Can The Center Speaker Be Off Center? (A Definitive Guide)

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Every speaker placement is very important because a few inches here and there can break or make the home theater experience. In the same way, the center speaker placement plays a key role. So, can the center speaker be off-center?

At A Glance: The center speaker should not be off-centered by any means. The center means to be in the center, so the dialogues can be felt like they are coming from the mouth of the character on the screen and not from a speaker at the corner.

Keep reading as we will discuss many more possible placement areas and I will also answer related and most significant questions. You will know many more new things about this topic by reading this article.

Why should it be at the center?

The center channel is dedicated to the dialogues of the home theater. At least 70% of dialogues come out of it. And the center channel coming from the AV receiver wants you to feel the dialogues like they are actually coming out of the mouth of the character talking on the screen.

These characters are 70% in the center of the screen. That’s why the center channel is created for that. Each channel is created for its side sound effects production. In the same manner, the center channel is designed to give center dialogues and a sound feel.

When this is not at the center, the dialogues will be out of sync with the lips of the character. The lips will be moving at the center of the speaker while the dialogues will come out of the corner, which is a very bad experience to think of.

That’s why the center speaker should be at the center to feel the realism of the movie and also let the AV receiver create a virtual environment of the surrounding movie in the form of audio.

You should really feel like the actor is talking to you and the vehicles in time square are passing by you in real life. This is the magic of complete surround sound. For this experience, you should keep all the speakers in their respective positions.

Know how to optimize the audio of home theater. You will know about 5 cool steps in my this guide.

Should speakers be at ear level?

In-Short: All the speakers in the theater room’s focal point should be the audience. That’s why they all should be at the audience’s ear level. The center speaker tweeter should be at ear level to feel the character is talking to you.

In-Depth: Any theater experience is made to make the audience its focal point and create the audio universe around them. The video on the screen should be recreated in the theater room in the form of audio.

This surround sound creates an audio bubble around the audience. The audience in this bubble should feel like they are living the life of the character on the screen. When there is a war scene, the audience should feel like they are in the war zone.

To create this audio universe, the audience must be the focal point, and the best way to make them the focal point is to set each speaker at ear level. 

Read my guide to know about the right height of each speaker in the surround sound. You will know about all the speakers’ suitable height.

How do you angle a center speaker?

In-Short: The center speaker should be placed straight. It should be making a 0° angle with the audience. There should not be smaller or greater angles than 0° with the audience for an optimal experience.

In-Depth: There should be no angling involved with the center speaker because it is meant to be in the center. 

The perfect angle for the center speaker will be that there is no angle of it with the audience. 

The dialogues will feel like they are wrongly emulated when the center speaker is not put straight without any angling.  

The sound dispersion will be greatly disturbed by angling it. When it is angled at let suppose 15 degrees, then the majority of the audience will not get the nice experience that the middle of the dispersion audience is feeling.

This will annoy the other audience. Now again, let’s suppose that annoying audience is your wife. Oh, God saves me this time now.

Read my guide on how to place each speaker in the surround sound for the best experience possible. You will know about the perfect angles and degrees.

Can I place the center speaker on top of a receiver?

In-Short: You can place the center speaker on the top of any object, as long as that surface is close to the display, and it is not prone to vibration from the sound.

In-Depth: The center speaker should be too close to the display. If you have placed the center speaker close to the display, then the first rule is satisfied. You can say I am 50% clear on this.

Second the receiver top is made of thin metal and gets vibration easily even from a low volume of sound, so it is not a good surface for placing the center speaker. Because it will vibrate so easily and that will interfere with the sound of the speaker.

If this vibration is not heard clearly by the audience but still it will affect a large portion of the whole audio.

If the top of the receiver is made of a hard metal that is not prone to vibrate from the sound. Then you are 100% clear. Now, you can place the center speaker on top of it. Now, both of the rules are satisfied.

Can any speaker be used for the center channel? You will know surprisingly new alternatives.

Did you get something out of this center speaker guide? Hold On We Have Something Exciting To Share.

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Do you need a center speaker for music?

You don’t need the center speaker for the music because for just stereo purposes you can install front left and right speakers.

The center speaker is necessary when you will use surround sound for the movie, games, and music. But if you want to have just a music stereo in your home, then there will be no need for a center speaker.

The center speaker will make things better, but It is not needed in the stereo setup.

Where should I put my center speaker?

It can be placed on the top of the cabinet on which the display is placed, or it can be mounted on the wall below the display.

We usually use wooden cabinets to place our display on it. The center speaker should be kept on that cabinet. But if you are not using a cabinet. 

The TV can be mounted, and many center speakers come with mounting options. Mount that center speaker below the TV.

How do I make my center channel louder?

Acoustically treat the home theater and soundproof it well. Then calibrate the whole audio system and pump up the center speaker a few dB more than the rest of the speakers. Now, place a cloth underneath it to tilt its tweeter at your ear level. It will be louder from now.

The suitable dB for each speaker in the theater room is 75dB, and the center speaker should be 76-77 dB. But the acoustic treatment of the home theater is very important.

Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More

  1. This was my opinion, know more about it from this discussion on AVSforum. (Resource for the first answer)
  2. This was my opinion, Know more about it from LifewireBlog. (Resource for the third answer)
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Ayaan Khan
Ayaan Khan

Ayaan khan is a freelancer and a Computer Science degree holder from P.E.S. College. After his degree, he started an internship with his father in his home theater showroom. After working for a month he realized that this is the best job in the world for him and it could be turned into a passion. Fast forward to when his internship ended, he joined his father as a full-time home theater equipment tester. He tests new equipment and approves it before it can be installed in the customer's house. He loves to test equipment and sometimes loves to install it by himself in the customer's theater room. Ayyan has the right experience and knowledge to learn from his 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.

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