Is It Okay to Place a Center Speaker on a Shelf?

Is It Okay to Place a Center Speaker on a Shelf?

Anthony Nguyen
May 3, 2011

Q: While I love having surround sound, but I've always hated the clutter of having to place center channel dead in the middle of my home theater setup. It just doesn't look too sexy. I was thinking about putting it up on a shelf. Any tips?

A: Great question, Chase!

Speaker height placement is kind of a tricky subject, but we'll try to give it out best shot. This is mainly due to the range of room sizes and their associated acoustic properties. It's also a matter of personal preference, since everyone's ears hear sound a little differently.

But here's the nitty gritty. Crutchfield recommends:

  • Placing your center channel directly above or below your TV (the more centered the better).
  • Try to match the height of the center speakers with the height of your left and right channel tweeters (within 24" would be optimal).
  • Place the center speaker at about the same distance as your left and right speakers.

We'd also recommend getting the speaker grill to match the edge of the shelf to avoid any noise distortion due to reflection.

Hopefully that gives you a good starting point. If you know if more tips for speaker placement, let Chase know in the comments!

(Images: Crutchfield, Minhembio)

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