7 Best Center Speakers For Home Theater (Reviewed)

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The Center speaker is the most important component of any home theater.

It takes care of a lot of dialogue when the character is talking in the center of the screen. And at least 70% to 85% of the time characters in movies and TV shows are at the center of the screen. It takes care of the lyrics too.

Also, the Centre channel should have a tight grip on varieties of frequencies. They should not be focused only on one end of the sound like a subwoofer.

That’s why it is very important to have the best center speaker because it will generate 85% of the dialogues and 100% of the lyrics in the movies, TV shows, and music.

Our Top Tested & Reviewed Products At A Glance

Speaker

Amplifier Power Required (RMS)

Sensitivity

Ratings

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( Best For Medium To Large Theater Rooms)

Klipsch RP-504C

N/A

up to 150 Watts

97 dB

5/4.9

( Best For Small To Medium Theater Rooms)

Klipsch R-52C

N/A



Up to 100 Watts

95 dB

5/4.9


(✨Best Alternative For 1st speaker of this list)

Polk Audio S35

N/A

Up to 150 Watts

88 dB

5/4.8

( Best Only For Small Theater Rooms)

Polk Audio T30

N/A

up to 100 Watts

90 dB

5/4.7

Note
dB is the intensity of the sound. In other words, it indicates how much area it can cover or travel to in your theater room. If a speaker is labeled as 97 dB. It means if you power the speaker with 1 watt, its sound pressure at a 1-inch distance will be 97dB.

But take note of this, if you want a better experience out of the center speaker then make sure that the left and right speakers are of the same brand, and for a more optimal experience, they should be from the same series.

I have installed many center speakers for my clients, bought them for my business, and tested them out in my friends’ houses. That’s why I am the best person to educate you about it.

Without taking much time, let’s start discussing the top ones.

All Products At A Glance – Review Of Each Product Is Below This Table

SpeakerAmplifier Power Required (RMS)SensitivityFrequency ResponsePrice RangeEditor’s Ratings
Klipsch RP-504cup to 150 Watts97dB58Hz to 25kHzUnder $5004.9
Klipsch R-52Cup to 100 watts95dB89Hz to 21kHzUnder $5004.9
Polk Audio S35up to 150 Watts88dB53Hz to 40kHzUnder $5004.8
Polk Audio T30up to 100 Watts90dB55Hz to 24kHzUnder $2004.7
DT CS-906050 to 300 Watts91dB30Hz to 40kHzUnder $10004.5
Sony SSCS8up to 145 Watts86dB55Hz to 24kHzUnder $2004.2
Pioneer SP-C22up to 90 Watts88dB55Hz to 29kHzUnder $3003.7

1. Klipsch RP-504C – Best Center Speaker Under $500

Specifications

Speakers Power: 600 Watts | Finishes: Piano Black, Ebony, and Walnut  | Drivers Type: 2.5 Ways | Frequency Response: 58 Hz to 25 kHz

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4.9Expert Score

Specifications
9.8
Build Quality
10
Sound Quality
10
pros
  • Clear and distinct dialogues and lyrics
  • Perfect integration with left and right front speakers
  • Nice beautiful design
  • Quad woofers for robust sound imaging
  • Clear, crisp, and accurate highs and mids with noticeable lows
  • It can fill medium to high theater rooms
Cons
  • Very heavy. Installation and carrying is a two-person job
  • Large in size and needs a large space for the placement

Is It For You?

For those who want the best sound-firing speakers for their center channel with a premium beautiful design.

Build Quality

The casing is strong and can last very long. The quad woofer is something that can match the modern-age quad-camera trend.

The copper color of each woofer and the copper rings over it look fascinating and can transform the look of any theater room.

Sound Quality

Each woofer is 5.25 inches which can fire mids and lows accurately. Combined they create sound goodness. The titanium tweeter is very tight at the highs.

The lyrics and dialogue were clear and easy to understand.

Unique Features

The beautiful quad woofers, beautiful overall design, and incredible sound.

Detail Review Of Klipsch RP-504C

This is the best Centre speaker because of its high-quality 1-inch Titanium tweeter and 5.25-inch copper cerametallic 4 woofers. 

This Titanium tweeter is very capable of throwing high-quality and accurate highs and the woofers are capable of throwing punchy mids and a noticeable amount of lows.

These quad woofers give me modern vibes because today is the age of Quad cameras and this speaker design catches that age.

It comes in three finishes but I like the walnut one. I love its woody texture because it gives a premium touch to my client’s theatre room.

My client wanted the best center speakers for under $500. I installed this massive huge goodness in his theatre room.

I tested out with the movies and music. The dialogues were clear and I have never witnessed so much clarity in the same dialogues before.  

The lyrics were clear and easy to understand for a guy like me whose first language is not English.

There were significant lows in it and I think it will fill small rooms without a sub but I will still recommend a sub for a robust experience.

The best thing I liked about it is the Klipsch Rp-504C was dominant over the left and right speakers during the movies and the dialogues were clear and loud. It made it easy for me to understand the movie. The sound effects were then carried out by the surrounding speakers and that is another debate.

During the music, the left and right speakers dominated the RP-504C and here the music felt with all the tones and the lyrics with its beautiful pitch hit my ears very well. It is very important that the left and right speakers dominate the center if the music is decoded in stereo because after that the stereo music feels original. But if your music is decoded in surround sound then tweak the dB levels of the front speakers in the receiver sound control menu.

I hope you understood what I said.

This speaker looks fantastic without the grill. The copper rings around the tweeter and each woofer gives a fabulous look to it. My client wanted to keep this without the grill because his wife loves it.  

It’s a huge Joy for us (home theatre enthusiasts) when the wife says yes to it. This is the second Yes of my girl to be celebrated.


2. Klipsch R-52C – Best For Medium Size Cinema Rooms & Best One under $300

Specifications

Speakers Power: 400 Watts | Finishes: Black  | Drivers Type: 2 Ways | Frequency Response: 89 Hz to 21 kHz

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4.9Expert Score

Specifications
9.7
Build Quality
10
Sound Quality
9.9
Pros
  • The dialogue and lyrics are crystal clear
  • It can fill medium rooms
  • Design is fabulous
  • Well build
Cons
  • For crispness in dialogues, it needs little treble tweaks in the receiver sound settings or you can use a sound optimization mic that comes with almost every modern receiver.

Is It For You?

For those who want crystal clear dialogues and lyrics for their medium-sized theater room.

Build Quality

The build quality is fantastic and the look is beautiful. The body is sealed and has no ports.

Sound Quality

The dialogues and lyrics were clear but needed treble adjustment for crispness.

Unique Features

The signature design and clarity in the lyrics and dialogues.

Detail Review Of Klipsch R-52C

This center speaker is the best fit for medium theatre rooms.  It can fill medium-sized rooms easily with its crystal clear sound.

 It is a 2-way speaker that consists of a 1-inch tweeter and two 5.25-inch woofers.

At the back, it has the 5-ways binding posts. The Copper color at the front looks fantastic with those copper color screws.

The design is sealed and doesn’t have any ports. It is comparatively bigger than many center channel speakers so be prepared for it.

My friend has this in his theatre room.  He placed two towels underneath it. He lifted this speaker a little so it could match his seating area. In this way, he is getting even more enhanced sound.

I tested it out and the lyrics and dialogue of the movies were crystal clear and very detailed.

The mids and highs were very well-defined but the low end was missing.

I like the look of the theatre room and the quality of the sound a lot.  I will recommend this for medium size theatre rooms.

The quality of sound can be affected a lot by the noise coming into the theater room. You must soundproof your home theatre to have flawless sound. Read my guide about it.


3. Polk Audio S35 – Best For It’s Slim Design

Specifications

Speakers Power: 150 Watts | Finishes: Black  | Drivers Type: 2 Ways | Frequency Response: 53 Hz to 40 kHz

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4.8Expert Score

Specifications
9.8
Build Quality
10
Sound Quality
9.7
Pros
  • Crisp and clear lyrics and dialogues
  • Clean and crafted mids and highs
  • Premium look
  • Wall mountable
Cons
  • Not good in the lows of the sound
  • The ports are in the mounting hardware and that is annoying

Is It For You?

For those who want a premium-looking speaker with clear and tight Mids and highs.

Build Quality

The build quality feels premium, especially without the grille. The speaker is slim and can fit in many spaces. 

The 6 woofers look fantastic at a glance.

Sound Quality

The sound is amazing and the dialogues and lyrics were clearer than before with many more new voices and sounds in the same movies.

Unique Features

The slim design and 6 woofers in a row.

Detail Review Of Polk Audio S35

This speaker has a slim design with a wall mounting facility.

At the front, it has a 1-inch tweeter and six 3-inch woofers.  The design looks premium and the sound quality is top-notch.

At the back, it has 5-way binding posts with mounting Hardware at the left and right sides.

The front grille is magnetic and it is very smooth in attaching and detaching.

The design is slim and it is very space-friendly. It can fit easily under the screen but it is very heavy.

My client wanted the best Centre speaker in his price range. I installed this S35 in his theatre room. 

I tested it out with music and movies.  The lyrics in the music and the dialogue in the movies were clear, crisp, and full of accuracy.

My client turned around and told me that he was experiencing new voices and sounds in the same movies that he had never experienced before.

He told me that his theatre system completely skyrocketed in quality after installing S35.

The mids and highs were clear and punchy but the lows were not impressive. 

I wall-mounted this S35 below his TV. The mounting process was quick and easy.

You can also use the best wall mounting speakers to go with it. It will truly blend in with them. Read my review about it.


4. Polk Audio T30 – Best For Small Cinema Rooms

Specifications

Speakers Power: 100 Watts | Finishes: Black Oak | Drivers Type: 2 Ways | Frequency Response: 55 Hz to 24 kHz

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Check Price & Reviews On Amazon

4.7Expert Score

Specifications
9.8
Build Quality
10
Sound Quality
9.7
Pros
  • The dialogue and lyrics feel refined and they are clear
  • The drivers are great in the Mids and highs
  • It can fill up small rooms very well
  • The build quality is good
Cons
  • Sound quality is for the beginner home theater owners

Is It For You?

For those who own a small theater room and want room-filling speakers for it that has not a huge insane price tag.

Build

The build quality is firm and helps to remove distortion from the sound on high volumes. 

Sound

The mids and highs are smooth and the dialogues and lyrics are clear and crisp.

Unique Features

Well-balanced mids and highs for small theater rooms.

Detail Review Of Polk Audio T30

This is the 2-way speaker and the best one for small theatre rooms.

It consists of a 1-inch tweeter and two 5.25-inch woofers. At the back, it has 5-way binding posts with a port. 

It comes in a black oak finish that looks beautiful with and without the grille on.

My client called me and said, “Whenever I up the volume for the dialogue to hear it clearly then a sudden change in the scene sound blasts the speakers and it annoys me a lot. Then I rush to lower the volume. I need a solution for this”.

His theatre room is small, that’s why I used this speaker for his center channel.

I played music and movies, and the lyrics and the dialogues were clear and refined.

My client told me that this annoying problem of up and lowering the volume has been solved.

This T30 got enough power to fill a small theatre room with its sound. It integrated very well with all the speakers in the 5.1 system.

On higher volumes, there was no distortion in the sound. The mids and highs were accurate but don’t expect any significant lows from it.

5. Definitive Technology CS-9060 – Best For Dialogues & The Best Under $1000

Specifications

Speakers Power: 300 Watts | Finishes: Black  | Drivers Type: 3 Ways | Frequency Response: 30 Hz to 40 kHz

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4.6Expert Score

Specifications
9.9
Build Quality
10
Sound Quality
10
Price Tag
6.7
Pros
  • A second subwoofer in your room
  • Balanced, accurate, crisp, and clear at all levels
  • Equipped with a 300-watt internal amp
  • Immersive dialogues, music, and games
  • Beautiful design
Cons
  • Can’t rely on its sub alone in medium to large rooms. Need another sub for its help

Is It For You?

For those who want a fancy product for their theater room with punchy lows, accurate mids, and clear highs of sound, and also for those who are comfortable with spending a good budget for a single speaker.

Build Quality

The build quality is sleek and looks amazing with that transparent grill and glowing logo at the bottom.

Sound Quality

The sound is immersive due to the 8-inch integrated sub. The 2 woofers and a tweeter are making dialogues and lyrics clearer and more pleasant.

Unique Features

The built-in subwoofer and sleek simple design.

Detail Review Of Definitive Technology CS-9060

This could be the 2nd best center speaker due to its 3-way design but its price is holding it in 5th position.  It consists of a 1-inch tweeter and two 4.5-inch woofers with an 8-inch subwoofer on the top.

The sound is well-balanced on all levels. The lows are crisp, the mids are punchy, and the highs are clear and accurate.

When the characters are talking on the screen it feels like they are in front of me. The built-in 8-inch subwoofer will replace a dedicated sub only in a small theatre room and that too when it is acoustically treated. But for a medium to a large room, you can’t rely on this sub. You will need an additional sub for that immersive and robust sound.

It is equipped with a 300-watt internal amp to power its needs.

The design looks simple and sleek with its acoustically transparent grill.  This grill doesn’t interfere with the quality of the sound and allows clear and pure sound to go through.

The Definitive Technology logo at the bottom glows when it’s on. That glow gives an amazing touch to its design. 

At the back, there are two binding posts with one input for the sub, a Sublevel adjustment knob, and a port. 

My client wanted the best center speaker with a low profile. The connectivity of this speaker is a little different than other center channels. 

Luckily my client receiver had pre-out options for the center channel. I connected the LFE input to the pre-out center of the receiver. 

If your receiver doesn’t provide pre-outs then you should have an amplifier that provides pre-outs. Otherwise, this speaker will be running without its subwoofer.

After the connection, I tested out with movies, music, and games.  My client already had a subwoofer and the sub in this speaker helped that subwoofer boost those lows even more.

The dialogue was clear and crisp. Seems like the characters are in my theatre room.  The blasts in the movies and games were immersive.

The lyrics in the songs were clear and easy to understand and the music was smooth and punchy.

The bass was the best because there was another sub already installed in the room.

For deep and thumping bass you must have the best subwoofer. Click on the bluish words to read my review about it.


6. Sony SSCS8 – 2nd Best For Small Cinema Rooms

Specifications

Speakers Power: 145 Watts | Finishes: Black | Drivers Type: 2 Ways | Frequency Response: 55 Hz to 24 kHz

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Pros

  1. Dialogues and lyrics with depth
  2. They were clear and deep
  3. Mids and highs were accurate 
  4. The tweeter is wide dispersion capable

Cons

The frequency is damn high

Is It For You?

For those who want to just pay more dollars than the T30. This is the only reason to go with this one.

Build Quality

The build quality is good because it is made of nice wood that helps to eliminate vibrations from the sound.

Sound Quality

The dialogues and lyrics were very deep and the sound filled the small theater room without distortions or errors.

Unique Features

The tweeter is wide sound dispersion capable.

Detail Review Of Sony SSCS8

It is the 2-way speaker and the second-best for small theatre rooms. 

It consists of a 1-inch tweeter and 4-inch two-woofers with a port at the back. The binding posts are also at the back of it.

The best thing about the tweeter is that it is wide dispersion capable. No more straight-sitting obsession for the perfect sound.

The casing is of good quality wood that eliminates unwanted vibrations in the sound.

My friend has this speaker in his theatre room and I tested it out through music and movies. The dialogue and lyrics were very deep and clear. I love the depth of the dialogue.

It is a fairly large speaker but can serve small theatre rooms very well.

The wide dispersion of the tweeter was felt in many different angles and areas of the room.

The wide dispersion of sound can hit hard surfaces and sound will reflect several times and will cause sound reverberation. That’s why you should install acoustic panels to solve this issue. Read my guide about it.


7. Pioneer SP-C22 – Best For Rubber Feet Grip

Specifications

Speakers Power: 90 Watts | Finishes: Black | Drivers Type: 2 Ways | Frequency Response: 55 Hz to 20 kHz

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Pros

  1. It is the 3rd best for small theater rooms or bedrooms
  2. The sound in mid and low volume is amazing
  3. The dialogue and lyrics were clear and deep
  4. The tilting options of those rubber feet of it
  5. Design is cool

Cons

  1. It lacks high levels of sound
  2. On high volume, there was resonance in the case
  3. It is larger than its price range. Be prepared

Is It For You?

For those who are comfortable with mid and low volume in their small theater room. 

Build Quality

The build quality is firm and the finish looks stunning but the casing contributes to a lot of resonance on higher volume.

Sound Quality

The dialogue and lyrics are easy to understand and are deep but don’t expect the same quality on high volume.

The mids and lows of the sound are good and very well-defined but the highs are not.

Unique Features

The rubber feet with tilt capabilities.

Detail Review Of Pioneer SP-C22

It is a 2-way speaker and the 3rd best center speaker for small theatre rooms.

It has two 4-inch woofers and the tweeter is a soft dome.

At the back, it has dual ports with 5-way binding posts. The backside of this speaker looks amazing with its stunning binding post and ports.

The casing is firm and made up of good material. The finish is wood grain and looks amazing in the theatre room.

This is designed by the world-renowned audio engineer Andrew Jones. He is well-qualified and has experience working with many well-known speaker brands.

My friend has this in his small theatre room and I tested it out with music and movies.

The dialogues were clear and deep, especially the males’ ones. The lyrics were clear and crisp.

I noticed good low and mid-levels but the Highs were terrible. Also on very high volume, I did not like the performance of it. There was a noticeable amount of resonance due to its casing.

On lower and mid-volume the sound was top quality.

The best thing that I like about it is its feet. I can tilt it to adjust it according to my seating position. Now, my other friend doesn’t need to place a towel underneath it for adjustment.


FAQs

What makes a good center channel speaker?

The best center speaker will be that which has a good grip on all three levels of sound. It should have punchy lows and mids and clear and accurate highs.

The lows are not required to be hi-fi; they should only be of a noticeable amount. Because for hi-fi bass, we will use a sub.

Why do I say there must be all levels of sound in it? Because the center speaker is responsible to fire a wide range of dialogues and lyrics and for that, it needs to firm all levels of the sound.

What is the most important speaker in a Home Theatre?

The important speakers are those that will be used for dialogues and lyrics. Because if the dialogues and lyrics are not of good quality then the whole movie and music experience will be dull. 

That’s why the most important speaker is the center and the 2nd important are the front left and right speakers. When characters are at the left and right then these front speakers will be used for the dialogues.

That’s why I always choose the best speakers for these positions.

Can you use any speaker as a center channel?

You can use any 2-way speaker as a center channel except a sub. But the ideal speaker for the center channel will be that which is manufactured for this purpose. 

Because manufacturers know that keeping a good balance at each level of the sound is required for the center channel. That’s why I always use a speaker for the task for which it is created.

Should the center speaker be louder than the front?

I keep the center speaker louder than the rest of the surround sound system. In this way, I hear the dialogue clearly and loudly. The movie experience for me is a lot better in this configuration.

If you want to understand the dialogues and lyrics then louder the center if you want to enjoy the music and sound effects then keep it lower.

Should I set my center speaker to large or small?

The lower end of the sound of the whole surround sound system should always be equal to or lower than 21Hz for the optimal home theater experience. 

To achieve this frequency at the lower end you should always set the center speakers to small when a subwoofer is present in the system.

In this way, the receiver will shift the bass to the sub and the speakers will have more amp power to focus on the mid and high end of the sound and the sub will take care of the low. You will get all levels refined in this configuration.

If you don’t have a subwoofer in the system then set the center speakers to large. Now, the speaker will work hard to fire all the levels by itself.

Why does my Centre speaker sound muffled?

This might be due to 4 errors in the setup. Try these 4 tricks to make it sound better.

Check the connection wire of the speaker. Make sure it is in good condition

  1. If the speaker is set to “large” now set it to “small”
  2. Try to angle it straight to your seating position
  3. Try to increase the volume of the whole system

How can I make my center speaker sound better?

How do I perfect the sound of the center? I always buy wide dispersion speakers for the center channel and then I angle it at my ear level at the front row. Then I place an isolation pad underneath it to stop the vibrations from reaching the furniture. This gives me a resonance-free sound.

After that, I calibrate its sound with the calibration mic that comes with almost all modern AV receivers. 

This mic calibrates each speaker according to the acoustics of the room.

Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More

  1. Read my in-depth guide about it here. What should you look for in a center speaker? (Resource for the first answer)
  2. Read more opinions of many home theater enthusiasts on AVSforum. (Resource for the second answer)
  3. Read more opinions about this here on Reddit. (Resource for the third answer)
  4. Know more opinions here on Avsforum. (Resource for the fourth answer)
  5. Read about it here from Denon. (Resource for the fifth answer)
This article was first posted on Homelytainment.com.
Ayaan Khan
Ayaan Khan

I'm Ayaan khan, a freelancer and a Computer Science degree holder from P.E.S. College. After my degree, I started an internship with my father in his home theater showroom. After working for a month I realized that this is the best job in the world for me and it could be turned into a passion. Fast forward to when my internship ended, I joined my father as a full-time home theater equipment tester. I test new equipment and approve it before it can be installed in the customer's house. I love to test equipment and sometimes love to install it by myself in the customer's theater room. I have the right experience and knowledge to learn from my articles. In my Free time I write & answer questions here on AVSFORUM. Every Article on Homelytainment is curated according to Homelytainment's Editorial Policy and Sponsorship Policy. If you have any questions for me. Reach out to my email (Support(AT)homelytainment.com)

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