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Published on November 12th, 2012 | by Kira

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Paradigm Mil­lenia CT: 2.1 That Sounds Like A Mil­lion Bucks

We have been dis­cussing qual­i­ty head­phones a lot these days, but haven’t talked as much about your home set­up? If you are an in­di­vid­u­al that re­quires high-end sound on the go, you’ll prob­a­bly want some­thing de­cent in your bed­room and liv­ing room as well. Get­ting the right sys­tem can be tricky, how­ev­er. How much space do you have avail­able? What is your price range? What lev­el of qual­i­ty sound are you look­ing for? And are you look­ing for some­thing for your com­put­er or for your tele­vi­sion or for your li­brary?

We’ve re­cent­ly been set­ting up and mov­ing around, shak­ing and danc­ing thanks to the Paradigm Mil­lenia CTsys­tem. This is a two speak­er set with a sep­a­rate sub­woofer in a sin­gle pack­age that al­so in­cludes a con­trol box that sort of re­places the need for a re­ceiv­er. We’ve lis­tened to a lot of speak­er sys­tems, from big-name sets to 5.1 Orbs, but this one is among the best. The man­u­fac­tur­er is well-re­gard­ed for the award-win­ning pre­de­ces­sor, the Mil­lenia One CT, and this mod­el shares quite a bit in com­mon (but runs about half the price).

Right out of the box, we were im­pressed at the build qual­i­ty- these are dense, fair­ly heavy pieces of gear, but still sur­pris­ing­ly small. At about eight inch­es tall, they’re not much big­ger than your av­er­age com­put­er speak­ers, and can eas­i­ly fit even on a desk. But the weight gives a def­i­nite clue: these bad boys pack a punch! And the sub­woofer is, of course, larg­er, at about 16 inch­es tall. In­stead of boxy, though, all three main pieces are ob­long ovals. We used the op­tion­al in­clud­ed sub­woofer cra­dle to stand it ver­ti­cal­ly, though it can be laid down as well. And the Mil­lenia CT (which stands for Com­pact The­ater) can eas­i­ly fill a large room and prob­a­bly go loud­er than you are in­ter­est­ed in hav­ing them go.

The speak­ers have a nice mod­ern look, sit­ting on stands that fea­ture ad­justable an­gles so you can set them to the per­fect di­rec­tion for op­ti­mal sound. The mag­net­i­cal­ly-at­tached grills are re­mov­able, which is the look we gen­er­al­ly pre­fer. Each of the two speak­ers con­tains du­al drivers, one small­er tweet­er and an­oth­er to han­dle the mids and bass. And it’s cer­tain­ly ca­pa­ble of be­ing an amaz­ing stand-alone sys­tem for your com­put­er (it’s even Ap­ple-ap­proved and avail­able in their stores, a rar­i­ty amongst 2.1 sys­tems). But the pow­ered sub and in­ter­face box, not co­in­ci­den­tal­ly about the size of an Ap­ple TV, mean that you can al­so con­nect it to your pro­jec­tor or tele­vi­sion for use as a home the­ater in a box or sound­bar re­place­ment sys­tem. One big ad­van­tage of the Mil­lenia CT over the Pro­fi­cient MaxTV MT2 we checked out re­cent­ly or the ZVOX sound­bar we test­ed- this one of­fers im­pres­sive sound­stag­ing, with much big­ger sound that sur­rounds a lis­ten­er. Prop­er set­up and ori­en­ta­tion is key, but a 2.1 sys­tem of­fers a lot more bang for the buck. Even the quite ex­pen­sive CEn­trance Au­dio­phile Desk­top sys­temsound­ed a bit tame in com­par­i­son, as it’s on­ly a 2.0 sys­tem, al­beit one with a true ded­i­cat­ed au­dio­phile DAC and head­phone amp.

We hooked it up to our PS3 in lieu of our re­ceiv­er, and con­nect­ed it us­ing the dig­i­tal au­dio in­put. Gam­ing, Blu-ray play­back, and mu­sic were all rich, de­tailed, of­fer­ing pin­point ac­cu­ra­cy and a re­al sense of tone miss­ing from sys­tems un­der $500. The sub­woofer shook the floor, not best­ing larg­er mod­els or quite equal­ing those with fea­tures like mi­cro­phone tun­ing, but def­i­nite­ly punch­ing way out­side of the weight class. Ex­plo­sions, es­pe­cial­ly, were im­pres­sive, and in first per­son shoot­ers like to­day’s re­lease Call of Du­ty: Black Ops 2, we loved the sounds of gun­fire, and deep or­ches­tral sounds with in­di­vid­u­al­ly-iden­ti­fi­able in­stru­ments. Each foot­step jumped out. And for those who want con­trol, you can ad­just the bass lev­el in­di­vid­u­al­ly via a knob on the con­troller box. Plus, it’s easy to con­nect your iPhone or oth­er de­vice us­ing a nor­mal head­phone aux­il­iary jack. The ca­bles are pret­ty great too, long enough for your speak­ers to spread out a bit.

The on­ly re­al neg­a­tive we saw to the Paradigm Mil­len­ia CT is the re­mote. It is the gener­ic cheap re­mote that can con­trol vol­ume, mute, pow­er, and switch be­tween the au­dio and dig­i­tal in­puts. For a high-end sys­tem like this, it would be nice to have a more so­phis­ti­cat­ed re­mote, and per­haps some ad­di­tion­al ac­tu­al con­trols on the ‘re­ceiv­er’ box it­self. Be­yond that down­side, those think­ing about it as a home the­ater sys­tem should think care­ful­ly- the in­puts and out­puts are a bit too lim­it­ed in our opin­ion, and you might be bet­ter off find­ing in­di­vid­u­al com­po­nents and find­ing or us­ing a re­ceiv­er. Of course, that’s ex­tra has­sle, like­ly ad­di­tion­al cost, and this is tru­ly a “plug and play” so­lu­tion that bal­ances great qual­i­ty, con­densed siz­ing, but re­quires some wires. A wire­less sub op­tion might have been nice, and we’re look­ing at one in the near fu­ture, but wire­less adds cost and la­ten­cy, re­duc­ing qual­i­ty.

As al­ways, if you want an amaz­ing home stereo set­up you are go­ing to make an in­vest­ment. The Paradigm Mil­le­nia CT is no ex­cep­tion to the rule. How­ev­er, if you love to get the most from your mu­sic, games, or movies, you will al­so feel like this $700 in­vest­ment is worth it. It’s worth the pric­etag, and is a gor­geous ad­di­tion to any com­put­er sys­tem or home au­dio set­up. Avail­able now, on­line and in stores.

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About the Author

Former neuroscientist, and now fashion photographer, Kira is a perfect fit for TrulyNet. She has a great understanding of what is hot, loves the new geeky toys, and has the academic background to be opinionated on it. Kira is well traveled, has lived in Australia and Canada for school. Loves the outdoors, biking, all types of art, and is completely obsessed with fashion and photographing it. She presently can be found in New York City at an art event, art gallery, museum, science talk, one of the NYC parks, a vegetarian friendly restaurant, a comic book store, or out getting bubble tea. She is a little obsessed with bubble tea.



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