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.