What’s the most important part of a home audio setup? Well we can start at the center of it all. Center-channel speakers are essentially the backbone and spine that hold up your entire audio system. We know many who state that you don’t necessarily need a center-channel speaker, while others say it is make or break — that’s all going to depend on your personal preference. However, you probably found this guide for a reason, and you’re most likely on the hunt for a solid model to cap off your sound system. Based off research, reviews, and a lot of digging around, we came up with 10 of our favorite picks as the best center-channel speakers below.
The top 10 best center channel speakers
Polk Audio Signature S35
Polk Audio Signature S35 is rated among the best center channel speakers on account of its versatility and solid performance. It comes equipped with state of the art ‘Dynamic Balance technology’ as well as precision crossovers that make for relatively stable sound reproduction. On top of that, it takes on a slim design which makes it all the more elegant. However, one disadvantage with its size is that it 4 inches tall which implies that it consumes quite a bit of space. Also, it features a power port which minimizes distortions, thus, enhancing sound performance. Its spatial representation is decent and it takes on a frequency range of at least 40 kHz for a good low-end as well.
Klipsch Premiere RP-450C
Klipsch is renowned for its continued delivery of reliable, innovative products, and if you’re familiar with the speaker game you’d agree. The conglomerate has carried on its ingenuity with the Klipsch RP-450C which is ranked in most reviews as one of the best center channel speakers. It comes with two 5.25 inch woofers made from cera-metallic copper and a 1 inch tweeter. The latter uses LTS ventilation, is made from titanium, and has Klipsch ‘hybrid Tractrix’. Additionally, the RP-450C has a bass reflex that is included in the rear Tractrix ports.
This minimizes air turbulence as well as port noise especially when transmitting low frequencies. The speaker’s finish also adds to its long list of features, i.e. durability. It is designed using high quality, scratch resistant walnut and black finish. Also, the grille is magnetic and relatively sturdy for increased protection. Combined, these features enable this speaker to produce enhanced clarity and an amplified, surround bass. Definitely one of the best center-channel speakers out there at the moment.
Looking for a reliable space-filling sound experience? Then the Sony SSCS8 is another one of the best center channel speakers of today, especially if you’re on a tighter budget. As is characteristic of Sony, this product is offers high quality sound production and is great for the price. It features a 2-way bass reflex system that includes 3 drivers in addition to 4 inch reinforced woofer that is internally plated with Foamed Mica. Its tweeter is also a standout feature as it allows for super dispersion, thus, enhanced clarity.
Lastly, this speaker has an impressive frequency range of 55 Hz to 25 kHz. Evidently, this speaker model falls short of Sony’s expected attributes when it comes to the speaker size. Majority of reviews have described the 4 inch woofer as relatively tiny and that a bigger woofer for upcoming models would allow for a more enhanced sound performance, but this is still great for that price-tag.
Polk Audio T30
The T30 by Polk is designed to offer users an ideal middle ground to ensure that your movies do not come off as annoyingly bleak. Ideally, it offers a wide range of impressive features at an enticing price tag. Among its outstanding features is ‘Dynamic Balance’, a proprietary technology that ensures sound reproduction is fully balanced and tailored to suite all video and audio formats.
This, added to its 5.25’ composite drivers and 1’ tweeter of the silk dome variety ensure that you get solid quality sound performance. Design-wise, inert MDF is used to create the system’s cabinet, thus, reducing resonance as well as sound distortions. What’s more, MDF is quite Appealing to the eye and a welcome addition to your living room area. Other notable features that make Polk’s T30 one of the best center channel speakers include easy integration, clear low frequency articulations, and an impressive overall frequency range of 24 kHz to 60 kHz.
Definitive Technology Mythos Nine
This speaker has a versatile design that makes it possible for users to align the speakers however they deem fit; be it as a center speaker or as the main right/left speakers, making this one of the best center channel speakers available in the current market. What’s more, the speaker is wall-mountable and includes a relatively slim design which allows for flexible placement.
Located at the middle of the speaker cabinet are 4 0.5inch drivers (mid range) with a single 1 inch dome tweeter located at the center of the four drivers. This arrangement allows for BDSS (Balanced Dual Surround System) sound delivery. The Mythos Nine also features eight low bass radiators that further enhance the speaker’s bass performance.
ELAC Debut 2.0 C6.2
During its launch, the ELAC Debut C6.2 garnered a lot of attention especially among audiophiles for its unique approach to sound production. However, the more recent 2.0 series brings about a more enhanced experience largely due to the systems new attributes. The C6.2 in specific features a 5.25’’ woofer that comes fully equipped with one vented loop and woven aramid fiber. What’s more, its newly developed tweeter has been designed for enhanced sound dispersion on account of its Wave-Guide that allows for wider dispersion.
The cabinet is now braced internally which makes it more compatible with a wider variety of interior design layouts as well as integrating with more systems. Placement is also easier for the C6.2 as it includes front mounted posts that are dual-flared. However, even the best center channel speakers have some faults. In this case, most critics describe the design as being unnecessarily bulky and relatively big but if it fits, you’re good to go.
The Yamaha NS-C210 is a 2-way center channel speaker with bass-reflex. This implies that it has the ability to reproducing the clarity and nitty gritty details of all modern sources including digital broadcasts, music files, high definition movies, etc. But this is just the tip of the iceberg! The C210’s woofers feature aluminum cones that generate a hastier response speed while its 7/8 inch dome tweeter is fully balanced to provide users with natural sounds that include a number of spatial attributes.
Combined, these features bring about solid performance with specific regards to bass response and clarity, thus, making this another one of the best center channel speakers as we near the end of our guide. On the flip side, most people say that its physical design is wanting and too basic, but we’ll let you make that call.
Polk Audio TSi CS10
Another entrant to the list by Polk Audio, the TSi CS10, qualifies as one of the best center channel speakers due to its robust image and clear articulations. Its highlights a wood grain vinyl finish that is further complemented by the solid black sides, 5-way post terminals, and an angled top for added flexibility during placement.
Technically speaking, the speaker features a power handling capacity of at most 125 watts, and impedance of 8 ohms, frequency response of at most 24,000 Hz, ported bass reflex design and video shielding.
The Pioneer SP-C22 qualifies as one of the best center channel speakers majorly on account of its heightened power handling capability. The speaker has been designed to handle up to 90 watts of free flowing power which in turn allows audiophiles to enjoy the favorite tunes at considerably high volumes. More importantly, disturbances are maintained at a bare minimum regardless of whether the system is operating and low or high end frequencies. Similar to the Sony SSCS8, the C22 also feature 4 inch woofers.
However, in this case, the system utilizes two woofers, both of which are compactly packed into a wooden cabinet for production of a more natural sound and minimum distortion. Not to mention, the crossover system is unlike no other central speaker in its price range as it utilizes a total of six elements. Therefore, the speaker is more than capable of reproducing all sound ranges and formats in a stellar manner.
Concluding the best center channel speakers
Movies tend to have a more complicated sound design as compared to other forms of media such as music. As such, stereo systems are incapable of offering you the ultimate cinematic experience given that they cannot reproduce all the sound details included in movies. This is where central channel speakers come into the mix as they allow for both DTS and Dolby formats, in addition to enhancing audio performance. What’s more, this kind of speakers operate using a minimum 5.1 system layout, thus, deliver relatively stable audio performance.
So, how do you find the best center channel speaker? You need to factor in the speaker’s compatibility, shape, size, and crossover frequency. Networks or crossover frequency is the separation of signals into various sectors, each of which is sent to a specific speaker for optimal spatial representation. Frequency plays an integral role in determining a speaker’s spatial representation. Ideally, low frequency signals are directed to the woofer for a deep bass while high frequencies directed to the tweeter. It is, therefore, prudent to pick a central-channel speaker with a high crossover frequency.
Aesthetic value is another key attribute to look out for when purchasing a central channel speaker. While other sound systems are vertically shaped, majority of central channel speakers are shaped horizontally. This makes for a more compact design and makes the speaker more flexible in terms of positioning. In fact, a horizontal design creates a slimmer profile. Compatibility is also a crucial factor to consider. It is recommended that one picks a speaker from the same series or brand as the other entertainment gadgets they own. Timber-matching is also key since it leads to the production of a more unified sound.
With that in mind, above are some of the top rated center-channel speakers and we hope we were able to help your search.