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iMac Speakers: Paradigm vs B&W

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Pngwyn, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    Hi everyone! So I finally decided to invest in an actually nice speaker system instead of just using the internal speakers of the iMac.

    Right now I'm considering..
    -Bowers and Wilkins MM-1 $500 - Really like the design and compactness of the setup and the fact it doesn't require a sub.

    -Paradigm Millenia CT $700 - Highly rated everywhere and can also be used as a TV system. However I am skeptical for using this with my iMac since I feel this is a more dedicated system for Televisions, not really sure though.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated thanks!
  2. macrumors 68030


  3. macrumors regular

    Yeah I guess I could go for less expensive speakers too, Audioengine A2s or A5s or the Paradigm Shift speakers as well. I just was leaning towards the B&W MM-1 because they have a long standing reputation for making great audio products, the design is really sleek, and everyone who owns one seems to be pretty happy with it (for $500 they better be!).
  4. macrumors 6502


    Can't really go wrong either way so it comes down to taste. I personally would also look at near field pro audio monitors when the speakers are intended to be used in front of the computer and at relatively close range.
    A pair of active KRKs or Mackies can be had for less than the B&W or Paradigms and are as good - if not better depending on what your preferences are.
  5. macrumors 68030


    Same could be said with Paradigm. Their "normal" speakers have always been highly regarded.

    That being said, you really can't go wrong with either.
  6. macrumors regular

    The Paradigm Shift speakers do look really nice, but if I jump for the Millenia CT I could also use it for my TV and add to my sound bar (potentially).. not sure if I'd actually go through the trouble of doing that though. I guess I have a bit more research to do :rolleyes:
  7. Contributor


    I don't have the B&W speakers (though I will consider buying them in the future as I love the design and the sound is superb).

    However, I do have two pairs of their headphones, the P5s, and the P3s and I can say that they are easily the best, most stylish, comfortable, portable, beautifully made headphones with superb sound quality that I have ever owned.
  8. macrumors regular

    So apparently the Paradigm A2 speakers are $279 EACH, so it's still more than the B&W and almost as much as the Millenia CT.. it's too bad testing these in a crowded store is somewhat difficult..

    Really leaning towards the B&W now, I think the only thing that is turning me off is the size.. I'm a bit skeptical about the quality and amount of sound such a small unit can produce. Especially when it comes to bass.. I'm not a basshead, but I do like an occasional booming here and there.
  9. macrumors 6502a


  10. macrumors 68030


    Paradigm doesn't sell their speakers in a crowded store. They sell at select dealers which are never busy to audition speakers in. Not to sound like a paradigm fanboy but the A2 are self powered with built in amps and airplay capable. Much more than just a speaker you hook up.
  11. macrumors 6502

    I have had a pair of Audioengine A2s for the last 5 years and they have performed great! Good sound and they sure have lasted.
  12. macrumors regular

    I have the B&W MM-1 speakers and really dislike them. They produce a bad hissing / static sound whenever they are on (using either USB or analogue). I'm actually looking to get better speakers. I've also been looking at the Paradigm Millenia CT (sold online at Apple and Crutchfield), the PSB Alpha PS1, and the upcoming KEF X300A due out in 2013.
  13. Pngwyn, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013

    macrumors regular

    What's the difference between the A2 and the Millenia CT? I like the smaller form factor of the CT and the price is almost the same.. seems like it has a lot of, if not all, the same features that the A2 you mentioned was.

    And that's sad to hear about the MM-1s.. I actually placed an order for a pair and have been waiting for it to arrive since before new years. I thought B&W would be a safe choice.

    EDIT: After doing a little more research I'm really leaning towards the Millenia CT by Paradigm. Any further input would be greatly appreciated. I'm still slightly concerned the CTs will be too powerful or "overdoing it" for a desktop computer speaker, though.
  14. macrumors 68030


    The A2 have built in powered amps. The CT's don't. The A2's are airplay ready, the CT's aren't. The A2's can be daisy chained with simply an audio cable, the CT's can't.
  15. macrumors 68000


    I was planning on buying the B+W mm-1s for my new imac .. but since I am returning it and now have the rmbp in my sig I dont know if I will anymore
  16. Pngwyn, Jan 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013

    macrumors regular

    I actually have Apple TV already so the Airplay would still work fine on the CTs. The form factor still has me favoring the CT over the A2, it's definitely a + being able to use these conveniently as both my TV and desktop speakers.
  17. macrumors regular

    The Paradigm CT is really intended to be used in a home theater. The control box is a flat square black box, exactly the same shape as Apple TV, so they are meant to be stacked on top of each other. You can see the units together in the pictures on the Apple Store website.

    Another thing to note is that there are no physical buttons on the CT, either on the control box or on the speakers themselves; everything is intended to be controlled via the remote.

    Here is an excellent review of the Paradigm CT:
  18. macrumors regular

    What is the difference between a system "intended for home theater" and a system "intended for desktop"? In the end isn't high quality sound still high quality?

    I agree they seem to market the CT specifically towards home theaters, but several places mention it can be used as a desktop speaker, including that review you posted. I just don't know how effective it will be because there aren't very many comparisons online yet.
  19. macrumors 68030


    The A2's can be used with your TV as well and sound just as good if not better because they have a self powered amp built in.

    Again, just pointing out facts-either way you go your going to have unbelievable set of computer speakers that will also be ok for TV viewing.
  20. macrumors 65816


    High quality is high quality, yes. But home theater and desktop are very different listening/acoustic environments.

    Basically, the difference is between speakers designed to deliver the goods a foot or two from your ears, and those designed to fill (and couple to) a room. I don't think anybody can design a speaker that can do both tasks well.

    Do a little Googling around with search terms like "near field speakers" and you'll get useful information. Also, you could poke around on audio/video editing sites.

    Genelec is a maker of very high-quality near-field speakers. If you look at their product line, you'll see some jaw-dropping prices.
  21. macrumors regular

    Alright thanks everyone for the advice. I guess now my decisions go between the Paradigm A2 and the Millenia CT. I agree that home theater and desktop are fairly different environments, but I actually live in a studio where my computer is right next to my TV. The Millenia does boast that it has great near-field listening as well, but we'll see..

    What benefits does a built in amp have?
  22. macrumors 6502

    One of the important things to note about the MM1s is they have their own DAC built in so if you were going to use a DAC that you own or intend to own they would not be your best choice.
    I own MM1s,they are one of the best purchases i have ever made they are designed for desktop use and in that zone they are superb and for me the test is being able to listen for hours and not get fatigue.
    The headphone socket uses the DAC in the speaker and sounds better for it.
    No hiss with mine, but if the poster who mentioned hiss is younger than 25 he might be hearing something that i can not even hear.
    I have not auditioned the other speakers mentioned but as a very satisfied customer and 2 years on i would highly recommend them.
  23. macrumors 68030


    Not having to hook up the speakers to a receiver to get higher quality sound. Let the speakers do the work, not try and have your TV try and put out decent sound to the speakers.
  24. macrumors regular

    I just got a chance to try the MM-1 and the Millenia CT.. the CT wins out on bass production and the MM-1 has better sound quality overall in close range.

    Has anyone tried using the MM-1 for TV speakers? My room is really small and I'm pretty sure it would project perfectly fine, but I'm a bit worried about the heat that might cause the unit. The quality is amazing on the MM-1s though.. I can hear the hiss, but it's not apparent with ambient noises, at least in my room. I really like these speakers, hopefully they don't have a lot of technical issues in the long run though.
  25. macrumors regular

    Was there any hissing in the CT speakers? If so, was it as loud as the MM-1?

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