And while a 5.1-channel MilleniaOne system can play loudly in an appropriately sized room, the Millenia’s forte isn’t raw power or volume, but subtlety, speed, and detail. I used the Millenia system, both as a 2.1-channel system on my desktop, and as a 5.1-channel system, in my small video set-up, and in both situations the Millenia speakers proved to be among the least colored small-enclosure speakers I’ve heard.
Unlike many speaker systems, which use the THX standard 80 Hz as the crossover point between the main speakers and the subwoofers, the Millenia system uses 120 Hz. This relieves the small speakers of some bass duties, but comes at a price. Using a 120 Hz crossover point makes subwoofer placement more limited, because of the additional subwoofer directionality induced by the higher crossover point. The best subwoofer placement for directional integration is somewhere along the wall behind and between the front and right speakers. That’s normally where I put subwoofers anyway, but for those who wish to use a more unusual or creative subwoofer placement, you should be aware that the 120 Hz crossover point could be a sonic sore point.
I used the word “creative” when referring to sub placement. The built-in Paradigm wireless connection system in the MilleniaSub encourages less conventional placement for the subwoofer since it’s no longer tethered to a cable from your A/V pre-pro or receiver. I ‘ve used other wireless connection systems for subwoofers and rear channels from Aperion, Outlaw, and Atlantic in the past. Like the others, the Paradigm wireless connection insures that ground-loop hum emanating from your subwoofer won’t be an issue ever again. But please, don’t put the MilleniaSub someplace wacky like in a closet in the hallway outside your living room, just because you can.
One final detail that may be an issue—the MilleniaOne speakers do not accept banana, spade, or seemingly any other type of termination hardware on speaker cables. They will only accept bare wire. Even the nifty adapters that usually work to allow a standard diameter banana connectors to fit into a spring-loaded terminations wouldn’t fit into the cramped quarters between the back of the speaker and its dedicated speaker stands. I had to dig deep into my speaker cable stash to find some AudioQuest cable sans terminations. If you have a favorite anaconda-sized speaker cable, it will require some clever re-engineering to work successfully.
For most movie buffs the most important aspect of a soundtrack is the legibility of the dialog. Oh, sure, it’s nice if the bomb blasts lift you out of your seat, but if the words that caused the blasts are unintelligible, a movie loses much of its impact.
The MilleniaOne speakers deliver all the subtle details in a movie so you won’t miss any meaningful dialog. My wife and I have been working our way through all seven seasons of House on disc. Through the MilleniaOnes all of the lead character’s quips and side remarks are easy to hear, as are all the little background noises of pumps, heart monitors, and other medical gadgets.
Dynamics are also important in soundtracks. On my favorite bombastic movies, such as any of the Harry Potter series, the MilleniaOne/Sub combo does an excellent job of handling all the catastrophic cacophony without any signs of distress. But the MilleniaOne system’s comfort level with high volumes is directly related to the size of the room you use them in. There is a point where a room can be too large. If any of your room dimensions equal or exceed 20 feet, another larger Paradigm system would be more appropriate.
I mentioned earlier that the MilleniaOne system worked well as a desktop monitor speaker. Near the end of my time with the MilleniaOnes, I recorded Mahler’s 1st Symphony. I’m sure there are some more dynamically punishing pieces of music in the classical repertoire, but I can’t think of them while listening to those insistent kettledrums and the humongous horn section. Even when driven to realistic orchestral levels (98 dB according to my AudioTools dB meter) the MilleniaOnes hold together with nary a hint of distress both at my desktop and in my small room.
And talk about imaging precision—although these are two-way speakers, they image as well as single-driver or coaxial designs I’ve reviewed in the past. During the first triple forte in the second movement of the Mahler 1st, just before a brief trumpet solo, the Millenias maintained the location and size of each instrument on the stage perfectly during the crescendo. The MilleniaSubwoofer surprised me with its ability to handle the bass drum attacks, especially during the last movement of the symphony. I felt the low frequencies not only on through my feet but in my chest as well.