AF’s Weblog

September 12, 2011

Mackie MR8 mk2 Review

Three years ago, we reviewed the Mackie MR8 — the affordable version of the famous HR824 — and we were quite taken by them… The launch of an mk2 version is the perfect opportunity for us to see and hear what has changed…

Mackie MR8 mk2

Mackie’s speaker range is very simple and includes only two families: the higher-end HR series and the more affordable MR series. Each of the two families includes two products: a speaker with 8″ woofer and another smaller model (with 5″ or 6″ woofer). After having revised the HR series by adding “mk2” to their name, Mackie decided to give the MR series a face-lift. We just couldn’t wait to unpack the MR8 mk2.

New Looks

Mackie MR8 mk2

First of all, the looks of the speakers are totally new and very nice. Not that the former speaker was ugly but the mk2 has a thinner and more modern design. A good point. As for weight and dimensions, the mk2 is 500 g heavier (27.56 lb.) but slightly less deep than the former model (instead of 13.78″ it is 12.99″ deep, which is still quite a lot). The height is still the same (15.75″) while the width decreased slightly (10.9″ instead of 11.81″). The MR8 mk2 is still rather bulky, especially compared to our M-Audio DSM2, also equipped with an 8″ woofer.

After unpacking, we also noticed that the transducers are new: 8″ woofer with hyperbolic cone and silk-dome tweeter with neodymium driver. Each transducer is amplified by a class AB amplifier — 100 watts for the woofer and 50 watts for the tweeter. The 24dB/octave crossover is fixed at 3 kHz.

On the Rear Panel Nothing’s New

Mackie MR8 mk2

While the front panel of the speakers changed radically compared to the former version, the rear panel is very similar to the previous one, providing the same settings and connections. You get three inputs: unbalanced RCA, balanced 1/4″ TRS jacks, and balanced XLR, which is very comprehensive and rare on speakers in this price range. You’ll also find the same disadvantage as on the former series: the volume setting is placed on the rear panel and must be adjusted with a small Phillips screw driver, which is a pity because there are more practical solutions. The same applies to the power switch that is also located on the rear panel an will force some home-studio owners to make dangerous movements or buy an adapter equipped with a switch. The rear panel also hosts the bass reflex port, which will increase considerably the amount of low-frequencies when the MR8 mk2 is placed against a wall or, even worse, in a corner of the room. Moreover, the two available filters won’t allow you to attenuate the low-frequency content, but only to amplify it by 2 or 4 dB (shelving filter @ 100 Hz)! As a consequence, we recommend you to place the speaker far from the wall, otherwise you’ll get an overemphasized low-frequency range and won’t be able to work properly… Another shelving filter @ 5 kHz allows you to boost/cut slightly the high-frequency range (+/-2 dB). As a summary, the rear panel is rather comprehensive for a speaker in this price range.

But let’s listen to the speaker! We compared the MR8 mk2 with another 8″ monitor speaker that is very popular on AudioFanzine: the M-Audio DSM2. Let me remind you that the latter is twice as expensive. We placed the speakers in the middle of the room, at least seven feet away from the walls, to avoid the effect of acoustic amplification of the low-frequency range.

Now let’s have a listen…

Conclusion

The MR8 are back with great new looks and new transducers while keeping a very attractive price (about $500/pair). The comparison with our DSM2 places the MR8 mk2 as a reference product in this price range. The sound is precise and well-balanced, the output power is more than enough and the connectivity is comprehensive. We just miss the lack of a low-cut facility. Moreover, since the bass reflex port is placed on the rear panel, the user must place the speaker carefully — otherwise the low-frequency response could be overemphasized without having the possibility of solving the problem directly on the speaker. In all other aspects, the MR8 mk2 is a great deal if you have a large room and $500 on your bank account.

Advantages:

  • Great new design
  • Price
  • Sound balance
  • Output power
  • Three inputs: RCA, 1/4″ jacks, XLR

Drawbacks:

  • Power switch on the rear panel
  • Bass reflex port on the rear panel
  • Impossible to attenuate low frequencies

To read the full article see: mackie MR8 mk2 Review

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