Mackie’s move into the headphone space got off to a solid start with the impressive MC range. Recently we got the chance to roadtest the newest member of the lineup the MC-350. This premium range leading model has some stiff competition in the closed-back headphone market so I was eager to see how they stack up.
The Mackie MC-350 professional headphones deliver in several areas. Improving on nearly all aspects from the little brothers in the range. Check out the highlights before we get into more detail.
Mackie continues to impress with all their new releases and these headphones are no different. Below we take a deep dive into the details of these premium headphones.
Mackie touts the MC-350 as a pair of professional high-performance monitoring headphones. And I’m happy to say the marketing matches the delivery. The MC-350 has an excellent sound profile that is both inviting and capable.
The Mackie MC-350 delivers premium sound quality and comfort.
The highs are clear and well-defined without excessive sharpness or brightness you may find in other headphones. Mid tones are equally clear and transparent. If the original recording is weak these will highlight those flaws. Plenty of warmth without excessive color. The lows are also impressive. Full and punchy with enough sub-bass to satisfy. The lows also don’t muddy the mids. An impressive sound profile that can rival more expensive headphones.
The closed-back design does lead to a more cramped soundstage but that is hard to avoid. Despite this, there is enough depth and precision to embrace and enjoy more spacious compositions. But if you want a broader soundstage I’d look at Mackie’s open-backed option, the MC-450.
The large drivers deliver powerful sound.
The frequency range of 20Hz – 20kHz is a fairly common spread for headphones. The impressive part is the lack of artifacts, dips, or spikes across the range. These are more neutral than I had initially anticipated. At 97dB sensitivity, these also offer plenty of headroom. The low impedance of 32 ohms also means these play nice with smartphones and other lower-powered devices.
As a DJ I appreciate the transparency and neutrality. I like some hyped bass when laying down a set but often DJ headphones overhype the low end. The MC-350 strikes an excellent balance. Satisfying without straying into Hi-Fi sound. This quality also allows these to pull double duty. The neutral profile means you can use these for more serious studio work. It’s hard to find a pair of headphones that can deliver on both fronts. But these do an impressive job across both applications.
Comfort level is critical for both DJing and studio work. Whether you’re DJing in hot and steamy clubs and bars or spending hours in the studio. You want comfortable headphones. In this area, the Mackie MC-350 performs well.
The ear padding is firm but has just the right amount of give for a comfortable fit. Not ultra-plush but not too firm. The padding coating is real leather which is a welcome change to the abundance of pleather seen on other headphones. The stitching is secure and keeps the earpads from warping out of shape over time. There is some heat build-up but it is hard to avoid this problem due to the closed-back design.
The Mackie MC-350 offers a firm but comfortable fit.
The headband padding is equally comfortable. I have a shaved head so I’m always conscious of the feel of the headband. Any discomfort issues are amplified and instantly transparent without a head full of hair to help buffer the feel! Thankfully the MC-350 did not deliver any discomfort even over longer sessions.
The clamping force is on the tighter side. On the one hand, I like the security this provides especially when bopping my head along with the beat during a DJ session. But if you have a larger head you may need to spend some time breaking these in. At 0.8 lbs. (363 grams) these are a little heavy but these are well balanced so I didn’t notice the increased weight.
I’ve always been a fan of the Mackie design aesthetic. Especially in recent years as they evolve and refine the look while maintaining their signature style. The MC-350 follows this new pattern with a sleek and modern appearance.
The all-black plastic look is not uncommon for headphones. But there is some dazzle thanks to the silver accents on the earcups and the silver Mackie running man logo. A single strip of iconic Mackie green completes the look. These have just enough character to not be boring. But equally not overly garish. A nice balance between professional design and appealing aesthetics.
Premium materials and a sleek design.
Beyond the look, there are other design choices at play here. Unlike many DJ or studio-focused headphones, the Mackie MC-350 offers a cable with a mic and phone control. It is not the most impressive microphone but it is a nice inclusion. Especially useful if you want to take these on your next trip. The firm grip also offers plenty of passive isolation. Great for avoiding audio spillage when recording but equally great for DJ sessions.
The Mackie MC-350 also features detachable cables. Something I always like to see. This provides both options in cable choice and protection for the connection points. The earcups also swivel which is great for DJing.
Initial thoughts of the Mackie MC-350 were that the all-plastic build may not be very durable. But once they were in my hands I could tell that these are more robust than I initially expected. The plastic is firm but does offer some give.
The all-leather ear pad coating is equally durable and should hold up a lot better than regular ear pad coatings. Component quality is also high. The 50mm drivers are quality but only time will tell if they can handle long-term use.
The included case helps protect your headphones and cables.
The included cables are fantastic. A long 9.8 ft (3 m) fabric-jacketed cable is the star of the show. But the included shorter cable with microphone and phone controls is also good. As is the coiled cable.
The carry case is also great. The protective fabric-like coating helps eliminate the potential of fingerprint and scuff marks. It is solid and durable and includes space for all the cables. A smaller pouch is available for cable storage but it does get a little tight if you try to fit all three in there. But you can place your primary cable in the mesh insert to alleviate this problem.
The MC-350 is the top-of-the-line closed-back option from Mackie. And with that comes a premium price. But there is plenty of value here. These headphones sound great and tick a lot of boxes for DJ, studio professionals, and casual listeners.
The Mackie MC-350 features plenty of high-quality accessories.
If you compare these to similar studio headphones these are very reasonably priced. Likewise when you line these up against other popular DJ headphones. The difference here is that these can pull double duty which isn’t the case with some other options.
The included accessories are also fantastic. A proper case as opposed to a simple pouch. Plus three cables where others only offer one or two. If you want a feature-packed and versatile pair of headphones the MC-350 is an excellent buy.
The Mackie MC-350 is very new so there are only a handful of reviews at the moment. But early indications point to mostly positives. The highlights are the sound profile, build quality and accessories. Though some have pointed out that the firm fit can be a little uncomfortable if you wear glasses.
Upgrading Your Headphones
Headphones are one of the most commonly cycled pieces of gear. They are often utilized daily for hours on end. This is why you’ll likely be upgrading your headphones more often than other gear.
The appeal of new gear is neverending. I’m a gear nut and am always eager to try out the latest stuff available. Whether that is DJ gear, speakers, or studio items. There is something incomparable to the joy of discovering new favorites. But you need to balance this desire with your budget and needs.
It is always a good idea to invest in better quality gear, especially if you are a professional.
When I got into DJing I didn’t have a lot of money so I naturally gravitated towards ultra-budget options. But I quickly realized these choices were not up to my needs. This led me on an incremental upgrade path until I finally found headphones that suited my needs. In hindsight, I wish I had invested in better gear from the outset. I would have saved myself a lot of money.
That is why I recommend you spend as much as you can afford when it comes to headphones. High-quality headphones like the Mackie MC-350 are worth the higher price. They are more durable and offer better sound quality. You’ll end up spending a lot less in the long run by investing wisely into good gear. Plus if you can find a pair that can pull double duty like the MC-350 you can avoid having to buy multiple pairs of headphones for different purposes.
The MC-350 has plenty of competition in the closed-back headphone space. Especially if you are looking for DJ headphones. Here are some other headphones worth considering.
Sennheiser HD 25 Review
If your focus is on DJing the Sennheiser HD25 is a solid alternative. At a similar price point, these offer a time-tested durable build that has made them a favorite among DJs.
- Ultra-durable with replaceable components. Built to last.
- On-ear design is great for people that wear glasses.
- Excellent isolation that is perfectly crafted for DJs.
Read our full Sennheiser HD 25 review for more detailed information.
Sennheiser HD 25
Shure SRH1540 Review
The Shure SRH1540 is an enticing alternative if you want to focus primarily on studio work. A distinct and neutral sound profile brings out details. Included accessories are also great.
- Rich tonality and distinct balance that is ideal for studio work.
- High build quality and a comfortable fit.
- Extremely expensive compared to the MC-350.
Read our full Shure SRH1540 review for more detailed information.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Review
For a more distinct and colored low-end response, the ATH-M50X is a good choice. Vibrant and punchy it offers a satisfying and comfortable listening experience.
- Satisfying bass and isolation make these a good choice for DJs.
- Collapsible design and a good range of included accessories.
- Due to the emphasis on the low-end, these are not neutral. Not ideal for studio work.
Read our full Audio-Technica ATH-M50X review for more detailed information.
Should You Buy?
Mackie continues a recent run of delivering fantastic products. I’ve had the chance now to try out entry-level monitors, PA speakers, and now headphones. Each time they have impressed. They consistently strike a perfect balance between price and quality.
The MC-350 is an excellent addition to the line-up. Great sound, reasonable price point, and thoughtful design. If you are looking for a pair of closed-back headphones that are great for DJing but also good for the studio the Mackie MC-350 won’t disappoint.