Center Channel needs to handle bass?

I'm doing some research on center channel speakers. I've pretty much decided on the Vandersteen 2Ce's for my mains. Those I was able to audition but the center channel I can't. In reading some reviews the reviewers state that the center channel only carries dialog and some background sounds but no serious bass. I have always believed that the center had to be able to handle deep bass because of onscreen carcrashes and such.

Does anybody have any opinions on this subject? I can't audition so I have to go by what I read.
I don't think the center has to handle serious bass. It is mainly for diologue. The bass from car crashes or explosions should be routed, via the processor, to the subwoofer. Bass doesn't give directional clues, so you shouldn't be able to tell it's coming from the sub and not the center. I hope this helps.
It's too bad you can't audition, because opinions vary on this. IMO, the center channel doesn't need to handle the same kind of bass that your fronts do (if your fronts are your mains for 2-channel), but it has to be a pretty good speaker. Over 75% of most DD and DTS soundtracks come out of the center. Also, I like to set the crossover pretty low, even with movies, because I like a sense of direction (which you CAN and DO get with mid-bass), especially with the rears. IMO, your rear speakers don't have to be great-sounding speakers, but these have to put out OK bass (I use Energy C6's, with 6-inch bass-drivers). My center channel speaker is from the same company as my fronts (Snell), though not the same line. It has dual 6-inch drivers. There are other ways to go, though. If you have more than one sub, you can use them in stereo and that helps, or put one in the back. Anyway, I'm rambling. My main point is that this depends on personal taste. In my view, you need a good center channel speaker, and both the center and rears have to be able to spit out OK bass (down to 50hz or so), if you're just using one sub (as I am). To my ears it's just for the really low frequencies that I have a hard time telling where it's coming from, so for the frequencies above that I want them coming from the right source. Good luck.
If your HT processor sends a full-range signal to all speakers, your center channel may handle some lower frequencies, but the really deep stuff gets sent as a LFE signal to the subwoofer. I doubt that your center channel will see much information below about 60 Hz.

I have Vandy 3A Signatures as my main speakers, and a Vandy VCC-1 Signature center channel. I personally like the Vandy center channel, although a friend of mine had one and sold it, saying it sounded closed-in to him. If you decide to look at the Vandy center channel, I personally do NOT recommend spending the extra money for the Signature model. The regular VCC-1 is a good buy used (usually $300-350 used), but I don't think the Signature version is worth the extra money.

Unless you are also using a "full range" pair of stereo speakers (meaning that these speakers must be capable of putting out some bass also (something in the upper 20 Hz. to about 40 Hz.)) as your main channels, the center channel doesn't need have deep bass capabilty. What the center channel speaker is used for in a home theater is to carry the a huge weight of the dialog that's encoded into the movie itself, and that's it. Things like helicopter engines, thunderstorms, explosions, car crashes and other sounds like them (with regard to rumbling room shaking deep bass) should be handled by a subwoofer. Bass frequencies are unidirectional in nature and they have no sense of direction when it comes to the soundtracks in movies. They're there if they are there. If not, then, I guess they aren't there to begin with.

I just put in another opinion in the ring. I hope I was just as helpful as the other two poster before me.

I somewhat disagree with the above posts. I am running a trio of Energy Veritas, 2.8's as right and left, and one 1.8 as center, with a pair of 1.8's as rears.

THIS MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE as faily loud volumes. But, with that said, the surrounds made the least. The center channel DOES see its fair share of bass, depending on the movie and the volume.

I love the 1.8 as a center, but then again if the person using C6's ran those up front with another C6 as center,
again, GREAT results. The Energy AC-300 center does not compare in either of these situations.

I have also run 3 B&W 802's as a front trio, and again, FAR better than the HTM center they designed as a center.
These situations all take money, space, and power, but if you can do it, you might be surprised at how much low end comes from the center. Keep in mind, this is a fairly loud listening levels!

Happy listening.....

If you eventually get into 5 channel audio, (SACD...DVD-A) you will want all speakers to handle bass well if possible. For all practical purposes, make sure that your center can get down to at least 60 Hz, and preferably 40 Hz. The perception that center channels are mostly for dialogue can be misleading, all sorts of sound comes through them, even though dialogue is pre-eminent.
YES - the center channel will definitely benefit from being able to handle bass! I recently upgraded my center channel from an NHT VT1-C to an Aerial CC5, and the jump in sound quality was nothing short of amazing. Voices now have more body and depth to them, and you definitely do hear more "oomph!" from the center. I have my crossover set to 40hz for the center, the rest goes to my sub.