Can I Use Soundbar as Center Channel Speaker?

Yes, You can use a soundbar as your center speaker. To do this, you will need to connect your soundbar to the rest of your system. There are two ways to do it: in a single or three-channel format.

Optimizing Your Audio: Soundbar as Center Speaker

People who love to enjoy music to the fullest always try to build the perfect home theater system. In that home theater system, you will find a left and a right speaker channel that are used to handle sound effects and music. You will also find a center channel as well from where all the dialog comes out. Because of the size and location of the soundbar, you may think that a soundbar will be best for you to use as a center channel to make the dialogue clearer. So can you really make your soundbar to work as a center channel?

If each of the connections of your soundbar matches up with your receiver, then the answer is yes; you will be able to use a soundbar as a center channel speaker. But if you ask that, Should you hook up your soundbar to the center channel? Then, unfortunately, the answer is: NO.

If you use a soundbar as a center channel, it will not only ruin your sound, but also it can cause several damages to your equipment. If you are curious to know why using a soundbar to substitute for the center channel is a bad idea, at first, you have to know how soundbars work.

How Soundbars Accomplish High-Quality Audio?

Can I Use a Soundbar as a Center Channel Speaker

Most people think that soundbars are just like a normal speaker. The appearance and positioning are also mostly the same. Whatever soundbars use a few audio tricks, they can amplify sound and reproduce the immersive experience of a surround sound system.

The speakers that a soundbar uses to accomplish the surround sound environment are positioned in such a way that it is not suitable to work as a center speaker. A soundbar has its own left, right, and center channels as with a basic audio system.

In order to create the impact of surround sound, the left and right channel speakers are actually placed towards the sides of the soundbar. They use the walls of the room in order to create the theater-quality sound that everyone likes. The left and right channels actually bounce off the walls so that you can feel like the sound is really coming from your left and your right rather than in front of you where the TV is located.

Why Soundbar Won’t Sound Good as Center Channel?

A soundbar usually has three channels (the amount is four, actually if you want to count the subwoofer), and you can use the soundbar in two different ways in your surround system. If you want to use the soundbar as the true center, then you have to connect all three channels of the soundbar with the center channel of your receiver. Again you can also take advantage of the three channels and hook up a left, right, and center signal into the soundbar. But you should know that both of these approaches have significant disadvantages.

If you use a soundbar as a center channel, the angled left and right speakers will amplify your center signal around the room that will ruin the full home theater experience. The left and right speakers will mix up your center sound with your left and right channels, which will make both the dialogue and the sound effects less clear.

Because of the three-channel approach, the left and right speakers will be out of phase with the surround sound system, causing areas in the room where the sound is significantly quieter. You know that sound travels as waves, and when waves meet each other, they cause interference. And the interference results in patches of space where there is sound cancellation and other patches where the sound is amplified.

So I am telling you again that hooking up your soundbar to your surround sound system is not a good idea. If you hook your soundbar up as a single channel on all of its speakers, then it will amplify the center channel to the left and right of your room and ruin the real surround sound experience. If you hook up your system to give the soundbar three channels, it may cause sound interference and make your sound quiet in some areas of the room and loud. With both settings, you will lose sound quality with little reason.

Active Soundbars: Amplifying Problem

Best Soundbars without Subwoofers

The issue of signal strength makes the problem more compound. When the sound comes out from your television, it comes out as a line-level signal. This signal is very low voltage so that it can save your television the power of emitting speaker-level sound. If you want to hook up your line-level signal directly into a speaker, you should know that it would only create a low buzzing sound if it creates any sound because the wattage is not suitable enough to move the speakers significantly.

Most soundbars do not face this problem because they generally come with a built-in amplifier. An amplifier can add electricity to the signal and boosts the line-level signal to make it strong enough to move your speakers and give you the output of a beautiful theater-quality sound. This is the reason why most soundbars have a power adapter or need to be plugged into a wall outlet.

A surround sound system also works in the same way. As with the soundbar, the surround sound system also boosts the line-level signal that comes from the TV and powers the speakers connected to your receiver. So if you hook up the amplified sound of the surround sound system to the already amplified soundbar, you will really face significant problems.

The speaker that can amplify the sound internally is known as an active speaker, and it requires an external power source to function. It is just the opposite of passive speakers that need an external amplifier like the ones in your surround sound system. Passive speakers are the most popular type of speakers, and they are less costly also.

Why Connecting an Active Soundbar to a Receiver is not a good idea?

Soundbar to Receiver

As With speakers, there are mainly two types of soundbars available. Active and passive. As we have mentioned above, most soundbars are active soundbars, so they obviously come with their own amplification. If you want to hook this kind of soundbar directly to a surround sound receiver, you would be first amplifying the line-level signal with the receiver and then further amplifying the sound with the soundbar. To get through this, you can use a line-out converter that you can easily find on Amazon.

Sale
Kicker 46KISLOC K-Series Interconnect, Speaker to RCA W/Line-Out Converter
  • Compatible with OEM radios that have short circuit protection, these units take as much as 55 watts of input and deliver up to 8 volts of output.
  • This sonically neutral converter delivers outstanding sound quality in an incredibly small footprint.
  • KISLOC 2-ch speaker-to-RCA converter, LOC

But you should know that the amount of power is more than your soundbar is designed to handle, and that can even cause permanent damage to the speakers. If you really want to make the mistake of hooking up your receiver to a soundbar, you have to be sure that you are using a passive soundbar. However, you will still face sound quality problems, including sound cancellation or sound dilution noted above. Just because you know how to hook up your soundbar to your center channel does not mean you should do that.

So What is the Solution?

So What is the Solution

If you ever ask about ”Should you integrate a soundbar into your surround sound system?” the answer will be a big ”NO” as now. It ruins the quality of the sound and also can damage your equipment. So now you can ask that how you can give your center channel a boost without sacrificing the sound quality?

If you have an extra soundbar laying around and you want to hook up that one to your audio system, then we would recommend you hook that up to a different TV. Hooking up a soundbar to your audio system will make your sound louder than a standard center speaker, but you will lose the overall sound quality. Moreover, there will always remain a risk of damaging your equipment altogether.

Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-440C Center Channel Speaker - Ebony
  • The Reference Premiere RP-440 center Channel speaker provides clarity and accuracy to your home theater system with a stylish brushed baffle and four cerametallic copper woofers
  • 1-Inch linear travel Suspension titanium tweeter. Quad 4-Inch Spun Copper Cerametallic Cone Woofers
  • 90x90 Hybrid Tractrix Horn, All New Tractrix Port, Strong, Flexible Removable Grille.
  • MDF Cabinet with Brushed Polymer Veneer Baffle Finish.
  • All New Tractrix Port

However, if you like the sleek appearance of a soundbar and its placement right under the TV, you should know that you can easily find different kinds of speakers that look just like a soundbar, and they can also give you a soundbar true center sound. If you ask for any recommendation, we would like to recommend you the Klipsch RP-440C (on Amazon) and the Polk S35 (on Amazon). Both of these speakers may cost more than your basic soundbar, but they will give your center channel the boost without ruining your sound at all.

Polk Audio Signature Series S35 Center Channel Speaker (6 Drivers), Surround Sound, Power Port...
  • Ultra-Slim 4" tall speaker built to deliver BIG, RELIABLE SURROUND SOUND. Featuring Dynamic Balance acoustic array, with (6) 3" drivers and a 1" Terylene tweeter dome giving you a CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR HOME
  • STRIKINGLY BOLD, DRAMATIC LOOKS and DYNAMIC HEART-THUMPING SOUND — Polk's PATENTED POWER PORT TECHNOLOGY delivers deeper bass response with its turbulence-smoothing diffuser that minimizes distortion, giving you rich sound for movies, TV and music
  • DESIGNED TO DELIVER – The iconic rounded edges and the detailing are conceptualized from the best acoustic guitars, giving these bookshelf speakers a completely thought-through, performance-oriented stylish look
  • VERSATILE AND PERFECT FOR VARIOUS HOME THEATER SETUP COMBINATIONS – add a center unit to your existing arrangement or create an all-inclusive home theater setup with Signature series for a clear, crisp and room-filling sound. Offering full compatibility with 2.0, 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, 7.1 and 9.1 setups
  • The Signature Series has earned the hi-res certified rating and redefined the REAL AMERICAN HiFi SOUND with Polk's UNWAVERING COMMITMENT, RELIABILITY, AND CRAFTSMANSHIP, making it one of the most trusted names in audio speakers

In the event that you need to dump the beneficiary and get a sparkling new soundbar, at that point, look at our article on the best soundbars for the cash! We go inside and out on the best soundbars available at different value focuses.

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.

Best Seller List of Speaker Soundbars:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Sony S100F 2.0ch Soundbar with Bass Reflex Speaker, Integrated Tweeter and Bluetooth, (HTS100F),...
  • Straight from the theater to your home: easy set-up, built-in tweeter, 2-ch speaker with simple Bluetooth connection
  • Deep sound with Bass Reflex speaker
  • High power with a slim design that matches any room and is perfect for small living spaces
  • Voice enhancement feature is great for TV content with hushed dialogue, or to make conference call participants easier to hear
  • Easy TV set up with HDMI ARC
SaleBestseller No. 2
VIZIO V-Series 5.1 Home Theater Sound Bar with Dolby Audio, Bluetooth, Wireless Subwoofer, Voice...
  • Low-Profile Modern Design - Clean silhouettes, subtle textures, and matte finishes seamlessly blend into any environment.
  • Powerful Performance - Brilliant clarity, thunderous bass, and Dolby Audio and DTS Digital Surround support combine for performance beyond its size.
  • Simple Setup, Streaming & Control - Get setup and listening in minutes with HDMI ARC and Bluetooth connectivity for unparalleled ease of use, control, and access to your content.
  • 5.1-Channel Sound - Experience a powerful room-filling, surround sound experience.
  • 6 Total Speakers - Full-range drivers deliver coherent sound and brilliant clarity.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Saiyin Sound Bars for TV, 40 Watts Small Soundbar for TV,Surround Sound System TV Sound Bar Speakers...
  • 【Ultra-Compact Design】The 17-inch soundbar is a compact and sleek audio device that great for desktop space especially small to medium-sized living room or bedroom.Our sound bar takes up less space and is effortlessly moveable, making it an ideal TV speakers sound bar!
  • 【Loud and Clear】 This soundbar is built with 2 full-range speakers that provide a more realistic, spatial audio experience to make movies and music truly come to life, allowing you to enjoy all details of music and movies.
  • 【Multiple Input Connections】 Our small sound bar has various connectivity options, including Bluetooth, optical,and auxiliary input, which allows you to connect it to your TV, smartphone, PC ,tablet, or other devices to stream music or watch movies. Besides, the home audio sound bars has a "SUB OUT" port, which supports the connection of an active subwoofer.(Press the M button on soundbar can switch the three connection modes of Optical /AUX/ Bluetooth)
  • 【Optimize Entertainment With Different Sound Modes】The sound bar can be switched to three equalizer modes (Music, Movie, News) with remote. This soundbar not only produces clear and detailed sound regardless of the content you're watching or listening to, but also enhances the dialogues, bass and treble of music, movies, and TV shows,and makes them sound more realistic and engaging.(Remote control is not compatible with universal or TV remotes )
  • 【Set Up In Minutes】You can put the soundbar on desktop or mounted on the wall directly with rovided wall mounting kits. The TV soundbars size is: 17" * 3.5" * 2.5". What’s inside: soundbar, remote control, wall mounting kit, optical cable, 3.5 to 3.5mm audio cable, Power adapter and user manual.
SaleBestseller No. 4
1,558 Reviews
Saiyin Sound Bars for TV with Subwoofer, 2.1 Deep Bass Small Soundbar Monitor Speaker Home Theater...
  • 【Enjoy Deep Bass from Dedicated Subwoofer】 Rich bass from our new generation sound bar(40Watts)and subwoofer(30Watts) will activate every cell in your body. The large cavity space of the subwoofer makes the bass full of magnetic. Surrounding bass from the external subwoofer creates a realistic and 3D feeling as if you are in the movie, music and gaming.
  • 【Multifunctional LED Indicator & Soft Light】 Unlike other sound bars, The colored LED lights clearly show which connection mode the sound bar is on(Optical-Purple, Bluetooth-Blue, Auxiliary-Green).Not only that, the volume progress light bar below soundbar reminds you of master volume or subwoofer volume in real time .
  • 【 Wireless&Wired Connection】 The soundbar can be connected to any Bluetooth enabled devices such as computers, smart phones, tablets and so on. It is also super easy to set up the soundbar with TV via Optical or Auxiliary cable. The sound bar is also wall mountable with included wall mounting kit.
  • 【3 Equalizer Modes】The sound bar can be switched to three equalizer modes(news mode, movie mode and music mode) depending on the TV programs you are watching. The LED light blinks when the EQ mode is switched successfully. In addition, we provide replacement remote control for free. (Remote control is not compatible with universal or TV remotes)
  • 【What You Get】 The package contains: Soundbar*1, subwoofer*1, remote control*1, user manual*1, 3.5mm to 3.5mm auxiliary cable*1, optical cable*1, Wall mounting kit*1. In addition, you will receive 12- month product warranty and professional after-sales service.
SaleBestseller No. 5
104 Reviews
MZEIBO TV Sound Bar, Sound Bars for Smart TV - Bluetooth 2.0 Channel Home Audio Sound Bars -...
  • ✅360° Exceptional Sound Quality: Transform your living room into a cinematic movie theater, providing a movie theater-like experience without leaving your home. Equipped with four superior drivers, our sound bar promises to reproduce every sound detail with fidelity.From the softest whispers to the most powerful explosions, enjoy a broad spectrum of clear,potent sound. That brings your favorite movies and music to life.
  • ✅Advanced DSP Technology: Experience superior audio-visual quality with our state-of-the-art DSP technology. Our soundbar DSP technology ensures a stable, precise, and high-fidelity audio output.Minimized Sound Transmission Loss, Say goodbye to audio distortion with our technology that significantly reduces sound transmission loss. and enjoy customized sound profiles for news, music, and movies.
  • ✅Enhanced Audio Experience: Experience dynamic and immersive audio with our unique tv sound bar, designed to be separated into two compact tower speakers. The vertical combination of the two tower speakers provides a vibrant sound experience, perfect for movie nights and music sessions. The soundbar's innovative design not only enhances your audio experience but also complements your home decor, adding a touch of modernity to your space.
  • ✅Hassle-Free Experience: We ensuring a hassle-free setup process for a smooth and enjoyable audio experience.Our soundbar is designed for easy setup, compatible with Optical, HDMI-arc, AUX, and Bluetooth connections, ensuring seamless integration with most device.
  • ✅Warm Warranty: Your purchase is backed by our lifetime warranty, ensuring the longevity and reliability of our soundbar. The package includes the TV Soundbar, Remote Controller, Power Adapter, and various audio cables (HDMI/Optical/3.5mm) for easy setup.
SaleBestseller No. 6
SAMSUNG HW-S50B/ZA 3.0ch All-in-One Soundbar w/Dolby 5.1, DTS Virtual:X, Q Symphony, Built in Center...
  • ALL-IN-ONE: Everything you need in a single soundbar with two woofers and tweeters built in, so you can enjoy rich sound that will fill your room
  • DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 / DTS VIRTUAL:X: Dolby Digital 5.1 capable creates realistic surround sound by projecting it from all around you, while DTS Virtual: X expands your listening experience without having to add extra speakers
  • Q-SYMPHONY: Perfectly synchronized, fully immersive audio floods your room all at once, using every speaker in compatible Samsung TV and soundbars*
  • BUILT-IN CENTER SPEAKER: The built-in center speaker is dedicated to delivering enhanced dialogue, so you won't miss a word, no matter how faint the conversation or how intense the background music or action is
  • ADAPTIVE SOUND LITE: Enjoy dynamically optimized audio with enhanced voice clarity so you can follow along with action-packed games and blockbuster films
Bestseller No. 7
10,520 Reviews
Bose TV Speaker - Soundbar for TV with Bluetooth and HDMI-ARC Connectivity, Black, Includes Remote...
  • Hear your TV better: Designed with simplicity in mind, the Bose TV Speaker is a small soundbar that clarifies speech and is a simple fix for better TV sound
  • Wide, natural sound: 2 angled full-range drivers deliver a more realistic, spatial audio experience for overall better TV sound from a small soundbar
  • Enhanced dialogue: This TV speaker is designed to specifically focus on clarifying and elevating vocals and pronunciation
  • Bluetooth TV Speaker: Pair your device to this Bluetooth soundbar to wirelessly stream your favorite music and podcasts. Connect up to 3 devices through the inputs (HDMI, Optical in, and AUX in); the first powered on device will automatically connect
  • Simple setup: A single connection from this compact soundbar to the TV via an optical audio cable (included) or an HDMI cable (sold separately) has you up and running in minutes
SaleBestseller No. 8
SOULION R30 Computer Speakers, USB Powered 3.5mm AUX Small PC Speakers, Colorful LED Lights with...
  • [Clearly & Powerful Sound]: Soulion sound bar is driven by the exclusive booster technology and with 2 full-range speakers, to make the sound be more stunning, crisp and mesmerizing even at low volumes.
  • [Easy Control & Connect]: Just plug in the USB port for power and 3.5mm jack for sound. Rotate the knob for volume to start the oomph. A small switch button to turn ON/OFF the LED lights power.
  • [Slanted Design]: The 30-degree micro-inclined design allows the sound to be better conveyed. There is a layer of breathable cloth on the outside of the speaker to avoid the dust. The material of the whole soundbar provides a comfortable and slippery touch.
  • [Brilliant Lights Effects]: The soundbar adopts LED rainbow lights on both sides. It provides a more attractive atmosphere when listen to music or watch movies. There is a small button behind the sound bar that controls the light switching on and off.
  • [Wide Compatibility]: The sound bar supports most of the devices with standard 3.5mm jack. Compatible with PC, Computer, Laptop, Tablet, Smartphones. (Note: Need USB Powered).
SaleBestseller No. 9
ULTIMEA 5.1 Surround Sound Bar, Peak Power 320W, 3D Surround Sound System Sound Bars for TV with...
  • Include 2 Surround Sound Rear Speakers: This 5.1 channel soundbar for tv comes with 2 rear speakers and 1 subwoofer, which brings you the cinematic experience with our decoded playback device. A 19.6 feet cable is used to connect surround speakers to subwoofer so you can place surround sound speakers anywhere given your preference.
  • Immersive Surround Sound by SurroundX Technology: SurroundX algorithm converts 2.0 PCM to 5.1 surround signal, which makes sound move around you. ULTIMEA tv sound bar uses aerospace-grade magnets to have speakers deliver clear and distinct surround sound. Volume of surround speakers can be adjusted to 3 levels by pressing surround button on the remote.
  • Deep, Room-Filling Bass with Ultimate BassMAX Technology: To deliver a deep and powerful bass, this surround sound system for tv applies BassMAX Technology, enhanced magnetic circuit design, and a larger cabinet to this surround sound system for tv. Volume of subwoofer can be adjusted to 3 levels by pressing bass button on the remote.
  • Customized Bass and Surround Sound: You can completely control your audio environment by adjusting the surround and bass volume given your preference, creating a truly bespoke audio experience. ULTIMEA sound bar for smart tv with subwoofer owns 3 models at different scenes for you: movie, dialogue, and music. You can switch it to any mode with one press on the remote controller.
  • Easy to set up & Decent Design: ULTIMEA sound bars for tv support multiple wired and wireless connection. With the help of ULTIMEA clear instructions, you can easily set it up and start exploring the fun of surround sound. This decent soundbar with subwoofer also allows you to place it on stand, cabinet or under the TV. Perfectly fit your bedroom and living room.
Bestseller No. 10
VIZIO 2.0 Home Theater Sound Bar with DTS Virtual:X, Bluetooth, Voice Assistant Compatible, Includes...
  • America's Sound Bar - VIZIO has been filling homes with truly immersive audio for over 10 years, and our sound bars just keep getting better. We are proud to provide our customers with top-tier audio products that bring movies, shows, podcasts, music, and more to life like never before. (* Sound Bar Brand in 1H 2022 Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service, U.S., based on units, Jan. - June 2022 combined.)
  • Ultra-Compact 2.0 Design - Experience the performance of larger, more complex home theater systems in a simple, ultra-compact solution designed fit anywhere and blend seamlessly into any environment.
  • Bold Performance - Experience rich, clear sound with up to 91dB of total SPL output for performance that belies its size.
  • Essential Connectivity and Control - Get setup and listening in seconds with the included cables plus Bluetooth connectivity for wireless streaming of your favorite music and podcasts.
  • 2.0-Channel Sound - Experience a powerful room-filling, true stereo experience ideal for movies, music, and gaming.

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Last update on 2024-04-18

With an impressive 15-year track record in the world of blogging, I have established myself as an expert in this field. The passion for home entertainment and electronics shines through in work, providing readers with valuable information and guidance on creating the ultimate home theater experience.

Leading authority in the field of home theaters and home electronics. With a passion for sharing unique discoveries and personal experiences, I’m dedicated to providing valuable insights to enthusiasts and experts alike.

Through Theater DIY, I continue to be at the forefront of the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, offering expertise that enlightens and inspires.