Best Center Channel Speakers Of 2021 - Getting The Ultimate Home Theater Experience

Getting a new TV doesn't mean you will be satisfied with the sound production of it.

Sooner or later, you will want to invest in a good surround sound system for the ultimate experience when you're watching a movie.

When you start looking for pieces for your surround sound, there is only one truly important piece - the center channel speaker. There are various center speaker pieces on the market, and that can make it difficult for you to choose the best.

So, if you are looking for a good solution to all your problems, keep reading to see our top picks on the best center channel speakers!

best subwoofer under 200 - Yamaha 10-inch powered subwoofer

After all the tests and comparison, this speaker is, hands-down the best choice for center channel speaker. 

Why it is better?

  • High-frequency response with a fantastic crossover frequency
  • Cutting edge performance and perfect sound production
  • Elegant exterior fits in all types of stereo setups
  • Strong build that will last for quite a while
  • Low sound distortion
90/100
our score

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22

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products compared

Last Updated: September 1, 2021

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best center channel speakers available for those who are interested in ramping the quality of their sound up. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best center channel speakers currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Best Center Channel Speakers – Comparison Table 

Product

Size

Power (RMS/Peak)

Frequency  Range

Sensitivity

Our Rating

Current Price

Polk Audio S35

Polk Audio S35

9.7 x 19.5 x 7.4 inches

140 Watts

45 Hz - 20 kHz

85dB

90/100

Micca MB42X-C

Micca MB42X-C

7 x 15 x 5 inches

150 Watts

60Hz - 20kHz

85dB

85/100

Klipsch RP-500C

Klipsch RP-500C

9 x 18.9 x 7 inches

100 Watts

60 Hz - 25 kHz

96dB

85/100

Sony SSCS8

Sony SSCS8 2-Way 3-Driver Center Channel Speaker - Black, 4 Bookshelf Speaker System

10 x 19 x 9 inches

145 Watts

55 Hz - 25 kHz

86dB

75/100

Yamaha NS-C210BL

Yamaha NS-C210BL

5 x 13.4 x 4 inches

80 Watts

65 Hz - 45 kHz

86dB

70/100

Best Center Channel Speakers Of 2021 - Review Roundup

Since having the best center channel speaker is the most important part of the surround sound set, you should definitely take your time picking it out.

There are so many great options for the center channel, but we already found the absolute best center channel speakers of 2021.

You can search for your own centerpiece, but it's not likely that you will be able to find speakers that can live up to our top choices. Keep reading to see why we chose these speakers!

best sub under $200 - Yamaha 10" Powered Subwoofer
Our Rating: 90/100

Polk Audio S35 center channel speakers' signature series surely earned their way to our hearts and our 'top choice' category win. Sometimes, you just want the best our there, and Polk Audio offered some fantastic channel speakers for a decent price, with an astonishing sound quality.

At most, you can lose a little on the aesthetics, but that doesn't matter if the quality of the sound distribution goes over the top. And luckily, it truly does - but let's thoroughly review this speaker anyway!

The Design

When we're talking about the design of the build, we can see at first glance that this speaker creates robust sound and amazing audio quality.

The washed black walnut finish is guaranteed to fit with any type of interior. These center speakers offer the ultimate listening experience, as they can be placed horizontally and vertically. With dimensions of 6 x 24 x 4 inches, this is the largest center speaker we reviewed, as well as one of the strongest. The extra slim design will make it a perfect fit under any TV - and it doesn't take up much room, either, as well as being super lightweight.

S35 is made with quality materials so the sound has low distortion, a large frequency response range, and clear vocals. MDF cabinet or Medium Density Fiberboard creates the perfect structure for less sonic interference. 

The Performance

With 6 woofers and a soft dome tweeter, these Polk Audio stereo speakers create exquisite sound quality with a sensitivity of 89dB! The woofers are slightly smaller on these center speakers, 3 inches each, but since there are six of them, they make it up in quantity. They are dynamically balanced, and that along with a large surface area makes the audio experience undeniably good, despite the affordable price.

1-inch dome tweeter from Polk Audio, made of Terylene offers a high-resolution sound quality, making the perfect fit for any home theatre system. The system can handle up to 150-Watts, which is certainly higher than many other speakers in this article. The only flaw of this speaker is the cross-over frequency, which could be better.

Pros

  • 6 powerful woofers
  • Slim design - can be placed vertically and horizontally
  • Low sound distortion
  • Durable quality and design

Cons

  • The system could use better cross-over frequency
best sub under $200 - Yamaha 10" Powered Subwoofer
Our Rating: 85/100

Micca's MB42X is one of the best center channel speaker pieces the market can offer. The high quality of this center speaker is certainly not a match to its' affordable price. If you're looking for a speaker that won't break the bank but without losing quality, you found it!

Home theater systems need sound quality above all things, and Micca provided that, and more, with this fantastic piece. It's best if we check out the specs that make this a great buy, so let's get on it!

The Design

The cabinet of this center speaker is classic, carefully designed to eliminate standing waves, despite the square box design. So you get a crystal clear sound, as this is definitely a match to the Pioneer SP C22 Andrew Jones.

The black finish of the audio speaker definitely works well with all kinds of interiors, be that traditional or modern, but it's no Andrew Jones design. It's rather lightweight so you can even take it with you when traveling. With the dimensions of 7 x 15 x 5 inches, this center speaker definitely falls into the category of smaller speakers, but it produces robust sound effects like the Pioneer SP-C22.

High, mid or low frequency - doesn't matter, as the separate driver balances out the sound for the ultimate viewing experience, as well as an increased surface area. Four-inch woofers create robust sound effects, while the 3/4-inch soft dome tweeter generates the ultimate sound, thanks to its titanium tweeter qualities. The woofers are made of woven carbon for the perfect bass experience with the 2-way bass reflex.

The Performance

When we're talking about the performance, it's worth noting that this center speaker has an output of 150 Watts, so it's powerful but without losing energy efficiency. The sound quality mixed with the cross-over frequency make this speaker a great buy!

We mentioned that the bass experience is certainly amazing, partially thanks to the ported enclosure, which enables low sound distortion, as well. The sound is precisely directed at all frequencies, even the highest ones. Furthermore, this speaker has a sensitivity of 85dB - just like its counterpart, SP C22!

The listening experience is phenomenal, the center speaker can withstand even high-frequency sounds, a characteristic shared with the speaker SP C22. The only flaw is the lower response which could be perfected with the use of an equalizer. Use affiliate links for further information.

Pros

  • Ultimate bass experience
  • Fantastic performance
  • Powerful and lightweight
  • Low sound distortion

Cons

  • You may need an equalizer as well
best sub under $200 - Yamaha 10" Powered Subwoofer
Our Rating: 85/100

There are some undeniable pros when it comes to the brand Klipsch, and they offer the best channel speaker on the market. There are a few reasons why this exact model is our top choice, and we'll cover them all.

For a somewhat stronger price, the Klipsch certainly goes the extra mile compared to Klipsch's RC 62 II and R-52C. The sound quality and the quality of the build justify the price, there's no doubt about it!

The Design

When you take a first look at the RP-500C, you can tell that the look is a classic Klipsch cabinet design. The innovative design makes this speaker look great with any setup, further justifying the price.

The dimensions are 9 x 18.9 x 7 inches, so it will create powerful sound quality and an experience that can be a subject of envy of all your friends. This centerpiece isn't the largest on the market, but it has double connectivity, definitely something everyone could appreciate.

The horizontal design is the best idea for a centerpiece and you can see for yourself that it's equipped with two powerful, 5.25" woofers and a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter. Detachable grills are magnet-attached so they provide a refined look in the signature series, just like the RC 62 II or Cerwin Vega.

The scratch-resistant finish is mirror-like due to piano gloss and an ebony/walnut vinyl. The finish is hand-sanded and polished to perfection.

The Performance

The first thing we wanted to put an accent on is the 90 by 90 degrees Tractrix Horn mouth design which provides a high-frequency response that creates a better dynamic with the picture compared to low frequency.

The Tractrix horn comes with a one-inch wide titanium tweeter that generates sound as the manufacturer intended. The two woofers are lightweight, made from spun copper for the ultimate sound quality. They are designed with LTS, linear travel suspension so you don't experience bass distortion. When using RP-500C, you will only experience a crystal clear sound in the mid as well as high range sounds. However, if you want a very strong bass response, you may need to invest in an additional subwoofer.

With a sensitivity of 96dB, you will experience more than just powerful sound, better than the R-52C! The output power of 100 Watts and Dolby Atmos technology inside gives you cutting edge sound and the cinema feeling in the comfort of your own home!

Pros

  • Dolby Atmos technology
  • High-frequency response
  • Cutting edge performance
  • Elegant exterior
  • Great, strong build

Cons

  • Doesn't offer a full bass experience
best sub under $200 - Yamaha 10" Powered Subwoofer
Our Rating: 75/100

Sony SSCS8 center channel speakers are just one of those products you love at first sight. They fall more into the affordable category, but not at the cost of the sound quality.

This stereo is a great addition to any home theater, it's strong and offers quality sound, so you get the ultimate movie viewing experience at home. After all, sometimes you have to invest in your comfort, and investing in the Sony SSCS8 is a great idea!

The Design

While it's obvious that these signature series speakers fall more into the value-for-money category, their quality doesn't. 

The size is somewhat standard, at 10 x 19 x 9 inches, it will never fail to create a powerful, crystal clear sound for dialogues. The build is horizontal, and the build is kind of bulky and heavy - so it can be difficult to move the speaker around.

The color is black walnut, so the central piece will look flush with any type of setup. The medium to slim design makes it a great fit even on some smaller shelves, just like a speaker by Definitive Technology.

The grille covers two 4-inch woofers and a 1-inch dome tweeter. The amazing tweeter is designed to give you a high-frequency, astonishing audio quality. This speaker is perfect for listening to high-resolution audio, with a wide range of frequencies supported, just like the ProCenter 1000.

The woofers are foamed and Mica cellular reinforced for durability and maximum isolation of every sound there is. All this creates one of the best sounds for the price with Sony's definitive technology. 

The Performance

When we're talking about the audio performance, we can mostly say only the words of praise. With 145 Watts of output power, you get the feeling that the dialogue is happening right there in your living room.

The cross-over frequency has been optimized and perfected to make sure the audio gets a clear path to your ears. The tweeter is strong and has wide dispersion, so this speaker is suitable for all kinds of audio-challenging movies or music albums, as it can withstand all.

The bass is precise, and it sounds great at all frequencies, even the highest ones. The bass response simply makes sure you have an enjoyable experience every time, along with the 86dB sensitivity.

Pros

  • Wide dispersion tweeter
  • Clear sound and large frequency range
  • Great cross-over frequency
  • Powerful and durable

Cons

  • Somewhat bulky and heavy
best sub under $200 - Yamaha 10" Powered Subwoofer
Our Rating: 70/100

Yamaha NS-C210BL is a speaker that falls into the simple choice category. Some of you don't want to read up on various types of centerpieces and various whatnots - you just want a speaker that will do the job and do it well.

For you, the ultimate choice would be the Yamaha. The piano bestseller used all of their power to make sure they produced a quality product, and they did - stick with me and you'll see where I'm going with this.

The Design

The center speaker has a simple design, colored to black walnut. The overall appearance guarantees it will be a good fit with any and every interior decor.

The slim design with 5 x 13.4 x 4 inches makes it ideal for smaller shelves and cozier living rooms. People dealing with smaller apartments cannot invest in the large center speaker, so this could be the perfect choice for them. The sound dynamic doesn't suffer, though.

Furthermore, this center speaker is equipped with two woofers and a dome tweeter. The center speaker is super lightweight, at 4 pounds, so it's easy to move and take with you in case of traveling or moving.

The Performance

The dome tweeter has a size of 7/8", so it's a little weaker than the rest of the products listed in this article. The woofers are 3", so they create a slightly lower-quality sound, but not lower enough to ruin the experience when watching a high-res movie. The woofers have aluminum cones so they are fast-responding when creating high-quality sound.

Overall, the sound is crystal clear and you can hear all the details. When we're talking about the bass, the bass response of this center speaker is something everyone can appreciate, even those listening to bass-challenging music.

With 80-Watts of output power, you will find that this center speaker works for most uses. However, the output could be at least a little stronger. Furthermore, the center speaker does not have magnetic shielding, something we find to be a production flaw.

Pros

  • Aluminum coned woofers
  • Astonishing bass response
  • Simple design, easy to fit in anywhere
  • Lightweight and ideal for smaller spaces

Cons

  • Small output power
  • No magnetic shielding

What to look for when buying a center channel speaker?

what to look for in a center channel speaker?

When you're in need of a surround sound stereo system, you must have the best center channel speaker. It's the most crucial part of the whole system, as it reproduces the dialogue, sound effects created as well as the music. At least half of the soundtrack is sound-produced by the centerpiece of your surround system.

These speakers are the reason why you enjoy watching movies at home because they make you feel like you're literally surrounded by the sounds of the movie. When you rely on the TV speakers, you will miss out on sounds and even some parts of the dialogue because they are all produced at the same place. Therefore, you will miss out on things that are crucial to truly enjoy your home theater.

Those background sounds may seem unimportant, but just take a moment to remember the sounds at the cinema. Those sounds are necessary to make the whole experience feel more complete. As for the center channel speaker, it makes those sounds eminent and more noticeable.

When you're finally choosing a central piece because you now know how important it is, you need to be very careful. You don't want to invest a lot of money into a product that isn't compatible with the rest of your surround system.

In this section, we'll talk about all the important factors you must keep in mind when you're buying the best center channel piece. So, let's get on it!

Compatibility

We decided to list this factor as number one because it's the most important one of all. You can choose a quality speaker that doesn't work with the rest of your set. Then, it could be the highest quality ever and it won't matter much to you.

So, it's rather important to choose a central piece that is compatible with the rest of your set. The sound will travel from the central piece to others, and if it all works well, it will travel smoothly. To make sure the sound will travel smoothly, you should opt for acoustically similar speakers. That way, you won't feel a difference when the sound is reproduced from two or more different speakers.

The best advice we could give you is to pick a center channel from the manufacturer that produced the rest of your surround sound speakers. Sometimes, that isn't enough, and even speakers from the same company will not work in sync with others, making the whole purchase a bad deal. If you have trouble picking out each piece, consider contacting customer service. They will likely be able to help you out!

Size

Talking about the size of the central piece of your surround sound set is redundant. It goes the bigger the better, usually, as the larger speakers create exquisite sound overall. Of course, you have to take your budget into account, as the larger the speaker is, it tends to cost more money. Furthermore, you should take into account the size of the room where you plan to install the surround sound set.

Tower or 38-inch speakers create a sound of brilliant quality, much better than any other speakers out there. However, you have to place them in a rather large room or an open-space concept. Otherwise, it may not work as well in a smaller room as the acoustic quality is lessened in small spaces.

If there is no way to pull off speakers that large, you should opt for 12 to 15-inch speakers. They will create a great experience nonetheless. On the other hand, if you're dealing with a scarce space, you should buy speakers that are no more than 7-inches. They take less space, which is ideal, and they don't take away any acoustical quality.

Placement

placing the best center channel speaker properly

Picking out the proper sized speakers is essential, but so is the placement of those speakers, as well. It's principal to pick out a central piece that works with the room configuration. Whatever the configuration, all speakers should be placed in front of the listener. The centerpiece should always be above or below the TV - that way it will not disturb the home theater experience. All tweeters of the speakers should be placed at ear level, etc.

Placing the speakers correctly will create the ultimate sound experience. If you invested in a surround set, you can appreciate the marvelous sound, and not arranging the speakers well can get in the way of that.

Technical Specifications

Various things about the technical specs are to be taken into consideration before you finally add a center channel to your cart. Here are just some (because there are so many), which you need to inform yourself on before you set your mind on the best piece for you.

Bi-Wire Capability

Bi-wire capability is perhaps the specification of some high-end speakers. They have two sets, rather than one, of female connectors. One is used for the tweeter, and the other set is used for the woofer. Bi-wire capability produces better bass definition, so if you enjoy taking the sound to the next level, you should look for this spec, among other things.

Frequency Response

When we're talking about the frequency response, we're talking about the range of frequencies. That being said, the frequency response would be the range that the speaker is capable of producing without any blemishes or mistakes. So, the range that the speakers can produce flawlessly and to create the best experience possible.

Crossover Frequency

Crossover frequency is a process when the signal is segregated into more portions and sent to different speakers. This process results in sound interpretation. Splitting and redirecting of the sounds done according to different frequencies. Higher frequency sounds are sent to the tweeter, and the lower frequency sounds are sent to the woofer. Middle frequencies are usually directed towards the rest of the set, so middle-range speakers. The higher the cross-over frequency - the better, as the switch is not detectable by human ears. So, the whole surround sound experience is even better than before.

Impedance

Impedance is the capability of the speaker's electric circuit to resist the flow of the alternating current. The resistance is produced by a voice coil. This is also a factor to keep in mind if you want to play some sound-challenging movies and want the experience to be more than just enjoyable.

Configuration Ratio

When we're talking about the configuration ratio, the most popular ratios would be 3:1, 5:1, 6:1, and even 7:1. These ratios talk about the configuration of your surround sound system. The 1 indicated the number of subwoofers, while the first number indicates the number of surround speakers.

Magnetic shielding

Magnetic shielding is done when the magnets inside the center speakers are to be prevented from interfering with other electronic equipment in the vicinity. This is done by the manufacturer of the speakers, as they are trying to create the best sound out there, and if the magnets interfere with other equipment, it will create a rather annoying sound, which can be tough to ignore.

Best Center Channel Speakers - Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes the best center channel speakers?

There isn't a one-size-fits-all manufacturer that makes the best center channel speakers. There simply isn't an answer that will work for everyone. As we covered in our first section of the article, some things determine what works best for different people.

Of course, if you pick tower speakers, you may enjoy sound that is of a tad higher quality, but that's about it. On the other hand, if you live in a one-bedroom, tiny apartment, tower speakers won't do much for you - just the opposite. We can list a few brands that offer high quality, and you can choose from there.

We like the best speakers made by Klipsch, Polk, Yamaha, Pioneer (SP-C22), Cerwin Vega, Definitive Technology (the ProCenter 1000) Sony, JBL (Arena 125C especially), and eventually Bose. The rest truly depends on an individual's preferences to pick one of the best.

What makes a good center channel speaker?

The best centerpieces of your sound system are three-way designs. They have three important parts, two woofers on the sides and a mid-range speaker, and a tweeter, placed one above the other. This combination creates the absolute best central pieces of the high-quality home theater system.

There is also space to keep in mind, as the space between the woofers and the mid-range speaker - but that depends on the driver spacing and the cross-over frequency of the mid-range. Such center speakers are taller than a two-way design. This is because they have to make room for the vertically stacked midrange and tweeter.

All this doesn't mean that a two-way design of the speakers cannot create a great sound, just the opposite. this creates the absolute best sound, but a two-way can create a high-quality sound, too!

It's worth noting that many people think that the center channel creates the dialogue sound, but in reality, it does more than that. The centerpiece creates the dialogue, but it creates a good portion of the music and sound effects. If the centerpiece isn't able to do all that, the whole experience of theater, crystal clear sound will not be as satisfying.

Can you use any speaker as a center channel?

In theory, you can use any speaker for your center channel. Of course, it's common knowledge that you cannot use a subwoofer, but any other speaker can work as a centerpiece for your home theater system.

Ideally, you should use a speaker that has a horizontal design, rather than a vertical or square design, because of the sound production. There are technical reasons for this, as well as aesthetics. A horizontal centerpiece can be placed easier above or below a TV. Not only is it better, but it's also more convenient if the centerpiece is horizontal, as you will have no problems placing it properly compared to your TV.

Where should I put my center channel speaker?

In the previous question, we already mentioned that the best places for the centerpiece would be above or below the TV or video projector. If we had to nitpick, below might work a bit better, but if there is no space, right above the TV will work almost as well. Never place the centerpiece on the left or right of the TV, as it will not create a great experience overall.

The next thing is to keep the centerpiece close to the television. If you place the channel too far above or below, you will lose the illusion that the dialogue is coming from the actor directly.

Furthermore, you should angle the speaker to your face. If it's angled above or below your face, you will lose some of the acoustic quality. The centerpiece should be on a shelf and placed on the tip of the shelf rather than deeper towards the wall. The sides of the shelf or other items on the shelf will affect the acoustic quality, so it's always better to pull the speaker to the front.

After it's all said and done, we recommend:

best subwoofer under 200 - Yamaha 10-inch powered subwoofer

After all the tests and comparison, this speaker is, hands-down the best choice for center channel speaker. 

Polk Audio Signature Series S35 Center Channel Speaker

Why it is better?

  • High-frequency response with a fantastic crossover frequency
  • Cutting edge performance and perfect sound production
  • Elegant exterior fits in all types of stereo setups
  • Strong build that will last for quite a while
  • Low sound distortion
90/100
our score

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