Best Center Channel Speakers Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

With an unlimited budget, what do you think would your home entertainment system look like? I bet you would be looking for the best center channel speaker on earth, pair it with 12-inch subs (or you could go insane with some 16-inch subs!), and a few varying sizes of top-tier component speakers.

Central channel speakers would surely give you a way better movie experience than before. It would make the dialogues livelier as if the actors are talking directly to you! You may even get carried away and feel like you are part of the film!

We have reviewed the center channel Speakers. If you are in a hurry you can check out the followings:


To be the most affordable center channel speakers,  Polk TL1 Center  and Micca MB42-C would could be your choice.


If you have a huge entertainment room, you may want to consider Klipsch RP-450 C. It could be the loudest central channel speaker)


If you want to improve your movie-watching experience without mugging someone, Micca MB42-C is a good choice.


if you are looking for the most sophisticated central channel speaker, you may want to take a look at MartinLogan’s Motion 8

If you are one of those fellas who don't need to check the tag price before you make a purchase, can you please send me one?! Kidding aside, not every one of us can afford top of the line speakers. But that doesn't mean we can't have the amazing sonic experience, right?

Although usually, the expensive brands often offer the highest quality, that doesn’t mean that the more affordable versions are horrendous. Give it a chance, man! Maybe you are a little skeptic, and that may be the reason why you are looking for in-depth center channel speaker reviews here.

Below are 9 of the top-rated center channel speakers that you can get your hands on. Take note that we checked the most popular and most sought-after brands that won’t require bank financing loans! We have taken to account your budget, and you could take a look at the items below to see which is the best one for you considering how much you are willing to spend.

You can check out the table below for your quick reference.

Top-rated Center Channel Speakers in 2020

Item Description

Frequency Range

Power Rating

(Watts)

Weight

(Ibs)

Dimension 

(In)

53Hz - 25kHz

150

16

9.8 x 20 x 6.5

65Hz - 45kHz

100

4.4

5.2 x 13.4 x 4.2

95Hz - 22kHz

125

3.35

3.5 x 15 x 4

60Hz - 20kHz

100

5

7.1 x 15 x 5.3

89Hz - 21kHz

400

13.5

7.62 x 18.75 x 7.3

45Hz - 20kHz

140

17.6

9.7 x 19.5 x 7.4

6.81 x 31.13 x 14.51

70Hz - 25kHz

180

8.5

5.3 x 22.5 x 5.6

90Hz - 40kHz

150

17.4

No/10.4 x 24.5 x 6.3


1. Polk Audio CS10

The three friends, George Klopfer, Sandy Gross, and Matthew Polk, established Polk Audio almost half a century ago. They started out with automobile speakers and have widened their selection to this date to keep up with consumer demands. This California based company has brought live music experience to American homes since its establishment.

Polk Audio CS10

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Polk Audio CS10 Product Specifications

Polk Audio housed a 1-inch Polymer Composite Dynamic Balance Dome Tweeter fitted with potent Neodymium magnets in a stylish wedged rectangular box combined with two 5.25 inch Bi Laminate Composite Dynamic Balance Driver mid-woofers. The wedge design of the box allows you to position the speaker upside down to give you an upward angle. This allows you to get the sound signals at ear level if you place these speakers below your TV.

The compact narrow baffle geometry design compresses sound waves to a clear and crisp audible output. The face of the speaker is covered with a removable mesh cloth to protect the domes from dust and other elements.

The port vents are optimally located behind and center the two tweeters for smooth airflow that reduces “chuffing” and renders clear and reverberating bass tone.

The speakers stand 6.5 inches high, 9.8 inches in width, and spans 20inches on your tabletop. This speaker will take quite a space on your TV console. It spews 53Hz up to 25,000Hz and can handle 150watts of power. The box enclosure has an elegant wood grain finish.

The Pros

  • This speaker has two position settings for your best listening experience.
  • Polk Audio is a trusted brand that has been in the market for 47 years.
  • This center channel speaker is both stylish and durable.
  • The patented Dynamic Balance technology reduces distortion even when the volume is cranked up.
  • This speaker can handle up to 150watts of power.

The Cons

  • You may still need a separate subwoofer on your setup to get that creeping bass tones.
  • Take note of the dimension of the speakers because it will take some space.

2. Yamaha NS-C210BL

Yamaha is a Japanese company that has been in operation for more than a century. If a century is not that impressive for you, well, they are 32 years past that milestone today. Yamaha has been making musical instruments since its establishment and has been one of the best brands in the market.

Today, aside from musical instruments, they are also known for manufacturing household electronics, entry-level and professional-level audio equipment, watercraft, ATVs, motorized engines for different applications, and motorcycles. The Yamaha brand speaks of quality in every product they make.

Yamaha NS-C210BL

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Yamaha NS-C210BL Product Specifications

Yamaha’s NS-C210BL is fitted with two 7/8” dome tweeters with light aluminum cone woofers. The choice of light and durable material, aluminum, allows the audio signal to bounce with quick response giving a tight and crisp sonic characteristic. This speaker has a pronounced projection of the mid-range and the frequencies on the higher register.

The high-quality speakers spew out lossless media files with remarkable precision. The two-way bass reflex allows this unit to produce bass frequencies up to 65Hz with its compact enclosure. Amazingly, it could project sound signals as high as 45,000Hz!

This center channel speaker weighs about 4.4lbs and measures 13 3/8inches x 4 1/8inches x 5 3/16 inches. It’s quite compact and will only take little space on your TV console. But don’t judge this speaker by its size because it can handle up to 140watts of power. One last note, you won’t have to sell a kidney to get this one.

The Pros

  • Yamaha is an impressive company, and the brand almost equates to quality.
  • This center channel speaker is light and compact, and it wouldn’t take much space.
  • This compact speaker packs 140watts of maximum power.
  • It can render frequencies up to 45,000Hz!
  • This product has an affordable price for the quality you get.

The Cons

  • The lowest frequency this speaker could get is 65Hz. You may need a subwoofer to satisfy your sonic precision needs.
  • Although it can make use of 140 watts of power, it may not be able to fill a large entertainment room.

3. Polk Audio Blackstone TL1 Center

(Most Affordable Center Channel Speaker)

With nearly 50 years of experience in audio engineering, Polk Audio has become an authority in the home and professional audio equipment. Without the ability to adapt and revolutionize, companies would not last for decades. Since the beginning, Polk Audio has been keeping up with the current demands and building improvements to make sure that their patrons would fall in love over and over again with their products.

Polk Audio Blackstone TL1

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Polk Audio Blackstone TL1 Center Product Specifications

This curvy rectangular speaker can be easily integrated into your existing setup as your center channel speaker. The slick black finish gives it a simple and professional look. It is equipped with a half-inch silk dome tweeter. It has two 2.5-inch drivers fitted with injection-molded cones for the snappy response.

Polk Audio designed this central channel speaker with an aperiodic tuned rear port that enhances the bass frequencies, especially when mounted to a wall. If you are a fan of Polk Audio and you want a complete setup, you can individually purchase satellite speakers and integrate it into your system.

It’s very light and only weighs 3.35lbs. It spans 15 inches long on your TV console and only takes a small space. It requires minimal power and can operate efficiently at 10watts. But to get more engaging audio experience, you can safely power it up to 125watts.

This model can be mounted on the wall below or above your television. It has a total frequency range of 95Hz to 22,000 Hz.

The Pros

  • This center channel speaker has a low price for a Polk Audio Build.
  • The optimized vent behind it enhances the frequency response, especially when mounted to a wall.
  • It has a stylish finish and a small footprint.

The Cons

  • This is a set of small speakers, and, if you really want pristine speakers that can spew even the faintest footstep, this may not be for you.
  • To get more from it, you may need to purchase satellite speakers from your supplier.
  • Although it can handle up to 120 watts, you may shorten the lifespan of this device if maxed out frequently.

4. Micca MB42-C 

(Most Affordable Center Channel Speaker)

Micca is an emerging brand that entered the US market not long ago. Their products are designed in the United States and are manufactured in HongKong. Micca is a brand owned by Highland Technologies Ltd. In China. With low production costs, they are able to pass along their products to consumers.

Micca MB42-C

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Micca MB42-C Product Specifications

Micca MB42-C is one of the most affordable central channel speakers that you could get your hands on. It has a classic rectangular design that won’t go out of fashion. Two 4-inch mid-range woofers and one .75-inch silk dome twitter are fitted inside a 5.3-inch x 15-inch x 7.1-inch box.

The mid-range woofers equipped carbon fiber cone can render frequencies as low as 60Hz and can reach up to 20,000Hz with the silk dome tweeter. This unit can handle power up to 100watts efficiently.

The Pros

  • This speaker set is incredibly affordable.
  • The classic design blends in pretty easily with your environment.
  • It can make use of up to 100watts of power.

The Cons

  • The brand is pretty young in the industry and has not proven much yet.
  • The enclosure is a little lightweight and vibrates when cranked up.

5. Klipsch R-52C

Paul Wilbur Klipsch is one of the forerunners of High-Fidelity audio signals in is known for the revolutionary horn loudspeaker. His hunger for pristine sound quality pushed him to be one of the greatest audio engineers of all time. Of course, what is a renowned audio engineer without a product line after his name?

Klipsch believes that music should be reproduced with the highest efficiency without distortion. They have mastered controlling the direction of soundwaves without wasting an inch of acoustic energy. Klipsch aims to reproduce the loudest sound while rendering all signals from a wide dynamic range giving the faintest detail a lively tune. Lastly, to recreate the most accurate rendition of the actual sound when it was recorded, they deliver audio with flat frequency response.

Klipsch R-52C

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Klipsch R-52C Product Specification

Klipsch’s center channel speaker is equipped with a Linear Travel Suspension (LTS) tweeter that is made of lightweight and weather-resistant aluminum. Instead of your regular dome tweeters, R-52 C is fitted with two 90x90 tractrix horn speakers that reduce unnecessary reverberation on your surroundings, giving you crisp audio rendition.

It has two 5.25 inch injection molded graphite (IMG) cones that are made of spun copper. The spun copper material is rigid and light, which allows it to spew remarkable low frequencies without distortion. The rectangular enclosure houses this high-quality speaker measuring 7.3 inches x 18.75 inches x 7.6 inches. This speaker set can handle 89Hz to 21,000Hz.

To make sure that the sounds vibrate without interference and unnecessary coloration, Klipsch used a closed reinforced MDF cabinet. This beast can handle up to 400watts of peak power and will rock you and your guest whenever you binge-watch!

The Pros

  • The brand itself speaks of unprecedented quality that many companies are trying to imitate.
  • Klipsch makes use of the most recent audio technology to bring it to your home.
  • The Tractrix Horn attached to the tweeter is a game-changer.
  • This speaker can be cranked up to 400watts and summon a few angry neighbors.
  • Klipsch still managed to pack this 400watt beast inside this compact enclosure.
  • It’s heavy enough to keep your speakers still even when cranked.

The Cons

  • Since this is not an entry-level model, you can expect that it has a high price.
  • Although it has an excellent bass response, this is not an all-in-one speaker, and you may still need a separate subwoofer to get lower frequencies.

6. Pioneer Elite SP-EC73

Pioneer is another Japanese brand that was born in Tokyo, Japan. Nozomu Matsumoto was the genius behind this brand. For more than 80 years, this company has been producing top-quality audio, navigation, home appliances, professional electronics, and many others.

Pioneer is one of the companies that revolutionized audio technology. In fact, they are the ones to introduce the world to the first separate stereo system! After their innovation, many others followed suit and moved forward following their track.

Pioneer Elite SP-EC73

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Pioneer Elite SP-EC73 Product Specification

Elite SP-EC73 is a central channel speaker designed by Andrew Jones. If you are wondering who Andrew Jones is, well, he is known for his impressive work and design he did for many renowned companies like KEF, Infinity, and Pioneer.

This central channel speaker brings style and high-quality audio in your entertainment room. The slick and curvy shape of the enclosure is not only for show. This design optimizes the projection of all frequencies and eliminates standing waves. Combined with the Coherent Source Transducer (CST) design, sound projection towards the listener is perfectly timed for a pristine sonic experience.

Instead of porting the enclosure for a vent, Pioneer designed this speaker with a 5.25-inch forward-facing passive radiator. This eliminates choking when the low frequencies are fired to a wall, thus, giving you a better bass response.

This high-end center channel speaker is a true 3-way speaker. It has a 1inch soft dome tweeter, a 4-inch aluminum mid-range woofer, and a 5.25inch woofer. It is enclosed in a curvy rectangular box measuring 19.5”x7.4x9.7.

It spews out frequencies as low as 45Hz and as high as 20kHz.  It’s made with high-quality materials and weighs more than 17lbs. This speaker can operate up to 140watts maximum power.

The Pros

  • For one, Pioneer is one of the oldest companies that have been producing entry-level and professional-grade audio equipment for a wide range of applications. This means that the brand can be trusted.
  • This is a three-way speaker that would work well even without satellites or a sub-woofer.
  • The stylish design also adds function in eliminating standing waves.
  • Coherent Source Transducer (CST) makes sure that the sound projected is at 100% accuracy.
  • It is equipped with forward-facing passive radiators that eliminate choking, enhances the bass response, and directs it toward the listener.

The Cons

  • This product is quite pricey.
  • It is quite large and heavy.
  • Satellites, tower speakers, and subs are sold separately at high prices.

7. Klipsch RP-450C

(The Loudest Central Channel Speaker)

For seventy-three years, Klipsch has been one of the authorities in the realm of Audio equipment. Well, with a Paul Wilbur Klipsch behind, it’s no surprise that they thrived and have gone this long in the industry. Paul started out at a tin shed, but now, the company is growing exponentially.

Klipsch RP-450C

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Klipsch RP-450C Product Specification

Klipsch RP-450C is another high-end central channel speaker that commands a high price. This rectangular box has a piano black finish that also uses tractrix horn speakers. Only the high-quality materials are used in this model to make sure that it stands out among the competition.

It has a 1” linear travel suspension tweeter that gives out clear and crisp mids and highs. This tweeter is fitted with a 90x90 tractrix horn that ensures clarity and pristine rendition of audio frequencies. Instead of just spun copper, they used a cerametallic spun copper cones that surpass the quality of the former — combining all these elements results in lifelike audibles!

The MDF cabinet is made of Brushed Polymer Veneer Baffle Finish, which is not just stylish and durable; it also improves the acoustic projection of the high, mid, and low frequencies. With four 5.25 inch woofers, you can expect this central channel speaker to be heavy. It weighs almost 36lbs!

It measures 6.81” x 31.13” x 14.51” and sits flush on flat surfaces. It covers 58Hz up to 25kHz and can handle a peak of 600watts! Imagine how much sound you get to fill your room with it! This will easily fill a small entertainment room and pack a large multi-media room with amazing audio!

The Pros

  • Klipsch is a brand that speaks of quality that you can trust.
  • This central speaker is equipped with four woofers.
  • It can handle up to 600watts of peak power and fill your media room with a pristine quality audio signal.
  • There is no question about the durability and quality of make.
  • The designer thought of the acoustics and the aesthetics as well.
  • Klipsch’s Tractrix horn emphasizes the mids and highs giving you clear and audible dialogs and sound effects.

The Cons

  • This product is pretty costly.
  • It will easily cost you a large sum if you purchase the subs and towers.

8. MartinLogan Motion 8

MartinLogan is a Canadian-American company that specializes in manufacturing speakers. They make a wide range of speaker selection for different applications. Although they are not as big as the top brands, they are in existence for 40 years to date.

They may not be as globally available as the famous Japanese brands, but they are delivering competitive quality comparable to the huge brands.

MartinLogan Motion 8 Center Channel Speaker

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MartinLogan Motion 8 Product Specification

The most notable feature that you will see at a glance is the Motion 8’s convex shape. Well, technically, you may not notice it easily when it is directly facing you, but when you look at it from the top, you will notice its shape.

This unconventional shape is not just there for aesthetics. MartinLogan chose this shape to make sure that the listeners in front of the central channel speaker are enveloped and captivated by whatever it is that they are watching. The signal coming from the speaker points a little outward, making sure that all sections are covered with its astounding sound.

It comes with two 4inch mid-woofers that allows the speakers to render frequencies as low as 70Hz. MartinLogan is proud to use their Folded Motion Transducers (folded tweeters) that, they claim, is way better than dome tweeters. Instead of a resonant cone, the folded tweeters use an accordion-like diaphragm that vibrates.

The rectangular format of the vibrating diaphragm gave MartinLogan more control over the angle of sound projection. Instead of randomly spewing sound waves at a 180-degree angle, they are able to taper it to 80x80 degrees concentrating rich sound towards its front.

This central channel speaker measures 5.6” x 22.25” x 5.25”. You can power it up with as little as 20watts up to a maximum of 180watts.

The Pros

  • Instead of regular dome tweeters, they used folded tweeters that have a more focused sound direction.
  • The convex design isn’t just stylish; it is also functional as it helps disperse sound evenly.

The Cons

  • It only weighs 8.5lbs and may vibrate a bit when you crank up the volume.
  • This product is quite expensive.

9. JBL Arena 125C

JBL is another company with decades of innovating experience in its sleeves. For 73 years, they have delivered top-quality audio equipment that is recognized worldwide. This company was founded by James Bullough Lansing in 1946, and the name JBL continues to wow people with the sound quality they produce.

JBL Arena 125C 2-Way

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JBL Arena 125C Product Specification

Arena 125C is a pretty straightforward low profile central channel speaker. It has two 5.5inch mid-woofers and one 1inch dome tweeter. The rectangular shape is nothing special that you will notice when placed on your TV console or mounted on the wall. The simple design easily conforms to almost any setup. But you can’t really tell how good it is with just the looks.

The dome tweeters are powerful enough to reach frequencies up to 40,000Hz. The powerful 5.5inch divers can render frequencies as low as 90Hz. To make this product more interesting, JBL used its High Definition Imaging (HDI) waveguide technology. This feature spreads audio frequencies at the correct levels, no matter how you position the speakers. Another amazing thing about this speaker is it only needs at least 20watts up to a maximum of 150watts of power!

This product will take a bit of space on your TV console with its 10.4 x 24.5 x 6.3-inch dimension. It’s quite heavy too and weighs 17.64lbs, but it sure won’t budge even when you max your volume.

The Pros

  • JBL is a world recognized brand that won’t let you down.
  • You will be surprised at how loud this speaker can get with its size.
  • The HDI waveguide tech ensures that you will enjoy listening to it at any angle or position.
  • It only needs 20watts of power to give you a good time binge-watching.

The Cons

  • An additional subwoofer may be needed if you want to go lower than 90Hz.
  • This product may be a little expensive for its features and configuration.

Central Channel Speakers Buyer’s Guide

Setting up a home entertainment system is exciting! Choosing the right sized TV (isn’t it always the biggest?), the speaker system, the couch (or theater seats!), beanbags, the carpet, the soundproofing, everything! It’s an exhilarating feeling, I know! It would cost a lot, but if you have been saving for it, I know you would only want the best.

Being ready to spend a lot, I also know you wouldn’t want to make the mistake of purchasing the wrong low profile center channel speaker. I know you want to get the biggest bang for every buck. That’s probably the reason why you are here! You want to check out what fits your needs.

Now, here are a few tips to make sure that you are gonna end up with the center channel speaker that matches your needs.

The Cost

To be honest, how much you are willing to spend should be the first question. I know you have a pretty good idea of how much these things cost. It could be as low as a hundred up to a thousand bucks! That’s a wide range, right? But, really, how much are you willing to spend?

Here’s the catch, though. Usually, the top-quality performance you are looking for comes with a heavy price tag. The more affordable versions are a few notches below the premium speakers. However, you could always go for the not-so-expensive ones that work great.

If you have an 80inch 8K display TV, a few thousand more for the central channel speakers won’t hurt!

Room Size

It’s easy to fall for the big ones, the one with the most number of N, or the one with the highest power rating. I know, sometimes, it feels like you would miss out if you skip on the high end and get the one a few notches below it.

However, imagine a 400watt speaker, take note, this is just your central channel speaker, you probably have some tower speakers or other satellite speakers alongside it, and a subwoofer. With all that, let’s say you get a total of 2000watts of potential power. That is more than enough power to fill a 1000sqft room!

If you only have a 200sqft home theater, this setup would be beyond deafening! So, you would definitely want to consider how much juice you want your device to have. As a rule of thumb, 1 watt of power is enough to fill 1sqm (about 3 sqft) space. Now, you may want to multiply that number to two or three so that you wouldn’t be maxing your volume all the time.

Power Rating

In consideration of room size, you also want to check for the maximum power rating and the RMS. The RMS rating means how much power your speakers can handle indefinitely without damaging your unit. Now, if you have a 200sqft room, 20watts of power would do enough. But, of course, doubling that would make the experience more interesting.

But, you don’t want your peak power rating at 40watts because that means you need to crank the volume to max to get the most out of it. Now, if you are operating at peak power, binge-watching for hours could damage or shorten the life expectancy of your central channel speaker.

So, a hundred watts of power for a 200sqft room would be more than enough. You could squeeze out more power as needed without damaging your speakers.

Size of Drivers

Usually, the basic center channels speaker has one tweeter and two mid-range drivers. Some models have double the number of mid-range woofers. Now, it's not always "how many?" that matters. In this case, the size of the drivers' matters.

A 5.5-inch driver can render lower frequencies efficiently compared to a 4inch driver. The bigger voice coils can spew lower frequencies, and the larger cones can handle it without distortion. The bottom line, size matters.

However, if you want that booming bass that you can feel on your chest, you will need a subwoofer.

Aesthetics

Finally, looks may matter to you. For me, it’s function vs. aesthetics. I would check on the function first, fussing about the outward appearance of the gadget. If I get torn between a stylish speaker versus a simple-looking speaker with better specifications on the same price range, I’d go for the latter.

However, this may not be the case for everyone. Maybe you are particular with the color. Satin finish versus a matt finish may be a deal-breaker to you. That does matter! The central channel speaker would sit in front of you, and you will catch a view of it while watching a movie.

So, you may want to take into account how your speaker looks, aside from how much it can perform.

Last Words

Setting up your home theater would require a lot of speakers, believe me. Watching TV with the audio coming from the TV is a dull experience when you get the feel of a full entertainment setup with different speaker channels working on different frequencies at a time.

It’s pretty much like watching a movie in a theater, but better! Now, the central channel speaker is something you don’t want to omit. It carries the highs and mids of the audio signal straight to your face. That is where the dialogs are coming from, so having this means that you get to understand what people are talking about in the movie while you are immersed with the sound effects.

Hopefully, this roundup could help you select the right speakers for your setup. If you want to improve your movie-watching experience without mugging someone, Micca MB42-C is a good choice. Although, it may not give you that movie-theater experience, it’s still an upgrade from the TV’s built-in speakers.

If you have a huge entertainment room, you may want to consider Klipsch RP-450 C. It uses Tractrix Horn technology combined with four 5.25” drivers with spun copper cerametallic cone woofers. It can handle up to 600watts of power, efficiently giving you a beyond movie-theater experience.

Lastly, if you are looking for the most sophisticated central channel speaker, you may want to take a look at MartinLogan’s Motion 8. It uses a Folded Motion Tweeter that gives a clear, crisp, and precise rendition of mids and highs at the optimal 80x80 angle.

These are the best center channel speakers according to their merits that had stood out among the nine products that we have gone through. I hope this article will help you end up with the right speakers you are looking for!

(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)
john andrews
 

HI, John Andrew here. I’ve been an audiophile since I was a little kid. I’m an original member of myaudiolover . It emerged as a way for me to share my passion and knowledge for audio technology. If you’re looking for tips, techniques, and insights about audio-tech, that can enable your productions that professional edge, then MyAudioLover is the place for you!

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