Every room and interior has its compromises.
Do I mount the TV on the wall, will it be too high? Where should I place the Center speaker?
A very common and clean solution is to place the Center below the TV inside a cabinet.
But is it really a good alternative and what do I have to do to make it sound good?
That is what we want to cover in this short article.
When a speaker is placed inside a cabinet it will always interact with it. Lower bass frequencies are omnidirectional and will reflect inside the cabinet. This can cause a muddy sound and make dialog unintelligible. That is why it is recommended to use a sealed speaker like our 1961 Center or use the port plugs on our 1723 and 1723 S Centers for sealed operation. As a result, you will get a much cleaner representation of the soundtrack. You are not fully blocking the bass, so you still will have some output, but reduce the drone quite a bit. The other issue is reflections from nearby surfaces that can cause comb filter effects. Those are basically interference of certain frequencies that make the sound very uneven and again the speech intelligibility will suffer. (What is Comb Filtering?) To avoid that try to place the Center as flush as possible and as far from the floor as possible. (like in the picture above)
The last step would be to use a good room correction that will adjust the rest, so the Center will blend well with the rest of the system.
With all those steps above you can definitely get a good result, but will it sound as good as a free placement? Unfortunately not. You can never avoid some resonances, that you just do not have in free space. The last recommendation from us would be to just try it and decide for yourself how big the compromise is.
Have fun listening!