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Get The Noise Out Of Your Cables!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Speaker System Review!
Paradigm MilleniaOne CT
Powered 2.1 Speaker System:
"Super Sound In a Small Package"



Brevis...
Price: $1,199 retail
Likes: impressive full range accuracy
Dislikes: that tiny remote
More info: MilleniaOne CT

by John Gatski

  I have evaluated more than 120 different speakers in the last 23 years that were designed for specific listening tasks, but few equal the versatility of the Paradigm MilleniaOne CT sub/ mini-monitor system. The key to this trio of speakers is the small main speakers coupled with the compact-sized, innovative subwoofer that kicks out substantial bass performance. It was shocking how good these speakers perform.

Features
The MilleniaOne CT System, priced at $1,199 retail, includes two mini-main speakers — in a two-driver arrangement, 7-inch tall die-cast enclosures. The 1-inch S-PAL satin aluminum dome delivers the high frequencies, while the 4-inch S-PAL woofer handles the bass duties down to about 135 Hz. The third-order crossover frequency is centered at 2.4 kHz. Factory rated response is 135 Hz to 20 kHz (+,- 2 dB, on axis). The rated sensitivity is 88 dB, 1w/1meter.
  The powered subwoofer is the heart of the system — with bass crossover, connections and amplification housed in a narrow, sealed enclosure (measuring 14 -inches x 5-inches x 12-inches). The woofer is uniquely shaped, at 14-inches by 3-inches and moves a substantial amount of air, claimed to reach down to 26 Hz at its -3 db point.
  Power to the system is housed in the sub’s digital amp section — with a rated 100-watts RMS to the sub and 50 watts each to the main speakers. Peak power is 600 watts total. The fixed crossover is 150 Hz.
  With computer audio in mind, the MilleniaOne CT sports optical digital and stereo mini-jack analog connection. As good as the system is, I wish it had RCA inputs as well. The onboard DAC only delivers 24 bit/48 kHz. Thus, if you want to listen to 96 kHz or higher audio with MilleniaOne, you need to do it via the analog input.
  If ever there was a product deserving of the EAN Stellar Sound Award, it is the Paradigm MilleniaOne CT speaker trio. Its accuracy, ample power and myriad uses make it one of the few audio products that cuts across all audio niches.

  The MilleniaOne CT system also includes standard accessories: speaker wire to connect the subwoofer to the satellites, desk/stand mounts, wall brackets and an optical digital cable and an analog RCA-to-mini-jack. A mini remote control contains volume up/down buttons and input selection.
  Paradigm offers a number of optional accessories (floor stands, etc.) and other MilleniaOne CT speaker configurations. You can buy additional speakers by the pair at $499 retail. Paradigm even offers a center channel/L/R speaker trio for $749.
  The MilleniaOne CT has numerous potential uses. Besides a clean, accurate living room stereo playback, it can be used as a computer playback system, TV playback system, a bedroom or small den listening station. If you purchase three more of the satellite speakers ($749), it becomes a dandy, space-saving 5.1 system for home cinemas in small-to-medium rooms. Of course, the standalone MilleniaOne main speakers need their own power, so you would have to supply the amp or receiver to power them.
  Or you can rely on the MilleniaOne CT trio as a kick-ass, mini-audiophile system that projects accurate sound way beyond their diminutive size. I put it to work as a stereo monitor system for my home professional recording rig, using a Benchmark DAC2 D/A or Resonessence Concero HP D/A analog outputs as the sources. I was able to listen to my recordings, do my edits, etc. via my digital software, including 24-bit/192 kHz, DXD (24/352) and DSD.
  You also could set up the MilleniaOne CT system as an outdoor speaker system (though not permanently mounted since it is not weather proof) and liven up your patio party; I could also see it used as a full range a presentation system for business; needless to say, the potential uses are many.

The set up
  I first installed the MilleniaOne CT in my audiophile room. The desk/stand mounts attached easily, and I placed them on my Apollo speaker stands. I connected the RCA line outputs from a Benchmark DAC2 D/A converter, using audiophile WireWorld cable that plugged into a mini-jack-to RCA input, inserted into the MilleniaOne CT analog input. An Oppo BDP-105 provided the source audio. Other applications included recording rig, TV speakers, bedroom system and living room playback system with B and W Mini-Zeppelin iPod dock.
  The included zip cord speakers cables route the audio to the main speakers. The included cables are 12 ft. in length. (If you use the speakers without the subwoofer, you can use really good cables).

The audition
  Upon the first notes of Warren Bernhardt - So Real SACD (DMP), I could tell the MilleniaOne CT is a serious little speaker system. The little guys delivered a deliciously deep and wide soundstage and the tweeters handled the upper register of the Steinway piano with surprising precision. Drum cymbals were open and present — with just a hint of crispness, but not harsh. The subwoofer kicked out prodigious amounts of bass guitar with out any flab or slowness. Damn, this system is good.
  For you picky classical music lovers, I am happy to report that the Paradigm’s MilleniaOne CT tonal qualities are quite clean and flattering. Violin tone, for example, was exceptional from a Mozart - Violin Concerto in D that I downloaded in the DXD format (24 bit/352.8 kHz sampling) from the 2L label and played through the Resonessence Concero HP DAC via Audirvana software on an Apple laptop. On playback, a lot of the violin’s resonant textures that I hear through my MartinLogan Montis and Legacy Studio speakers, were maintained with the MilleniaOne CT system. Again, I was really impressed with the imaging.


Uniqie shape of MilleniaOne CT subwoofer


  To prove my point about the MilleniaOne CT’s versatility, I connected the Paradigm’s to my Sony HX929 Bravia LED TV. Since it has no analog connections, I plugged the TV’s optical output to the MilleniaOne CT inputs. These new TVs — with amazing video quality — are so thin that good speakers are a rarity, thus, a secondary speaker system is key to quality sound.
  I am happy to report that the MilleniaOne CT system ratcheted up the TV viewing experience about 300 percent over the stock LCD tiny speakers. Better vocal clarity, increased music soundtrack accuracy and way more bass were delivered via the Verizon Fios HD TV channels and from Blu-ray and DVD. And unlike a soundbar, you don’t need to worry about placement of one large speaker. I simply placed the satellites on the sides of the TV stand and put the sub on the floor on the left side. I took a snap shot of the speaker/room response with my RTA, and I measured nearly flat audio response from 40 Hz to 20 kHz in my home theater room.
  Moving on to computer source playback, I placed the MilleniaOne CT mini-speakers on either side of my Apple laptop and the subwoofer under the desk. I worked with my own 24-bit/192 kHz sample rate jazz guitar and acoustic guitar recordings through the Apple Soundtrack editing/playback system. Again, the MilleniaOne CT speaker delivered the goods. The acoustic guitar cuts were very accurate, and the stereo recording image was full and detailed. The speakers also delivered good response off axis.
  I am happy to report that the MilleniaOne CT system ratcheted up the TV viewing experience about 300 percent over the stock LCD tiny speakers. Better vocal clarity, increased music soundtrack accuracy and way more bass were delivered via the Verizon Fios HD TV channels and from Blu-ray and DVD.

  On a rock recording that I was editing, the MilleniaOne CT’s accurate bass performance was much appreciated. When I first monitored the music via headphones, I thought the midbass was too heavy and was planning to EQ down the 120-Hz slice of the audio. However, on playback through the Paradigm, I found the midbass rise that I had heard was more the exaggerated bass characteristic of the headphone and not the recording. The MilleniaOne CTs delivered the tracks with a more accurate, cleaner bass, and this was later confirmed by playback on my Martin-Logans.
  Overall, i had no problems with the operation of the MilleniaOne CT system. It was easy to attach the stands, connect the cables and play. My only niggle is the small remote control; it is very small and easy to misplace, I did so several times. The other complaint is a lack of RCA input jacks. It is nice to have the mini-jack for connecting to a computer, but the larger jacks accommodate better cables.

The verdict
  If ever there was a product deserving of the Everything Audio Network Stellar Sound Award, it is the Paradigm MilleniaOne CT speaker trio. Its accuracy, ample power and myriad uses make it one of the few audio products that cuts across all audio niches: audiophiles, home theater and home recording, computer audio. Whatever the use, this compact monitor system delivers the sonic goods. Nicely done, Paradigm!

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...



I own this system and love it. Great review.


I have an oppo 103 Blu-ray and am wondering if I should be using a Y cable with 2 rca analog out of the oppo and the 3.5 mm into the paradigm. Based on your review that should be better sound than optical cable


Why didn't you do that with your oppo 105?. Would I get better sound with an external Dac?


Also should I downmix The oppo to Lt/Rt or 2 channel stereo?

Any other suggestions?

Sorry for so many questions but I am a novice at this audiophile game and am quite excited about it.

Thank you for your assistance!

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

I have this system and love it.

Great review. I have an oppo 103 blu-ray player and am wondering if I should be using a Y cable wit the 2 rca male analog out of the blu-ray and the 3.5 male analog into tha paradigm. Based on your review that should produce better sound than optical cable.

Why didn't you do that with your oppo 105? Would I get better sound with an external Dac?

Thanks!

John Gatski said...

The dual RCA to 3.5 mm mini-jack stereo male is a great way to play a source into the Millennia CT. I actually have done that. It sounds terrific. I am glad you like your speakers. I plan to do a five-channel review for home cinema using them for the main and rear surrounds. As for the downmix, I do it LT/RT. BTW, did you know your Oppo is capable of playing native DSD from download sites, such as Blue Coast and Channel Classics and 2L. Download the tracks to your PC, copy them to a USB thumb drive and pop the thumb drive into the Oppo. Quality high-res playback that beats CD by a mile.

John Gatski said...

The dual RCA to 3.5 mm mini-jack stereo male is a great way to play a source into the Millennia CT. I actually have done that. It sounds terrific. I am glad you like your speakers. I plan to do a five-channel review for home cinema using them for the main and rear surrounds. As for the downmix, I do it LT/RT. BTW, did you know your Oppo is capable of playing native DSD from download sites, such as Blue Coast and Channel Classics and 2L. Download the tracks to your PC, copy them to a USB thumb drive and pop the thumb drive into the Oppo. Quality high-res playback that beats CD by a mile.