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Buyer’s Guide to Best Center Channel Speakers for Good Audio

James Benchman
Last Updated on
by James Benchman

We’re excited to bring you home audio content, due to popular demand from our car audio enthusiasts wanting to continue the great experiences at home!  We’ll start our new content area focusing on what has for years been used to in-home theater systems for great experiences; center channel speakers. Lately, they have become more popular due to their ability to provide balance and a smoother sound with significantly more definition.

Below, you’ll find a list of the ten best center channel speakers available on the market today. When reviewing the best products mentioned in this list , you should be able to find  a good brand that meets your needs.

Since you’ll need to mount a center channel speaker, you should pay careful attention to the size of the speaker and the power requirements necessary for installation.

Top 5 Center Channel Speakers
Our Top Pick
  • Drivers: 5.25 Inches
  • Frequency: 55 Hz -26 kHz
  • Power: 300W peak
  • Drivers: 5.25 Inches
  • Frequency: 60 Hz -25 kHz
  • Power: 100-400W
  • Drivers: 5.25 Inches
  • Frequency: 53 Hz-25 kHz
  • Power: 20-125W
Top Budget Choice
  • Drivers: 5.5 Inches
  • Frequency: 90 Hz – 40 kHz
  • Power: 20 – 150W
  • Drivers: 4.5 Inches
  • Frequency: 47Hz – 30kHz
  • Power: 10 -200 W

Best Center Channel Speakers For Dialogue Clarity

1. Cerwin-Vega SL-45C Quad Speakers

The Top Rated Choice For Most Audiophiles
Our team was quite impressed with the clear vocals in the Cerwin-Vega SL-45C Center Channel Speaker. The speakers provided clear, un-distorted vocals at both high and low volumes with good overall sound quality.

Our team was quite impressed with the clear vocals in the Cerwin-Vega SL-45C Center Channel Speaker. The speakers provided clear, un-distorted vocals at both high and low volumes with good overall sound quality.

Those looking for an initial center channel speaker may find the Cerwin-Vega SL-45C quite useful. This device has a 4.6-star rating on Amazon with more than 200 reviews. Of those who reviewed the product, nearly 80 percent gave it a five-star rating.

It features Cerwin-Vega’s soft dome tweeter design. There are also Quad 5 ¼” drivers, which provide sound that is incredibly clear at all volume levels. The unit also features a removable grille as well. Bass ports are also in the back of the speaker.

Consider the following specs:

  • The frequency response ranges from 55 Hz to 26 kHz
  • The maximum power handling is 300 watts
  • The peak sensitivity is 89 dB

We were told by some users that they found it difficult to install this device. It weighs 20 pounds and measures 30” x 9” x 10”. Consider the measurements carefuly as the can be bulkier than you may anticipate. So, you’ll want to make sure it fits into your cabinet or under your TV.

Additionally, some users said that the speaker caused their shelf to sag. When installing this product, you’ll need to ensure that you provide adequate support such as a center channel speaker stand.

Pros
  • Quad 5 Drivers provide clear vocals & sound, great frequence response
  • Features Cerwin-Vega’s patented soft dome tweeter design
  • Bass ports are on the back of the speaker
  • Customers indicated minimal distortion at both high and low volumes
  • Good price, an affordable product that provides “bang for your buck”
Cons
  • The unit isn’t super heavy, but at 18lbs, it may cause some sag to your less substantial cabinet shelves

2. Klipsch RP-250C Center Channel Speaker

We were impressed with the specs on the Klipsch RP-250C Center Channel Speaker. The device features a 90 x 90 Hybrid Tractrix Horn along with a Linear Travel Suspension, which improves the frequency response and minimizes distortion for good sound quality.

However, some users noted in online reviews that they wished the speaker had provided louder, clearer sounds.

The RP-250C Center Channel Speaker comes from Klipsch, one of the most trusted names in the audio industry. The speaker has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon with more than 110 customer reviews. Of those who reviewed this center speaker, nearly 90 percent gave it a five-star review.

This speaker is available in two colors, ebony, and cherry. At the time of writing,  it costs more than $300 on different retail stores, which could be too pricey for some.

During testing, we felt that the Klipsch center speaker yielded incredible sounds and beautiful music. However, other users indicated that they had trouble hearing dialogues.

Those who listen to podcasts or audio books while driving may be dissatisfied. Reports of poor vocals came as a bit of a surprise to us, considering some of the impressive features in this speaker, which include:

  • A 90 x 90 Hybrid Tractrix Horn that delivers nice frequency response
  • A Linear Travel Suspension
  • Copper-spun Cermetallic Woofers.

This center speaker measures 6.81” x 18.5” x 9.96” and weighs more than 21 pounds. We found this bulky, which could prove challenging during installation. You should ensure you have quality shelving unit to support the speaker.

Additionally, we found that it was easier to install the unit when using it with other Klipsch speakers.

Pros
  • Features a 90 x 90 Hybrid Tractrix Horn for an improved frequency response
  • Features a Linear Travel Suspension to minimize distortion for clear sound
  • Quality Cermetallic Woofers are copper-spun and durable
  • The grille is removable and stays attached with powerful magnets
  • Klipsch is a reliable and well-known company in the audio industry
Cons
  • The product weighs 21 pounds and will require maximum support
  • Reviews suggested that this speaker was bulky

3. Polk Audio CS10 Center Channel Speaker

Those looking for an affordable, trustworthy speaker will want to consider the Polk Audio CS10 Center Channel Speaker. At less than $100, this speaker provides excellent value.

Some users claimed that the speaker sounded muffled and did not perform well at low frequencies. However, for those on a budget, the speaker should work just fine.

Polk Audio CS10 Center Channel Speaker is an excellent choice for those who are looking to boost their audio setup without breaking the bank.

This speaker has a 4.7-star rating with nearly 940 user reviews. Of those who reviewed the product, 80 percent gave it a five-star rating. Unfortunately, it is only available in color “Cherry.”

Polk is one of the most reputable brands in the industry with a lot of woofer experience. The company packed some impressive features into its center channel speaker. The frequency response is nicely done and we were satisfied with the sound, although you might find that the speaker does not perform as well at lower volumes.

But for those searching for a budget speaker, the sound should exceed their expectations when it comes to sound quality for music and movies.

Some of the features include:

  • Two 5.25” bi-laminate organic fiber cone woofers
  • 1” silk Dynamic Balance dome tweeter
  • The cabinet features baffles that are ¾” thick

This center speaker measures 9.8” x 20” x 6.5” and weighs 16 pounds, which is considerably lighter than some of the other options on our list. But, do note the size as it may be bulky and awkward to install in some cabinets.

However, one of the neat features of this center speaker is that the top is designed as angled, which could make the installation more manageable, especially in entertainment centers with less height.

Pros
  • Polk is a trusted name in the audio industry, safe purchase
  • Angled top allows you to place the speakers in various places
  • Magnetic shielding enables you to put the speakers around other equipment
  • Features two 5.25” diameter bi-laminate organic fiber cone woofers
  • It comes at an affordable price
Cons
  • Only available in one color, cherry
  • Some users indicated that the speaker did not perform well at low frequencies
  • Others said that they wished the sound was louder or punchier

4. JBL Arena 125C Dual 5.5-Inch Loudspeaker

If you’re looking for a sleek and modern center channel speaker that you can add to your system inconspicuously, this model from JBL is worth consideration. It is available in two colors, black and white.

Mesh covers the woofers, yielding a modern design. This center speaker also comes with an angled top, allowing users to fit it in entertainment centers easily.

The JBL Arena 125 Dual 5.5-Inch Center Channel Loudspeaker is a modern-looking speaker that should fit well into a wide array of vehicles. JBL manufacturers the speaker in both black and white. We like this speaker quite a bit and we’re not alone. The device has a 4.4-star rating with more than 25 reviews. Of those who reviewed the product, nearly 90 percent gave it either a four or five-star rating.

We are reasonably impressed with the sound quality and music out of this speaker, although some of the sounds from the overall frequency response are not as clear as they are with other JBL speakers. So, dialogue from movies may not be as perfect in clarity or crisp. We found that the one-inch soft dome tweeters provided strong highs.

We also appreciated the dual 5.5” poly cellulose woofers and High Definition Imaging wave guide technology. Network integration provides users with ideal performance.

The product measures 10.4” x 24.5” x 6.3” and weighs just under 18 pounds. Potential users should note the length of this device, as it’s nearly a half-foot longer than some of the other options on our list. They will want to make sure they have adequate space in their cabinets to install the speaker.

The angled top on this speaker should make it easier to install than other square options.

Pros
  • Available in two colors, black and white
  • Sleek design should be inconspicuous in a vehicle
  • Features High Definition Imaging wave guide technology
  • An angled side makes it easy to place in your cabinet
  • Dual 5.5” poly cellulose woofers
Cons
  • The size of the speaker was more significant than expected
  • The speaker could appear dull or boxy, even with the angled top

5. Definitive Technology ProCenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker

The ProCenter 1000 speaker from Definitive Technology is one of the most compact center channel speakers available today, making it an attractive choice.

Set-up and installation should be easy because this product weighs less than eight pounds. Our team also appreciated that the high-gloss professional finish and the fact this product came in both black and white.

If you have a small entertainment center or limited space for a center channel speaker in your home theater, you’ll likely need to find a compact option. The ProCenter 1000 from Definitive Technology is a unit well worth considering.

This is a small speaker that packs a powerful punch. It has a frequency response ranging from 47 Hz to 30 kHz and a 90 dB efficiency. There are also dual 4.5” bass/mid-range drivers and dual 4.5” planar low-frequency radiators, a nice balanced setup.

Some users indicated in online reviews that dialogues at low levels were difficult to understand, although this may not be the case when listening in smaller living rooms.  In our testing in a moderate-sized room, we felt performance was good.

Because of this product’s compact design, installation should be simple. The unit measures 5” x 14.75” x 5” and weighs 7.5 pounds. Users will likely find it easier to install this product because they can be more flexible with how they place it. In our experience, this center speaker offers amazing flexibility in placement because of its size.

However, they may also need to add a bass, as the recommended amplification is 10 to 200 watts.

Pros
  • Available in two colors, black and white
  • The compact design could make for a more natural fit
  • Gloss finish provides a professional look
  • Dual 4.5” pressure-driven planar radiators assist with low frequencies
  • Weighs an astounding 7.5 pounds
Cons
  • Dialogue sometimes sounds flat at low volumes
  • Could take up to 50 hours of listening time for the speaker to “break in.”

6. Yamaha NS-C210BL Center Channel Speaker

If you are looking to improve your home system’s audio but don’t have much room to work with, be sure to check out the Yamaha NS-C210BL.

It weighs less than five pounds and features a compact, slim design that will give drivers flexibility during the installation process.

The Yamaha NS-C210BL Center Channel Speaker is a tiny unit with good sound that packs a powerful punch.

These center speakers cost less than $90 and provide decent sound quality. Some may find that there is not a wide sound spectrum and that the speaker does not do well at extreme highs or lows. But, it has good soundstage and midrange, crisp high-end, and offers good dialogue for your theater experience.

But for most budget-minded listeners, the sound quality should be more than adequate. They feature a 7/8” balanced dome tweeter and a two-way bass-reflex speaker. The woofers measures 3.5”. This speaker won’t knock your socks off as the best, but it has a lot going for it.

The most notable thing about this speaker, however, was its size. It measures 5.2” x 13.4” x 4.2” and weighs less than 4.5 pounds. We found that because of how slim and lightweight this unit was, installation was significantly more straightforward than it was with some of the bulkier items on our list.

This speaker is an excellent option for those with limited space and no need to check your equipment cabinet for much space at all.

Pros
  • Designed to replicate sound from HD sources
  • Slim design is easier to fit into small areas
  • Light aluminum woofer cones make for quick responses
  • Users can choose from one of four high-quality finishes to match their interior
Cons
  • Bass levels are not very solid
  • 5” woofers are smaller than some of the others on our list
  • Not much high to low scale

7. Polk Audio T30 Center Channel Speaker

It’s no surprise to see another Polk product on our list of the top rated center channel speakers. This unit is one of the most affordable on our list, which should make it attractive to many buyers.

Some users complained about a lack of sound range, and it won’t be possible to use the floor standing and bookshelf speakers that Polk intended people to use with this unit.

Those searching for a center channel speaker on a budget will be hard-pressed to find better value than the Polk Audio T30, which comes at an affordable price.

The product features a 1” tweeter and a 5.25” Driver. Polk also included its’ Dynamic Balance technology, which is supposed to deliver a punchy sound with massive bass. However, remember that this is a pretty inexpensive speaker and folks with high expectations may be somewhat disappointed by the sound range of the product. Either way, we recommend using an included MCACC system as an equalizer to maximize sound quality.

Polk intended for people to use this product with their floor standing and bookshelf speakers, as it will be a good tonal match.

Polk says that the device is compatible with other AV Receivers and speakers, but users may need to play around with it considerably before finding a set-up that works correctly. The unit weighs about 11.5 pounds and measures 8.5” x 19” x 6.5”.

Pros
  • Vented enclosure helps deliver air flow
  • Polk’s Dynamic Balance technology delivers clear sound
  • Large drivers feature a 5.25” diameter
Cons
  • Some might find the sound range lacking
  • May need to use an include MCACC system to maximize sound quality

8. Pioneer Elite SP-EC73

Those willing to invest in a center channel speaker should take a look at this option from Pioneer Elite. The speaker is a bit bulky, weighing nearly 20 pounds.

However, it has impressive features, such as Coherent Source Transducer drivers and a three-way speaker design that delivers a wide range of sounds at all frequencies.

The Pioneer Elite SP-EC73 Andrew Jones Center Channel Speaker is one of the more expensive options on our list, checking in at nearly $200. For those ready to upgrade their center channel speaker, however, it could be a price well worth paying.

This speaker features a three-way speaker design that provides an impressive range. There are separate drivers for high, mid-range, and low frequencies. This type of setup has the advantage of greater clarity, good high-end, clearer midrange, and great music representation. The unit also comes with a five-inch passive radiator along with a five-inch bass driver that provides a dynamic bass performance. We found the dialogue sounded clear but that the speaker can sound a bit flat sometimes.

Unfortunately, this center speaker leans more to the bulkier side, which could make installation difficult. It measures 9.7” x 19.5” x 7.4” and weighs more than 17.5 pounds. Additionally, the speakers are not bi-wireable or bi-amplable.

They also require a lot of power to run. We recommend this product for those who have a good receiver with enough power to drive these speakers adequately to get the most out of them.

Pros
  • Three-way speaker design features three different drivers
  • 5” bass driver maximizes bass performance
  • Pioneer-designed Coherent Source Transducer drivers
  • Features dual gold-plated five-way binding posts
Cons
  • A bit pricier than other center channel speakers
  • Requires a lot of power to operate

9. MartinLogan Motion 8

This speaker represents elegance and is an excellent choice for those looking to upgrade their current center channel speaker.

The speakers are expensive, costing around $275. They feature a curved design allowing you to fill your room with ample sounds. This unit is best suited as an upgrade, not a starter center channel speaker.

The MartinLogan Motion 8 Speaker is best suited for those looking to upgrade their existing center channel speaker. This speaker is expensive but could be an investment well worth making and you no doubt going to enjoy it.

This speaker packs a punch with impressive features. The Folded Motion Tweeter design has eight-times the surface area of a standard 1” dome tweeter. It also squeezes air, requiring roughly 90 percent less excursion than a typical 1” dome tweeter. This works to provide exceptional sound and lightning-fast response time. This speaker can be perfect for a movie with crisp dialogue or just overall listening experience.

The MartinLogan Motion 8 also features a curved design. This could help maximize the sound quality in your room, but it could also make installation difficult. Users will need an abundance of space to ensure they can install the speaker properly, so check your receiver’s power output.

Those with small cabinets or shelves may not have an easy time installing this speaker. The speaker measures 5.3’ x 22.5” x 5.6” and weighs about 8.5 pounds.

Pros
  • Folded Motion Tweeter design features a large surface area and great sound
  • High-gloss finish is professional
  • Push-style speaker terminals make installation easy
Cons
  • Expensive brand, but one of the best out there

10. Fluance Signature Series HiFi Two-Way Speakers

The Fluance Signature Series Two-Way Speaker is another excellent option for those looking to boost the audio in their living room.

The speakers feature dual five-inch mid-range drivers with a pointed dome that provide an enhanced sound stage. There are also Neodymium tweeters that help capture high frequencies.

The Fluance Signature Series is another quality option worth considering.

These speakers feature dual 5” mid-range drivers with a pointed dome which can help distribute audio evenly. We did not pick up much distortion when testing the speakers, although some users said that they had trouble understanding dialogue when using the product.

The Neodymium tweeters made it possible to produce high frequencies without a problem.

These speakers are a bit bulky, measuring 10.6” x 18.9” x 7.3” and weighing just over 16 pounds. This should be a good speaker to live with, but note that it will take a bit more power to drive for best performance.

Pros
  • Available in Black and Natural Walnut
  • Features a magnetic grill cover
  • Product has five-inch mid-range drivers
Cons
  • Will need added power for best performance

Conclusion

Adding a center channel speaker to your home audio and video system is a proven way to get a powerful boost to your entertainment experiences and wonderful sound that you will enjoy for both music and movie dialogue. If you’re interested in going down this path, the above list of the best center channel speaker should give you some solid choices to consider.

With various types and sizes available, you should have no problem finding one that best fits your budget, current system, and room size.

About James Benchman
James Benchman
James is an Automotive Mechanic with over 20 years experience and 300+ car repairs. He is an expert with cars and has worked with different models from the biggest brands.James is a Mechanic , Husband , Father of 3 , and head of content at Caraudiologic. Learn more about us
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