You know that speaker in the middle of your home theater setup? It’s the real MVP! It’s the center channel speaker, and it’s a big deal. The center channel makes sure that when characters are chatting on the screen, you can hear every word crystal clear by providing you with balanced dialogue reproduction that offers pristine sound quality. It’s like the unsung hero of your home theater, making sure the dialogue sounds just right and adds to that movie magic.

But hunting down the ideal center channel speaker option within a range of under $2000 can be challenging. It’s no walk in the park! There are hundreds of center channel models of different brands, sizes, features, and prices. Some can be used as left and right, and some as center usage for pristine sound quality. Whether you love movies or you are a movie enthusiast, investing in this speaker category is the perfect investment.

Our Team Wooster Audio will explore some of the top contenders in this $2000 price range and will highlight their features, benefits, and build quality. All center channels are tested in our Wooster lab, and we have got excellent results after playing multiple dramas, music albums, and movies and found excellent results from our selected models. We are sure that they will make your movie and drama-watching experience way better with their premium sound quality. Our listed options feature voice-matching technology, high-quality drivers, a wide frequency response range, and incredible build quality.

So, let’s start below.

Best Center Channel Speaker Under $2000 Summary

Definitive Technology CS-9080 Best Overall Definitive Technology CS-9080 Read More See On Amazon
Klipsch RC-64 III Best For Vocal Clarity Klipsch RC-64 III Read More See On Amazon
Definitive Technology CS-9060 Best For High-Performance Definitive Technology CS-9060 Read More See On Amazon
PSB Imagine XC Best for Home Theater PSB Imagine XC Read More See On Amazon
Polk Audio Reserve R400 Best For Compact Solution Polk Audio Reserve R400 Read More See On Amazon
Bowers & Wilkins HTM71 S2 Best for dialogue pop Bowers & Wilkins HTM71 S2 Read More See On Amazon
MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL Best class-leading MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL Read More See On Amazon

Best Center Channel Speaker Under $2000 At a Glance:

Lets Get Started

Definitive Technology CS-9080 (Image credit: Amazon)

Definitive Technology CS-9080

Best Overall


FQ: 20Hz - 30kHz | Sensitivity: 92dB | Impedance: 8 Ohms | Recommended Power: 20 - 300 Watts


+ Its built in Subwoofer and bass radiator give awesome deep bass!

+ Intelligent Bass Control

+ Has LED illuminated front "D" logo

+ Logo light can be turn off

+ Balanced Dual Surround System

+ Well-built and aesthetically pleasing


- Bit larger and not for limited space

Note: CS-9080 is Un-Available Right Now On Amazon, We will update this notice once it will available in stock.

Definitive Technology is a name most people know and trust in the home theater industry. For audiophiles who demand the best audio performance, their CS-9080 center channel speaker is a superb option. The CS-9080 center channel speaker from Definitive Technology includes the BDSS technology drivers and is an excellent addition to any premium home entertainment system.

Let’s talk about technical aspects. The CS-9080 comes with two 5.25" mid drivers, an integrated 8" 300W powered subwoofer (crystal clear highs and mids and lows), and a 10" bass radiator. There is also bass enhancement proprietary intelligent bass control that can efficiently be utilized for bass management. The CS-9080 has the latest built-in amplifiers and drivers to handle high volume levels with no problem.

The Definitive Technology CS-9080 is easy to set up and comes with an iconic intelligent design with minimal resonance, so you can create an immersive experience by adding it to your set-up, and you’ll be able to hear the vital dialogue and sound effects clearly without being distracted by background noise.

The CS-9080 Center speakers come with the latest sound Technology and a wide range of frequencies, which helps produce clear sound in all directions. So, your audio recordings can capture all the details you want, and there is no need to add any additional subwoofer.

Additionally, the CS-9080 comes with a user manual explaining how to set them up quickly. So overall, with its sleek design and clear, powerful sound, the CS-9080 will look great in any home theater or audio system.

Inputs Option Found:

  • One pair of 5-way binding posts
  • Low level woofer-in (optional)

Someone Comment: In my home theater experience, I have never experienced any problems with this CS-9080 Center-channel loudspeaker by Definitive Technology company, and it has turned out to be the best investment I have ever made.

Klipsch RC-64 III (Image credit: Amazon)

Klipsch RC-64 III

Best For Vocal Clarity


FQ: 57-24,000 Hz (±3dB) | Sensitivity: 99 dB |  Impedance: 8 Ohms | Power Range: up to 200


+ Outstanding sound performance

+ Great sound and clarity of dialogue

+ Compatible with High-End Amp like Yamaha RX-A3060 Av receiver

+ Cast Frame Woofer Design


- Described as large and heavy (60 lbs weight)

The Klipsch RC-64 III stands out among the competition as it is powerful and affordable. It incorporates a 4-inch woofer with a Cast Frame Woofer Design, delivering robust bass performance through its four 6.5-inch Cerametallic Cone Woofers. To ensure high-fidelity audio playback, it includes a 1-inch silk dome tweeter. Additionally, it boasts a compressed rubber Tractrix horn with dimensions of 90 by 90, enhancing sound dispersion.

The Klipsch RC-64 III boasts a sophisticated 2.5-way speaker configuration, making it an excellent choice for both home theaters and music systems. Its compact size, portability, and exceptional performance ensure a superb auditory experience. Thanks to its versatile design, you can position the Klipsch RC-64 III speaker anywhere within your room, and it even includes an integrated subwoofer as part of the package.

The RC-64 is Crafted from premium materials and showcases an advanced engineering guaranteeing top-tier sound quality. With crossover frequencies set at 1000 and 1400 Hz and a sensitivity of 99 dB, it effectively minimizes unwanted system noise, delivering optimal audio performance.

The Klipsch RC-64 III stands as an ideal option for compact to mid-sized rooms, serving as a Center Channel Speaker that immerses your space in rich, enveloping sound. Its exquisite Furniture-Grade Wood Veneer design in Black Ash lends a premium aesthetic to your room. So overall, with RC-64 III, you can experience room-filling audio by simply connecting the RC-64 III to your audio source, performing the setup, and enjoying the resounding audio it delivers. It Boasts a remarkable 40Hz depth and the capacity to handle substantial power levels without any hint of distortion.

If we compare CS-9080 with Klipsch RC-64 III, then one unique feature found in this Klipsch center channel speaker is horn-loaded technology, which adds quality to the sound. But as compared to CS-9080, it costs you more but provides more quality, too.

Grab now: bookshelf speaker under $1000

Definitive Technology CS-9060 (Image credit: Amazon)

Definitive Technology CS-9060

Best For High-Performance


Total Frequency Response: 32 Hz → 40,000 Hz | Sensitivity: 91 dB |  Impedance: 8 Ohms | Power Range:  50-300


+ High-performance BDSS mid/bass drivers

+ Balanced Double Surround System

+ Commended for its full-range capabilities

+ Ensuring a cohesive soundstage


- May require some sound adjustments

Here is the smaller brother of CS-9080, the Definitive Technology CS-9060 which are 3 way center channel speaker. In a compact home theater configuration, where space for a center channel speaker is limited, the CS-9060 steps in to deliver an impressive audio performance and expand the audio landscape.

Designed with a sleek black finish and a ported enclosure, the CS-9060 is the go-to choice for those in pursuit of a top-notch home theater experience. Boasting a 4.5-inch woofer and a 1-inch Hard-Dome tweeter, this center channel is a powerhouse of sound.

Thanks to its incorporation of DTS Studio Sound technology, the CS-9060 ensures an exceptional audio experience, enveloping you in a world of deep, resonant sound whether you’re watching movies or listening to music. The CS-9060 stands as the perfect selection for your audio needs.

The CS-9060 offers an easy setup process and adjustable settings for volume and EQ once connected to your home theater system. The included remote control allows convenient adjustments from anywhere in the room.

The CS-9060 is equipped with a 91 dB sensitivity and a frequency response spanning from 32 to 40 kHz, along with both a 5-Way post and an RCA connector. Its audio quality is enhanced by BDSS (2nd Gen) Drivers, featuring 4.5" midrange cone woofers, intelligent bass control, and a rear-firing slot port that deepens bass and increases sound efficiency.

In addition to excellent stereo separation, the CS-9060 is well-suited for home theaters and various audio applications. However, some owners have expressed concerns about its durability and reported sound quality degradation over time.

The CS-9060 boasts a powerful amplifier and a wide range of inputs, making it a feature-rich option. If you’re in search of a top-notch center channel speaker under $2000, the Definitive Technology CS-9060 is certainly worth considering. My personal experience with this Definitive Technology center channel speaker has been exceptional, as it delivers outstanding sound quality, features an appealing design, boasts solid construction, and is backed by excellent customer service.

Topic: Have to experience a 3000-watt amplifier?

PSB Imagine XC (Image credit: Amazon)

PSB Imagine XC

Best for Home Theater


FQ: 50-23k Hz | Sensitivity: 90 dB |  Impedance: 8 Ohms | Power Range:  20-150 | Wall-mountable: No


+ Highly praised for its dialogue clarity

+ Affordable compared to higher-end center channels

+ Good build quality and finish.


- Nothing Right Now

Note: The PSB Imagine XC is un-available on amazon, once it availabe in stock, we will update the notice

The PSB Imagine XC stands as a state-of-the-art audio solution, boasting exceptional sound quality characterized by a frequency response spanning 50-23,000 Hz (±3dB) and a sensitivity of 89 dB. With an impedance of 8 ohms, these speakers are versatile for both home cinema and gaming, operating optimally with a recommended power supply in the range of 20-150 watts.

Enhancing its audio prowess, the PSB Imagine XC features dual 5-1/4" clay ceramic-filled polypropylene woofers and a titanium dome tweeter with neodymium magnets. Equipped with a passive radiator and a bass reflex (ported) design, this speaker ensures precise low-end response. Gold-plated binding posts further contribute to its quality.

The Imagine XC incorporates a 10-inch driver and an integrated crossover to faithfully reproduce audio while sporting a sleek, contemporary design that complements any home theater setup.

The package includes a Grille, Four Rubber feet, and a Quick Start Guide. Thanks to its affordability, user-friendliness, and impressive sound performance, the PSB Imagine XC proves itself to be an excellent addition to any audio system.

This center channel speaker, finished in black ash vinyl, is perfect for those seeking a compact yet powerful audio solution that delivers clarity across all music genres, making it ideal for smaller spaces.

It’s worth noting, however, that some users have raised concerns about the construction quality of the PSB Imagine XC speakers, suggesting that they may not be as durable as pricier models. Additionally, the speaker’s sound output can be affected by nearby walls and objects, so careful placement is advised in room configuration.

For those in search of a high-quality and budget-friendly center channel speaker, the PSB Imagine XC offers a compelling choice. This overview has hopefully shed light on the PSB Imagine XC and why it might be a valuable addition to your audio setup.

Polk Audio Reserve R400 (Image credit: Amazon)

Polk Audio Reserve R400

Best For Compact Solution


Tweeter Type: Ring Radiator | Connector Type: Binding post  | Frequency Response: 48-39K Hz


+ Features Polk Newly Patented X-Port (ETF)

+ Features Sleek Modern Design

+ Excellent cabinets for better performance

+ Features super Pinnacle Ring Radiator Tweeter


- Large in size

The Polk Audio Reserve R400 speakers are available in two sizes: the R400S and the R400C. The R400S, being smaller than the R400C, is the ideal choice for compact home theater setups. On the other hand, the R400C, larger than the R400S, is best suited for medium to large home theater configurations.

These Polk Audio Reserve R400 speakers boast a 1" Pinnacle ring radiator tweeter with an integrated waveguide. Constructed from a robust combination of aluminum alloy and composite materials, they are built to last. The magnetically shielded enclosure ensures consistent sound quality, regardless of the speaker’s placement, and the removable magnetic grille adds to its versatility.

Not only does the Polk Audio Reserve R400 offer sturdy construction, but it also delivers high-quality sound reproduction. What’s even more appealing is their affordability, with online prices often lower than those in local stores. All in all, the Polk Audio Reserve R400 stands out for its exceptional sound quality, compact size, and remote control capability. In this context, it proves to be an excellent choice.

Get: The Top Quaity 2000 Wattage Amp

Bowers & Wilkins HTM71 S2 (Image credit: Amazon)

Bowers & Wilkins HTM71 S2

Best for dialogue pop


Enclosure: Ported | Color: Gloss Black | Tweeter Type: Decoupled Soft-Dome | Connector Type: Binding post | Power Range: 30-200 | Frequency Response: 50-28k Hz | Sensitivity: 89 dB


+ Sound stage, clarity

+ Work Great with other B&W speakers

+ Greatly add bass to any 5.1.4 system


- Little big and fairly heavy (big boy)

- Larger footprint

Audiophiles and music enthusiasts alike will find a deep appreciation for the Bowers & Wilkins HTM71 S2 speakers. It stands out with its innovative coaxial design, delivering an extended low-frequency response and boasting an integrated amplifier.

What sets the Bowers & Wilkins HTM71 S2 apart is its exclusive design, a feature that sets it apart from speakers in its category. This design translates into exceptional sound quality, and its lightweight construction makes it effortlessly portable, catering to your mobility needs.

This Bowers & Wilkins adopts a 3-way design, incorporating a 1" Decoupled Carbon DomeTM tweeter, and two 6 1/2" AerofoilTM Profile bass cones. It houses a vented cabinet with a rear-firing FlowportTM, optimizing sound quality. The inclusion of a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and an active crossover network ensures seamless bass response, while its frequency response spans from 50 to 28,000 Hz (±3dB).

Adding to its appeal, the Bowers & Wilkins HTM71 S2 comes in three elegant colors—black, white, or titanium. It also features an illuminated logo and speaker grill.

From the reviews I’ve encountered, the Bowers & Wilkins HTM71 S2 center channel speaker not only fits my budget but also aligns perfectly with my audio preferences, making it an ideal choice for my needs.

MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL (Image credit: Amazon)

MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL

Best class-leading


Watt: 20-300 watts | FQ: 66-23,000 Hz (±3dB)  | Impedance: 4 ohms | Sensitivity: 89 dB


+ Great clean sound

+ Best center clarity

+ Outstanding Center Speaker


- Expensive upgrade

The MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL is an excellent choice, thanks to its distinctive CenterForceTM bass system and the presence of two opposite-facing 5-1/4" high-excursion woofers, ensuring remarkable voice-matched performance.

This model of MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL is specifically designed as a small-format center channel speaker, featuring outstanding woofers and two electrostatic midrange drivers. What sets it apart is the polymer spider frame, known for its exceptional stiffness and strength.

The ElectroMotion ESL boasts the renowned Folded tweeter, housed within a precisely sealed box and complemented by an advanced passive radiating port design. This combination ensures the delivery of crystal-clear, precise audio reproduction.

Technical Details:

  • Tweeter with 5-1/4" x 1-3/4" diaphragm
  • Two 9" x 6-3/8" transducers
  • Two 5-1/4" high-excursion woofers

Different Types Of Center Channel Speakers?

For a deeper understanding of the types of center channel speakers and their benefits, here is a list of the most common types:

2-Way Center Channel Speaker

2-Way, one of the most common types, has two drivers, a tweeter and a woofer, and they offer high and low-frequency handling at an affordable price.

3-Way Center Channel Speaker

Compared to two-way, the three-way features three drivers: a tweeter, a mid-range driver, and a woofer, all of which provide more accurate and detailed sound.

Bipolar Center Channel Speaker

In this type two sets of drivers facing in opposite directions and offer a diffuse sound field so that an ample space can benefit from the room-filling sound.

Horn-Loaded Center Channel Speaker

These types of center channel speakers use horns to amplify the sound produced by the speaker drivers so that the sound that comes to you will be more powerful and efficient. So, if you have a home theater with a large screen, then they would make an excellent selection.

Bass Reflex Center-Channel Speakers

These speakers have a unique design that increases the impact of low-frequency sounds and are ideal for use in large rooms with important low-frequency sounds.

So Team Wooster Audio will recommend you choose a center channel speaker that will meet your needs from the different types available.

Quick Buying Tips

You need to consider various factors when choosing the right center channel speaker for your home theater system, including compatibility,voice-matching, room size, sensitivity, frequency response range, reviews, and last but not least, a budget (an important factor).

Listening Environment 

If you plan to use your center channel in a small or large room with a lot of background noise, you must first decide what kind of listening environment you will be in.

Room Size

It’s up to you if you are looking for a small center channel speaker for a bookshelf or an under-the-TV speaker. Channel speakers can be found in all sizes to fit any room, from a bedroom to an office.


What’s your preference: an expensive center channel speaker or one that’s cheaper and still provides high-quality sound? Our list includes in all budgets and with pros and cons.

Sound Quality

Choosing speakers for the central channel should also be based on their sound quality. I will also recommend that you don’t go for a select price when purchasing any center channel speakers since cheaper speakers may have low-quality audio components, so no matter how much the speaker costs, choose a well-made one.

The sound from a good center channel speaker will be clear in all directions, thus making it the perfect speaker for the stage, as well as reproducing lower and higher frequencies accurately.

Listening requirements

Depending on the music you listen to, a smaller or medium-sized center-channel speaker may be best for you. However, a larger or heavier speaker may be better if you enjoy hip-hop and pop.

In A Nutshell

Within any audio system, the central channel speaker serves as the focal point for audio and typically occupies a central position. The question often arises: what makes them influential? Wooster Audio’s experts assert that their influence stems from their ability to deliver a balanced sound in a room, a vital attribute for music and movie consumption. Center channels achieve this by anchoring the primary sound focus in the room’s center, ensuring clear audibility even when instruments and vocals are dispersed throughout the space.

Both Klipsch RC-64 III and Definitive Technology CS-9080 are excellent speakers that significantly provide sound effects, vocals, and dialogue excellently and significantly add to your surround sound setup.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use center speakers for surround?

The center speakers are often thought of as stereo speakers only and used for primary channel for dialogue and also can use as surround speakers (some cases). A center speaker reproduces human speech in the range of frequencies that are suitable for human hearing wheres for higher and lower frequencies you will not find them suitable as they are typically associated with surround effects.

Should the center speaker be louder than the front?

There are many arguments about which speaker should be louder - the center speaker should be louder because it is closer to the driver, or the front speakers should be louder because they are closer to the road. Which one is accurate? It depends on your preference.

In the debate over whether the center speaker should be louder than the front speakers, there is some debate. The center speaker should be quieter to make the car sound spacious, while others feel it is important to hear the dialogue in the movie or TV show. Ultimately, it is up to you which speaker you prefer to be louder.

Do I need a center channel speaker in a small room?

A center channel speaker can make a difference in sound quality, especially in small rooms. Although some people think a center channel is unnecessary in a small room, this is not always the case. You should seek the advice of an audio professional if you are unsure whether a center channel speaker is necessary for a small room. It can fill the room with sound and make it more immersive.

William is technical editor of Wooster Audio, an audio enthusiast passionate about cutting-edge technologies. He has been working with us for three years, meticulously reviewing and evaluating wireless (speakers & soundbars), hi-fi, and home cinema equipment, and has covered 1000+ audio products. His background is based in Audio engineering and he has an ardent passion for building home theater systems and audio systems and loves audio mixing, editing and sound designing. This allows William to share this knowledge on Wooster audio site. He provides the most comprehensive audio information available by tapping into his expertise and keen insights. He can guide you to audio excellence on Wooster Audio with his discerning ear and commitment to quality. Contact William for any question (