One of the most important components of any home theater system is the center channel speaker. A center channel speaker is responsible for projecting sound directly in front of you. Its primary job is an important one, to deliver mid-range sound for crisp clear dialogue and vocals! It also makes watching movies or TV shows much more enjoyable.
Yet today’s home theater sound is a lot different from what it used to be. This is because there are more speaker options available to make them sound not just good but great. To do this, you need a dedicated center speaker.
In this blog post, we examine a center channel speaker and list out the top 3 reasons whether or not it is worth investing in a center channel speaker for your home theater system.
Surround Sound Vs. Stereo: Is Stereo Enough for Home Theater System
It is important to know that you will need to install a center speaker if you want surround sound from your home theater. Stereo speakers alone are not enough to produce the desired effect. Nevertheless, we first need to understand what the stereo system entails.
Stereo audio was originally conceived to separate recorded sound into two channels, the left, and right channel speakers. Principle vocals or dialog are mixed between both side speakers for an authentic soundscape in which you can hear a panoramic experience of sounds rather than just one direction.
Although this is an excellent way to present vocals, as listeners move from the sweet spot of the left and right speakers, they may notice that the position of vocals changes relative to what was originally recorded.
This can make it difficult for listeners to hear vocals, especially when they are not sitting in the sweet spot of the left and right speakers.
That is why in a traditional stereo setup, vocals are on both the left and right channels, and that often means they can’t be adjusted independently from each channel.
What is a Center Channel Speaker
A center channel speaker is an important speaker that handles and delivers nearly 70% of the dialogue and sound effects in movies, TV shows, and video games. It typically sits on or near the television screen.
A center channel speaker can improve your movie viewing experience by providing a more immersive experience with clearer dialogue and enhanced sound clarity when compared to listening to audio via stereo speakers.
A center channel speaker does not produce any bass frequencies whatsoever – instead, it only has mid-range frequencies, and it is designed to let listeners feel like they hear voices directly from actors on screen rather than through their left or right speakers.
A center channel speaker is also helpful if you are hosting a party where music may be playing softly in the background while people talk rather than watching TV or listening to an audiobook.
Without a center channel speaker, the dialogue will be louder than the music, disrupting the room’s ambiance.
Where Should You Place Your Center Channel Speaker
Not every room in your house will have the perfect acoustics. However, a good speaker placed carefully can still achieve excellent results. Here are some placement tips for different home theater system:
- Suppose you’re using a projector with an acoustically transparent projection screen. In that case, it’s best to place the center speaker at ear height behind the screen at ear height for an optimal experience.
- Center speakers are typically positioned on a cabinet or used as a center-channel speaker mounted below the TV. They should be angled toward the listener.
- If your center channel speaker is too big to fit in a piece of Audio Visual furniture, then try to stand mounting it below the screen at ear level.
- To get the best sound in your home theater setup, always position the center channel as close to the screen as possible, whether on the front or behind.
- If the center channel speaker is placed on the furniture, align the speaker flush with the front edge to avoid audible variation changes in sound waves.
- To create a wider soundstage, position the speaker further away from the listening point (at least 6 inches) and angle it towards the wall behind you so that the sound waves immediately behind the speaker hit your ears at a slightly different angle than the sound waves coming from the center of the speaker.
Do You Need a Center Channel Speaker: Top 3 Reasons
Reason One: Adjusting Volume Levels Independently
A center channel is separated from the left and right front channels. Therefore, you can change the center speaker’s volume without changing the volume coming out of either of those speakers. This is useful when adjusting for a person’s voice that is too low or too high in a movie soundtrack.
Reason Two: Flexibility
Surround sound has its own “sweet spot.” The music sounds best when you are in the sweet spot, but it still sounds good if you move to the left or right, as the dialogue or vocals will stay in the center at a different angle. This is like how it would sound if someone was talking near you while you moved around.
Reason Three: It helps You Hear and Understand Speech Better
If you’re one of the many people who have trouble hearing speech, a center channel speaker can help. Sometimes people speak too softly to understand what they are saying. This problem is not just with TVs, but also in public places like restaurants where there is often music playing or other noises that distract from listening to someone speaking.
A center channel speaker helps separate speech from background noise by amplifying the voice coming out of your TV so that it reaches your ears clearly with less background noise.
Center Channel Speaker’s Buying Guide: What Should You Look For
If you want to add a center channel speaker to your existing home theater system, try and get the same brand as your main left and right speakers. It should also have similar mid-range and high-end frequency response capability so that there will not be an audible difference in sound quality from the speakers.
If you are shopping for a complete speaker set for your home theater setup, check out Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Entertainment System. You can experience a true 360-degree surround sound with its four OmniJewel speakers. It also has SoundTouch which you can use to stream music wirelessly on your Wi-Fi network.
It is highly recommended to get a center channel speaker that has a horizontal design. That way, it can be either placed above or below the TV, and you do not need to worry about it being too far from the front left and right speakers for optimal results.
A lot of center channel speakers have two woofers. Some with four or more. In general, the extra drivers will allow you to spread out your sound within the “sweet spot.” Just make sure you can fit it in your cabinet.
Extra-large speakers may cost more money, but the benefits are not always what they seem. You do not need to concern yourself with a center channel speaker producing a lot of basses. Most movies do not put too many low frequencies in the center channel, so there is little use for it.
Conclusion: The Purpose of a Center Channel Speaker
Center Channel Speaker is necessary and important for your home theater system. A few key points to consider are improving audio quality by producing clear dialogue from movies or TV shows. It is perfect for watching sports because they project sound with precision, so every detail is heard loud and clear than ever!
For more in-depth reviews, check out our Buyer’s Guide.
CMO and co-founder of Zemblant Media