Best Products Audio 35 35 people found this article helpful The 7 Best Center Channel Speakers of 2020 Create a more cinematic sound experience with these center channel speakers by David Beren Writer David Beren is a tech writer with 10+ years' experience. He has written and managed content for companies like T-Mobile, Sprint, and TracFone Wireless. our editorial process David Beren Updated on July 15, 2020 Audio Speakers Headphones Earbuds Home Theater Instruments Accessories Tweet Share Email Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. The Rundown Best Overall: Pioneer SP-C22 at Amazon "It has two four-inch surface woofers, one-inch high-efficiency soft dome tweeter and six element crossovers." Best Design: Yamaha NS-C210BL at Amazon "A center channel speaker that fits horizontally on any bookshelf, thanks to its unique design." Best Sound: JBL Arena 125C at Amazon "Has a one-inch soft dome tweeter with high-definition imaging (HDI) that offers wave guiding technology for exceptionally detailed sound." Most Compact: Definitive Technology Procenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker at Amazon "This speaker incorporates the same various technologies as more expensive and larger...products." Best Splurge: MartinLogan Motion 30 at Amazon "Features a folded motion tweeter that delivers almost eight times the surface area of a one-inch dome tweeter." Best Value: Polk Audio T30 Center Channel Speaker at Amazon "The incorporation of Dynamic Balance technology means crystal-clear dialogue and room-filling theater sound." Best Bass: Kilpsch RP-500C at Amazon "This awesome, center channel speaker comes equipped with a pair of 5.25-inch spun copper woofers for hair-bending bass, and a 1-inch titanium tweeter for crystal-clear high-end resonance." The best center channel speakers pack tremendous power and range into a compact, stylish (or at least unobtrusive) package. Audio tech and design is constantly evolving, and engineers are constantly discovering new tricks to squeeze ever more fidelity out of ever-shrinking speakers. These days, a home theater setup can elevate watching Netflix at home to a nearly in-theater level experience, and the core of that setup is the center channel speaker. Our top pick, Pioneer's SP-C22 at Amazon, is a gorgeous, best-in-class option from renowned designer Andrew Jones. The curved cabinet design reduces standing sound waves, resulting in highly accurate sound reproduction and exceptional quality. It's the best center channel speaker currently available, and the perfect partner for any of the items on our list of best speakers. Best Overall: Pioneer SP-C22 4.8 Buy on Amazon The Pioneer SP-C22 Andrew Jones-designed center channel speaker produces a sound you’ll quickly fall in love with. Measuring 18.12 x 8.45 x 7.12 inches, the SP-C22 is designed to look both modern and conventional. It has two four-inch surface woofers, one-inch high-efficiency soft dome tweeter and six element crossovers. The latter assists with blending the audio between the woofer and the tweeter for greater range of different frequencies. The curved shape of the wooden cabinet casing also aids the SP-C22 in standing wave reduction that pairs with all other auditory features to result in one high-quality sound system. With 50 percent of a movie’s soundtrack coming from a center speaker, the SP-C22 allows car crashes to sound a little crunchier and explosions to sound a little louder, which adds a level of authenticity that’s hard to pass up. Best Design: Yamaha NS-C210BL Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy Measuring 5 x 13 x 4 inches, the Yamaha NS-C210BL is a center channel speaker that fits horizontally on any bookshelf, thanks to its unique design. The design is both elegant and slim, but still sports a 7/8-inch balanced dome tweeter, two-way bass-reflect center speaker and light aluminum cone-based woofers for an extra-fast audio response. The slim design is the result of Yamaha not wanting to take attention away from flat-panel TVs, so the sound is heard but not seen. Ultimately, the NS-C210BL is specifically attentive to reproducing the fuller, dynamic sound of high-definition sources, including Blu-ray discs. Best Sound: JBL Arena 125C Buy on Amazon Buy on Jbl.com The JBL Arena 125C has a one-inch soft dome tweeter with high-definition imaging (HDI) that offers wave guiding technology for exceptionally detailed sound across a room. The two 5.5-inch poly cellulose mid-woofers add a fantastic bass-heavy sound that takes gaming, music, movies, shows and regular television programming to another level with a response ranging from 90 to 40,000Hz. Additionally, the computer-optimized hardware works to position the drivers for the best overall sound performance resonating from the JBL’s modern-looking hardware. Most Compact: Definitive Technology Procenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker Buy on Amazon The ProCenter 1000 is supported by two 4.5-inch cast basket drivers, two 4.5-inch pressure-driven low-frequency radiators, as well as a one-inch pure aluminum dome tweeter, which creates a punch in the sound that you’d only expect to find in a larger speaker. Measuring 10.5 x 5 x 5 inches, the ProCenter 1000 is traditionally compact compared to alternative center speaker options, but performs even better. Fortunately, the size won’t fool you as this speaker incorporates the same various technologies as more expensive and larger Definitive Technology products. Case in point: The two added bass radiators on either side of the case help push out a bass sound that will have you thinking the ProCenter 1000 is hiding some mystical technology inside its compact form factor. Best Splurge: MartinLogan Motion 30 Buy on Amazon The MartinLogan Motion 30 features a folded motion tweeter that delivers almost eight times the surface area of a one-inch dome tweeter, so the result is a dynamic sound that’s close to perfect. The folded motion assists the tweeter by pushing the air out while adding lightning fast response time for a high-quality sound that’s hard to reproduce on less expensive competitors. Add in the 6.5-inch rear-facing bass drivers and a 5.5-inch cone mid-range woofer for high-quality bass and you'll have a frequency response between 65 to 25,000Hz (with peak power nearing 200 watts per channel). There’s no question the resulting sound is incredible, but it would be remiss to ignore the high-gloss design of the speaker box (it has a finish that will blend in with any room decor.) It measures 16.5 x 10.5 x 6.9 inches. Best Value: Polk Audio T30 Center Channel Speaker Buy on Amazon Strikingly affordable, the Polk Audio T30 center channel speaker is an excellent option that won’t break the bank. Sporting one-inch silk dome tweeters and dual 5.25-inch Dynamic Balance drivers, the T30 delivers excellent sound quality. The incorporation of Dynamic Balance technology means crystal-clear dialogue and room-filling theater sound. A performance-tuned rear-firing bass port also works to increase the bass output for heart-pumping sound. Pairing well with left and right channel speakers, it's suggested to position the speaker right below a television. Setup is easy as the speaker works with most home theater receivers or stereos. Support for Dolby and DTS sound adds to the audio experience especially during action sequences or sports events. Music comes alive even at high volume levels where distortion is almost non-existent. The minimalist look of the Polk reduces the distraction speakers can pose in any room. The quality design of the speaker blends a deep gray with black grille for a unique look. The furniture-grade manufacturing works to reduce resonance and distortion adding richness to the overall sound. Best Bass: Kilpsch RP-500C Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy Buy on B&H Photo Video If you're looking for reference level performance in a discrete package, you can't go wrong with the Klipsch RP-500C. This long standing manufacturer of high-quality, robust speakers and headphones has dialed up the performance of it's aging 250C model without compromising it's unassuming form factor. The 500C still measure 6.8x18.5x9.5 inches (HWD) and weighs in around 18 pounds. This awesome, center channel speaker comes equipped with a pair of 5.25-inch spun copper woofers for hair-bending bass, and a 1-inch titanium tweeter for crystal-clear high-end resonance. Available in either a rich ebony or warm walnut finish, the 500C makes a spectacular statement piece for any media setup. If you're not keen on having the 500C's large woofers staring back at you, it also comes equipped with a removable metallic grille. As with all Klipsch speakers, you also get a 5-year warranty that protects you from any fault of the manufacturer, making this speaker a true investment for any audiophile. Final Verdict The Pioneer SP-C22 by Andrew Jones is an exceptional speaker with fantastic power capable of producing incredible sound. If you're looking for an amazing speaker to tuck into a very tight space, however, Definitive Technology's Procenter 1000 is the choice for you, a great unit in a stunning, compact body. What to Look for in Center Channel Speakers Sound quality - A center speaker’s most essential feature is its overall sound quality — a beautiful speaker is worth nothing if it sounds awful. Be sure to select a model that offers a broad frequency range and can adequately reproduce vocals. Brand cohesiveness - It’s essential to consider the brand of your left and right front speakers when selecting a center speaker for your setup. Different brands and models have different sound signatures. If possible, purchase a center speaker of the same brand and model range of your existing stereo speakers. Design - While style isn’t everything, an ugly design under your television can be quite an eyesore. Additionally, think about the size of your new center speaker and make sure it physically fits where you plan to put it.