Early in the history of reproduced sound someone got the bright idea to put a transducer in a wooden box. The idea caught on and for the next nearly 100 years we’ve seen wooden boxes in every possible configuration—solid, veneered, sliced, diced, pulverized and mixed up inside resins, toward the goal of keeping the wooden box from trying to sing along with the music, because most wooden boxes have cabinet resonances.
Especially with inexpensive speakers, where there’s not a lot of money spent on extra bracing for the enclosures, the box is usually the weakest sonic link. The Paradigm MilleniaOne speaker skirts the problems inherent with wood cabinetry by dumping the wood-box approach in favor of a sculpted die-cast aluminum enclosure. Metal rules in the MilleniaOne’s world.
With an aluminum tweeter and mid-bass driver, the MilleniaOne speaker carries its aluminum über-alles theme to its logical conclusion. But doesn’t aluminum have its own natural resonances and sonic issues? The sound of the Paradigm MilleniaOne indicates that whatever sonic shortcomings aluminum my have, Paradigm’s design team has addressed them and vastly reduced the MilleniaOne’s cabinet resonances in the process.
The MilleniaSub also has an aluminum cabinet, but also utilizes a number of neat acoustical tricks so it can occupy a unique physical footprint. Instead of a box, the MilleniaSub has a flattened silhouette that makes it easier to place in a small room. Paradigm’s promotional literature suggests a myriad of placement options not available to conventionally shaped subwoofers.
Our test system consisted of five MilenniaOne satellites plus a single Millenia Sub (total system price, $2648), though I also tried a 2.1-channel version of the system ($1898) in my desktop rig.
MilleniaOne satellite speakers, technical highlights:
• 2-driver, 2-way vented die-cast aluminum enclosures with integrated baffle and chassis. Low-diffraction grilles maximize imaging and ensure smooth dispersion.
• 1-inch S-PAL (satin-anodized pure aluminum) dome tweeters with powerful motor structures and oversize magnets. Paradigm promises audibly better high-frequency performance than anything else its size and price on the market today.
• 4-inch S-PAL (satin-anodized pure aluminum) cone-type bass/midrange drivers.
• Sculpted die-cast aluminum enclosures, with an integrated baffle and chassis that allows for larger, more powerful drivers. MIlleniaOne satellites can be ordered in Gloss Black or Gloss White finishes.
• The gold-plated spring-loaded speaker connectors are designed for bare wire, not spade lugs or banana plugs.
MilleniaSub subwoofer, technical highlights:
• Dual 14-inch x 3-inch inch drivers in a back-to-back, bipolar, dual-woofer design that is inherently vibration cancelling. Woofers fire in opposite directions, which creates a physical cancellation of vibrations.
• Woofers feature polymer monocoque cone design for the outer skin of the woofer diaphragm, which bears the brunt of the motion stress brought on by extended cone excursion. The cone is also FEA-optimized for maximum strength-to-weight ratio, and is fitted with Paradigm’s signature corrugated Santoprene surround. The woofers feature optimized motor structures with 1-inch voice-coils, made with high-energy rare-earth neo magnets.
• USB port provides support for equalization via Paradigm’s optional PBK (Paradigm Perfect Bass Kit) system.
• Low frequency extension to 21 Hz.
• Built-in class D amplifier puts out 900 watts on dynamic peaks and 300 watts RMS.
• 5-mm thick extruded aluminum sealed cabinet is rigid and slim and provides multiple mounting options. Specifically, the subwoofer can be positioned vertically or horizontally, or can be wall-mounted. Enclosures can be ordered in Satin Black or Satin White (to complement the MilleniaOne satellites, while remaining visually unobtrusive).
• The MilenniaSub is fitted built-in wireless receiver for use with Paradigm’s optional PT-2 Wireless Transmitter kit.
Miatas may not be as macho as Ferraris, but they can be just as much fun to drive. So it is with the Paradigm MilleniaOne system. The MilleniaOnes do their best work with music that’s dense or detailed. Their ability to resolve low-level information makes them especially compelling as desktop audio workstation solution. The combination of size, ergonomics, and the easy-to-place subwoofer makes 2.1-channel versions of the MilleniaOne system ideal for desktop applications.