Last updated: August 11, 2021
Auch verfügbar in:

Our method

10Products analysed

22Hours spent

16Evaluated articles

71User reviews

Centre speakers let you hear the voices of Hollywood legends like Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks clearly in your living room. In home theatres, this type of speaker is responsible for reproducing movie dialogue and sound effects such as hissing, whining and screaming.

Centre speakers contain tweeters as well as woofers and are ideal for reproducing the mid-range frequencies. With our large centre speaker test 2022 we want to help you decide on the best centre speaker. We explain the difference between passive and active centre speakers and tell you which alternatives are available if you don't have enough space. This should make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




Summary

  • Centre speakers are necessary for home theatre enthusiasts. They are responsible for good reproduction of voices and sound effects, such as whispers, hisses and screams.
  • The correct positioning of the centre speaker is crucial. It is best to place the speaker centrally under your TV, between your front speakers and with enough distance to the floor.
  • Centre speakers can also play music and are just as good as regular bookshelf speakers. You can give them your own individual touch by building cabinets.

The Best Centre Speaker: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a centre speaker

What is a centre speaker?

A centre speaker is a type of speaker that you need especially if you want to set up a home theatre. It's the speaker that lets you hear Leonardo DiCaprio and other Hollywood stars clearly in your room.

The centre speaker is the speaker that plays the movie dialogue, not music like the other speakers.

In addition to dialogue, sounds such as whispers, whines and hisses are also reproduced through the centre speaker.

Center Lautsprecher-1

Centre speakers are rather elongated speakers that are used to reproduce film dialogue. They fit ideally under the television.
(Image source: unsplash.com/Magnus Jonasson)

In a home theatre system, the centre speaker is located in the middle of the speakers. Your centre speaker should be able to reproduce sound effects dynamically, clearly and without distortion over as wide a frequency range as possible.

How much does a centre speaker cost?

You can always attribute differences in the price of a centre speaker to the materials and manufacturing quality. The size of the speakers also makes a big difference.

Type price range
9 cm x 40 cm x 11 cm under 100 €
15 cm x 65 cm x 12 cm 100 € - 350 €
High End up to 1,200 €

In addition to size, construction also affects the cost point. Centre speakers differ in frequency ranges and rated power handling, but also in the existence of 2-way or 3-way speakers.

Can I listen to music with a centre speaker?

In a home cinema, the centre speaker is not used for music. Mainly because of the lack of bass, subwoofers are more likely to be used next to the TV.

Center Lautsprecher-2

The centre speakers are mainly used for sound effects and film dialogue. Therefore, they are located under the TV and between the front speakers. Nevertheless, you can also listen to music with them.
(Image source: unsplash.com/Loewe Technologies)

Nevertheless, it is also possible to play music through a centre speaker. For example, if you have a choice between a simple bookshelf speaker and a centre speaker, it doesn't really matter which speaker you choose.

In some cases, the centre speaker in speaker systems is almost identical to front speakers.

Depending on your taste in music, you can find the right model among the centre speakers. You should only pay attention to the size of the tweeters and woofers to get a good sound.

What are the alternatives to centre speakers?

The centre speaker is considered by home cinema enthusiasts to be one of the most important speakers. It is therefore difficult to find an alternative. However, it can happen that you don't have enough space for the centre speaker. In this case, we have selected some alternatives for you.

Alternative Description
Phantom centre Colloquially, this refers to a centre that is not one. You tell your TV receiver that no centre speaker is connected. This causes the receiver to distribute the sound between the left and right front speakers of the TV set. Ideally, the dialogue now sounds as if the sound is coming from the centre.
Two small centres on the right and left If you do not have room for a large centre speaker in the middle under the TV, two small ones are a sufficient alternative. This way, the sound of the dialogue moves to the centre. It is important that both small speakers are identical.
Centre speakers behind the screen you can place the centre behind a screen. The prerequisite is that the screen is made of sound-permeable material.

These alternatives are sufficient if you do not have enough space. However, they do not have the same effect as a large centre speaker below your TV.

Decision: What types of centre speakers are there and which one is right for you?

When making a purchase, you can distinguish between three different types of centre speakers:

  • a passive centre speaker
  • an active centre speaker
  • a high-end centre speaker

Passive and active centre speakers are different speaker concepts, which we explain below to help you decide between the two options.

What are the features of a passive centre speaker and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A passive centre speaker does not have an amplifier built into the drivers. An external amplifier is needed to produce sound.

Advantages
  • less prone to faults
  • simple wiring
  • simple configuration
Disadvantages
  • lack of flexibility
  • dependent on external amplifiers
  • hardly any sound adjustment

Even if you have to buy an external amplifier in addition to the passive centre speaker, this is often worth the price.

What distinguishes an active centre speaker and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Active centre speakers do not need an additional amplifier, as this is already integrated into the speaker.

Advantages
  • no additional amplifier necessary
  • individual possibilities to adjust the sound
Disadvantages
  • each speaker needs its own power socket
  • large space requirement for cables
  • smaller selection of home cinema speakers

Active centre speakers save you from having to buy an amplifier. However, you also have the option of buying a centre speaker in an active-passive combination.

What distinguishes a high-end centre speaker and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

High end describes speakers that are of the best possible quality. They are the newest and most powerful centre speakers you can find on the market.

Advantages
  • high quality
  • authentic, clean and differentiated sound
Disadvantages
  • expensive
  • little choice
  • unsuitable for DIY

If you are offered a high-end centre speaker, you can expect outstanding quality. The price is naturally very high. There are active and passive high-end centre speakers.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate centre speakers

Making a decision when buying centre speakers is often not easy. In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between different centre speakers. The criteria that help you compare centre speakers include:

In the following paragraphs, we'll show you exactly what each criterion entails.

Frequency range

Acoustic vibrations form the sound that produces a tone. These are also called frequencies. The vibrations are measured in hertz. So the frequency range tells you what range of tones the speaker can reproduce. Since a centre speaker mainly reproduces film dialogue, the speaker must be able to reproduce mainly medium frequencies. For men, for example, the fundamental range is between 100Hz and 125 Hz, for women 200 Hz to 250Hz.

Structure

Centre speakers differ from each other not only in size but also in construction. You can distinguish between different multi-way speakers. The more transducers the centre speaker has, the more frequencies it can reproduce. Especially if you are interested in pragmatics, it makes sense to check whether the centre speaker has a sound control. This allows you to adjust the sound to your taste and the room with a circuit.

Weight

Depending on the size and material of the speaker, the weight of the speaker may vary. However, the sound quality is not affected by the weight of the speaker, but if you already have media furniture, you should make sure that it can support the weight of your centre speaker. Some centre speakers weigh as little as 2 kg. Others weigh between 6 and 10 kg. High-end centre speakers can weigh up to 20 kg.

Rated power handling

The power handling rating tells you how much power a speaker can handle without damage. A speaker rated at 40 watts can handle 40 watts under laboratory conditions. A power handling rating between 20 and 80 watts is very common for the centre speakers you can buy on Amazon.

Speaker size

The size of different centre speakers can vary. As you've already seen, the cost point can also change with the size of the speaker.

Pay special attention to the size if you already have TV furniture in your room that the speaker needs to fit into.

Even if you don't have enough space in your room, you should pay special attention to the size so that you can ideally still place the centre speaker under the TV. Don't worry, the size of your centre speaker can affect the sound, but even smaller centre speakers will give you a good movie experience.

Facts about centre speakers

Where should I position the centre speaker?

In cinemas, centre speakers are placed at the same height as the front speakers, so that the sound is even. The sound moves clearly from side to side and is optimally picked up by the audience. You should place the centre speaker as close to the TV as possible. It should also be located between the two front speakers.

You should never place the centre speaker on the floor.

Ideally, it should be placed at least 40 cm above the floor. Due to its elongated shape, it is well suited for shelves and TV tables. If you have no choice but to place the speaker outside a height of 40 cm and 120 cm, angle the centre speaker slightly towards you.

How do I connect a centre speaker?

As mentioned earlier, you should place the centre speaker between the front speakers and below the TV. Now you need speaker cables to connect the centre speakers. It is important to consider the length of the cable and the current carrying capacity of the cable when making your decision.

The shorter the transmission path, the higher the possible volume!

Basically, you can say that you should use a cable with a cross-section of about 2.5 mm for a transmission path of more than 7 metres. Now that you have understood all this, there is nothing to stop you from buying a centre speaker and connecting it in your living room.

Is there special furniture for and to complement centre speakers?

Yes, there is. You have a large selection of TV furniture and media furniture, especially online, but also in furniture stores. Lowboards are particularly popular. Lowboards allow you to set up your TV and place your centre speaker on a shelf. In addition to the centre speaker, you can also place other speakers in the lowboard.

Center Lautsprecher-3

Media furniture is very popular and provides more storage space for speakers and personal items. You can build them yourself or buy them online with a large selection.
(Image source: unsplash.com/Jonas Leupe)

Often you also have additional storage space in your home cinema or living room, for example for your DVDs and Blue Ray discs. You can also build your own lowboard out of wood or other materials. This way you can tailor the dimensions to your centre speaker and your home cinema.

Can I build a centre speaker myself?

In terms of price, it only makes sense to build the speaker cabinet yourself and to buy the speaker as such. However, when building speaker cabinets or media furniture, you can let your creativity run free. Here we explain the basic steps for the construction.

  1. Before building: One option is to get a ready-made kit. However, if you have special wishes and ideas, it's best to get fibreboard and cut it to size according to your requirements.
  2. What you need: Youneed four walls for the speaker cabinet. You also need a front panel that has cut-outs for the speaker. Cut-outs for a reject socket also need to be cut into the back panel.
  3. Theconstruction: You can glue the panels for the speaker cabinets together with a wood glue. There are different types of enclosures, you can find more detailed instructions when you buy ready-made kits.
  4. Decorating: After assembling the materials, you are free to design the cabinet or TV bench as you like. You can give loudspeaker cabinets your own touch by painting them.

To give you an idea of how a cabinet can be built, we have selected a video for you here. In addition to the cabinet, you can also build media furniture so that you have the ideal and individually designed piece of furniture for your TV and the associated speakers.

Image source: Krisanov/ 123rf.com

Reviews