PROS / The Yamaha NS-C310 has a very large frequency response range.
CONS / It does not have magnetic shielding, which may interfere with CRT televisions.
VERDICT / This is the best center speaker we found in our review.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it is no longer available. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The center channel speaker is in charge of all the main sounds of movies, television and music. A good center speaker, like the Yamaha NS-C310, will help prevent the background music or sound effects from drowning out the dialogue or lyrics. This center speaker features a unique design and powerful drivers that will provide high-fidelity audio to your home theater system. It is because of its wide frequency response range and innovative technology that this is one of the best center speakers.
The physical design of the Yamaha NS-C310 enables excellent sound reproduction. It features one 1.1-inch soft dome tweeter in the center of the unit. This is larger than any of the other tweeters we found in our review and, as a general rule, larger drivers mean bigger sound. The tweeter also features a lightweight Neodymium magnet, which provides a powerful magnetic field and allows for high-quality higher frequencies.
This center speaker also features four 2.5-inch woofers. The woofers are in charge of the midrange and lower frequencies. These loudspeakers are constructed with lightweight aluminum cones. Aluminum is a very sturdy material which allows the diaphragm of the center speaker to move back and forth quickly without deterioration or damage.
Even though it has five loudspeakers, it is still a 2-way center speaker. A 2-way device splits the frequencies into two different frequency bands. The higher frequencies are routed to the tweeter, while the midrange and lower frequencies are sent to the woofers. Even though there are four different woofers, each woofer plays the same audio. However, playing all together, these woofers will amplify the sound.
Unlike many other center speakers, the NS-C310 does not have magnetic shielding. The magnets used in audio equipment will sometimes interfere with the signal of cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions. Manufacturers usually put a shield in the unit to prevent any interference. However, magnetic fields do not cause problems with LCD and plasma TVs. Since old CRT TVs are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and most people already own LCD and plasma televisions, Yamaha seems to think that this shielding is no longer necessary. Additionally, since they are not worried about magnetic interference, they were able to use a larger magnet in the loudspeakers for more control and more power.
The enclosure of this center channel speaker is sealed, to provide an acoustic suspension design. This design uses the air inside the box to control the resonance of the system. Acoustic suspension negates the need for a big and bulky design to achieve decent sound. The precision-shaped design of this center speaker is designed to create high-definition audio.
The nominal input power of this center speaker is 40 watts. That means that you can run this device on 40 watts for an extended period of time without overheating or damaging the internal coils. It also has a maximum input power of 120, which is the peak amount of power the drivers can handle temporarily without any problems. There are other products in our review that are able to handle more wattage, but this center speaker does very well with the power it is given.
The Yamaha NS-C310 is long, skinny and lightweight. It measures 17.3 inches wide, 4.9 inches deep and only 3.7 inches high. This unit will easily fit on top of an entertainment center or can be mounted on a wall. The wood cabinet is available in black, brown and birch color options, so it can fit into a variety of home decors. In addition, it weighs only 6.4 pounds. Nonetheless, despite the minimal design, this center speaker is capable of impressive sound quality.
The standout performance feature of the Yamaha NS-C310 is the frequency response. This is the range of frequencies that the drivers can reproduce. The average human ear is capable of hearing frequencies from 20Hz on the low end, up to 20kHz on the high end. This model has a frequency response of 90Hz to 45kHz. This is the widest range of frequencies we found in our review. It doesn't play the low, rumbling bass tones, but those will mostly be handled by the subwoofer anyway. However, it can play above and beyond the high-pitched frequencies that we can hear. Supersonic sounds are sometimes used to enrich the overall sound, and this product will play them without a problem.
Impedance measures how much resistance a device has to the audio current pumping through it. This center channel speaker has an impedance of 6 ohms. It is important to make sure that your receiver has an ohm rating that is also 6 ohms or less so that you don't overload the unit. Overheating your audio equipment can cause permanent damage.
Sensitivity determines how effectively your audio equipment can convert power into volume levels. It is measured in decibels. The higher the sensitivity rating, the less power it takes to produce sound. This center speaker has a sensitivity rating of 90 decibels, which is one of the higher sensitivity levels in our review. You'll be able to listen to high volumes without overloading the unit and without the hissing or static in the background.
The crossover is the frequency at which an audio signal is divided between the tweeter, the woofer and the subwoofer. Generally speaking, a higher crossover is more desirable is because it makes the switch less audible to the human ear. This center speaker had a crossover frequency of 6kHz, which is the highest frequency in our review.
Help & Support
The Yamaha NS-C310 center channel speaker is covered by a 2-year warranty. This is not as impressive as the 5-year or 7-year warranties offered by some other companies. You also have to register for the "Yamaha EasyPass" in order to view the online manual. It's a free sign-up, but it is still an annoying extra step to getting support. The Yamaha site also offers email support, telephone support and a FAQs page to answer any questions you may have.
Even with the short warranty and unnecessary online registration, this is a powerful center speaker. The wide frequency response range and high sensitivity rating mean that you'll be able to hear crisp and clear sounds at high levels of volume. It also has a compact design that will fit with a variety of home entertainment center configurations. The Yamaha NS-C310 features the most impressive design and performance that we found during our review.