The 4 Best Center Channel Speakers of 2023

Create a more cinematic sound experience with these center channel speakers

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The best center channel speakers pack tremendous power and range into a compact, stylish (or at least unobtrusive) package. 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.

Best Design

Yamaha NS-C210BL Center Channel Speaker

Yamaha NS-C210BL


What we like
  • Excellent compatibility

  • Versatile

  • Slick design

What we don't like
  • Not great for large rooms

  • Bass response could be better

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 form is elegant and slim, but it still sports a 7/8-inch balanced dome tweeter, a two-way bass-reflect center speaker, and light aluminum cone-based woofers for an extra-fast audio response.

The minimal design results from 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 high-definition sources' fuller, dynamic sound, including Blu-ray discs.

Size: 5.2x13.4.x4.2 inches | Controls: N/A | Input: 1x Speaker cable | Power: 80W

Most Compact

Definitive Technology Procenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker

Definitive Technology Procenter 1000 Compact Center Speaker


What we like
  • Relatively small

  • Outstanding sound quality

What we don't like
  • Cabinets are prone to scuffing

  • Mounting options are limited

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 1-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.

Size: 8.44x18.13.x7.13 inches | Controls: N/A | Input: 1x Speaker cable | Power: 90W

Best Value

Polk Audio T30 Center Channel Speaker

Polk Audio T30 Center Channel Speaker


What we like
  • Audiophile quality sound

  • Full and rich audio

  • Excellent value

What we don't like
  • Lower volume might struggle in larger rooms

Strikingly affordable, the Polk Audio T30 center channel speaker is an excellent option that won't break the bank.

Sporting 1-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 increases 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 a black grille for a unique look. The furniture-grade manufacturing works to reduce resonance and distortion, adding richness to the overall sound. 

Size: 8.5x19.x6.5 inches | Controls: N/A | Input: 1x Speaker cable | Power: 200W

Best Bass

Kilpsch RP-500C Center Channel Speaker

Kilpsch RP-500C Center Channel Speaker


What we like
  • Efficient, with a low power draw

  • Durable and attractive design

What we don't like
  • A little bulky

  • Needs equally powerful side speakers for a balanced sound environment

If you're looking for reference-level performance in a discrete package, you can't go wrong with the Klipsch RP-500C. This manufacturer of high-quality, robust speakers and headphones has dialed up the performance of its aging 250C model without compromising its unassuming form factor. The 500C measures 6.8x18.5x9.5 inches (HWD) and weighs around 18 pounds. This fantastic center channel speaker has 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 500C makes a spectacular statement piece for any media setup, available in either a rich ebony or warm walnut finish. 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 five-year warranty that protects you from any manufacturer's fault, making this speaker a proper investment for audiophiles.

Size: 9.06x18.9x7.09 inches | Controls: N/A | Input: 1x Speaker cable | Power: 100W

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. 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 as your existing stereo speakers.


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.

  • Will the distance of my speakers from the audio source affect my sound quality?

    Yes, while it's not always possible, for the best audio quality, you'll want to keep the length of cable tethering your speakers to your receiver as short as possible. Although your sound quality won't suffer very much unless they're 25 feet or more from your receiver. For any wired speakers, you should use a 14-gauge cable, and potentially use a 12-gauge cable for any speakers extending past 25 feet from the receiver.

  • Where should I place my speakers?

    This can be a little different depending on if you're using a stereo, 5.1, 7.1, or 9.1 setup. However, there are a couple of evergreen rules to follow regardless of how many speakers you're using. This will obviously depend on your room layout, but you should try and have your speakers equidistant from each other with surround speakers placed in the corners around your listening area. You should also try to keep your speakers free of obstructions and if you can safely mount them on a wall, even better.

  • How many subwoofers do I need?

    This all depends on the size of your room, more subwoofers give you a better bass quality and offer you more flexible placement when looking for the best spot for optimal sound quality. However, having more than a single subwoofer in a small listening area may be overkill. Also, some single speakers provide enough bass as standalone options that an additional woofer isn't required.

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