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What Is A Center Channel Speaker?
A center channel speaker is probably the most important speaker in your surround sound system. This speaker is the workhorse of your sound system producing a majority of the sound that you hear in your system.
Center channel speakers are often taller than the other speakers to widen the sound profile of your media. Some are low-profile speakers to inconspicuously fit over or under TVs.
In a center channel speaker, the woofers and tweeters are often inline or slightly offset
More often than not these speakers are primarily used for dialogue, but, in a 5.1 mix, it also reproduces a heavy dose of sound effects and music.
Is a Center Channel Speaker Necessary?
The ultimate home entertainment speaker setup is more of a personal preference. Technically no, depending on the sound quality you desire.
A center channel speaker is not absolutely necessary, but, it is vitally important for clear quality sound.
In addition, without it, you’ll need to disable the center speaker through your AV receiver. Once disabled, your sound will revert to 4.1.
With the up mix of 5.1 sound, most if not all sound is now mixed for 5.1. So, disabling your center speaker will reduce quality as it accounts for over 70% of a movie’s audio presentation.
Most of the action in a movie is center stage, thus, that is where most of the sound is recorded.
Edge speakers will provide light dialogue sound with strong background sound, such as, environmental sounds based on the scene.
Can I use a Center Channel Speaker Alone?
Not everyone has the space, or the budget for that matter, to have a complete system.
Due to center channel speakers reproducing a majority of the sound coming from media, you can get away with using a center channel speaker alone.
You just need to ensure that your AV receiver can decode discreet 5-channel audio.
How Important is a Center Channel Speaker?
As we have stated, if there is one speaker in your system that is important, it is the center channel speaker.
If you are building a sound system in part, we would suggest that you get the center channel speaker before the edge speakers.
What Makes A Good Center Channel Speaker?
When looking for a center channel speaker, “three-way speaker” is a term you should become familiar with. This term refers to the speaker setup on the face of the speaker box.
Two way speakers are designed with woofer-tweeter-woofer speakers that are placed inline.
Three-way speakers generally have a vertically aligned mid-range speaker and tweeter between the woofers. There are variations of a three-way such as a tweeter and super tweeter between the woofer as well.
It is possible to lose some space with a three-way speaker depending on your choice as the speaker box can be a little higher profiled than the two-way.
Manufacturers, however, are making the three ways thinner as well.
Three-way speakers perform more of a full-range sound profile. They reproduce a more dispersed sound field and allow for the acoustic image to track accurately across the sound stage.
Three-way speakers perform great with any placement above, below, or behind your TV giving you more options, especially where space is a concern.
What is the Best Center Channel Speaker?
The question should be what is the best center channel speaker for you, your budget, and your space.
Ultimately the best speaker is the one that provides you with what you are looking for at a price you can afford or wish to pay.
The best overall center channel speaker may be the Induction Dynamics C1, but, unless you are willing to shell out $4900 for a top-of-the-line speaker.
But, what does that matter if you are not willing to pay that? So we have broken down the best speakers into price categories and given you the features of each.
This way, you can choose what is the best speaker for you, which is why you are here after all.
Best Center Channel Speaker Under 2000 Dollars
Bowers & Wilkins 700 Series 3 Way Speaker delivers unprecedented power and clarity for a crystal clear acoustical experience. State the Art Carbon Dome tweeters are designed specifically for this speaker.
These tweeters raise the breakup threshold for distinguishable accuracy and detail.
The Continuum Cone FST mid-range results in a more open and neutral sound dynamic.
A noticeably deep and dynamic bass originates from the Aerofoil Profile Bass Cone. Color options are all glossy in Black, Rosenut, or White.
- Decoupled Carbon Dome tweeter
- Continuum cone FST midrange
- Aerofoil Profile bass cones
- Frequency range -6dB at 45Hz and 33kHz
- Frequency response 50Hz – 28kHz ±3dB
- 8 Ohms Nominal Impedance
Best Center Channel Speaker Under 1000 Dollars
The Klipsch RP-504C 3-Way Speaker brings front row lifelike sound dynamics aimed directly at the listener.
Each woofer is tuned and matched to the horn-loaded tweeters for enhanced bass and maximum efficiency of mid-range audio reproduction.
Handling up to 150W of continuous power from the amplifier of your choice, you will experience sounds you’ve likely never heard.
- Quad 5.25″ Spun Copper Cerametallic™ Woofers
- 1” Titanium LTS Vented Tweeter with Hybrid Tractrix® Horn
- Bass-Reflex via Rear-Firing Tractrix® port
- Up to 150W Continuous Power Handling
- 58 Hz to 25 kHz Frequency Response
- 8 Ohm Impedance
- Color Choice of Walnut, Ebony, and Piano Black
Best Center Channel Speaker Under 500 Dollars
SVS Prime Three-Way Speaker is a powerful option in the mid-price range speaker that will greatly enhance of your media viewing and listening.
Between the 1″ tweeter and 3.5″ mid-range driver your sound will be dependably crisp and sharp.
Combined with 5.25″ polypropylene cone woofers, the speaker produces plenty of bass with a smooth transition from side to side as your media environment shifts.
The added bonus is two rear-firing ports for additional bass.
Color options are Premium Ash Black and Glossy Black.
- Three-Way Speaker Design
- 1″ Aluminum Dome Tweeter
- 2x 5.25″ Polypropylene Cone Woofers
- 3.5″ Polypropylene Cone Midrange Driver
- 20 to 200W Recommended Amplifier Power
- 48 Hz to 25 kHz Frequency Response
- 86dB sensitivity
- 8 ohms nominal impedance
Best Center Channel Speaker Under 200 Dollars
The Polk Audio CSi A4 has advanced technology and a robust cabinet that team up to drive crisp dialogue, immersive sound effects, and a smooth and accurate acoustic profile.
The acoustically inert MDF Cherry cabinet reduces internal vibration enhancing performance.
The frequency range, power, and solid construction make this speaker an exceptional choice at under $150. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a worthy competitor at this price
- Bass-reflex (ported) design
- Frequency response 65-25,000 Hz (-3dB)
- Handles 20-180 watts
- 1″ Dynamic Balance® silk/polymer tweeter
- Dual 5-1/4″ Dynamic Balance polymer composite woofers
- 8-ohm impedance
- Sensitivity 89 dB
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