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 MillenniaOne satellites plus a single MilleniaSub (total system price, $2648), though I also tried a 2.1-channel version of the system ($1898) in my desktop rig.