How to Add a Center Speaker to a Home Stereo Amplifier

Written by james clark
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A centre speaker in a home theatre set-up is designed to be placed near the television, either above or below the set. Center channel audio produces mainly dialogue in surround-sound on DVDs and Blu-ray discs, so anchoring the speaker close to the television makes conversations sound more natural because they appear to be coming from the image on screen. The other speakers in a system are for stereo effects and special sound effects, especially the rear channel speakers that make the action appear to move around the room. A centre speaker connects in a matter of minutes with standard speaker wires attached to the back panel and the home amplifier.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Center speaker
  • Speaker wire
  • Wire strippers
  • Home stereo amplifier

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  1. 1

    Measure the distance from the back of the amplifier to the back of the centre speaker where it will be placed near the television, then cut a length of speaker wire to span the distance.

  2. 2

    Strip 1/2 inch of insulation from both ends of the speaker wire.

  3. 3

    Connect the wires on one end to the centre channel speaker. The back connections have spring-loaded clips that lift up to reveal a small hole underneath for each wire. Insert the red speaker wire into the hole below the red clip and insert the other wire into the hole below the black clip. Releasing the clips holds the wires securely.

  4. 4

    Run the speaker wire behind the amplifier and connect the two ends to the red and black clips labelled "Center OUT" or "Center Channel." Release the clips to lock the wires in place.

  5. 5

    Turn on the amplifier and set the component to "Surround Sound" to adjust the centre speaker volume. Amplifiers are equipped with individual, dedicated amps to power different speakers in the system, so the volume level can be adjusted for each. There may also be sound settings specific to the centre speaker, such as "Wide," "Normal," "Phantom" and "Off." The "Wide" setting is used if the centre channel speaker is larger than the front stereo speakers. "Normal" should be used if the centre speaker is smaller. The "Phantom" setting diverts the centre audio channel to other speakers if a centre speaker is not connected, and the "Off" setting deactivates the centre channel.

Tips and warnings

  • Center speakers make a tremendous difference in the enjoyment of movies in surround-sound because it is easier to hear dialogue, especially during action sequences.
  • Disconnect the amp from the electricity while connecting speaker wires. A crossed wire can short out one of the internal amps.

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