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Center speaker plays a critical role in the surround sound and 70-80% of dialogues come out of it. It is the backbone of the home theater system. But do you need a center speaker with tower speakers?
At A Glance: No matter what the layout of surround sound or what type of speakers you require in the layout the center speaker is needed and without the home theater is incomplete.
Keep reading as well as discuss many more aspects of this, and I will also answer some of the most important related questions to it. You will learn many new things about the center speaker today.
How important is a center channel speaker?
In-Short: The main path for the video dialogues is the center channel. That’s why the center speaker throws out 70-80% of the dialogues. Without dialogues, modern videos are nothing. It is responsible for 70-80% of dialogues that’s why you can say that it is 70-80% more important than the rest of the speakers.
In-Depth: The surround sound works in harmony to produce the realism of the movies on the theater room floor. To create realism, each speaker has their role. The home theater’s purpose is to give you the feelings of the main character or the character in the spotlight at each time frame.
That’s why the surrounding side channels are responsible to produce the sound of the vehicles or persons talking at the left and right of the main character on the screen. In this way, you will feel like these people are talking to you or the vehicles are passing by you the same as on the screen.
The rear speakers are assigned for the background sound effects that are happening at the back of the character. The ceiling Dolby Atmos speakers are responsible to produce the sound effects of the things that are in the air on the screen, or they are at the top of the spotlight character.
The front left and right are responsible for producing the sounds of the things on the screen moving from left to right.
In the same manner as the main character when it is in the middle of the frame. Its dialogues will be produced by the center channel speaker. Also, the gun in the spotlight character’s hands sound will come out of this center speaker.
And in almost 70-80% of the movie, the spotlight character is in the middle of the frame when talking. That’s why you can say that the center speaker is 70-80% more important than all the speakers in the surround sound.
That’s why, no matter what speakers you use. For the Dolby Atmos, the tower speaker, and the in-wall speakers you will always need a center speaker with them.
Read my guide about the best center speaker for home theater. You will know what characteristics decide the best.
Can Center speakers be used as left and right speakers?
In-Short: You can use the center speaker as the front left and right speakers, but you will have to place it horizontally and not vertically to work properly like a left and right channel.
In-Depth: The reason is the sound dispersion. This sound dispersion is different from speaker to speaker. You will need a horizontal sound dispersion in the home theater. We require a speaker that can cover the whole area of the room from left to right.
A lot of the time we have more than one person in the theater room. That’s why having a vertical sound dispersion speaker in the room will upset others. Me, I have my wife most of the time. And I don’t want to be upset here because then I will have to have dinner in the restaurant.
And the center speaker has a horizontal sound dispersion, and it is placed horizontally. The left and right speakers are placed most of the time vertically, but their sound dispersion is horizontal too.
That’s why you should place the center speaker horizontally while using it for the left and right channels. You can’t place it vertically to match the left and right speakers’ orientation. Because this makes its sound dispersion vertical, and I don’t want to have my dinner at the restaurant.
Read my guide about the best speaker for the home theater. You will know many more new things about it.
How much difference does a center speaker make?
In-Short: A dedicated center speaker for the center channel will open a new world of home theater experience.
In-Depth: My friend had a soundbar for his center channel. The soundbar has its amplifier, and it is not recommended to connect it to the AV Receiver. But he managed to do so.
He converted the positive and negative cables that are used for the center channel, and they come from the receiver to the RCA cables that are used as the input option for the soundbar.
The dialogues were fine when the character was in the main spotlight because at this time the dialogues were coming from the soundbar and when the character transitioned to either left or right the dialogue punch and tones were changed too. And this transition hurt the home theater experience for me.
My friend who is not an audiophile was ok with it. I suggest replacing it with a good center speaker from a reputable brand. He was insisting on not doing that. But I brought in a Klipsch center speaker as a demo for him.
When I played the same movie again on the center speaker, my friend jumped from the coach and shouted that “this same sh*t now sounds like heaven for me”. Look, this much difference a good dedicated center speaker for the center channel brings.
Know is a bigger center speaker better. You will know more about the center speakers.
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Does a soundbar have a center channel?
The soundbar does have a center channel and with that, it also has front left and right channels. Few modern soundbars have a built-in subwoofer as well.
This was a normal caliber of soundbar. Many modern and expensive soundbars have a Dolby Atmos channel built-in as well. Those speakers fire the sound to the ceiling from the soundbar.
Many soundbars also have all other surround channels, but I will also recommend real physical speakers for each position and should be placed in the right position.
Can I put the center speaker on the subwoofer?
Always keep the center speaker in the center and close to the display. As close as possible.
By looking at this rule, if your subwoofer is close to the display then yes you can place it on the subwoofer but if it is away from the display then you can’t place the center speaker on it. It is this simple.
Is a soundbar the same as a center speaker?
The soundbar has all the front left and right and center channels built-in, while the center speaker has only the center channel in it. Also, a center channel will have a more robust dialogue quality than a soundbar by keeping their quality at the same level.
There are expensive soundbars with the best build quality that will be better than a cheap build quality center speaker.
But the same quality of center speaker will always blow that soundbar out of the water in the dialogue quality.
Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More
- Read my guide about the best soundbar for home theater under $300. You will know more about it. (Resource for the first answer)
- Know more about this topic from this discussion on the AVSforum. (Resource for the second answer)
- Know about the center speaker placement tips from SVSoundBlog. (Resource for the third answer