Mackie MR5 Active Speaker mini-Review

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by BlueWizard, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    I went to the big city today, but didn't have a lot of time. Didn't really make it to my favorite HiFi Shop. But, I did make it to a Musician's shop.

    I had heard the Yamaha HS50M, which are very clear, previously.

    Today, I head the Yamaha HS50 along side the KRK Rokit 6 and the Mackie MR5 Mk2.

    The KRK Rokit was a nices speaker, but while reasonably clear, the bass was a bit more intense and droning, and that added bass seemed to slightly suppress the midrange a bit. Still not a bad speaker for the money. Though the KRK Rokit 6 are noticeably larger than the KRK Rokit 5. I suspect for many looking for something to connect to a computer the KRK Roket 5 would be fine for general use.

    As a point of interest, the also had the KRK Rokit 10, a 10" 3-way speaker. This is how speakers are meant to look ... BIG! Though probably not to the taste of most modern speaker buyers.

    In general, I never consider Mackie because they are generally too expensive. Consequently, they just don't enter my mind. However, the MR5 Mk2 were pretty reasonably priced -

    Checking Google-UK Shopping, I find the in the range of £135 to £148 each, and running £259/pr up to about £295/pr.

    My impression of the Mackies was that they were a very well balanced speaker with low and tight bass; no droning or bass boost, just solid bass response. The speakers are supposedly modeled and voiced after some larger more expensive Mackies, though I forgot to write down the model number.

    Again, I have to say I was very impressed. The bass was incredibly tight and clear, no drone what so ever. This is an affordable active speakers, well worth considering. The midrange was smooth and clear with out being overbearing or underwhelming. Perhaps not as mid dominant as the Yamaha, but still very wall balanced and clear. Treble was nice and smooth, with no hint of harshness. And once again, surprisingly clear tight bass for such a small speaker.

    If you are in the market for a small good-looking solid performer for computer based music or other similar applications, you would do very well to give the Mackie MR5 a close listen.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  2. Dazzor

    Dazzor
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    Thanks for sharing your findings and thoughts, very interesting.

    Steve, based on the cost of those MR5 Mk2's...What are your thoughts on the M-Audio BX8 D2's they can be got for about £285.

    Clearly the M-Audio's are a bigger speaker, still, I'd be interested in your thoughts as the prices are roughly the same.

    Rgds
    Darren
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  3. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Just by coincidence, I also heard the BX5 very briefly. I don't remember the price of the speakers in the store I was in, but I'm guessing about the same as the other speakers. They sounded good, but my mind was focus on the new Mackies and the Yamaha HS50 which I had heard before.

    The Store person giving me the demo, likes the clarity and balance of the Yamaha, but wasn't satisfied with the bass, so in his home recording studio, he used the Yamaha HS80 which has a 8" bass driver.

    I would suspect that if you desire more bass, moving up to the M-Audio BX8 would give you what you need. Again, I only heard the BX5 incidentally, but they sounded good, and from memory, I can find no fault with them. The bass didn't stand out, which means it was probably pretty clean. But, I really did notice the depth of the Mackies, especially after hearing them along side the Yamaha.

    Comparing the 5" Mackies with the 8" M-Audio, I would expect the M-Audio to win, but "WIN" is a pretty vague statement. It depends on how you measure 'win'.

    There is an 8" version of the Mackies, which I would expect to kick some serious butt, the MR8 Mk2 -

    Mackie MR8 Mk2 - Google Search

    You can makes some quality judgement by comparing the price of the 8" M-Audio Reference to the 8" Mackies.

    Again, I wasn't even aware the Mackie made speakers down in this low price range, and was pleasantly impressed with what I heard for the price. A pretty well balanced speakers with very tight low bass. As mentioned, while the KRK sounded good, the bass was more droning, and I thought the bass emphasis took away from the quality and balance of the midrange.

    All of the speakers I listened to had a slightly different voice, but, in general, they all sounded good. For a general listening or party speakers, I lean toward the KRK, but for a mixing speaker, or if you are more into detail and balance, any of the other speakers are very good.

    The cheap M-Audio AV series are nothing to write home about, but the Reference BX series are certainly good, and certainly worth the money. But I was more impressed with the Mackies. Still, it was not my intent to compare that Mackies with the M-Audio. I heard the M-Audio briefly and simply because they were there. My mental focus was on the Yamaha vs Mackie.

    If you can push your budget up to the Mackie MR8, I would expect these to be devastating speakers. With the added cone area on top of the tight bass I heard in the MR5, I think they would be very very impressive speakers indeed.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  4. Dazzor

    Dazzor
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    Thanks, Steve, much appreciated.

    I did suspect the Mackie's to be a level or two up the food chain...I just wondered about the M-Audio BX8's in terms of them costing the same as the MR5's. ( If space-saving is not a factor)

    Just toying with options for a bedroom system. I think 8" drivers would be overkill for my requirement. I also would like the system to be portable-ish, if that makes sense?

    Initially I want to connect an iTouch ( to play soothing stuff to help send my little boy off to sleep) and later, perhaps use a different source so it's more of a “proper” music system for general use.

    Trouble is, I'm not particularly enamoured by the likes of B&W's Zeppelin and such the like….not for the money they cost anyway….But I do like the idea of a system that's truly portable…maybe I'll buy some nice actives and glue them together! :)

    Thanks
    Darren
     
  5. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Though they are now discontinued, there are still plenty of the Samson StudioDock 4i active speakers available -

    samson studiodock 4i - Google Search

    The have a slightly smaller bass driver, but are set up in a matching pair of speakers with an iPod dock built in. One additional feature, is they have a USB connection for connecting to a computer, which in turn means they have their own build in DAC.

    If you want some serious listening speakers, then the 8" are the preferred speakers. Keep in mind how perspective changes with time. Back when I was young (when dinosaurs roamed the earth), if you had 8" speaker, you never told anyone, it was too embarrassing. If you had 10" speakers, you might mention is in quiet tone just to close friends. No one would be considered a serious music listener without 12" and 15" bass drivers. So from my dinosaur perspective, 8" are positively tiny.

    I think the Zeppelin may have been recalled, or sales at least stopped, from post in the forums here, they seem to have had a higher than average rate of problems with them. Though I confess I haven't followed it too closely.

    Again, if this is a serious system for personal listening, then certainly the 8" are a good idea, though do consider the overall size of the speaker. However, for you son's room, I think 5" would be more than enough.

    Another decent speaker with a iPod/MP3 docking capability would be the Audio Engine A5, which are also in a matching pair, and sell for roughly £250/pr -

    Audioengine 5 (A5) Premium Powered Bookshelf Speakers

    Also keep in mind that I'm not criticizing the M-Audio BX series, they sounded good, and I should have probably paid more attention to them, but I was focused on the Mackies. The Mackies did sound very good.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  6. Dazzor

    Dazzor
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    Thanks again, Steve........As always, a comprehensive reply, laced with ideas and avenues to explore:thumbsup:

    Rgds
    D
     
  7. Tom3316

    Tom3316
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    I think these days it's more about cabinet design and how to squeeze higher performance out of small drivers then just overall cone area.

    I have a pair of focal CMS65's which have six inch drivers that sound for more detailed and have more bass then other 8 inch monitors I have owned.
     
  8. Dazzor

    Dazzor
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    Couldn't agree more....My XTZ 99.25's use 6.5" drivers and in my room they appear to me to go quite low and are nicely detailed. I know they hold their own with bass as I once used them along side my SVS SB12+ sub in my hi-fi set-up..Now I just use the 99.25's alone and save the sub for the HT 5.1 set-up (see my sig)


    Rgds
    D
     
  9. Tom3316

    Tom3316
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    Yeah I used to own a bk monolith which obviously went deeper and is an amazing sub for the price but for the size my focals are it's unbelievable what they can do. Having said that I would like a monolith again if I had the room.
     
  10. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    I think we need to weigh Quantity of bass against Quality of bass. The Mackie were very tight and free of any droning in the bass region.

    I would expect similar from the Focal speakers. Even the smallest Focal speakers I heard (in a completely different session) were stunningly clear. And while the small Focal didn't go especially deep, they bass as absolutely clear and distinct; very impressive.

    At home, I have two pair pretty big speakers (pure stereo), so I get by just fine without a subwoofer. The bass on my generally normal speakers is sometimes out and out scary for action movies.

    And further, I will agree that most modern small driver speakers in the 5", 6.5", up to 8" range are amazing in the sound quality they manage to pull from such small speakers. But in my Jurassic opinion, nothing beats moving a lot of air to give real weight and impact to movies and music.

    Still, to move that air well, takes some cash, and for a given amount of money, quality bookshelf probably beat out overblown floorstanding speakers. If you want floorstanding, you have to be willing to pay for them. Me, I'm the consummate bargain hunter; my motto is 'never pay retail'. Consequently, everything I have cost half, or less, than the suggested retail price.

    Also keep in mind what is called the 'presence' region for bass, that is, the region in which you perceive the most bass, is actually around 100hz, not the seeming ultra-deep 30hz or less. The lowest note on a bass guitar is about 40hz, and the lowest on an standard guitar is about 80hz. The lowest note on a piano is about 28hz, and in my personal experience, 28hz is about the lowest tone I can interpret as an actual tone, and not just a noise or random sound.

    Also there is a difference between what you perceive and the actual specs. I had some cheap speakers that had an 80hz low end, and they seem to have great bass, thanks to a large bump in the low bass response. A bump precisely in the bass presence region. My current computer speakers only go down to about 65hz, yet they sound fine. But, neither of the small speakers could remotely equal the room shaking thunderous impact of my main stereo when playing an action movie. And keep in mind, I don't have a subwoofer.

    Just a few random thoughts.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  11. Cyland101

    Cyland101
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    Bit of a thread resurection....

    Been looking for some active bookshelf speakers and this review has brought these Mackie MR5 Mk2 to my attention.

    To be honest I was not looking to spend this much, but I think I am going to have to if I want any kind of reasonable sound quality.

    I am going to connect these to my Sonos ZP90 unit (which is currently connected to some cheap Maplin active speakers <£30).

    Steve/bluewizard, is your opinion still the same or have you foind something else that you like as much?

    I have also considering the Audioengine A5+ Active Speakers which are in the same price range as a pair of these Mackie MR5 Mk2's.

    Cheers
    Tony
     
  12. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    As you can see, I was very impressed with the Mackies. I heard Yamaha which are very clear, but lean on bass. For a Studio Monitor, that's fine, but for listening you might want a bit more. But the Mackie had both quality and quantity. Exceptionally clear and very smooth and balanced. I was especially impressed with the bass on the Mackie. It was more than the Yamaha, but it was very clear, not droning or overbearing.

    Keep in mind when I heard them there were in a wall of other monitors, so there is a situational element to my review. I might have had a different impression under different circumstances. But none the less, the Mackie were very impressive top to bottom, and not an exceptionally big speaker.

    I know the Audioengine A5+ also has its advantages. A highly rated speakers, and the new version has a remote control. For certain circumstances the remote could be very handy. These speakers also have additional features that you won't find on a basic studio monitor. So, they definitely have advantages. You simply have to weigh your needs against the available features.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  13. Cyland101

    Cyland101
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    Thanks Steve, I don't need any of the extra features that come with the Audioengine's, just looking for reasonable quality.

    The plan is to put a set in the kitchen and another in the bedroom, both will be high up ontop of cupboards.

    I'll see if I can get an audition somewhere.
     
  14. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    The Mackie are most likely to be available from Musician and PA/Studio Equipment Shops.

    Try a Google-UK search or check out Dolphin Music (Liverpool).

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  15. Cyland101

    Cyland101
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    Just a quick update. Managed to listen to the Mackie MK5, Yamaha HS50 and Rokit KRK 5 and I must say I did like the Mackie's. The Yamaha's were just to clinical (bright maybe?) and the KRK's quite similar to the Mackie's, the Mackies slightly nicer sounding in that they seemed to fill the room a bit more. So in my opinion I would put them as Mackie, KRK and the Yamaha.

    They also had loads of other brands, but way out of my price range (Genelec are so small but heavy).

    So ended buying a pair of Mackie AND KRK, as space prevented me from getting two pairs of Mackies.

    Thanks for your thread and help Steve, top recommendation.
     
  16. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    I and others find the bass a little more present and slightly droning on the KRK. Not excessively, but in a way that makes them better for general listening, but a little less useful as a true Studio Monitor.

    I was very impressed with the Yamaha, a very clear speakers, but soft on bass, that might make them good for Studio Mixing, but less enjoyable for general listening.

    When I heard the Mackies, they seemed to be the best blend of good, but very clear bass, as well as general overall clarity. The Mackies definitely went lower then the Yamaha, but didn't have the slight drone of the KRK. To me that seemed a very good blend.

    I would definitely like to hear what you think of the two speakers after you've had them for a while. It is sometime hard to tell in the shop, but once you live with them, you get much clearer idea of the subtleties of each.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  17. Cyland101

    Cyland101
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    Update on my purchase from a few months ago.

    I thought once in place I would still be able to tell the difference, but to be honest, both are great speakers. The Mackies don't get used a great deal (as they are in the bedroom) but I do wake up to them every morning, and sound really good. I have run various bits of music through them and initially I felt that they did not go loud enough, not that I listen to music loud but was just testing.

    The KRK's in the kitchen get used a bit more for easy listening to the radio, or playing music when having a party. They certainly sound quite good, and as previously noted they can be a bit base heavy, so I have turned them down slightly with the Sonos equalisation.

    On balance, I would have preferred to have had two sets of Mackies but as said before space was a issue.

    Another plus point was that the music shop gave me 3 years warranty on both sets, which was very good.

    Oh, and one negative thing about both..... bloody bright LED's on the front of them. I am going to have to tape over the LED's on the Mackies as I prefer to sleep in a dark room.
     
  18. sergiup

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    Sorry to dig this up as well, but:

    Yes, exactly. I'd imagine some people just wouldn't hear the difference between one 4.5" driver and two 6.5" drivers (picking these sizes just because that was my upgrade) or simply wouldn't really care for it, but to some of us that's one big difference; we've been watching a few movies recently since the upgrade, and even on the end of my relatively puny AVR the XTZ's present a much more convincing soundstage, and a lot more presence (for lack of a better word) even at the same absolute volumes.

    For this very reason, I can't really accept that sub + small sat systems can be as good as sub + floorstanders (or larger bookshelves); I'm quite happy to be shown otherwise, as usual!
     
  19. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    UPDATE: I just realized that Mackie now makes an MR6 MK3 model with 6.5" Bass driver. A quick check of the price indicates these are about £170 each.

    Mackie MR6mk3 Monitor single at Studiospares

    Here are all the models compared side by side, simply click on the model you want to see more details on.

    Studio Monitor – Mackie MRmk3 Series | Studio and Home Recording

    Studio Monitor – Mackie MRmk3 Series Specs | Studio and Home Recording

    The specs on the MR6 are at -3dB (46Hz - 20kHz), I think we can safely assume at least 40hz at -6dB. That's pretty good for a bookshelf speaker. The MR5 MK3 would be about 50hz at -6dB. The larger 8" MR8 MK3 would be a very substantial ~30hz at -6dB.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  20. rs6mra

    rs6mra
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    I was just reading through your recommendations and forgot all what you mentioned about the MR8. I have now bought the MR8 MKII but i have yet to hook this up? Would i notice a substantial difference if i could a second. The room is only 4x3m2
     
  21. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    "If you could a second" what?

    Add a second set of speakers?

    How about your try the speakers you have then decide where you want to go?

    Then we need to know your circumstance, and how the system is set up, what you sources are, and so on, then we can give you some advices.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015
  22. rs6mra

    rs6mra
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    That's a good point and a logical way to go about it.
    Cheers.
     
  23. rs6mra

    rs6mra
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    I finally got my butt into gear today and moved into my garden office.
    I hooked up my PC, connected my Mackie MR8 just to give it a test run before heading out to Richer Sounds to get a DAC and there is this constant humming noise from the speaker. Any suggestions as to what it could be. The speaker is connected via a 3.5mm stereo jack to RCA. I disconnected from the PC and i still get the buzz/hum.
    The cable is new and there is nothing i can think of that would cause some interference.
    I intend to resolve this before spending money on a DAC.
    Any suggestions would be most welcome.
     

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