Are we better off with centre speakers ?


Active Member
Just wondering what other people's thoughts are about centre speakers.

I have run a home cinema for over 10 years and always got better results with no centre speaker (setting the amp to mix centre channel information to front left & right speakers).

At one time, I had 5 x Tannoy Saturn 8s - all exactly the same and no matter how I positioned the centre, it always sounded different to the other speakers, presumably due to their proximity to the room corners. I found the difference very obvious - if a sound moved sideways across the screen, the quality would change as it passed the centre. The difference in tone was also very obvious when playing the white noise my amp puts out when setting speaker levels.

I was much happier with the centre switched off but others say the centre is important to lock the dialogue to the screen. I have always used a projector, so maybe that makes a difference ?

Other advantages of not having one are:
  • More money to spend on the other speakers - potentially better sound quality.
  • No restriction on speaker choice - not all have available matching centres.
  • Better domestic acceptability.
  • No problems positioning the speaker above or below the screen when you really want it in the middle.


Well-known Member
mmmm....I think it depends on lots of factors ...particularly room size/placement of other speakers

In a "regular" (if there is such a thing) living room, with a listening area of say a 2-3 seater sofa set-up perfectly opposite, then Im sure its hard to tell with/without a centre

but as soon as you move out of the sweetspot, throw some irregular room sizes/shapes in I think the centre becomes more important

In my set-up, Ive experienced the other way around - I had to send my pain stereo pair away for repair....I thought the movie would sound terrible, but was really surprised at just how much came through the centre...and what a great job the centre did without the stereo pair ....I certainly wouldnt be without it

...but then I dont want to lose the stereo pair for 2ch listening of course ;)

..oh, its a Anthony Gallo Referance Centre im using ...and with a few hundred watts of clean power it can nearly fill my room with sound on its own :smashin:


Distinguished Member
Here. Norton's points were spot on and Bogie already responded. If you insist, I'll just confirm that Norton's comments apply in my case too (well, perhaps not domestic acceptability with my speakers :), but that's another question).
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