Can I Use Soundbar as Center Channel Speaker? With Best Ideas

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?

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.

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Kicker KISLOC 2-Channel K-Series Speaker Cable to RCA Adapter with Line Out Converter
  • K-Series Interconnect Cable
  • World's first micro surface mount line-out converter
  • Two channel Speaker to RCA
  • K-Grip dual-mold connectors offer sure grip
  • Split pin RCA with silver tinned OFC wire

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?

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.

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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:

Bestseller No. 1
Soundbar, TaoTronics Three Equalizer Mode Audio Speaker for TV, 32-Inch Wired & Wireless Bluetooth...
  • Room-filling sound: powerful speakers deliver a round, high-end audio experience
  • Multiple wireless and wired connections: easily connect to the sound bar via Bluetooth 5.0 or standard audio cable Connection, RCA, and optical input
  • 3 different equalizer modes: fine tune your sound bar with 3 distinct equalizer modes (games mode, music mode, movie mode) via the remote control to match your favorite sound
  • Control your sound bar Remotely: handle your sound bar from the comfort of your couch or directly on the device; a repeat click of the power button switches through the functions, the LED screen will show the current function
  • Slim to save space: slick 32-Inch design pleases the eye and slim Dimensions save valuable space
Bestseller No. 2
Soundbar, BESTISAN 80 Watts TV Sound Bar Home Theater Speaker with Dual Connection Way, Bluetooth...
  • Powerful Sound Bar: built-in 2 full range speakers and 2 tweeter drivers, not only can output 95dB expansive audio and room-filling sound, but also bring the powerful bass thanks to the 2 bass tubes.
  • Dual Wired & Wireless Installations: Stream audio over Bluetooth 4.2 from up to 33 ft / 10 m or wired connection including AUX, RCA, or optical with the included cables.
  • Movie/Music/Dialogue Mode: designed with DSP Technology, support movie, music, dialogue mode of amazing clarity and precision sound, brings you an upgrading fantastic home theater experience.
  • Slim to save space: slick 28-Inch design pleases the eye and slim Dimensions save valuable space.
  • What is in the box: sound bar, power adapter, remote, audio and optical cable, user manual, wall mounts accessories and service card.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System with Universal Remote Control, Black
  • Single sound bar provides better sound quality compared to your TV.The Solo 5 TV sound system is an easy solution, with advanced technologies that deliver the clear audio your TV can’t.
  • Dialogue mode to make every word and detail stand out
  • Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly stream music from any of your devices
  • One connection to your TV. Optical audio input (digital); Coaxial audio input (digital); 3.5 mm aux input (analog)
  • Universal remote controls TV, bass, Bluetooth connections and more
SaleBestseller No. 4
BOMAKER 50W Sound Bar,16-Inch Portable Outdoor 2.0 Soundbar, 110dB, 3D Surround Sound,3 EQ...
  • 50W RMS & 110dB SPL: BOMAKER has updated to 50W RMS, 5x powerful than most 2x5w mini soundbar or 2.4 watts PC computer speakers; More than 110dB SPL for to get Deep Bass, Clear Vocals and CD-quality Sound.
  • BUILT-IN DSP & 3D SURROUND: Dual passive radiator and Built-in DSP. DSP and 3D Surround techology makes the sound field positioning more accurate and the vocals clearer, bring a immersive sound experience for you.
  • SPACE-SAVING & 2* FULL-RANGE SPEAKER: Computer Speaker is 16-Inch and 2lbs, equipped with 2.25"* 2 full-range speakers to provide crystal clear sound and deep bass in 2.0 channel field.
  • SLIM DESIGN WITH 3 EQ MODES: 3 EQ modes-- General / Voice / Treble to tailor the sound and fully immerse yourself in the theatre experience. Adjust the EQ mode directly with remote control, to stream best sound quality and the treble/bass freely.
  • MULTIPLE INPUT & HIGHLY COMPATIBLE: Multiple wireless and wired connections, easily connect to the sound bar via Bluetooth 5.0 or Optical Input and AUX , easily work with any devices,like TV, computer, PC for a immersive surround sound experience (Portable outdoor sound bar comes with all cables).
Bestseller No. 5
VIZIO SB3651-F6 36” 5.1 Channel Home Theater Surround Sound Bar with Bluetooth– Dolby Audio, DTS...
  • True 5.1 listening: enjoy True 5.1 surround sound with the included rear Surround sound speakers and a wireless subwoofer. 3 channel sound bar: A 3 channel sound bar boosts your TV audio and delivers crystal clear dialogue
  • Note: Please refer Troubleshooting steps at pg. 36 in user manual
  • Wireless subwoofer: experience room-shaking bass with the wireless subwoofer. Sound Pressure Level - 101dB
  • DTS virtual: X - Delivers virtual overhead sound For an immersive sound experience
  • Wi-Fi Streaming: experience higher quality audio streaming over your home’s Wi-Fi network, without interruptions from phone calls or texts compared to Bluetooth
SaleBestseller No. 6
SaiYin Sound Bar with Subwoofer for TV Deep Bass Soundbar 2.1 CH Home Audio Surround Sound Speaker...
  • Sound Bar with Subwoofer Upgrade Your Home Theater Experience: Powerful full-range drivers (total 70 watt output) deliver a more realistic, richer sound from a compact soundbar with deep bass. It is a perfect TV speaker that optimizes sound clarity and creates incredible room-filling virtual surround sound.
  • Deep Rich Bass: Feel the action and the beat of the music with the rich bass from subwoofer. An Ideal Soundbar for Gaming, TVs, Monitor, Flat Screen, Smart TVs. It works well with all TVs sizes.
  • 3 Sound Modes via Remote Control: This compact TV speaker comes with 3 equalizer modes : Music, Movie and News modes. Use remote control to select your favorite specialized mode for providing you a wide stereo effect throughout the room, allowing you to enjoy cinematic surround sound at home.
  • Wireless or Wired Connection, Easy Setup: The sound bar can be connected to the most types of your devices via Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 connection , Optical, or RCA/Coaxial connection (Optical, RCA/Coaxial audio cables are included), Easily connect to your TV, PC, phone, projector, DVDs, laptop, desktop, tablets, computer monitor and so on. It can also connect to older style devices with AUX port.
  • What You Get: TV Sound bar, Subwoofer, Remote Control, Power Adaptor, Optical Cable, RCA Audio Cable, 3.5mm to RCA Cable, User Manual and Wall Mount Kit are included. If you have any problems, please feel free to contact us immediately.
Bestseller No. 7
TOPVISION 50W Soundbar, 16-Inch Small Sound Bars for TV, 3 Equalizer Modes, Wireless Bluetooth 5.0,...
  • 🔊[50W Power & 2 Full-range drivers]This small soundbar is equipped with 50W output power. Paired with your TV, the sound bar creates a louder, more immersive listening experience than through your TV speakers alone. Dual powerful full-range speakers provide hifi audio, making comfortable bedrooms and compact spaces full of extensive stereo effects.
  • 🔊[Built-in DSP & 3 EQ modes]Soundbar built-in DSP technology ensured sound output is more stable and accurate. 3 Equalizer modes (Music, Movie, News) to match your favorite voice. Movie Mode: You’ll hear every rip and rumble from your favorite action film, with deeper bass and loud, room-filling sound; Music mode Add clarity and pleasant sound; while it’s News mode pulls out every word and expression from movies or commentary, to ensure that conversations sound crisp and clean.
  • 🔊[Wireless Bluetooth 5.0]Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 can realize fast connection between mobile phone and sound bar, efficient and stable transmission, and strong anti-interference. Pair the sound bar to your phone via Bluetooth to soundtrack your next party, or to set the mood for when you want to relax with a good album in rich, audiophile quality.
  • 🔊[EASY TO SET UP]The Soundbar supports 3.5mm (AUX&RCA) and optical wired audio input, support for use with mobile phones, tablets, TVs, computers, projectors, set-top boxes, etc. Please make sure your TV audio setting to PCM for ARC/optical input before use.
  • 🔊[Stylish appearance & service]This 16-Inch mini soundbar is stylish and compact, and their more compact form makes them easier to travel with or set up wherever you'd like.At the same time we provide lifetime technical support. If you have any problems with your tv soundbar, you can contact us via Amazon, We will offer you a replacement or refund.
Bestseller No. 8
Portable Soundbar for TV/PC, Outdoor/Indoor Wired & Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 Stereo Speaker with The...
  • ①【Portable Sound Bar 2 x 5W Subwoofer system Stereo surround cavity design, 2200mAh Battery】Experience the movie at home just like in a theatre. The two built-in speakers produce crystal clear 3D surround sound to bring you the maximum movie and concert experience. 2200mAh high-capacity high-performance lithium battery, it can play music for about 4-6 hours. Perfect for home, living room, dorm room, kitchen, parties, outdoor Activities
  • ②【4 WAYS TO CONNECT: Bluetooth 5.0+AUX+RCA+TF Card】Multiple wireless and wired connections, easily connect to the sound bar via Bluetooth 5.0, AUX or RCA audio cable. No matter what devices you use, enjoy unparalleled access with multiple connection methods available. Easily enjoy the high-quality stereo experience of the home theater. Suit for 20" or above TVs or Smartphones, PC, DVD, Tablets, Projectors etcSupport TF card playback.
  • ③【2 X 5W Sleek and Powerful + Built-in subwoofers】HD stereo speaker immersive music bass boost, rich in layers. So soft and shocking, internal magnetic horn, the volume is louder. With the sleek look, our soundbar is easily incorporated in your home with a fashionable take. The 16.9’’ light-weight body allows you to take the great sound experience with you anywhere you go. However, the small body does not play games! Enjoy the sound at the maximum 10W output for 4-6 hours non-stop.
  • ④【Remote Control and Phone Calls】Support Remote Control and Phone Calls – You don’t have to press buttons on the speaker to switch songs, adjust volume, or pick up phone calls. The paired remote control helps you carry out any tasks right at your fingertip.This premium quality sound bar comes with a dedicated remote control which will allow you to adjust its settings. Wireless remote for convenient volume, input and audio controls. Handle your sound bar from the comfort of your couch.
  • ⑤【What We Offer】: 90 Days Home Trial: With the full consideration of our valued customers’ side and market survey. Most tend to have more prolonged replacement service if defective or dissatisfaction. Kindly this exclusive service is offered. please feel free to contact our sales-after service anytime. Bluetooth Soundbar; Remote Controller; USB driver-free sound card; RCA Cable; 3.5mm audio Cable; User Manual, 18 months warranty, 24h customer service and email support
SaleBestseller No. 9
Computer Speakers, Dynamic RGB Computer Sound Bar, HiFi Stereo Bluetooth 5.0 & 3.5mm Aux-in...
  • ✅【Hi-Fi Sound Quality】Dual drivers & Dual diaphragms provide perfect performance of high-pitch and deep bass. By using anti-magnetic technology to suppressing static and other noise, Make the sound more vivid. Bring a fantastic dynamic audio experience
  • ✅【Dynamic RGB Lighting】The colorful RGB lighting enhances the music experience and game dynamics experience. 4 different lights mode, default color gradient mode, breath gradient mode, rhythm mode, and lights off. Plus a fashionable design style, you will feel that is fantastic!
  • ✅【Dual Connection】Adapted with AUX & Bluetooth 5.0, you will have a wider choice of audio source and you will feel free to choose the desired audio sources. Devices with Bluetooth can be connected via Bluetooth. And most devices equipped with 3.5mm jack can be connected through AUX
  • ✅【USB Powered】Plug & Use, the computer sound bar turns on automatically after plugging in the USB port (such as a laptop, PC host, power bank, adapter). No drivers or software need to be installed, just Plug in and enjoy
  • ✅【What You Get】Bluedee soundbar, quick start guide, our worry-free 18-month warranty, and lifetime friendly customer service. Bluedee has focused on speakers for 15 years and is committed to providing the professional sound solution
SaleBestseller No. 10
Wohome Sound Bar S88 20-Inch 50W Audio Stereo Home Theater Soundbar Speaker, with Bluetooth 5.0, 3D...
  • Ultra-slim 20-Inch Small Sound Bar: with fashionable and classic design, 2.9 inches high could fit easily under your TV and desktop monitor, or you can place it on the cabinet or mount it on the wall
  • Wired and Wireless Connection: enjoy wireless stream audio from your phone, tablet, PC, projector, or other Bluetooth embedded devices via Bluetooth 5.0; wired connections include HDMI-ARC, AUX, Coaxial, USB, and Optical. Please note HDMI-ARC connection could let you use your TV remote or universal remote to control volume and on/off.
  • Enhance your TV sound: built-in two powerful full-range speakers and bass reflect tube, output crystal clear sound and deep bass for all your movie, music, news, gaming, enjoy the great home theater experience
  • 3D Surround Sound: design with DSP technology, support music, dialogue, and movie equalizer modes, you can select your favorite sound, what's more, all three sound modes support 3D surround sound, let you enjoy awesome surround sound in your room
  • More features: wall-mountable design(supplied mount screw); Remote control included(exclude battery); 100% satisfaction service and lifetime technical support, any questions, please feel free to contact us via Amazon message or contact info on the service card.

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Last update on 2021-06-10

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