant for you to judge whether it meets the requirements for the best center speaker.

The center channel speaker is an ideal tool for creating an immersive sound environment at home. With BDSS technology combining two 4.5-inch drivers and a 1-inch dome tweeter, the CS-9060 deliver any audio content in a natural and realistic manner. The built-in 8-inch subwoofer with a power handling capacity of 150W lets you clearly hear the entire low register. The audio quality remains noise-free and precise within a frequency range varying between 32 Hz and 40,000 Hz. The CS-9060 has customization options allowing the user to regulate the bass levels.

The rigid cabinet consists of resonance-free components which prevent vibrations substantially and intensifies sound saturation.

The CS-9060 model is a sensible variant for audiophiles who would like to have true-to-life and deep sound in their home theater.

Pros
  • You won’t be in need of a subwoofer thanks to rich bass response.
Cons
  • The price point is very high.

Buyers Guide

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How to Pick the Best Center Channel Speaker?

Buying a small center channel speaker is not a one-minute decision. You should consider a number of essential factors defining your choice. These are a material cabinet, power handling capacity, magnet size, and cone.

Enclosure or Cabinet

It matters which material a loudspeaker cabinet is used to manufacture a speaker because the level of rigidity defines the speaker resistance to distortion and resonance while the audio is played. So you should definitely stay away from plastic products with a high risk of damage.

Capacity

It means the amount of power your would-be speaker will be able to tolerate without getting damaged. The optimum number is 150W. Stay close to it.

Magnet Size

The larger magnets will be, the louder and deeper sound you can expect of your speaker. Small magnets won’t give anything good to surround sound.

Diameter

The low register requires a big power amplifier to generate a clear and mess-free bass response. Think of an 18-inch amplifier as the minimal allowable size.

What is a Center Channel Speaker Like?

A center channel speaker is a separate device or part of an audio system which controls vocals or dialogue. It allows adjusting the volume of the center channel sound without interfering with the left or right channel speaker. This type of speaker is usually required for reproducing modern audio content supported by Dolby or DTS. Typically, this product is perfectly suited to those who want to achieve a better listening position and room-filling sound.

How does a Center Channel Speaker Differ From a Sound Bar?

A center channel speaker is applied to change surround sound, while a sound bar is used to boost the built-in TV speaker. The sound bar usually includes a number of center speakers you should locate to get a louder sound. It does not have an amplifier and needs no AV receiver to operate. The center channel speaker, in turn, has a more complicated design and commonly includes an amplifier, drivers, and other components that improve audio accuracy and clarity.

Advantages of Center Channel Speakers

Any center channel speaker, even a simple one, is a good decision for these reasons:

  • You will be able to balance the volume levels and regulate the center speaker without changing the left and right ones. So the music output will be more customized and accurate.
  • Vocals and dialogue in audio content can be easily accentuated.
  • Your listening position will not be limited to one tiny spot but cover the whole room as you will stay in reach of central channel sound whenever you move.

Most Typical Configurations of Speakers

  • Midwoofer-tweeter-midwoofer (MTM) configuration: it is the most widespread internal design of a speaker. It can serve as a left, right, or center channel speaker and be located vertically or horizontally. Despite a simple basic configuration, this type of speaker has a number of substantial downsides in performance which limits its wide application.
  • Nested MTM configuration: it is an advanced variant of the basic design applied only to a center channel speaker. It provides a rich bass response and allows minimizing the distance between woofers.
  • Woofer-(tweeter/midwoofer)-woofer (WTMW) configuration: this configuration involves a tweeted arranged between two woofers and above a midrange driver. Unlike the MTM interior design, this one allows reaching more efficient performance. The sound still lacks some dynamics.