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Tips for Selecting and Placing the Center Speaker of Your Home Theater

Speaker selection and placement is important for a home-theater installation, but it is even more important when it comes to selecting the center speaker. This speaker will be getting the most use from a home theater, with it being responsible for the dialogue of the characters on screen as well as sound effects in action scenes. A common mistake is getting the same five speakers for every speaker in a 5.1 surround-sound setup. The center speaker can actually be unique to fit its unique needs in your home theater. Here are some tips for purchasing and placing the center speaker.

Select a Speaker with a High Crossover Frequency

There are three components to a good center speaker. The tweeter is used for higher frequencies, the woofer for lower frequencies, and the middle-range driver is used for middle frequencies. The speaker switches between these three components when playing back audio with a dynamic range of frequencies. If a speaker has a high crossover frequency, it will switch between using these three components in a seamless manner. Your ears won’t hear the transition, and it will be a more enjoyable home-theater experience. This will be more noticeable in a scene with dialogue that is interrupted with an explosion filled with bass.

In addition, center speakers will be identified as two-way or three-way speakers. The difference is that a two-way speaker will be missing that middle-range driver, while the three-way speaker includes it. For better sound quality, select the three-way speaker for your center speaker.

Place the Speaker at Ear Level

You’ll want the placement of your center speaker to be as close to ear level as possible and located directly between your front left and right speakers. This may not be possible because the TV is typically located at eye level in a room. In that situation, place the speaker directly above or below the television.

A common mistake made is to place this center speaker at the very top of the room and face it downward toward the seating area or to place the speaker in a cabinet that is close to the floor. You will not get the best possible sound quality with the speakers placed in these positions.

Need help selecting and placing the speakers in your home theater? Have a professional come to your home and do it for you. It will save you the trouble of comparing specification between different speakers, especially when you cannot listen to every speaker in person to hear the difference for yourself.