I agree with you about the sound not being as good in a cabinet, but the look is also important to my wife and I in the family room. She watches the TV most of the day so the speakers better not intrude on the look of the area too much.
I COULD move the center channel to above the cabinet by making a small shelf for it to sit on. This would put the CC sound about 12" above the main set of speakers in the surround system. That would let me get a CC that is the equal of the Paradigm Studio 20 V2 speakers. That would be a considerable upgrade from what we currently have. Tempting!
Thanks for your input several months ago.