AVRev Readers know it is no secret I am an admirer of Paradigm for their reasonably priced, great sounding loudspeakers. Their product line is extremely deep, with state of the art statement speakers at the top, as well as “lifestyle”, compact, yet highly engineered and attractive looking monitors and subwoofers. I was offered a chance to review Paradigm’s newish MilleniaOne series speakers, which consist of two MilleniaOne front left and right satellites, one MilleniaOne Center Channel speaker, and two MilleniaOne Surrounds. There is a matching sub available, but I received a Special Edition (SE) subwoofer (which usually pairs with the previously reviewed SE 1 Monitors), along with the Paradigm PBK-1 (Pefect Bass Kit) to use with the system.
The speakers are small, measuring 7.75" tall, 4.5" wide and 5.75" deep. They feature a die-cast aluminum enclosure with a high gloss finish that is available in black or white. The speakers weigh in at 5.6 lbs each, not including the supplied mini stands. My review samples came in a very impressive black finish. The MilleniaOne are oval shaped with a 4" Satin-Anodized Pure-Aluminum Bass/Midrange driver paired with a 1" tweeter constructed from the same material. Included are protective grilles that stay in place via magnets. Paradigm recommends leaving them in place as they provide minimum diffraction and should be sonically transparent.
The whole package is very attractive and will blend in very nicely with any decor, and they can be wall mounted too. The MilleniaOne monitors are priced at $250 each, and are available in two or 5 channel configurations. The SE Subwoofer is priced at $799, and the PBK bass tuning kit is $99. The basic specs for the speakers are 89 db in room sensitivity, and low frequency extension down to 76 Hz.
Set Up & Listening:
Setting up the MilleniaOne system was about an hour’s worth of work. Since the speakers only accept bare wire, I ordered some good quality bulk wire, stripped it, then connected. Then I attached the high quality mini stands, and positioned. I then worked on calibrating the SE Sub with the Perfect Bass Kit. It is quite an interesting process. First you must install the supplied software on a PC. Then a USB cable is connected to between the sub and the computer. Lastly, you connect the supplied microphone to your PC. A set of test tones are sent through the sub and measured. A frequency response report is generated and then the sub is automatically EQ’d via the software. Pretty neat! The final step is to tweak the sub output level and crossover frequency controls manually. Once I dialed in what I thought was nice balance between the SE sub and the satellites I was ready to roll.
To first evaluate the system as a 2.1 music only set up, over the review period I cued up dozens of FLACs ripped from CDs to an external hard drive connected to the Marantz NA7004 network player. I was quite surprised at the quality of the imaging, genuinely high end sound, and overall pleasing balance of these mini monitors. I was half expecting a pretty small soundstage, and a rather thin balance. Boy was I wrong. There was real texture, and the bass extension was rather respectable when I experimented with turning off the subwoofer. Of course, with the sub, there was much more bottom end weight and real presence to the music. Paradigm seems to have pulled off some trick to make speakers this small that can make music sound lifelike. Granted, these were set up in the smallest room in the house, with a listening distance of roughly seven or eight feet. But none the less, quiet impressive.
Duffy’s Endlessly is nice sounding pop production, with heavy beats, big sounding bass, and some rock instrumentation, all anchored by Duffy’s mesmerizing vocals. There are plenty of acoustic instruments mixed in as well. The MilleniaOne set up beautifully preserved all the texture on the closing track “Hard For the Heart”, with slowly strummed acoustic guitars, strings, and a gorgeous lead vocal. I actually had goosebumps! I heard the same results on tracks from various CDs by Seal, whose funky soul pop I have been a big fan of for many years. I enjoyed the solid imaging, musical flow, and accurate rendering of Seal’s throaty vocal delivery. The 24 bit Beatles albums available on USB stick sounded excellent, with great thump on the bass drum on “Come Together” from Abbey Road, and impressive separation of instruments.