Paradigm Millenia HT Speaker System

Audio|Video|Misc
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ANECHOIC CHAMBER AUDIO ANALYSIS

1. Frequency Response - We begin with a frequency response graph showing one satellite + subwoofer combined, on axis with the satellite. It is not useful to test the frequency response of both left and right speakers together, due to measurement complexities.


The two curves represent different bass control settings: Level, phase, and crossover frequency. Those controls make it possible to raise or lower the bass level dramatically, relative to the satellites. Note the differences in the 100~200Hz region, where the transition between sub and satellites occurs. This is not truly representaive of actual use for these speakers, because the satellites are being driven full range. In normal use, the signal to the MilleniaOne would have the bass rolled off to match the xover of the sub.

Here is a comparison of on-axis and 45 degrees off axis frequency response.


The blue line shows the on-axis response; the red line is 45 degrees off axis. Output is reduced around 2~5 kHz , and in the octave 10~20 kHz. Subjectively, the MilleniaOne has broad even dispersion, chan ging very little in character as you move across in front of it. A 30 degree axis curve should also have been captured; it was virtually identical to the on-axis response.

What is really notable about the above curves is the extension right down to 20Hz. In the anechoic chamber, at these relative modest levels, the little MilleniaSub really has audible (and visceral) output down to those frequencies. Push the level up to 100 dB SPL, and it is not so extended, falling off more quickly below ~35 Hz, but still, for such a small box, the bass performance is astonishing.

The rise at 200~300 Hz that shows up on these curves did not really correlate to anything I heard in my listening; there is no artificial warmth to speaking voices. (Typical adult female speaking voices have fundamentals at 165~255 Hz). The dip just above that is also difficult to correlate to subjective listening. The slight bump around 1~2 kHz, on the other, seems to correlate somewhat to a bit of forwardness in vocal overtones. As for that top end brightness, there's generally not enough signal in that range to make it significant, but it might add a touch of air to the highest overtones.

How do these frequency response test results compare with those on other speakers we've tested? Well, since the Millenia speakers are only the 3rd speakers to be tested in the SPCR anechoic chamber, comparative data is slim. The other speakers are in a totally different class, designed parimarily to be PC speakers. Still, for a laugh, here are the other curves. The Millenia speakers obviously extend much depper into the bass and higher in the treble, and generally appear smoother throughout, but you cannot tell by these curves the difference in sonic performance between the Millenia and these speakers, which are completely outclassed in listening compatisons.

Click for large view
Frequency response graph of the Rockus 3D | 2.1.

Click for large view
Frequency response graph of the AudioEngine A2.

2. Harmonic Distortion

As with all the other tests, the output level was set to 85 dB@1m with white noise. Sine wave tones were then run, for harmonic and intermodulation distortion to be measured with our SpectraPLUS audio analyzer. Results from previous speaker tests are also presented.

Measured Harmonic Distortion
Test Tone
Paradigm
MilleniaOne
Rockus 3D | 2.1
AudioEngine A2
SPL (dB)
THD
SPL (dB)
THD
SPL (dB)
THD
10 kHz
83
0.03%
78
0.38%
78
0.15%
5 kHz
83
0.14%
84
0.64%
84
0.36%
2.5 kHz
83
0.07%
77
0.21%
77
0.28%
1 kHz
83
0.55%
78
0.68%
78
0.39%
500 Hz
85
0.92%
81
1.20%
81
0.60%
250 Hz
88
0.24%
70
4.80%
78
0.76%
100 Hz
84
5.30%
85
4.90%
79
5.90%
80 Hz
86
16.80%
88
16.40%
72
8.10%
70 Hz
72
14.20%
72
13.20%
69
12.40%

The MilleniaOne by itself exhibited exemplary low harmonic distortion. Where its tweeter is operational, from ~2 kHz on up, it is typically below 0.1%. The mid/bass driver also exhibits very low distortion, typically well below 1% to the high end of the bass range. At 100 Hz and below, however, the MilleniaOne fared no better than the other mini speakers we've tested before. There are basic limitation to cone size and excursion.

If used with an AV receiver with good bass management features, when a subwoofer is connected, there will be options to roll off the bass to the main speakers, with the -3 dB crossover frequency at 80~150Hz. Having only the MilleniaSub handle the bass will dramatically reduce the bass distortion of the Millenia system.

Here are the harmonic distortion measurements for the Paradigm MilleniaSub.

Harmonic Distortion - MilleniaSub
Test Tone
SPL (dB)
THD
150 Hz
87
0.28%
120 Hz
86
0.42%
100 Hz
86
0.31%
90 Hz
86
0.50%
80 Hz
87
1.29%
70 Hz
86
0.92%
60 Hz
85
2.90%
50 Hz
86
*27.00%

From its upper limit of 150Hz down to ~60Hz, the MilleniaSub measures almost as clean as the MilleniaOne in the midband. My distortion results at 60 Hz below do not seem right; 27% at 50 Hz should be obviously audible, but it did not sound this way to me. And 133% distortion at 40Hz, the next measurement point, also seemed totally off. It is not clear just what is affecting these low frequency distortion tests. It could be that the signal generator itslef is flawed, or perhaps there is too much gear in the chamber vibrating in sympathy to the low frequencies from the sub, thus causing the distortion to be artificially exaggerated.



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