If you are looking to balance your home theater’s sound system, center channel speakers are an essential part of your setup. These speakers work by balancing the left and right channel audio for better surround sound. You’ll want to consider many things when making this purchase, and it’s essential to ensure the speakers you buy are compatible with your current setup and are of the right size for your home.
Center Channel Speaker Function and Application
Center channel speakers are used to emit all vocals, singing, and dialogue sounds. They do not share the same speakers where music and instrumental sounds come out from. This allows you to modify the volume of the vocals without affecting the volume of the music and vice versa. You are given extra flexibility in how you control and balance the sounds coming from the speakers.
If you love to watch movies or television shows at home, then you will get the best sound clarity possible from a center channel speaker. In fact, there are plenty of center channel speakers that you can purchase for under $500. You can use them with your other audio equipment as well as your video equipment too.
Best Center Channel Speakers under $500
Below are our top seven recommendations for the best center channel speakers under $500.
1) Polk Audio Signature Series S35 Center Channel Speakers
As part of a signature range of speakers from Polk Audio, this is a slim center channel speaker that offers you a wide choice of placement options in your home. At only 4.5 inches tall, it won’t interfere with your current setup and could easily be placed below or in front of your television without disturbing your viewing. It’s a great option for first-time buyers and offers good value for money and a tall and slim appearance, unlike other options on the market.
The speaker offers a 1” high-resolution terylene tweeter, guaranteeing clear and detailed sound delivery when playing music or movies on your home theater setup. It comes with 3-inch mica-reinforced polypropylene cones, which offer low-distortion and a clear bass. It is an ideal purchase to go with any set of speakers in your home and is ideal for using alone as a main speaker. You’ll feel transported into any scene with this speaker, and it’s fantastic for watching a musical performance in your home cinema. Almost any seat in your living room will enjoy the same experience, thanks to the great sound field due to the Denon receiver.
- Dimensions: 4.5 x 24.4 x 6.1 inches
- 1” high-resolution terylene tweeter
- 3-inch mica-reinforced polypropylene cones
2) Klipsch RP-500C Center Channel Speaker
You’ll enjoy listening to clear music and dialogue thanks to the acoustics of the Klipsch RP-500C center channel speaker. This device benefits from the Tractrix horn technology to give you a front-row seat at any experience you are watching. Constructed with an ebony and walnut finish, this is a scratch-resistant device that will last you for years to come.
The speaker’s dimensions are 18.5 x 6.81 x 9.5 inches, so it is a little larger than others on our list, but not an unexpected size. You’ll appreciate the dual Cerametallic woofers, which are 5.25 inches in size, that are a standout element on these speakers with their spun copper appearance. Finally, there is a removable grille, which is magnetic and very durable.
- Dimensions: 18.5 x 6.81 x 9.5 inches
- Hybrid Tractrix horn
- 25-inch Cerametallic woofers
3) ELAC Debut 2.0 C6.2 Center Speaker
For anyone looking for full power and scale from their center speaker, you’ll appreciate how this speaker from Elac offers equal power to that of your front-channel speakers. Thanks to the dual front port, it’s easy to place it in your cabinet or against a wall. With an excellent build quality and an affordable price, it is a game-changer on the market, providing just as good sound quality as high-end speakers.
There’s a silk-dome tweeter, which offers high frequencies that are extremely lifelike and can respond up to 35,000 Hz. The woofers are made from woven aramid-fiber and offer a good level of damping and stiffness for low-frequency response. You’ll also experience less cabinet vibration from these speakers, thanks to the vinyl finish. At 11.5 kg in weight and with dimensions of 7.61 x 23.35 x 10.55 inches, it’s quite a hefty speaker, but the results are well worth this trade-off if it fits well in your current home setup.
- Dimensions: 7.61 x 23.35 x 10.55 inches
- 5 kg in weight
- Frequency of 55 Hz – 35,000 Hz
4) Kanto SYD Powered Speaker with Bluetooth and Phono Preamp
With its unique shape and design, the Kanto SYD speaker has attracted much attention from people looking to purchase a new center channel speaker. If you are familiar with Kanto’s YU4’s, it is similar to this model, with 4 inch Kevlar drivers and 1 inch Silk dome tweeters. There’s a two-channel amplifier of class D standards, and it also features multiple audio connection options, including Bluetooth connectivity. This really sets it apart from other options on our list, and you can also opt to plug a turntable straight into the device.
This speaker’s size and shape do have some drawbacks, as it will be too big to place in front of your television. It can be placed under a television and will still take up less space than other traditional options. It offers fantastic sound quality and mixes the sound perfectly when listening to music while still spotlighting each individual instrument or performer. Setting up the speaker is very quick and easy, and you can connect it to your television with an optical cable, offering great sound definition when watching movies and gaming. For a simple sound system without excessive wiring, this is a great option for anyone looking for a new center channel speaker.
- Dimensions: 17.5 x 5.75 x 7 inches
- 4” Kevlar drivers and 1” Silk dome tweeters
- Bluetooth and Phono Preamp
5) Polk Audio 255C-Ls Two-Way Center Channel
Part of the Vanishing Series from Polk Audio, you’ll love how this speaker blends into your home theater setup and won’t detract from your screen. It’s the perfect centerpiece for your home theater and doesn’t attract attention away from the action. It features Polk’s Sheer-Grille, which is a super thin magnetic grill that only sticks out 7mm. To attract even less attention, this speaker can even be painted to match your home furnishings, so it will almost completely blend in with your home décor.
If you have any reflective surfaces in your room, you may be aware that they can cause distortion of images or make sound brighter. You’ll appreciate the reflective room compensation function with this speaker, which works by lowering the tweeter level. This speaker pairs well with the Polk LSi speakers, as they are timbre-matched for a seamless sound experience. To decrease distortion, PowerPort bass venting is included in the design for a smooth airflow transition to where you are sat listening to music or a movie. Finally, the installation of this device is effortless, and you’ll enjoy a secure and vibration-free experience.
- Dimensions: 9.35 x 3.8 x 14.8 inches
- Reflective room compensation feature
- Features Polk’s Sheer-Grille, which only sticks out 7mm
6) MartinLogan Motion 8i Center Channel Speaker, Single Speaker
For an elegant addition to your home cinema setup, consider this bookshelf center channel speaker with a piano black finish. It has the signature perforated grille and a flawless design that will fit well in any home cinema. This center channel speaker features a folded motion tweeter, which minimizes distortion and offers a fast response time. It has a large surface area, which creates clearer and more precise sound than you would experience from a 1” dome tweeter.
The design allows for either horizontal or vertical installation, and the push-style terminals help your wire fit easily into place, and it also accepts banana plugs. You can place this speaker on a tabletop, or on-wall installation is also an option. The Vostro crossover networks offer air core coil and steel lamination inductors for the best precise performance.
- Dimensions: 22 x 5.2 x 5.6 inches
- Folded Motion Tweeter
- Vostro crossover topology
7) Infinity RC263 Reference Series 3-Way Center Channel Speaker
As one of the larger speakers on our list today, you’ll notice the Infinity RC263 offers a 3-way design. The center of this speaker features a CMMD high-frequency driver, which is just 1 inch in size. It’s coupled with the advanced waveguide, offering good integration and coverage for even the widest listening spaces. Thanks to the four-inch flat-piston CMMD midrange, you’ll enjoy great dialogue, vocal clarity, and quality.
The dual 6.5-inch woofers work to offer a deep bass, which will make whatever you are listening to come to life right in your home. While it’s not the smallest option on our list today, the sleek design will blend into any setup or home décor and won’t stand out too much or get in the way of your home cinema. The details of this speaker will be appreciated by any audiophile, with a silver phrase ring and black chrome trim rings.
- Dimensions: 10.18 x 25.19 x 9.06 inches
- Dual 6.5 inch CMMD woofers
- 1 inch CMMD high-frequency driver
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With so many great options to choose from on the market, you’ll be spoilt for choice regardless of your budget for your new center channel speaker. All of these options provide a high-quality speaker that will blend well into your home cinema setup and offer you a quick and easy setup. Remember to find a speaker that fits perfectly into your living room, using the dimensions listed above, so that you have no issues adding this device into your current layout.