Center Speaker Review

Center Speakers: The Centerpiece of Sound

Not all speakers in a home theater system are created equally. The center speaker is the most important element of a surround sound system. This center speaker is responsible for all of the main dialogue in a movie or TV show. It also is the unit responsible for playing the lyrics of a song. A weak center channel speaker can cause an imbalance between spoken lines, sound effects and music.

We reviewed some of the best center speakers available today and have made a side-by-side comparison you can quickly reference. You'll also be able to read detailed reviews of each one of the products, along with articles relating to center channel audio.

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Examining the Center Channel Speaker

When Dolby Pro Logic first used a center channel speaker for home theater surround sound in the mid-1980s, the design was big and bulky and they were limited in their frequency range. Today's center speakers are held to a much higher standard. As we evaluated each product in this review we used the following criteria to rate them:

Features
This section evaluates how well the center speakers are built. The size, construction and number of drivers directly affect the amount of sound a speaker can pump into a room. We listed which of the models only used tweeters and woofers, as well as those that included a midrange driver. We also looked at how much power the system can handle and if it was protected by magnetic shielding.

Dimensions
Loudspeakers today don't need to be large in size to produce big sound. Advances in technology have made center channel speakers more compact, so they can be placed on top of an entertainment center or mounted on the wall. In this area we made sure that the units weren't too large or too heavy.

Performance
A sleek and small design doesn't mean anything if the center speaker can't give crisp, clear sound. This section evaluated how much sound could be produced by the speakers. While most of the lower notes will be done by the subwoofer, the center channel speaker still needs to have a wide range of frequencies, including the high notes. We also noted the nominal impedance and the crossover frequency.

Help & Support
Any electronic equipment needs a good support system. If any questions or issues arise, consumers need to be able to contact customer support or find additional information on the company's site. Even something as simple as center channel audio may need some troubleshooting. This section informs you as to what help is offered by the manufacturer of each product.

Using the aforementioned criteria, we found the Yamaha NS-C310, the Infinity Primus PC350 and the Polk Audio TSi CS10 to be the best center speakers available. Each one of these center channel speakers features a wide range of audio frequencies, an excellent support system and a sturdy design. Any of these products will be sure to enrich your home theater experience.

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Electronics » Home Audio » Center Speaker Review
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Yamaha NS-C310 Polk Audio TSi CS10 Yamaha NS-C444 Polk Audio CSi A4 BIC America Venturi DV62CLR-S Definitive Technology ProCenter 1000 Infinity Primus PC250 Klipsch Synergy C-10 Polk Audio RM8
Yamaha NS-C310 Polk Audio TSi CS10 Yamaha NS-C444 Polk Audio CSi A4 BIC America Venturi DV62CLR-S Definitive Technology ProCenter 1000 Infinity Primus PC250 Klipsch Synergy C-10 Polk Audio RM8
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Ratings
8.68
8.23
8.00
7.98
7.95
7.88
7.65
7.63
6.75
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
7.50
8.75
10.00
7.50
8.13
7.50
8.13
10.00
7.50
7.50
8.75
7.50
8.13
7.50
7.50
10.00
8.75
7.50
8.13
5.00
7.50
7.50
8.13
8.75
8.13
6.25
7.50
8.75
7.50
7.50
7.50
8.75
5.00
10.00
6.25
10.00
 
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Features
System Design 2-way 2-way 2-way 2-way 2-way 2-way 2-way 2-way 2-way
Tweeter Size 1 x 1.1-inch 1 x 1-inch 1 x 1-inch 1 x 1-inch 1 x 0.75-inch 1 x 1-inch 1 x 0.75-inch 1 x 0.75-inch 1 x 0.75-inch
Midrange Size N/A N/A N/A 2 x 5.25-inch N/A N/A N/A N/A 2 x 2.5-inch
Woofer Size 4 x 2.5-inch 2 x 5.25-inch 2 x 5-inch N/A 2 x 6.5-inch 2 x 4.5-inch 2 x 5.25-inch 2 x 4-inch N/A
Recommended Amplifier Power 40-120 watts 20-125 watts 100-250 watts 20-180 watts 10-175 watts 10-200 watts 10-150 watts 50-200 watts 20-125 watts
Magnetic Shielding  
Dimensions
Height (inches) 3.7 6.5 7.5 6.9 7.7 5 7.6 6 3.8
Width (inches) 17.3 20 20.25 20 20 14.75 18 16 9.4
Depth (inches) 4.9 9.75 8.4 8.75 10 5 9.6 5.25 3.75
Weight (pounds) 6.4 16 16.1 15.5 25 6 17.6 8 3.7
Performance
Frequency Response 90Hz~45kHz 53Hz~25kHz 55Hz~35kHz 55Hz~27kHz 38Hz~20kHz 47Hz~30kHz 80Hz~20kHz 100Hz~23kHz 95Hz~24kHz
Nominal Impedance 6 ohms 8 ohms 6 ohms 8 ohms 8 ohms 8 ohms 8 ohms 8 ohms 8 ohms
Sensitivity 90dB 91dB 89dB 89dB 90dB 90dB 90dB 93.5dB 89dB
Crossover Frequency 6000Hz 2500Hz 3000Hz Not Specified 3500Hz Not Specified 3000Hz 3000Hz Not Specified
Help & Support
Warranty 2 Years 5 Years 2 Years 5 Years 7 Years 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years
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