Canada is celebrated for any number of things, some of them well known and somewhat clichéd and others fully legit representations of a country that appears to have its act together. One thing that's been apparent in high-end audio for years is Canadian prowess as it relates to speaker design. Located near Toronto, Paradigm has been researching, designing, and building high-performance, affordable speakers for over three decades. They take quite a bit of pride, and sink quite a bit of money, in their R&D efforts, and it shows, especially with regard to the flagship Signature Collection.
While Paradigm's product line runs the gamut from bookshelf speakers and floorstanders to soundbars, subwoofers, and headphones, the subject of this review is the Millenia CT 2, which is part of the SHIFT Collection.
The CT 2 retails for $899 and is a true plug-and-play system, which is to say it's fully powered and ships with all of the necessary cabling. The amplifier, which is built into the sub, is of the Class D variety and provides 40 watts RMS to each of the satellites and 80 watts RMS to the sub. Frequency response on the satellites is listed at ±2 dB from 140 Hz to 20 kHz, and sensitivity is rated at 88 dB / 85 dB. They weigh a stout five pounds each and measure 7.75 inches high by 4.5 inches wide by 5.75 inches deep. Frequency response on the sub is rated at 28 Hz; it weighs 12.5 pounds and measures 15.75 inches high by 5 inches wide by 14 inches deep.
Systems like the Millenia CT 2 are becoming more ubiquitous as people seek out simplicity and affordability. This Paradigm system directly addresses both of those needs, as you can be up and running in five minutes, whether you're comfortable with electronics or not. Inside the box, you'll find two satellite speakers, a subwoofer, a remote control, a control box, and all of the necessary cabling. As I said, it's a true plug-and-play system: you simply connect each speaker to the subwoofer, plug the sub into the wall, and connect the included optical cable to your source (Blu-ray player, cable box, etc.). The system is also Bluetooth-capable, so really you don't even need the optical cable if all you want to do is stream audio. The sub comes with a cradle if you want to rock it vertically, as well as some rubber feet if you're the horizontal type. The satellites come with adjustable stands and, due to some space limitations in my listening room, I came to appreciate the flexibility. I ended up placing them on top of my reference Focal towers, but then I had to tilt each of them down in order to direct the sound to the sweet spot. You simply insert the included hex key into the back of the stand, give it a twist, and you're on your way. It's also worth noting that both the sub and the satellites are beautifully designed in black gloss and should pass the ever-daunting Spousal Approval Test. Also, with the dual-mounting option on the sub, Paradigm has wisely made it easier to hide.
Due to my overwhelming lack of patience, I didn't connect the optical cable on the initial go-round and went straight for Bluetooth streaming from my iPhone. I had no connection problems and was up and running in short order. After breaking in the system for a good 10 hours, I connected the included optical cable to my AppleTV and then quickly ditched it in favor of a higher-quality optical cable from WireWorld. The result was better resolution and generally more open sound.
That's it; that's the hookup. If you're looking for ease of setup and exemplary sound quality, then keep reading.
Click over to Page Two for Performance, The Downside, Comparison & Competition, and Conclusion . . .