Paradigm Millenia Series Home Theater Speaker System Page 2

The Short Form
Price $5,796 (as tested) / paradigm.com / 905-632-0180
Snapshot
A swanky, high-performance system that works in even the most style-conscious homes.
Plus
•Beautiful and chic design •Dynamic sound with excellent imaging •Floorboard-rattling subwoofer
Minus
•Slightly brighter-than-neutral balance doesn't suit edgy or harsh recordings
Key Features
Millenia 300 •($1,999/pair) 1-in aluminum dome tweeter, (2) 5.5-in cone mid-woofers, (3) 5.5-in cone woofers; 52.5 in high; 28.5 lb Millenia 30 •($799) 1-in aluminum dome tweeter; (2) 5.5-in cone mid-woofers; (2) 5.5-in cone woofers; 35.4 in wide; 17.6 lb ADP-590 v.4 •($599 each) (2) 1-in aluminum dome tweeters; (2) 4-in midrange drivers; 7-in woofer; 8.8-in high; 17.5 lb Seismic 12 •($1,800) 12-in driver, (2) 10-in passive radiators, 1200-W rms amplifier; 14.8 x 14.3 x 14.3 in; 67 lb
Test Bench
This stylish system had average spectral uniformity, exhibiting some peakiness in the mid to high frequencies. But the Millenia 300 tower, while ultimately limited at the low end, had better bass extension than many other small-driver floorstanding systems. The Seismic 12 subwoofer also had better-than-average low-frequency dynamic capability, achieving 108 dB or more at every frequency above 25 Hz. It hit its maximum output of 112 dB at 62 Hz. - Tom Nousaine Full Lab Results
Even with all that firepower, the 300's slim ported cabinet is actually about equal in volume to a medium-size bookshelf speaker, so you really need to augment them with a subwoofer to get acceptable bass extension. I matched them with the small yet potent Seismic 12 subwoofer, which continues the theme of delivering maximum output with minimum room intrusion. Packing a long-excursion, downward-firing 12-inch driver and two 10-inch passive radiators into a cube that's just over 14 inches on each side means you're going to need some serious horsepower to keep everything moving yet tightly under control. Paradigm's response is to fit an efficient Class D amp that can deliver a whopping 1,200 watts continuous with 4,500-watt peaks, which sounds to me like enough power to drive a bus, never mind a 12-inch woofer. Continuously variable phase and a bass-contour control that boosts 60 Hz output help you set up a seamless blend with the main speakers, though with receivers typically handling bass management these days, a crossover bypass switch is conspiuously absent.

Handling the center-channel duties, the Millenia 30 LCR speaker uses the same driver complement as the 300 (minus one woofer). It can be wall-mounted either vertically or horizontally - or, as I used it, placed on the shelf under my video display with the supplied supports. Unlike the 300, the 30's enclosure isn't ported, and I ended up setting my system's crossover at 120 Hz for the center channel vs. 100 Hz for the 300s.

Paradigm's Millenia ADP dipole surrounds ($599 each) weren't ready for our test, so the company sent a pair of similar ADP-590 v.4 speakers to round out the package. These squat, wall-hugging five-driver three-ways use a 4-inch midrange driver and 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter on each side, coupled with a single 7-inch woofer facing into the room. By putting the drivers on one side of the box out of phase with their opposing pair, you get a diffuse dipolar output, although, unlike some other dipoles, they are not supplied in mirror-image pairs. This means that on one side of the room you end up with the out-of-phase drivers facing forward, while on the other side they face the back of the room. Though some might wonder if this would detract from the coherency of the soundfield, Paradigm says its blind listening tests showed no consequence, and the current approach allows the ADPs to be sold individually for 6.1-channel systems. (Of course, the speakers are flat both top and bottom, so you could always flip one over.)

SETUP After experimenting, I found I could spread the 300s somewhat wider than normal without punching a hole in the center of the soundstage. They ended up some 3 feet from the side walls and about 2 feet away from the front wall, with a fair amount of toe-in to maintain center focus. The dipole surrounds worked best at the sides of the listening position, raised about a foot above my ears. The sub was in my usual spot inside of the left speaker, although I did feel that the sound was smoothest with the bass-contour control maxed out.

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