Paradigm Millenia CT Speaker System

Paradigm Millenia CT Speaker System

$699.99

Millenia CT is a fully powered high-performance audio/multimedia system, no receiver required!

Fully Powered Speaker System

Our Millenia CT is a high-performance design inspired by the award-winning Paradigm Reference MilleniaOne speakers, winners of Sound & Vision’s Product of the Year. It’s a fully powered audio/multimedia system, no receiver required!

Perfect for Apple TV and Other A/V Applications
Simply pair Millenia CT with a wireless streaming device, such as the AppleTV or Apple AirPort Express, and instantly enjoy amazing sound quality without a complicated setup. The high-performance subwoofer offers convenient placement options—stand it up, lay it down or hide it under a couch and experience deep, powerful bass.

Multiple Applications
While the Millenia CT is designed perfectly to integrate with Apple TV, there are many other applications—hook it up the a computer, gaming system, directly from your TV, cable box, or any other wireless streaming music or video system that has an audio output.

Simple Setup, Amazing Sound
But don’t be fooled! Despite its plug ‘n play architecture, behind the scenes there’s a raft of Paradigm technology at work—the kind of technology not found in any other compact high-performance speaker system in this price range. And versatility! For those of you who may be wondering, the initials ‘CT’ stand for Compact Theater! Paradigm excels at producing giant sound in a compact format.

Immersive Sound for Video
With Apple TV you get the hottest movies and your favorite TV shows from iTunes, the entire Netflix catalog of streaming titles, live sports and more. But what’s missing is the big impactful sound you get at the theater or at the game. Millenia CT brings that experience home to make movies and live sports jump off the screen for an immersive and dynamic sound experience!

Stream Your Music Wirelessly with AirPlay
Apple’s AirPlay is an amazing way to stream music directly to your speakers from an iPhone, iPod, iPad, or the iTunes library on your computer. Simply connect Millenia CT to an AppleTV or AirPort Express using the included audio cables and start streaming your wireless music collection for an immersive, richly detailed sound experience.

Everything Included in One Box
We’ve made it super easy to start enjoying award-winning sound with the Millenia CT and everything is included in one box—two premium satellite speakers with stands, a powerful ultra-slim subwoofer, all the cables needed for a simple hookup, and a control box that hooks directly to AppleTV, AirPort Express, or other streaming devices.

Millenia CT System includes:

Speakers

  • Two satellite speakers with adjustable table stands.

Subwoofer

  • Built-in amplifier.
  • Cradle for vertical positioning.
  • Rubber feet to provide clearance when positioned horizontally.

Accessories

  • Control box for an instant connection to your TV and audio/video equipment.
  • Remote control with long-life lithium battery.
  • 6 cables needed for hook-up: power, optical, 3.5-mm, control box and two speaker cables.

Press Reviews

"The best self-powered, compact speaker system we’ve heard yet"

From Digital Trends

Sound enthusiasts tend to cringe when they see any sort of “self-powered speaker,” and for good reason: Most are designed to be nothing more than cheaply-priced and even more cheaply-made add-on computer accessories. As a result, many of these systems also sound dreadful. So dreadful in fact, most audio folks will bypass using computer speakers altogether and route the sound to their full-sized, multi-component A/V systems instead.

But if you count yourself among those who exclusively use your computer and Apple TVs as your entertainment sources, you probably don’t want, or need, a full-size receiver or surround sound system. And if you care at all about sound quality, the last thing you want is to subject your ears to some el-cheapo powered “computer speaker” system.

Recognizing that there may be folks looking for an audiophile-grade, self-powered speaker system, Paradigm hopes to answer the call with its Millenia CT, or “Compact Theater,” system. At $699, the Millenia CT’s price alone certainly puts it in the upper-echelon of compact speaker systems. But does it deliver upper-echelon sound? We put the Millenia CT through its paces to find out.

Out of the Box

The Millenia CT system is compact enough to fit inside a single, large but still tote-friendly box, which made unboxing it easy work. Dense packing foam separately clamshells the satellites and subwoofer and ensured all internal pieces arrived unscathed.

Once we un-wrapped the speakers from their protective bags, we couldn’t help but be impressed with their design and build quality. The Millenia’s enclosures looked so smoothly finished, we couldn’t resist running our hands over their flawless, gloss-black paint. Even the sub, painted in a lower-gloss black, was still fondle-worthy, with no flaws to betray the Millenia’s premium price tag.

We also appreciated the finishing quality of the Millenia system’s less visible areas, like the rubberized speaker baffles and the control module’s wraparound, gloss-edge trim.

Other items found inside the box included a card-style remote control, a rubberized plastic subwoofer cradle, all necessary connection cables, rubber footers for the subwoofer, and several owners’ manuals in various languages.

Features

Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of Paradigm’s Millenia CT system is also the most visible: the main satellite speakers. They’re the same high tech, cutting-edge speakers used in Paradigms top of the line Millenia One system which we favorably reviewed. Each one contains a 1-inch tweeter and 4″-inch bass/midrange driver, both of which are satin-anodized and made of pure aluminum.

The enclosures are made of a rigid, anti-resonant, thermoplastic (ABS) material. Paradigm claims the Millenia’s integrated baffle and chassis design allows for larger drivers than typical in speakers of this size. Pedestal stands for the satellite speakers are included and come pre-attached.

The Millenia CT’s subwoofer features a side-mounted, 8˝ reinforced polymer composite bass woofer cone housed in a molded polymer cabinet. The cabinet is said to be anti-resonant and vibration-resistant. Around back is the sub’s analog level control; dual reflex ports reside in the front. The sub also comes with a cradle for vertical positioning and rubber feet for horizontal placement.

But what separates the Millenia CT from more traditional speaker systems is its onboard amplification. The 3-channel, class D amplifier makes its home inside the cabinet and sends 40 watts RMS to each of the speakers and 80 watts RMS to the subwoofer. The built in amplifiers means the Millenia CT can be used in systems where a traditional A/V receiver is neither required nor desired, such as with a computer or Apple-TV-based system. In fact, the Millenia’s controller box is even the same size and shape as the Apple TV. A card-style remote control interfaces with the controller box for power, volume and input adjustments.

We were a bit bummed, however, to notice that the Millenia CT control unit only has two inputs around back: a 3.5mm analog connector and a Toslink/optical jack. We suspect many users will find this adequate, but be prepared to purchase an input selector or other appropriate hardware should your system have more than two sources.

Performance

Setting up the Millenia CT was quick and easy. Since the speakers’ pedestal stands come pre-mounted, the only thing left to do was run the wires, tweak each speaker’s position, and fine tune the sub’s level for best integration. We tested the Millenia system with a Samsung BD-C5500 Blu ray Player, Dell Latitude D810 laptop, and a Samsung UN40C6300 LED TV.

We let the system break in for about 20 hours or so before doing any serious listening. But once that was done, we cued up some choice lossless files and the Paradigm Millenia CT immediately filled the room with some of the most naturally refined and distortion-free sound we’d ever heard from a speaker this size. The Millenia’s overall sonic character can be defined by its almost dead-neutral and even-handed tonal balance, with just a bit of warmth through the lower mids and a slight recess in the upper treble.

We cued up that modal jazz tour de force, Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, and heard a bass-to-treble coherency often missing from other compact speaker systems. There was a highly realistic, un-hyped shimmer and decay to James Cobb’s cymbals, and the Millenia’s slight warmth served to make Bill Evans’ piano sound appropriately rich and woody.

We then fired up Kruder and Dorfmeister’s classic, The K&D Sessions, turned it up to 11, and marveled at the way this little Paradigm system was kicking out jams. Bass was full, deep, and highly articulate, just missing out on the lowest octave. The svelte little CT sub was woofing like a much bigger sub, producing thunderous bass that was completely satisfying in its output and impact.

The Millenia CT’s instrumental separation was also exceptional. This cleanly delineated separation, coupled to a wide open, distortion-free midrange, made for some of the most vivid imaging and soundstaging we’ve experienced yet from a small speaker. Listening to that same K&D album, with Janine Jansen’s Britten violin concerto thrown in for good measure, we could easily hear every instrument within densely-layered tracks, each one retaining the proper perspective within the mix.

We then tried the usual torture-test movies, such as the chase scenes from Casino Royale and The Dark Knight, to see if we could catch out the Millenia CT. Never once did it cry “Uncle!” and always kept its composure regardless of volume.

We were more impressed, however, with how this little system handled sonic nuance. Right from the opening narration scene of Casablanca, the Millenia CT delivered remarkably clean, articulate dialog. Even with this movie’s quick dialog and dense ambient effects, we could easily follow every verbal utterance and inflection. What’s more, we never strained our ears to understand any of it—something many lesser-quality speakers struggle to do even half as well.

Moving back to music in the form of Stone Temple Pilots’ Purple album, we kept the Millenia CT’s volume at full-tilt and the sound always remained clear, wide open and completely free of any audible distortion. And we mean no distortion whatsoever. This was an impressive feat by any measure, and one that made extended listening effortless.

Unfortunately, this distortion-free presentation does come at a price, albeit a minor one—the Millenia CT’s ultimate loudness seemed somewhat limited at times, especially when used in our largest rooms. Occasionally we found ourselves wanting just a bit more volume and impact during those super intense listening sessions.

Dynamics were also a bit restrained overall. The Millenia seemed to ever-so-slightly truncate some of the softest and loudest sounds during some bombastic symphonic music, perhaps as a result of the system’s aforementioned loudness limitations. Still, there should be more than enough dynamic range on tap for all but the most demanding music.

We also found the subwoofer’s level would occasionally max out before the volume does. Keep turning up the system volume with some big-bass music, and eventually the sub will have no more to give while the satellites continue to get louder. We had to really push the Millenia system to make this happen however, and we don’t expect it to be an issue for most users.

Conclusion

It should be obvious by now the Paradigm Millenia CT wowed us big time. Its unique combination of near-flawless neutrality, eminent listenability, and its relaxed yet refined nature gives it a level of sonic goodness seldom heard from any speaker system, let alone one of the Millenia’s size. Add in its receiver-less operability, and you have the perfect, no-holds-barred sound system for your computer or video streaming device. Sure, we would have liked just one more input, and maybe a beefier amp, but these are minor quibbles for such a good-sounding product.

We also recognize that its $699 price tag puts it in some rarified company; but its sound quality puts it in a class of its own. The Paradigm Millenia CT system is, by a good margin, the best self-powered, compact speaker system we’ve heard yet. It truly does deliver upper-echelon sound, and for that reason alone easily earns an Editor’s Choice recommendation. Well done, Paradigm!

"A near-masterpiece"

From PC Magazine

The Paradigm Millennia CT looks like a typical 2.1 speaker set, but its price—a whopping $699.99 (list)—implies otherwise. While it's quite an investment, assuming the Millenia CT is overpriced would be a mistake. In fact, it might even be fairly priced, as it's a near-masterpiece. The overall output is incredibly powerful—it can get far louder than you'll likely ever need, yet even at top volumes, there is never distortion. The sub's bass level can be adjusted to tailor the frequency response to your taste and environment, and the two stereo speakers are crisp, articulate, and full of detail. If you're serious about getting accurate, exciting sound out of your home theater or computer set-up, the Millenia delivers audio that erases any unease over the price tag within the first minute of use. It easily wins PCMag's Editors' Choice award.

Design

Each 7.8 by 4.5 by 5.8-inch stereo speaker for the Millenia CT features a glossy black enclosure housing two drivers—one 1-inch high frequency driver and one 4-inch bass/mid-range driver. The enclosure is mounted to a matte metallic stand, and the angle of each speaker is adjustable, which is crucial to maintaining a "sweet spot"—depending on the height of the speakers, you'll need to change the angle to point directly at ear-level. (The "sweet spot" is the area roughly equidistant from both left and right speaker, and roughly the distance the two speakers are from each other—in other words, an equilateral triangle is formed by the two speakers and the listener's head.)

The removable grilles consist of black cloth woven into metallic mesh, and they attach to the speakers magnetically. If you prefer the grilles off—and what self-respecting audio geek doesn't?—the Millenia CT's drivers are good-looking and follow the entire system's black-and-metallic color scheme.

Unlike most square-shaped box subwoofers, the Millenia CT's sits upright, and looks more like a PC tower. It's larger than the typical sub you'll see on a PC speaker system, but this system is also intended for home theater use. Beyond that, regardless of its height and depth (it measures 15.8 by 5 by 14 inches), its shape makes it far easier to fit into challenging spots. A rubberized stand is included for the sub, but it can also be set down in a horizontal position—in this case, you'd attach the four included bumper pads to cut down on vibrations and keep the sub in place.

The most disappointing facet of the system is the tiny, cheap-looking and -feeling remote. Membrane buttons control Volume, Mute, Power, and switch between the audio and digital inputs. This is the kind of remote you expect to see with a $200-or-below PC speaker system and seems destined to spend much of its life hidden in your sofa cushions. Simply put, $700 should buy you a much nicer remote. But hey, it works. The remote sensor is located on the front panel of the black Control Box, which also houses the audio inputs.

This leads us to our second disappointment: The limited number of audio inputs. The small connection box feeds audio to the connected subwoofer, which in turn distributes left and right audio to the two speakers connected to its back panel. (The sub's rear panel also houses a subwoofer volume knob with a midpoint indicator and the power connection for the system.) There is a digital optical connection to the input box, as well as a 3.5mm analog input for computers and most mobile audio devices, like a phone or tablet.

Having these two options is fantastic, but many modern systems include an extra Aux input on one of the satellite speakers, making it easier to connect a phone or tablet, while keeping the other inputs hardwired to, say, a digital television and a Blu-ray or PC audio output. If there were just one more option, the likelihood of needing to swap out connections on a regular basis would be drastically lowered. As it is, you'll probably find yourself switching the analog input between PC and phone or tablet fairly often.

However, the system's overall design is stellar. For instance, one peeve of mine is when included speaker cables are too short, but the two included for the satellite speakers here are very long, so you can get as much stereo separation as you desire. For larger rooms where you might sit farther away from the speakers, this is more important.

All necessary cables are included with the Millenia CT—power cable, 3.5mm stereo audio cable, the digital optical cable, a connection cable for the audio source box and the sub, and the aforementioned (lengthy) speaker wires.

Performance

Even if the Millenia CT were ugly and poorly designed, it would be still be a winner thanks to its excellent audio performance. This is what $700 should sound like. The lows, mids, and highs are all beautifully represented in crisp, clear detail. The sub-bass frequencies can be adjusted, but even at maximum volume on the sub, which is obviously not the recommended position, we never hear anything horrifyingly-muddy or distorted.

On deep bass tracks, like the Knife's "Silent Shout," playing from a connected iPhone, with both the system volume at maximum and the iPhone volume at max, there is zero distortion, regardless of whether the subwoofer volume level is cut out completely or set to maximum. At mid-way on the sub volume, the result is extremely loud, powerful, clean audio. It's highly doubtful that that you'll be listening at this level on a regular basis. At far more reasonable levels, the Millenia CT loses none of its perceived power—the bass is rich and resonant without ever getting muddled or compromising the overall balance of the system.

On instrumental and classical tracks, like John Adams' "The Chairman Dances," the Millenia CT sounds stunning. If you pump up the volume, you might as well be in the concert hall with the orchestra. The higher register wooden percussion and strings stand out beautifully, with every instrument occupying its own space. Adjusting the bass level if you want a bit more low-end presence is a possibility. But the midpoint, in a typical room, should be sufficient—the lower register brass, strings, and percussion have a depth that is simultaneously arresting and exciting, yet natural-sounding. Audiophiles and bass fiends alike can enjoy this system—they'll probably just keep the sub volume knob at different positions.

On modern mixes, from hip hop to rock to singer-songwriter tracks, the Millenia CT again proves a friend to just about any genre you can throw at it. Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild" benefits from the highly capable subwoofer, which provides a strong resonance for the sub-bass synth sounds, while the mid-range and high-frequency drivers allow vocals and the attack of the drum loop to take center stage.

Bill Callahan's unique baritone vocals on his latest record, Apocalypse, are lent a pleasant depth by the system, but the real magic comes from the edge that the high-frequency drivers provide it. Grizzly Bear's latest record, Shields, has a plethora of exciting sounds, from massive kick drum hits to haunting synth tones and stunning vocal harmonies—the Millenia CT conveys it all, from the growl of an electric bass to the subtle picking of a guitar, with precision.

Beyond $700, we enter a realm of hi-fi speakers and audio components that you could consider semi-pro. At this $700 level, there are few consumer-level competitors—most 2.1 systems are far less. The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin and Zeppelin Air are both priced in roughly the same territory, but their audio performance is not quite on par with the 2.1 Millenia CT, which is more powerful and can achieve stereo separation. The Zeppelins are both excellent in their own right, but they are also, to a certain extent, design pieces, and a good chunk of the Zeppelin Air's cost can be attributed to its Apple AirPlay wireless audio compatibility. Another good-looking, glossy black system, the Klipsch Gallery G-17 Air, offers a slightly more reserved approach than the Millenia CT does to bass response, but it, too, lacks much stereo separation and its price is also boosted by its AirPlay functionality.

Basically, it's hard for speaker docks and all-in-one systems to compete with 2.1 set-ups when it comes to sheer audio performance—they sound larger because they can occupy more space. The Focal XS is another PCMag favorite in the hi-fi 2.1 PC speaker category—its visual design is a bit less alluring, but it's also a quite powerful, exciting system, and though it's not cheap, it is a bit less than the Millenia CT. If all of these are far out of your budget, but you really want a 2.1 system for your PC, phone, or home theater, the Harman Kardon SoundSticks III are a classic design, with both visual allure and strong audio performance. If you can afford it, however, the Paradigm Milennia CT will not disappoint. It's an easy choice for Editors' Choice, and I wish I had one in my house.

Paradigm Millenia CT Powered 2.1-Channel Loudspeaker System

From Soundstage! Xperience

There’s a specific type of pleasure that comes with buying an expensive product. Whether it’s a loudspeaker, an amplifier, a watch, a piece of fine furniture, a car . . . the giddy anticipation is metered by the awareness of how much you paid for it. The feeling grows all the more acute as the price and quality rise. I vividly remember my conflicted joy at receiving my very first dealer-ordered, high-end product: a pair of Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk.II speakers. Having worked hard and saved for several years, I hemorrhaged a good deal of my shallow savings account on the handmade Danish boxes, which I partnered with a budget 5.1-channel surround-sound receiver and a five-disc CD changer. My tender affection for the rosewood Dynaudios was almost completely offset by my guilt at having invested so much money in them.

A few years later, I bought for a few hundred bucks a new-in-box Klipsch ProMedia 5.1 Ultra computer speaker system, a discontinued model with a bit of a cult following. I was as giddy as I’d been about the Dynaudios, but with almost none of the guilt. Used in a 2.1-channel configuration, the speakers were perfect for late-night parties in the collegiate wilderness of central Ohio. The sub’s two 8" drivers, combined with the two-way satellites, could play cleaner and more loudly than any individual, sober or inebriated, had a need for. In many respects, I had more fun listening to the little Klipsches than the Dynaudios, which cost almost an order of magnitude more. When something inexpensive works exceptionally well, and can pass for a product that costs significantly more, the buyer can know no better feeling.

When I saw the Millenia CT system ($699.99 USD) while touring the Paradigm factory, in Toronto, in early October, the Klipsches instantly came to mind. Paradigm’s 2.1 system comprises two weighty satellite speakers in cabinets of high-gloss ABS plastic, sitting on built-in, adjustable table stands. Each houses a satin-anodized 1" aluminum-dome tweeter and a 4" midrange-woofer, handing off to each other at 2.4kHz via a third-order crossover. Paradigm claims the satellite has an on-axis frequency response of 140Hz-20kHz, ±2dB. The speaker measures 7.75"H x 4.5"W x 5.75"D and weighs 5 pounds. Magnetically attached grilles are included, though I preferred to leave them off.

The oblong powered subwoofer makes use of a side-mounted 8" cone of reinforced polymer composite with a 1.5" voice-coil. The enclosure itself is 15.75"H x 5"W x 14"D, and has a port at each end. Its output is said to be 2dB down at 32Hz, and it plays up to a hard cutoff of 150Hz. The 12.5-pound sub is also made from ABS, though finished in a matte black, not the satellites’ high gloss. The subwoofer can sit horizontally on its rubber feet, or vertically in its cradle (both included); I used it in the latter orientation. Its cabinet houses a single three-channel, class-D amplifier that delivers 40W to each of the satellites and 80W to the sub’s 8" cone. On the sub’s rear panel are a mains input, two inputs for the speaker wires with proprietary connectors (included), an Ethernet port that connects to the Millenia CT’s control box, and a dial for setting the sub’s output level.

Paradigm worked with Apple for over a year to design the Millenia CT, which is made entirely in China, and the collaboration shows. The slim packaging for the system, as well as the color scheme and design of its marketing materials, is very reminiscent of those accompanying Apple’s own products. Additionally, the dimensions of the system’s control box are identical to those of the Apple TV, which is surely more than coincidental. The box has an optical input, a 3.5mm stereo mini-plug input, and an Ethernet port. Listeners control the system with a tiny plastic credit card-like remote that has buttons for volume control, muting, input selection, and power. The remote was the only disappointing aspect of the Millenia CT package -- it felt pretty flimsy -- but it operated the control box from 25’ away.

Unpacking and setting up the 2.1 system was straightforward. All the required cabling is included: a power cord for the sub, optical and 3.5mm cables, an Ethernet cable, and two speaker cables that use tiny plastic connectors in lieu of bare wire or banana plugs. Setup took less than ten minutes, during which I placed a satellite to either side of my trusty, eBay-bought Samsung LCD TV. I placed the sub in its cradle and lined it up to the right of my TV stand. I ran the included optical cable from the CT’s control box to the Samsung’s audio output. This allowed me to try the Paradigms with everything that was connected to my TV, such as my Sony PlayStation 3, which I use to stream Netflix, watch movies on Blu-ray, and -- sparingly, of course -- waste time playing video games. It also allowed me to use the AirPlay feature of my Apple TV: I could wirelessly play my collection of lossless music files from my MacBook Pro laptop or iPhone. The Millenia CT can also be used as a high-end computer sound system, but after using it for a few weeks with my TV, I had zero desire to move it.

You cheeky little lifestyle system, you

Most "lifestyle" systems sound like crap compared to a half-decent pair of bookshelf speakers powered by a stereo receiver. They’re often cleverly packaged and look reasonable, but at the expense of an embellished midrange, embellished upper bass, no lower bass, and tinny treble. What I loved about my old Klipsch ProMedia speakers was that they sounded pretty even across the audioband, had deep bass, and could play cleanly and properly loud without distorting. They were hardly the last word in resolution or soundstaging. But what they did they did admirably. My hope was that the Paradigms would perform similarly.

Any thought of comparing the Millenia CTs to the Klipsches evaporated within seconds of my starting to play music through the Canadian system. The Paradigm system should not be compared to a 2.1-channel computer speaker system, or a generic lifestyle system, or even the excellent Audioengine A5+ powered speakers ($399/pair) I so favorably reviewed earlier this year. It is superior in every way.

"Aggressive Expansion," from Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard’s score for The Dark Knight (16/44.1 ALAC, Warner Music), exploded from the Paradigms. There was a proper soundstage. Horns sounded like horns. Drums sounded like drums. There was a cohesive stereo image. The subwoofer played deeply and tunefully -- none of that boomy upper-bass garbage that many manufacturers try and peddle as "room-shaking." Picture Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas, from the film 300, when I say: This. Is. High-end.

Collective Soul’s "December," from Collective Soul (16/44.1 ALAC, Atlantic), was rendered with appreciable crispness and appropriate weight. Ed Roland’s voice had just the right amount of airiness, and sounded as rich through the CTs as through my review pair of Definitive Technology’s BP8020-STs ($1199/pair). This is hardly a knock on the DefTechs -- the patented speaker diaphragms used in the Paradigm satellites were just sensational for the price. Perhaps more impressive than the vocals themselves was the fact that their timbres didn’t change as the volume increased. Even at the maximum volume I’m willing to play in my suburban apartment building without risking angering my neighbors, the Paradigms refused to distort -- a compliment to both the satellites and the amplifier driving them.

The title track of Dire Straits’ superbly recorded Brothers in Arms (16/44.1 AIFF, Warner Bros.) was likely my favorite cut through the Millenia CTs. Mark Knopfler’s Gibson Les Paul is pregnant with texture and delicacy, and the diminutive satellites perfectly captured its sound. Its near-perfect tonally, and its resonance in the studio was convincingly conveyed. The satellites threw out an enormous amount of energy, sounding much larger than they actually are, but remained steadfastly clean and clear throughout this track, never softening or rounding the sound. Knopfler’s guitar was as metallic and edgy as his voice was smooth -- the satellites reproduced whatever had been recorded.

Beyond music, however, I relied on the Millenia CT for stints of FIFA 12, Netflix, and Blu-ray films. In each instance, I was genuinely surprised by how much detail and clarity the Paradigms made available to me. I can’t overstate how accomplished the CT satellites were. Virtual soccer crowds voiced different chants, depending on which stadium I was "playing" in. Cries of "Theo!" rang out whenever Arsenal winger Theo Walcott had the ball, while "Come on Arsenal!" filled my living room with support as I tried desperately to improve my form in the realm of digital soccer.

The opening scenes of Star Trek (2009) are frenzied. It’s an action-movie aficionado’s dream, with a multitude of special effects, including phaser fire, photon-torpedo explosions, an alien starship, and . . . childbirth? The first ten minutes of the film are pretty brutal on speakers when played at volume. But whereas something like the aforementioned Audioengines couldn’t quite keep pace, much of the action sounding a little muddled and closed-in, the Paradigms handled everything with aplomb. In a room of small to medium size, I’m not sure I’d want or need anything more expensive or substantial.

The Millenia CT system was not without flaw. As mentioned above, the remote feels pretty cheap, considering the asking price of $699.99. Another input, perhaps of the RCA variety, might be nice for folks who don’t want to route everything through a TV, as I wound up doing. And the sub, whose sound was exceptional given its slender, 5"-wide profile, didn’t sound quite as accomplished as its satellites. Its bass level setting, which can be adjusted via a knob on the rear of the enclosure, is a little overzealous -- I would bet many listeners prefer their bass on the ripe side, but I dialed it back ever so little, to a level that sounded neutral. Even then, the sub felt a tad more loose through the lower register than the razor-sharp satellites did through the midrange and treble. But this is all nit-picking. For bass performance to match the satellites’, you could just buy Paradigm’s MilleniaOne CT system ($1199), which includes a heavily revised subwoofer and built-in amp.

Millenia CT boxThe Millenia CT satellites are, by themselves, high-end speakers. They use exactly the same drivers as Paradigm’s passive MilleniaOne speakers, which Roger Kanno wrote about in November 2010. Each MilleniaOne satellite, made of cast aluminum rather than the CT’s plastic, retailed for $250, or $500/pair. To have the identical drivers included in an active $699.99 system with a subwoofer is surprising, to say the least. The sub, with its 8" cone and believable extension to 32Hz, is very good for the price. Add a remote control and a control box with an optical input, and this loudspeaker system coalesces into a deeply compelling package. Those considering a home theater in a box would do well to consider Paradigm’s 2.1 system.

Conclusions

For one who abhors hyperbole, I’m left with only one conclusion: Paradigm’s Millenia CT is exceptional. This conveniently sized and carefully conceived system doesn’t merely hint at high-end sound -- it actually provides it. If what I’ve written thus far isn’t convincing enough, then perhaps my actions will speak more clearly: I’m buying my review sample.

System-amplifier Built in 3-channel Ultra Class D amplifier: 40 watts RMS x 2 satellite speakers,80 watts RMS subwoofer. System Peak Power of 480 watts.
System-frequency-response-on-axis ±2 dB 32 Hz – 20 kHz
System-frequency-response-30-off-axis ±2 dB 32 Hz – 18 kHz
Speakers-weight 5 lbs.
Speakers-dimensions-hxwxd-including-stand 7.75″ × 4.5″ × 5.75″
Speakers-design 2-driver,2-way sealed enclosures with integrated baffle and chassis. Low-diffraction grilles maximize imaging and ensure smooth dispersion.
Speakers-crossover 3rd-order electro-acoustic at 2.4 kHz
Speakers-frequency-response-on-axis ±2 dB 140 Hz – 20 kHz
Speakers-frequency-response-30-off-axis ±2 dB 140 Hz – 18 kHz
Speakers-high-frequency-driver 25-mm (1 in) S-PAL™ satin-anodized pure-aluminum dome
Speakers-mid-bass-frequency-driver 102-mm (4 in) S-PAL™ satin-anodized pure-aluminum cone
Speakers-low-frequency-extension 80 Hz (DIN)
Speakers-sensitivity-room-anechoic 88 dB / 85 dB
Speakers-impedance Compatible with 8 ohms
Subwoofer-weight 12.5 lbs.
Subwoofer-dimensions-hxwxd 15.75″ × 5″ × 14″
Subwoofer-design Single driver,bass reflex design,dual low-turbulence resistive ports,built-in 3-channel amplifier
Subwoofer-amplifier Built in 3-channel Ultra Class D amplifier. 40 watts RMS x 2 satellite speakers,80 watts RMS subwoofer. System Peak Power of 480 watts.
Subwoofer-amplifier-features Auto-On / Standby,soft clipping
Subwoofer-low-pass-filter-frequency 150 Hz fixed
Subwoofer-low-frequency-driver 210-mm (8 in) reinforced polymer-composite cone,38-mm (1-1/2 in) voice-coil
Subwoofer-low-frequency-extension 28 Hz (DIN)
Subwoofer-inputs Optical digital; 3.5-mm auxiliary analog
Brand Paradigm
Model Millenia CT
Available In Store Only

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