Mackie offers an excellent range of entry-level monitors. But they also offer more professional gear. The MR series is the mid-tier level of monitors that Mackie offers. In this review, we check out the largest of the range to see if this aggressively priced monitor stacks up to the competition.
The Mackie MR824 is a solid and dependable monitor at a great price. Let’s check out where it shines and where it falls short.
These monitors are an appealing choice for budget-conscious producers. Below we break down the details of the MR824 studio monitors.
The most important element of any studio monitor is how it sounds. This is one area where the Mackie MR824 performs above its price point.
The lows are a real highlight. Warm and full without any overt boominess. The bass response is great at both low and high volumes. A subwoofer will always offer better depth in the low-end but these are good enough to run without one.
The mid-tones are equally impressive. With a defined and clear soundscape, these deliver exceptional clarity across a range of acoustic inputs. The only part that they struggle with is vocal reproduction. There is a slight drop in clarity here depending on the source material.
The highs are solid but the weakest frequency. While clear and offering defined clarity there is a distinct brightness. A little too bright. But, this only becomes apparent after extended sessions where the slight sharpness begins to cause ear fatigue.
The sweet spot of these is also broad. As with most monitors, these are near-field but work best with a bit of distance from your workstation. The wide sweet spot also allows you to enjoy these monitors for more general listening.
When considering the price point Mackie has delivered an exceptional sounding monitor. Clean and clear with an impressively flat response. An ideal affordable option for the serious producer.
The Mackie MR824 also offers good quality construction. The all-wood cabinet is a welcome addition. With 15mm for the cabinet and 33mm for the front panel, these are solid. They offer extra bracing internally as well. This helps reduce vibration as well as assisting with delivering a smooth low-end response.
The Mackie MR824 offers excellent build quality at a great price.
Component quality is also greatly improved compared to Mackie’s entry-level offerings. At this price point, I was still expecting to see lower-grade materials. But the quality here exceeded my expectations.
These are not on the same level as their HR series or other professional-grade monitors. But, at this price, they punch way above what you would expect in terms of quality.
The Mackie MR824 studio monitors offer an 8-inch polypropylene woofer. A common speaker material that is often used in studio monitors. Supporting the woofer is a 1-inch silk dome tweeter.
The Mackie MR824 is a large and powerful studio monitor.
A total of 85W of power via the bi-amplified Class A/B amps. 55W for the low end and 30W for the high end. Excellent use of resources to deliver a loud output. Max SPL tops out at 113dB. More than enough to fill a medium-sized space. Despite their capacity to play loud they also excel at lower volumes.
Frequency response is at 38Hz-20kHz at -3dB. Plenty of room here for accurate delivery across the frequency spectrum.
The Mackie MR824 offers excellent tuning options. These allow you to adjust output to suit your space or listening preference.
The most useful is the Acoustic Space setting. With clearly marked instructions you can switch the low-frequency output. This low-end adjustment is critical for tailoring your monitors to your space.
These settings compensate for low-end build-up when the studio monitors sit tight to walls or in corners. The settings are effective and work as intended.
You’ll also have access to a high-frequency filter. You can adjust up by 2dB or down by 2dB depending on your preference. Considering the slightly bright highs the -2dB setting is excellent at cleaning up the top end. But, this will also depend on your studio space.
These tuning options are an excellent addition to an already impressive sound profile.
This is another area where the Mackie MR824’s shine. Mackie has a distinct design aesthetic for its budget range with bold green coloring. Attractive but not to everyone’s tastes. The MR range takes a more refined and professional approach to the speaker design.
The Mackie MR824 offers a stylish and professional appearance.
The cabinet is all black with a slightly textured finish. The shape and angles give the monitor a rich and attractive profile while also serving a distinct purpose. The design of the logarithmic waveguide helps deliver the ultra-wide sweet spot.
The Mackie logo is subtle and not overly pronounced. The addition of a blue LED for power indication is the only splash of color. A distinct departure from the CR range from Mackie.
The MR824 is an attractive and pro-looking monitor that will look great in any studio environment.
The Mackie MR824 is a large monitor. The 8-inch woofer demands an appropriately sized cabinet. But there isn’t any wasted space either. Just be sure that you have adequate room for these monitors in your workspace. If you do have a small studio area these can dominate the space.
The Mackie MR824 is a large monitor that is ideal for medium-sized studios.
At 10.4kg this monitor is similar in weight to other popular 8-inch monitors. They offer a good amount of heft to deliver stability. While also not slipping into the bulky territory that some monitors inhabit.
The Mackie MR824 offers a range of connection choices.
The Mackie MR824 gives you plenty of flexible options for inputs.
An unbalanced RCA connection option is a flexible choice that is adaptable to a range of common consumer gear. As always aim for short distances and avoid crossover with other cables to minimize the potential for interference.
The balanced XLR input will also be able to handle a range of professional-grade gear. Likewise, the Balanced or Unbalanced TRS option completes the range of choices available to you.
The Mackie MR824 offers great value for money. 8-inch monitors from other brands can rapidly get expensive. What Mackie is offering here is an affordably priced monitor. Without compromising sound quality. If you are on a budget these are an excellent choice worth exploring.
Setting up a studio can be expensive. I normally don’t suggest skimping on studio monitors. But, these offer as good if not better sound than some monitors that are twice the price.
What Others Have To Say
Lots of positive reviews for the Mackie MR824. The combination of affordability and function is a big hit for budget-minded producers.
How To Enhance Your Studio Space
Irrespective of what studio monitors you buy there are a few things you can do to maximize your studio space. But before you explore picking these items up make sure to set up your studio and monitors in an appropriate way. Where possible avoid placing monitors next to walls. Once you have set up your studio you can explore which of the added products will be suitable to enhance your space.
Studio monitor stands are a great addition to your studio.
The first option to explore is monitor stands or isolation pads. Monitor stands are an ideal way to raise your monitors to the correct height. For best results, you’ll want the tweeter to be in line with your ears.
They come in a variety of sizes to handle different speaker sizes. They often allow for height adjustment within a certain range so be sure to read the description to see if they will be suitable for your space.
Isolation pads are also a good choice. They help remove unwanted vibrations and enhance stability. Both of these will greatly improve your audio quality.
The next thing you can explore is adjusting the imbalances of your space. This is where bass traps, absorption panels, and high-frequency diffusers come into play. All these elements help address imbalances at certain frequencies. Depending on your space you may need some or all of these to achieve optimum sound output.
A combination of accurate placement and room treatment will enhance your studio space and take it to the next level.
Here is a selection of monitors that are worth considering if you don’t like the Mackie MR824.
Kali Audio LP-8 V2 Review
The Kali Audio LP-8 V2 is an amazing monitor with superb sound. The accurate audio delivery is well-suited to mixing and mastering in a studio setting.
- A flat response that is clear while maintaining plenty of character.
- High build quality with premium components.
- The dip switches to tune output are a little small.
Kali Audio LP-8 V2
PreSonus R80 V2 Review
The PreSonus R80 V2 is a comparable studio monitor both in performance and price to Mackie. It offers exceptionally detailed sound and excellent build quality.
- The neutral sound profile makes it a great choice for serious studio work.
- Effective tuning options to help adapt to your studio space.
- The sound profile does feature a bright top end that can be fatiguing.
PreSonus R80 V2
Mackie CR8-XBT Review
The Mackie CR8-XBT is a cheaper choice and more tailored for general listening than the MR824. If you don’t want to spend as much and don’t need to do serious studio work, these are a great choice.
- A punchy and satisfying sound profile at a much lower price point.
- Consumer-friendly features like Bluetooth and forward-facing volume control, and headphone port.
- The sound profile is not as balanced, making it a poor choice for detailed studio work.
Should You Buy?
The Mackie MR824 is an excellent monitor. The balance between affordability and price point is perfect. While they may not be the best sounding monitor available it’s hard to fault them. Accurate sound with good tuning options. Attractive and polished enough for more serious work. If you want an affordable 8-inch monitor the MR824 should be on your list of options.