What’s in the Box
Set-up and Operation
There’s choices, too, in the subwoofer placement; it can either be sat in its own special stand that’s fashioned from heavy rubber to prevent rattling or sat atop 4 bumper pads that come in the box. Having tested on both wooden and carpeted floors, we’d advise best performance is extracted with the sub placed in its stand which also features a cut-out that allows the main driver to go about its business unimpaired by obstruction. At just 40cm high, 40cm deep and with a maximum width of under 16cm with the stand attached, the Millenia CT is hardly taking up a lot of floor space.
To get yourself up and running with the Millenia, it’s simply a case of attaching the proprietary speaker plugs in to the rear of the speakers, making sure you’ve slotted the cable through the aperture in the stands first, and then attaching the plugs on the other end to the appropriate L/R inputs on the rear of the subwoofer. You’ll then want to connect the CAT cable, which communicates between the control box and the amplification/speakers, to the appropriate port on the box and sub which then means all that remains is to hook up a source. Connectivity options could hardly be called generous but the control box really is very diminutive. One might even go so far as to suggest it’s been designed to sit on top of (or provide seat to) an Apple TV; a device with which the Millenia CT would provide excellent synergistic companion to.
Cough, back on track, so your input choices are S/PDIF digital audio or analogue 3.5mm jack. The latter connection is clearly catering for the ever-growing mobile device market – tablet/smarthphones/MP3 players etc – with the optical input providing the best option for hooking up to your video source. As most flat-panel TVs are equipped with an optical audio out, meaning all connected devices can be replayed through the CT, it’s a convenient choice but we’d recommend having a play around with individual sources to see what works best. Your TV might well not be the best choice to downmix 5.1 audio and it would be a shame not to get the most out of the package. OK, it’s a pain having to swap out cables but there’s always a trade-off somewhere with ‘lifestyle’ solutions and we’d prefer it was with a slight compromise in convenience than with the quality of audio. We do wonder whether Paradigm will consider including Bluetooth connectivity in future compact systems as it fits in with the notion of what’s expected from modern audio systems so firmly.
Besides the lack of connectivity options, our only other grounds for operational complaint comes in the (tiny) shape of the included remote control. We’ve no problems with it being small – although take good care of it as there’s no manual controls on the box – after all, it only needs to regulate power, volume and input selection but it is very directional, i.e. you need to point it straight at the control box to make it respond. We’d make the suggestion that some form of non-infra-red control would be good going forwards, as it would mean the control box could be hidden away. Not that there’s anything wrong with the way it looks, of course.
The main speakers feature a full-fat, 4-inch main driver with ‘S-PAL’ satin-anodized aluminum bass/midrange cones and a 1-inch dome featuring high temperature voice coils, all encased in high-quality rubber surrounds. The subwoofer is constructed from a rigid, resonant-resistant thermoplastic (ABS) bass reflex cabinet with dual ‘high-velocity, low-turbulence’ resistive ports. Its 8-inch reinforced polymer-composite cone boasts a 1-1/2-inch high-temperature voice coil. It’s here, in the quality of components, where we begin to see why the Millenia CT costs a little more than other 2.1 lifestyle solutions. And that’s before we tell you just how good it sounds.
Listening – Music
As we’d hope and expect from Paradigm, crossovers are expertly handled. The 4-inch cones are also treasures that sound as if they’ve always got plenty of room to breathe, managing to provide plenty of mid-range punch whilst taking the strain from the tweeter when required. And when the low-end is just to down and dirty, the subtle but powerful sub-woofer takes the strain with almost total assurance; something like The Stone Roses ‘Waterfall’ with its combination of tambourines, sweeping melodies and thumping bass is a good example of the Millenia CT’s ability to handle music operating over many levels. For checking out raw bass performance, Nightmares on Wax’s ‘Les Nuits’ is always a good choice and the 8-inch driver showed its class by providing a low-end that shook the floor in just the right way without ever getting slappy or sloppy, in a tip-of-the-toe warming way. If we’re being critical – it’s what we’re here for – the slight limitations of what is really a mid-sized subwoofer driver sometimes did show up. Elbow’s ‘Ribcage’ has a complicated bass arrangement that did see the CT muddying things and losing some of its definition; but only by a touch and it was rarely the case for it to be caught out.
Fancy rocking out to Iron Maiden’s ‘Number of the Beast’? No problem, the CT has you covered. Or perhaps you’d like to chill with a spot of Portishead’s trademark, mesmeric bass? Be its guest. Or maybe Sir would prefer something a little more whimsical - yet expertly produced - for the weekend? Our FLAC Vinyl rip of Yellow Submarine has rarely sounded better. Suit you Sir? It certainly does us.
Listening – Movies
One of our current favourite Movie soundtracks, 'Dredd', proved a pulsating trip with the CT at the helm. The techno based score was more thumping and effervescent than should be reasonably expected of a system featuring such compact components, easily filling a mid-sized living room with more volume than most can stand. Clearly we’re not ones to shy from turning up to 11 and the Millenia CT duly obliged with every bullet casing ting and high explosive boom clearly distinguishable and accurately positioned. Dialogue was rarely overwhelmed, either, although it’s arguably here where the additional speaker(s) of surround packages are most missed.
A current guilty pleasure is the HDTV series of 'Spartacus', which features an incredibly bass heavy soundtrack, yet the Millenia CT barely missed a punch, thud of weapon on bone or sheer rumbustious sound of the Roman Empire’s day-to-day ‘life score’. Again, as with the music, if we could sense any compromise, it was with in a slight muffling of the bass that would sometimes rob voices of some of their impact but it’s a very minor quibble. The Millenia CT can also play it soft for late night listening, despite the lack of a dedicated ‘Night’ mode - simply notch down the sub a few clicks, gently down on the volume button until you’ve reached acceptable volume and sit back and enjoy. Even at very low levels, the Millenia CT is several leagues ahead of your TV or average soundbar in terms of clarity and separation.
- Equally superb audio for music or movies
- Beautifully crafted
- Set up is very simple
- Deceptively powerful and easily room filling
- Remote could be improved
- Connectivity is limited
Paradigm Millenia CT 2.1 Speaker System Review
Paradigm’s Millenia CT One bridges the gap between lifestyle and high-end audio product with aplomb. The package is simplicity itself to install, possessing looks and engineering prowess that truly impress. We could perhaps criticise a paucity of connections and the remote could spread its infra-red beam a touch wider but the overall package succeeds in its remit of being simple to setup and control, easy on the eye and an absolute joy to the ear.
Be it with Music, Movies or TV the Millenia CT exudes a touch of almost effortless class lacking in most of the – admittedly more inexpensive – competition. Paradigm has succeeded absolutely in its active system design and when you weigh up the quality of components as a speaker and amplification package, the asking price is actually very reasonable. The 8-inch subwoofer is no slouch either, providing a deep and convincing underscore to the lively, yet warm, higher frequencies. As a 2.1 package, the MIllenia CT truly is going to take some beating and with Paradigm’s senior system, the MilleniaOne, waiting in the wings for review we can only wonder at what that will have in store?
As it is, the Millenia CT will provide high quality, rich and room filling entertainment at a price, all things considered, that is very competitive. Rather than seek out that incremental annual TV upgrade, why not totally transform your home entertainment experience with what is a truly excellent speaker package that comes Highly Recommended? Go on, you know you want to.
Ease of Use
Value for Money
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