Paradigm bows 3-in-1 surround speaker

The Reference Millenia 20 Trio combines three front-surround channels--left, center, and right--into one elongated enclosure.

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John Falcone
Paradigm Reference Millenia 20 Trio
Paradigm's new Reference Millenia 20 Trio, in its natural element Paradigm

Many an audio purist will insist that you need large tower speakers for a truly "weighty" sound in your home theater. Meanwhile, the other 90 percent of the population can't abide their living room being taken over by giant, black sonic monoliths--thus the ever-growing market for fashion-friendly "lifestyle" speakers. Canada's Paradigm already offered a variety of smaller speakers (such as the Cinema 110CT 5.1), but the company's upped the design ante with the just-announced Reference Millenia 20 Trio. The $1,000 unit combines the three front channels of a surround system--left, center, and right--into one slim attractive enclosure that's a perfect match for a flat-panel TV. Unlike some other single-speaker solutions we've seen (Yamaha's line of Digital Sound Projector speakers comes to mind), the Millenia 20 Trio doesn't seem to have a virtual-surround mode in its bag of tricks, so you'll still need a couple of rear speakers; no surprise that Paradigm suggests its own matching Millenia ADP surrounds ($600/pair). Likewise, you'll need a subwoofer if you want any degree of bass. Even with the surrounds and sub in place, however, the Millenia 20 Trio promises a more compact and decor-friendly surround solution than traditional 5.1 systems.