Review: Paradigm Millenia CT Compact Audio System Page 3

Measurements

Frequency response

Satellite: 140 Hz to 20 kHz ±4.0 dB on-axis, ±2.7 dB avg 0-30°

Subwoofer: 38 Hz to 144 Hz ±3.0 dB

Bass output (CEA-2010A standard)
• Ultra-low bass (20-31.5 Hz) average: 78.6 dB

20 Hz              NA
25 Hz              73.8 dB
31.5 Hz          86.0 dB

• Low bass (40-63 Hz) average: 107.3 dB

40 Hz              96.4 dB
50 Hz              106.0 dB
63 Hz              112.7 dB

I measured the quasi-anechoic frequency response of the Milennia CT satellites by setting one atop a 2-meter stand and placing the measurement microphone at a distance of 1 meter. (Quasi-anechoic measurements eliminate reflections from surrounding objects to simulate measuring in an anechoic chamber.) I moved the microphone up and down to find the optimum measurement axis, which turned out to be roughly midway between the woofer and tweeter. I then close-miked the satellite’s midwoofer to get the bass response. To create the graph shown here, I spliced the bass response below 200 Hz to the average of quasi-anechoic measurements of the left channel only taken at 0°, ±10°, ±20°, and ±30°. I measured the subwoofer’s frequency response using ground-plane technique at 1 meter. I used a Clio FW analyzer in MLS mode for the quasi-anechoic measurements and log chirp mode for the close-miked and ground plane measurements, feeding test signals into the Milennia CT’s 3.5mm line input. The quasi-anechoic measurements were smoothed to 1/12th octave, ground plane results smoothed to 1/3rd octave. The blue trace shows the 0° on-axis response, while the green trace shows the averaged response.

As with the MilenniaOne, the Milennia CT’s satellite speaker measures exceptionally well, with only subtle and inconsequential frequency response anomalies — a little dip at 6 kHz, another little one at 15 kHz, and a little peak at 20 kHz likely caused by a tweeter resonance. Exclude that 20 kHz peak (which you can’t hear unless you happen to be a dog or bat), and the response is super-smooth: ±2.3 dB on-axis, ±2.1 dB average 0-30°. Off-axis response is about as good as it gets — there’s almost no difference in the measurement even out at 30°.

These measurements were done without the grille, by the way. Using the grille introduces a dip of -1.5 to -4.5 dB between 5 and 9 kHz.

CEA-2010 bass output measurements for the subwoofer were done at 3 meters and scaled up so the results are equivalent to measurements at 1 meter. Averages were calculated in pascals. I got the ultra-low bass average by subtracting -18 dB from the 25 Hz result and using that for the 20 Hz result, per CEA-2010 procedure.

Output in the low bass (40-63 Hz) octave is typical for a conventional small 8-inch woofer. The ultra-low bass (20-31.5 Hz) octave is always a challenge for conventional 8-inch subs, and the Milennia CT sub isn’t strong here — just 78.6 dB average output — but at least it has measurable output at 25 Hz, a feat many 8-inch subs can’t match.

Bottom line

With its relative deficit of inputs and remote-only control, the Millenia CT is a niche product. Even though its sound quality is great, its applications are somewhat limited. Where it really shines is as a relatively inexpensive sound system for a TV, because it completely blows away almost any soundbar. It’s also a great choice for a computer audio system, because it’s compact and vastly better than almost all of the desktop audio systems I’ve heard. A hell of a lot of great sound for $699.

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