MUSIC PERFORMANCE Initially, bass performance was my main area of concern with this rig, so I started off with a favorite bass torture test, the title track from Flight of the Cosmic Hippo by Béla Fleck & the Flecktones. It soon became clear that despite the towers' lightweight bass capabilities, the hefty Seismic 12 was more than able to fill in. The electric bass on this track dips shockingly low at points, and the Seismic 12 easily got the floor (and my pant legs) flapping as it should. The banjo was clear, with cleanly defined plucking, and the harmonica was dynamic and powerful.
For surround music I slipped in the 30-year anniversary SACD of Pink Floyd's familiar Dark Side of the Moon and found the sound to be light, quick, and highly detailed, if perhaps missing some of the lower-midrange presence and warmth I'm used to. With surround-music mixes, I generally prefer direct-radiating speakers, but the ADPs provided a pretty satisfying sense of envelopment. Overall, the level of detail is initially quite impressive, although I did occasionally find myself wishing I could tame down the tweeters just a touch, especially with bright, less-than-stellar recordings.
MOVIE PERFORMANCE Where the Paradigm system really showed its polish, however - and no pun intended - was on film soundtracks. Starting off with Over the Hedge on DVD, the superb imaging and dynamic abilities of the front stage speakers made it easy to kick back and enjoy the movie, while the diffuse surround effects opened up the whole back of the room despite my using a basic 5.1 setup without back-surround channels. Dialogue remained resolutely clear, and for the most part I didn't run into the slight brightness I had heard at times with music discs.
Few movie soundtracks have as huge a soundstage as the DTS version of The Haunting, and coupled with its subterranean bass, this movie really showed what the Millenia 300s paired with the Seismic 12 could do. There was no sign of distress even in the most dynamic passages, and the system played at lease-breaking levels.
BOTTOM LINE For many people, audio is a battle between what sounds great and what looks good. The Paradigm Millenia series home theater speaker system has been designed to tackle this dilemma head-on, and to a large extent, it succeeds superbly. Perhaps Kate Moss needs some speakers even she couldn't hide behind?
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