At CANADA HiFi we generally put highly complex audio and video gear to the test. Well, this isn’t one of those times. In fact, this time we’re looking at a home theatre accessory that’s so simple yet so useful – you might ask yourself – why didn’t I think of that?
Since flat panel TVs first appeared, placement of the centre channel speaker has posed a challenge to home theatre owners. There was no way to place the speaker on top of the TV, so most of us resorted to placing it just below the TV. The trouble is that this requires a TV stand that offers a large enough top shelf to house the speaker, which takes up valuable space that could be used for other components. Also, often times when the speaker sits below the TV it may be partially blocked by a coffee table, hence compromising the sound.
That’s where a product called Center Stage Speaker Bracket comes in. Designed specifically for flat panel TVs, Center Stage is a bracket (or shelf if you prefer) that allows a centre channel speaker to be placed directly on top of a flat panel TV. The bracket, designed and manufactured in Alberta, is available in two sizes and a choice of a gloss black or sliver finish. The small bracket ($69.95) has a top-plate that’s 12-inches wide and 6-inches deep, and is intended for smaller speakers, installations where the TV is mounted right up against the wall and computer monitors. The large bracket ($74.95) has a top-plate that’s 12-inches wide and 8-inches deep and is intended for larger speakers and TVs that sit on TV stands or TVs that are mounted to the wall with an articulating bracket. This larger bracket can also hold components such as Blu-ray/DVD players and satellite receivers. Each of the brackets is rated to support a weight of up to 40 pounds. We received the large bracket in a black finish for evaluation.
Since we first published this review in print, Center Stage added two more speaker bracket models to its line-up. The first new model has dimensions of 30 inches wide by 6 inches deep and is designed for soundbar style speakers and the second is an ultra slim model with dimensions of 12 inches by 5 inches.
The Center Stage bracket is made out of aluminum and feels very robust. It comes from the factory in three parts and requires a quick assembly with a screw driver.
I tried the bracket with a KEF iQ60c centre channel speaker three different TVs, each with a slightly different rear panel, and it worked equally well with every design. Two long, adjustable screws allowed me to precisely position the bracket so that the centre channel speaker was angled slightly down, allowing it to fire directly at the listening position – a very important feature. A supplied non-slip mat, placed between the bracket and the speaker, ensured that the speaker will not slide off the bracket. All in all, the bracket held my 19.4 pound speaker very securely on the top of the TV.
Something that I really appreciated about the design of the bracket is that special consideration was taken so that it will not scratch or damage your TV. All points where the bracket comes into contact with the TV are protected by soft materials. The underside of the bracket and its front lip are outfitted with a substantial protective foam strip. Similarly, the adjustable screws at the back of the bracket are topped with thick rubber caps.
Sometimes the simplest products can make the biggest difference – this is one of those products. If you’re looking for a safe means of anchoring the centre channel speaker to the top of your flat panel TV, don’t think twice – you need to get yourself a Center Stage Speaker Bracket. Highly recommended accessory!
Center Stage Speaker Bracket
Price: $69.95 CAD (small), $74.95 CAD (large)