Best Center Channel Speaker Placement

A lot of people underestimate the role of a center channel speaker in a home theater system, but it is actually the most important speaker in the sound system setup. This is due to the fact that the center channel speaker handles about 70% of all audio playbacks at any particular time. It is also responsible for handling most of the dialogues and vocals from movies and music while syncing all of it to the screen action in the front stage to deliver a real theater experience. In order to tack the sound to the screen, Center Speaker Placement is a very important thing to consider. Improper center speaker placement will result in distortion in the flow of sound effects from right to left. Proper Center Speaker placement will allow the suspension of belief. In a proper sound system setup, the front right, center, and right speakers will work in sync to form the “front soundstage.”

Similar to other high-quality speakers, a center channel speaker should be acoustically inconspicuous. If you are looking for a great center channel speaker, it is recommended that you go for the 3-way design speaker with a vertically-aligned tweeter and midrange. This is because these speakers’ design enables it to perform similarly to a full range speaker. The design will also enable it to produce a more dispersed sound field while allowing clear acoustic imaging during tracking across the front stage. 

In terms of placement, Center speakers are ambiguous, which is why it has become important to ensure proper center speaker placement. Proper center speaker placement is also necessary to prevent lobing or distortions in dispersion characteristics. Poor center speaker placement can affect sound quality because the speaker will not be able to disperse sound waves evenly across the listening area. After choosing the perfect center channel speaker for your sound system, you will follow the tips below for proper center speaker placement;

Positioning 

We have already established how important positioning is for optimizing the efficiency of center channel speakers. So let us discuss the best ways to position a center channel speaker vertically and laterally. For vertical positioning, it is recommended that you put the center channel speaker directly above or below the screen. You should also make sure it is near the screen and do not put too much distance between them. Normally, the ideal spot for vertical center speaker placement is below the screen because it will be around the ear level. This will help make sure you get the best simulation of sound from the screen. But if for some reason, you are unable to put your center channel speaker below the screen, you can also put it directly above it, but it should still be in close proximity to the screen. If the speaker is placed too far above or below the screen, the sound simulation and synchronization with the screen will be messed up. 

For lateral placement, it is recommended that you keep the center channel speaker in the center just like the name implies. While this is clear to a lot of people, some people might still be confused about the lateral positioning of their center channel speaker. If you place the center channel speaker too far to the right or left, it might start feeling like the sound is coming from another room because the synchronization of the speaker with the screen will be messed up. 

Furniture Placement

If you are placing the center channel speaker in a piece of furniture, it is recommended that you place it at the lip of the shelf. One of the most common issues with center channel speakers occurs when they are placed deep inside a piece of furniture. This has a lot of negative effects on the speaker’s performance. For instance, when you place a speaker inside an enclosed area, the sound will be affected by the surface of that area, and it will end up getting distorted a bit. Also, when there are surfaces around the center channel speaker, it will obstruct the dispersion of sound waves from the drivers, which cannot extend properly as a result of the surfaces. This is why it is always recommended that you put the center channel speaker at the lip of the price of furniture to optimize the speaker’s performance. 

 Proper Angling

The proper angling for center channel speakers is directed towards the face. The greater the frequency of the sound, the more directional it gets, so if the tweeter is not directed towards you, the sound will also not be focused in your direction. Sometimes, you might be unable to place your speaker in the ideal position, but wherever you end up placing it, you should make sure you direct the tweeter towards your face. Your center channel speaker should always be directed towards the listening area. Even if you are using a wall-mounting speaker above or below your screen, make sure it is angled towards the listener’s ear level. 

The Fireplace

Center Speaker Placement Over Fireplace

 For people with a fireplace in their home, you will find that sometimes the position of your fireplace would affect your center speaker placement. Since you cannot mount your center channel speaker above a fireplace, you will have to find another place for it. This might prove to be a huge challenge for some homeowners that want to set up a sound system in their living room. There are a lot of ideas that can be used to solve this, but each situation is different, so they might work for you or not. 

One great way to handle this kind of situation is to find another place for your center channel speaker. This is if you have the option to choose another space for it in the room. 

Another idea is to try out mounts. There is a wide range of TV mounts on the market, but it is recommended that you get a full motion articulating mount that will allow you to extend and elevate the TV. This is a great way to free some space for your center channel speaker under the TV. Also, if your ceiling height permits, you can decide to mount the center on the ceiling. This is a great idea if you are able to keep the center channel speaker not too far away from the TV and direct it towards the listening area, just as we mentioned before. This is not a perfect solution, but you can manage. 

Another solution is to get a smaller TV to create space for your center channel speaker. This is probably not an idea that is well-liked by a lot of people. But if you are okay with a small TV, you can try it out.

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