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The Best Center Channel Speakers

Micca MB42X-C Center Channel Speaker

Editor's Choice
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Building a quality home theater system is no joke, and is often an initiative that requires a serious investment. That's why we're in love with the MB42X-C from Micca. This quality center speaker checks all our boxes when it comes to sound and performance without breaking the bank, making it a fantastic option for just about anyone.

Composed of dual 4-inch carbon fiber woofers with a .075-inch silk dome tweeter, we found that not only does this speaker look the part, but it produces clear, balanced audio that can make even Trainspotting easier to listen to. The mid- to high-ranges shine beautifully, while even low-range reproduction is admirable. Paired with a subwoofer that can reproduce those frequencies below 60Hz, you're in for a real treat.

What really makes this speaker standout, especially compared to Micca's standard model, is the 9-element 18dB/Octave crossover. If you aren't tech-savvy, a crossover splits the input signal into multiple output signals banded by the frequency range (low, mid, high) and filters them to the correct speaker for reproduction. The result is crisp, balanced sound across all frequencies ranges, and is a must for enjoying a film soundtrack the way it was intended.

In short, if you're looking for a quality but affordable center speaker to round out your home theater speaker system, look no further.

Key Features

  • 60Hz-20kHz frequency response
  • 100 Watts dual 4-inch carbon fiber woofers pack an audio punch
  • 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter delivers accurate imaging

Polk Audio T30 100 Watt Home Theater Center Channel Speaker

Runner Up
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If you have a little extra to spend, the T30 from Polk is an excellent option. Polk is a leading name in the audio world for over 40 years and for good reason. Their quality constructed speakers both look good and sound good, and their center speaker option is no exception.

Equipped with a standard 1-inch silk dome tweeter and dual 5.25-inch composite drivers, what really sets this option from Polk apart is its performance tuned rear firing bass port that enhances the low-range frequency response while ensuring its clarity. As it is rear-firing, be sure to experiment with placement in your home theater to ensure the best sound quality for your space. Yet don't fret too much about set-up, as the acoustically-inert MDF cabinet aids in reducing resonance and distortion, so you should get quality sound from just about any spot the room, with ideal placement just below your TV.

We're also a fan of its versatility, which allows for incorporation with most home theater AV receivers, allowing customization of your speaker set-up as you see fit. Paired with simply a subwoofer, or incorporated into a 9.1 set-up, enhance your next movie night with the T30.

Key Features

  • 100 Watt dual 5.25-inch composite driver woofers and 1-inch silk dome tweeter
  • 60Hz-24kHz frequency response
  • Proprietary Dynamic Balance technology

Sony SSCS8 2-Way 3-Driver Center Channel Speaker

Best Response
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If you're looking for the minimal amount of speakers needed for your home theater set-up, look no further. The SSCS8 from Sony makes our list for having impressive power and range all from a single center speaker.

Thanks to dual 4-inch foamed-mica cellular reinforced woofers, low- and mid-range frequencies have faithful reproduction, while the wide dispersion super tweeter really makes those high-frequencies sing, even up to 50kHz! The bass reflex system, which essentially routes low-range frequencies through an open port, aids in increased volume and reduced distortion. Sony also's does a solid job with their crossover components, which provides clear audio with minimal signal loss. We're sure even serious audiophile's will be pleased with the sound quality.

While impressive on its own, this speaker really comes to life paired with a subwoofer or larger speaker set-up.

All in all, this speaker delivers, and is a great addition to any home theater.

Key Features

  • Dual 4-inch MRC cone woofers, 1-inch soft dome tweeter
  • 55Hz-25kHz frequency response
  • 145 Watts of max input power

Pioneer SP-C22 Andrew Jones Home Audio Center Channel Speaker

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We at CinemaBlend are a big fans of Andrew Jones, which is why the SP-C22 from Pioneer graces our list. If you're not familiar, Jones has an impressive background in the audio world, including serving as chief speaker engineer at KEF, Infinity, TAD, and, of course, Pioneer. While revered by many audiophiles, what we love about his stint with Pioneer was his commitment to quality speakers that won't break the bank.

Similar to other center speaker designs, the SP-C22 features dual 4-inch woofers and 1-inch soft dome tweeter that are magnetically shielded for accurate audio reproduction across a large range of frequencies. The 6 element complex crossover ensures a perfectly blended and clear reproduction at low-, mid-, and high-ranges. We also love the curved design, which not only looks great, but aids in reducing standing waves inside the cabinet, enhancing the audio quality even more. While the 90 Watt power handling might be lower than other options on this list, we found this speaker still packs a punch, making movie night that much more exciting.

If you're looking for a stylish, exceptionally sounding center speaker, you can't go wrong with the SP-C22 from Pioneer.

Key Features

  • 90 Watt dual 4-inch woofers and 1-inch high efficiency soft dome tweeter
  • 55Hz-20kHz frequency response
  • 6 element complex crossover

Why Do You Need a Good Center Channel Speaker?

The center channel speaker is the single most important speaker in your home theater setup. Ever get frustrated watching an action movie at home because the explosions and music are insanely loud, but you can hardly hear the actors speaking? A good center channel will eliminate the need for turning the volume up and down every few minutes. The center channel speaker is the primary speaker that carries most of the action and conversation. In other words, the more in-your-face aspects of your programming.

Think about it like this: the center channel does most of your home theater system's heavy lifting. Most of the action happens front and center on your screen, right? That's what the center channel covers.

The center channel is separated from the front channels, which means you can adjust its volume level independent of the other speakers. This results in the main action--whether speaking, a car chase, or explosions, are front and center, while the background sound remains in the background where it belongs.

In addition, the center channel gives you greater sound coverage throughout the room. Your surround sound "sweet spot" is optimized for a specific point in the room you're in (hopefully a central part of the room), but the center channel gives a more naturalistic sound, giving you greater clarity and versatility.

What Makes a Good Center Channel Speaker?

Of course, there are a lot of potential features people look for, but you typically want a solid mid-range and high-end frequency response. Choose a brand known for its quality that uses solid materials and has sound construction.

In addition, your center channel should have similar sonic characteristics as the rest of your speakers (particularly the left and right front channel speakers). If you are looking to upgrade your existing surround sound system, you should shop for a center channel with similar characteristics as those speakers, though you can compensate somewhat using your receiver's equalizer.

Finally, many home theater aficionados prefer a center channel speaker that has a horizontal design. This allows you greater flexibility in placing the speaker in front of or beneath your television or projection screen.