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

October 30, 2009

Mackie Onyx 820i Review

Filed under: Mixing reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 5:29 am

It’s been a while since the first Onyx mixers with the FireWire option first came out, and now Mackie carries on with the Onyx 820i, which comes with Pro Tools M-Powered. Hmm…so what does M-Audio think about that?

Mackie Onyx 820iAt AudioFanzine, we were very surprised when we first received the Onyx 820i. We have not heard anything about a new Mackie analog mixer series sold with ProTools M-Powered, and there was also no information about it to be found on the web! The unit comes with “universal” drivers compatible with DigiDesign’s sequencer. As we write this review, we still don’t know if this is the result of a cooperation between ProTools and Mackie or if the manufacturer just took the liberty to use the software. What’s more, even though the pack we received included the Onyx and Pro Tools M-Powered, the latter is not an integral part of the product that you will find in stores. So let’s focus on the mixer then…

Unpacking

We like the overall design of the mixer, and the aluminum chassis gives it a sturdy and classy look, which is a very good point considering it’s an entry-level mixer. The plastic knobs–from the solo and mute buttons to the EQ controls–will be familiar to all Mackie users. The mixer’s compact dimensions (14.2″ x 9″ x 3.8″) and weight (9.7 lb.) make the mixer seem sturdy. We’ll have to see if this holds true under real-life conditions. It also has four rubber feet on the bottom side so it’s a mixer that will surely stay in place.

Now, let’s have a closer look at the technical features of the Onyx…

Conclusion

Mackie did an amazing job breaking the $500 price barrier with this compact analog mixer with three mic preamps, effective EQs and an 8 in/2 out FireWire interface. The quality design and manufacturing of this small Onyx make it a pleasant surprise. Mackie learned from previous mistakes and the 820i proves to be very comprehensive, as well as a good solution for live and studio musicians. The fact that it is ProTools compatible is already the focus of heated discussions because it seems Mackie might have tampered with DigiDesign’s system. Nonetheless, you’ll still have to pay an extra $250 for the sequencer, which raises the price to $750. It’s not that expensive but it makes us wonder why instead of bundling their highly recommended Tracktion software, Mackie encourages us to buy a competitor’s software…

Advantages:

  • Quality/performance/price ratio
  • Manufacturing quality
  • Effective Perkins EQ
  • Comprehensive connections
  • Pre or post-EQ FireWire

Drawbacks:

  • Preamps too limited for some applications
  • Only two computer output channel
  • Pro Tools compatibility smells like hacking…
  • Pro Tools M-Powered not included ($250 extra)…

To read the full detailed article see:  Mackie Onyx 820i Review

August 24, 2008

Mackie MR8 review

Filed under: Recording reviews — Tags: , , , , — audiofanzine @ 5:10 pm

Mackie has a long history with monitors. The original HR824 monitors, now in MKII version, are best sellers and standard fare in many studios, large or small.

The new MR series that we’ll being testing are entry-level monitors, and therefore on the other side of the price spectrum than the aforementioned hi-end HR series.

See the complete review of the Mackie MR8 on Audiofanzine.

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