Review: Silverline Audio Center Stage Speaker

Category: Speakers

A center channel speaker for Home Theater is a very nice item to possess if your aim is to have a more involving panoramic auditory experience during your film and video watching events. It is not an absolute however…. Merely icing. Differing opinions squabble over the importance of a center speaker, but usually both agree if it were free, both sides of that argument would possess one. Consequently, I have to think, if one can be had that provides both value and performance any HT or multi channel music devotee should acquire one.

Center channel info isn’t simply droll dialogue any longer… if in fact it ever solely was just that. Now the center fill introduces in sequence the span of the characters & other material movements, making for a more visceral sonic eye on the event. Add to that the fidelity of the current SD & HD discs and you have the fun level, elevated accordingly once the ‘fifth element’ is in house.

Here’s the thing…. Once you get one matched into your HT affair, you’ll not wish to be without it’s influence thereafter. If you are going to do a very nice to outstanding HT setup, a fifth speaker expressly for that channel’s information is a prerequisite. Having in place a more exacting fit there reveals itself as a very wise move on the part of it’s owner as well.

Of course, if it is an eight channel enterprise, it would then be the seventh channel I guess. Either way, that ‘odd’ speaker definitely makes a difference.

Setting it up properly, adds depth and dimension, further creating a more exciting illusion… and lots more fun. Lot’s more. Once you get past the injury you sustained during the act of lifting the needed dollars out of your pocket, of course!

Ahh… theres the key. Matching a center channel unit to the balance of the system. Some people haven’t yet, or simply aren’t going to go to those more in depth measures of exactitude with their theaters and settle for a what ever unit, to provide the middle fill. Necessarily, makers of theater loudspeakers for the home are devoting equal efforts to these ends. Obtaining very good to great home theater speakers is becoming less expensive for the most part and definitely better in the matched performance aspects.

Many loudspeaker makers are now responding to the desires of film and multi ch music lovers, for purely musical interests. Some do not however. Some address duality only further up into their upper level speaker lines, leaving filmdom the main focus at points below them.

I’ve had 2.1, 4.1, 5.1, and now a 7.1- 7.2 , systems. Currently I have a two speaker only, a four point one, and the seven point one, and perhaps soon a point two, systems available in various rooms, sizes, and price points. Each one which possesses a center channel reproducer is better than those which do not. It’s as simple a thing as that!

Silverline audio, for years now, a primarily stereo music loudspeaker manufacturer, seems to have taken a bit different slant on the latest concerns in their varied speaker lines. They now offer several levels of competency and accordingly priced choices from modest more budgetary minded, to the full on arrays for those who wish to place expense aside and put performance first. The Center Stage middle channel speaker written about here is one such upper ranged loudspeaker which is adept more than handily, with both mediums… video and music.

Getting going…

Some speakers take enormous amounts of time to bloom. Some only a fair amount. Whatever the frame for it’s performance level to stabilize is always too long for the exuberant owner who wants it to be great right out of the box. Such is the case for the Center stage speaker. It takes a long time to run in before it will perform well. 300 to 400 hours, according to Silverline.

I’ve often questioned this allotted time for breaking in new speakers. Actually for breaking in anything. 400 hours?

Do I have that much time left to me before I am predisposed to leave this earthly realm? Wow!

Considering myself something of a mathlete, 168 hours comprise a week from front to back, here in America I believe. 336 hours come up following a two week span. Still, another 64 are required to meet the 400 hour ‘fully run in’ mark…. Or just short of 17 days…. Of non stop, continuous playing time.


As of late, normal listening sessions for myself constitutes two to three hours per day. Sometimes. Mostly, I’m not a daily listener. I prefer to be, and would like to be, but I’m just not. My listening sessions occur only a few times per week averaging about 3 hours or so per sitting. Of course, these events follow the added warming up period my gear has politely demanded for itself in advance. As a rule my listening nights are fewer and occasionally, further in between. So 10 hours per week is more the rule, and with few exceptions, very much so a generous figure.

If I had but the one main theater rig, I’m certain the frequencies and lengths would increase, but I’m either blessed or cursed to have more than it on hand.

When I’ve brought in a thing I may want to buy, or if I’m considering some trading up notion. Or it’s brandy new, or even new-ish. Or it is attached to the HT system. More hours are spent upon it. The HT rigs are the only one’s in the house which ordinarily play slightly more often… due to TV viewing. I do mean slightly too as TV watching is not my best thing. It does pick up from August thru March though, as sporting events and the holidays come into their own. Football, the World series, Halloween, Thanksgiving & Xmas specials and previous summer block busters are then being released onto disc. I can’t forget March Madness either…. That’s when I get mad the NFL season is over and another six long dreary hot months ensue before another season begins.

A quick look at those numbers shows me something quite phenomenal. Given an average of say, 12 hours per week for example, 400 hours of normal break in use would take roughly 36 weeks! That’s 9 months! With a one year warranty, and following this outline you’ve scant little time left to securely enjoy your ‘new’ item (s) before many warranties could expire!

Contrary to that of many speaker builders, the normal Silverline Warranty is one year for parts and labor. One of the shorter time frames for inexpensive customer support in case of a components’ failure from manufacturing defects or workmanship. Many speaker makers offer at least 2-3 years and 5 years isn’t unreasonable, with some going far beyond even 5 years, inclusive of transferring remaining portions to a secondary owner.

Rolex, only offered 90 days of complete coverage, so too did harley Davidson. Famed and noted long standing contenders in their respective fields

I’ve become reluctant to run anything I own around the clock, non stop, for weeks on end. In fact I refuse to do it. Especially if it uses moving parts such as some sources, and speakers. Truth be told, it’s not even real world use. 24 – 7? Who does that?

Consequently I hate to break in brand new gear! I simply hate it… regardless the need to do so. I doubt I’ll ever quite get used to this precedent so prevalent in high end audio componentry such as it is.

So I do it. You do it… we all do it truth be told. I just don’t do it non stop. I just change the run interval to resemble something closer to actual use… and yeah, this means still more time for full on run in to occur. Super.

The upshot of my now adopted getting the bugs out and the fidelity in formula continues to reprove itself over and over again, with briefer warming up times, and excellent operational characteristics. The only exception to these precepts are power cables. Using adapters, I’ll run them flat out on the ‘fridge or a fan or the like for a couple weeks, every time.

The Silverline Center stage speakers take lots of time to run in. There, I’ve said it twice. It bares repeating.

It’s not a pleasant period. Not that they sound terrible prior to running them in, fully, it is more the actual span of time than the audio logical experiences contained within those lengths. Given it’s initial performance, I had little hope the CS (see disclosure remarks below) speaker would meet my expectations, let alone surpass them. In the end however, I found the unit to be quite accomplished at doing it’s intended job. Indeed.

I should submit here how I run speakers in my HT setup. All I do is adjust for space. Inserting each units correlative position to each other in the room, and accordingly the cut off, if smaller units are doing the work.

Nothing else. I’m not a fan of tone adjustments for the speakers unless it is an absolutely required measure. I bare in mind the makers specs yet assess a final judgment based on simple listening. Usually the cut off I set is at 60 – 70HZ.

I set the CS to 50Hz and could have been satisfied with it set a level or two lower or higher in fact. Such is it’s range. Even the THX recommended cut off of 80Hz seemed ok at first take. I merely preferred the 50-60Hz setting in my room with my ears. So it isn’t hard to see the CS possesses good range on the lower end of the ladder.

The twin rear ported speaker does play well outside the box. It digs deep enough for the dialogue to have body, and high enough for it to integrate well with movement and activity in conjunction with my Sonata IIIs.

Using the CS with a pair of Silverline SR 15s, as main speakers, it was a seamless integration. The SR 15s however, are now discontinued. I still have my pair though. Being discontinued for me does not entail a death sentence for the non current production items. I just don’t tell them the latest news.

It makes for less anxiety and contention from the other components that way. They do talk to each other, shake hands, and so forth, so I think it’s for their own good.

Despite the despairity of differing midrange and treble drivers in the CS and the Sonata IIIs the effect is sufficient enough to induce a congruent and quite adequate listening affair. I detected no tipping up or higher biasing of the center stage for the purposes of extracting exacting dialogue.

As much as a sub woofer can and does accomplish for music and video, so too does the center channel speaker do for them as well.

The voice of the CS is clean and clear without being so much so it draws attention to itself. There too lays within it some density in the tones it reproduces. Breaking glass is definitely a breaking glass sound. Firearms have that explosive initiation. I did not however find an overt measure of jump factor inherent to the CS. It simply does it’s job without being an attention getting piece of the sonic reproduction scheme, which can be a subtractive element if a cohesive blend in the presentation is the goal.

According to Silverline it is a shielded box so it may be set upon a TV without introducing artifacts onto the video display through magnetic interference.

With so many displays now being of the panel or flat on the wall, type with likewise speakers affixed surrounding it, this feature is of lesser and lesser benefit, regardless how good an idea it was at one time.

I suppose with enough duct tape though, anything is possible.

I suggest a stand mount for the CS.

If you have a set of Silverline speakers as mains, and/or as rears already in place it would behoove that person to acquire a CS for their system. If however even your mains are not of this builders offerings ’I’d say there are a great many other choices out there for center channel information from which to choose.

If as well, your needs for center channel information are such a tincture of warmth and body are the need, I’d suggest you investigate the CS. It does have that trait easily.

Are you saying then Jim this is not a good HT center speaker or that it only works with Silverline loudspeakers?

Glad you asked.


I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying the Silverline CS is certainly a cut above the mass fi HT speakers currently out there. It has a voice which is adept and easy on the ears.

Distinctive vocal communication is perceived easily and never causes confusion or fatigue during the course of extended use.

It is though, priced well above those other mass marketed fare. Consequently it is no budget center speaker and blends best with Silverline than it does with the integration of non Silverline mains and surrounds, naturally.

As a stand alone, just put it into any acquired set of 5.1 or 7.1 setting, I’d have to say only ‘maybe’ will the results meet or exceed your expectations. It is a most listenable to unit. It holds nothing back, yet delivers it all in such a way as to never fatigue, or spotlight itself. I hesitate to say refined though, as that term implies usually some softer leaner quietly delicate inference. The CS is not delicate in how it enunciates the signal it receives. It is hearty, robust, full and satisfying with most any genre, music or film.

It delivers. Has depth and extension many fifth speakers around it’s own price point, do not. That sole definition is possibly why it works in these separate arenas as well as it does.

It is indeed a viable option for any that seek a non fatigueing non descript , modern esthetic, which renders eloquently it’s realized information, making still more a coherent construction of the audio mural.

Or if the needs are merely such they wish to acquire a center speaker for an HT system that needs body and detail enough to carry the day… and of course, an owner’s pocket containing $1200.00.

If I had it to do all over again, would I get another? I’m not so sure I would without a good bit more investigation of what some of the aforementioned makers had to offer in this arena…. Martin Logan, Monitor Audio, Phase Technologies, etc.

Perhaps IF a very close match of esthetics could be had and performance to price was on track, I could well be persuaded to go another way. Also the needs of a mixture of both unit characteristics and consistency more often drive these acquisitions than brand preferences and esthetics for those of us so afflicted with unyielding attachments to more specific performance and cohesiveness in a theater setting.

Center speakerage is a must fit item. For one to throw in anything there isn’t quite the way to go about it. Sure, it’s at times better than nothing, as previously said however, the proper fit at that spot is where you’ll see the rain and the rainbow. I consider it quite important.
In fact for this purchase, the main motivation was a one sided affair… that of video & film. I wanted a cohesive, coherent, seemless migration of the sound to occur thereafter. Naturally greater definition and some bolstering of the audio too was in order… again, back to the non center speaker vs. having one in place, debate. The performance level on the purely musical side of the coin was the unforeseen gravy. Very good gravy it is too.

One can not discount very much, the way Silverline continues to produce good to excellent sounding small speakers. The CS is no different. It provides a quality sound with a pleasant demeanor and weight.

**Disclosure & other notices

**for more specs on the Center Stage and other loudspeakers from Silverline, please follow this link:

Specified info on this speaker may not reflect accurately the specifications of current production models. Do check to be sure… see below for more info.

The Silverline Center Stage speaker I received was not the speaker that was then, or is now, described on the Silverline web pages. Nor was it expected. I had expected to receive just what was written about there, in features, dimensions, and weights, No more and surely, no less.

Additionally, the one I received had some electrical problems. One of the large twin drivers was DOA.

The unit I got was smaller in overall size thus not matching the actual stated measurements, and possessed only one set of binding posts, not two sets as I had expected. Confused, I first rechecked all the sizes and feature sets, and remeasured my unit once more to be sure before calling Alan out in California.

Right out of the box the speakers easily noticeable physical disparities aside, the electrical issues surrounding the speaker were such that once connected, it sounded as though only half of the drivers were working. A dead driver right off. That’s never encouraging or expected.

To be fair I suppose this could happen to any speaker manufactuer at some point, and might have even been a shipping and handling incident, though no apparent damage to the container or speaker enclosure was present. Well then it was just a bum driver and Silverline’s Q.A. let it slip through.

It could happen. Were it to have been merely some more delay and no further added expense on my part accompanying this purchase as a necessary part of the resolution, I could have lived with that more easily. Such wasn’t the case entirely. I was instructed if a return was in order I needed to fund it myself. Regardless the reason. The return of the unit to me would THEN be paid by Silverline. So it is a 50/50 arrangement for even DOA items.

Moveing on…. Realizing these two major issues near immediately, I contacted Alan personally and mentioned them to him directly.

On the disparity of the depicted data and the presented unit, it was said some design changes from biwire to a single pair of binding posts and a smaller overall sized cabinet had been decided upon in the interim, and I was sent along the newest Center Stage model available, but without such notice.

I was told too another older version, center stage loudspeaker which matched the Honey Pine (Maple) gloss of my own Sonata IIIs precisely was available prior to my purchasing decision was made. I declined that unit, seeking rather to outfit the 5th speaker in a more subdued color of Rosewood, over that of glossy maple shades and grain.

Due to my deserved expectation and the otherwise presented inconsistencies, some small settlement was eventually agreed upon. On the performance issue some additional time was set aside for the current unit to ‘come around’, as it was suspected by Alan the issue was one of break in and not electrical or an outright driver failure.

Well… if you say so Alan, but I can usually detect a dead driver in a loudspeaker…. It simply doesn’t do anything! Aginst my better judgment, I agreed to spend a few days more to see if it would resurrect itself from the land of the dead.. It did not. My CS had not heard of Lazarus’ revival apparently, and remained as it was…. Non functional.

Five days later it was returned to Silverline at my expense. The return leg to my home, was thereafter paid for by Silverline. I thought this was a bit odd as the unit was a brand new speaker and had an out of the box failure.

Do be advised.

It was later found out that a driver was in truth, bad, repaired, and returned to me. I’ve since had no other operational issues with the CS unitand am satisfied with the performance.

……. AND please do call or email Silverline Audio to get the most updated information available.

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