It’s finally the day we’re able to check out the biggest and baddest in-ear monitors of the entire MP series, the Mackie MP-240. We were given a pair of these IEMs to see what they were all about and write up an honest review here today, and afterwards, were quite impressed at the combination of overall quality, versatility, and of course, the overall soundscape they gave us when using them in various settings. The dual hybrid driver really takes a step up in regards to not only attaining a true flat and neutral response for our monitoring uses, but also a great feeling as well. Not many IEM’s (or shall we say, ‘regular in-ear headphones’ as well) have built-in to the tiny frame the amount as well as type of drivers, which we’ll describe in more detail later on as to why they’re so advanced and worth the money. Let’s get into the details of the Mackie MP-240 in-ear monitors.
Features of the Mackie MP-240
- Ergonomic, low-profile design
- Up to 40dB of sound isolation
- Hybrid Dual Driver
- Shielded, braided cable
- Detachable MMCX connector
- Over-ear design with secure cables
- Three types of ear tips included (three sizes of each)
- Hard molded case also included
- Comes with gold-plated 1/8″ to 1/4″ adapter
- Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
- Impedance: 16 Ohms
- Transducer type: Single Dynamic and Single-Balanced Armature
- Sensitivity: 108 dB
Build and comfort of the MP-240
The Mackie MP-240 aren’t cheaply made whatsoever, as we’ve seen in the previous reviews on their lower two models. The same build is present here with the MP-240 — a strong, double layered braided cable, MCCX connectors that are detachable (great for longevity if we ever need some replacement parts), as well having the ability to ‘swivel’ up top for a better, versatile fit. When wearing them, the fit can at first be tricky. You have to put them into your ear slightly awkwardly but once you’re able to spin them into place they’re great and won’t fall out easily. Up top for the last few inches of the cable, you have another layer of the cable that acts more sturdy with a better ‘memory’ that you can use to either wrap around your ears in the back or front — whichever is your style (we prefer back but that’s just us). We shook our heads and even took these to the gym with us to get a test for those concerned with a sturdy fit and had no problems at all (yes, you performers will be fine if we can run around with them).
Even better, the replacement ear tips are vast with the Mackie MP-240. Like the MP-120 and MP-220, we have 3 sets of 3 different types tips (with 3 sizes each) for a total of 18. In terms of the types, we have silicone, double flange, and foam. Foam is definitely our favorite since the fit is a bit more snug and in our opinion comfortable — it also stays in a lot better than the others. However, that’ll be up for you to decide which will be best. Foam tips in our opinion feel better but sound a bit worse since they are known to take away some of the low and high frequencies and shrink the overall response range (there’s some leakage), but that’ll depend on the importance of this factor for your use. We recommend trying on every single tip to get a feel for not only your size but type preference. If you’re on stage with these coming up soon, this is a requirement to make sure your setup is optimal.
The case that comes with these IEM’s (yes, the entire series) is one of the best we’ve seen in a package at this price-point (some IEM’s don’t even come with something to carry them in, or perhaps at times just a little cloth case). It’s a very hard molded case with a sturdy clip to close it. You also have a nice carabiner clip if you need to keep it safe attached with some other gear or perhaps your keys. The case is also a decent size, being able to fit the IEM’s and all of the ear tips and adapter fine, and even some more room in case you want to carry around a few extra cables or small trinkets you need concealed.
No, they’re not waterproof (as most IEM are not), so keep these safe and away from a possible large amount of water. In terms of sweat, you’ll be fine if even a large amount get on these, just be to sure wipe them off after a long time on stage. Although we did test these at the gym, we don’t usually recommend IEMs to work out in since most are so expensive, but if you’d like we can’t stop you. There also isn’t a control center or microphone attached to accept calls and most individuals who want some in-ear solutions for their exercise call for this feature. IEM’s are more geared towards musicians or even producers in the studio, especially at this price.
The Mackie MP-240 in-ear monitors sound
Let’s first get into the details of what this ‘hybrid dual driver’ phrase in the Mackie MP-240 means. To start, the previous model, MP-220, has two ‘dual dynamic drivers’ which act in tandem for more support when it comes to performance at higher levels as well as better efficiency across the frequency range. The “two” count here is what helps efficiency since you have more ability to ‘hold’ the signal you’re processing as well as more ‘strength’ to resolve details and nuance of the sound itself. Bass also increased here but not in an embellished manner whatsoever.
Now that we’ve kept in mind that the MP-220 holds “dual dynamic drivers”, the MP-240 actually swaps one of those dynamic drivers out and keeps the other. What it’s changed with is called a “balanced armature” driver. Ultimately, it’s simply a better driver because it’s ultra-compact and is aimed towards supporting mid-to-high frequencies. Since the dynamic driver ups the bass a bit, this balanced armature driver then delivers the mid and highs for a very flat and neutral response. It’s basically just a more technical and advanced build that we’re paying for here, but for a reason — better sound. On top of this, the MP-240 also include a custom crossover that actually splits the frequencies in two for each driver to process, aiding in even more performance and efficiency ability.
Aside from all of the fancy terminology, how do the monitors actually sound? As we listen now, there’s definitely a nice punchy low-end to these. Making our own music with these and testing many different genres, even those with slightly normal ‘drums’ and ‘bass’ gave us a great feel to the kicks and bass plucks — there is definitely a noticeable dominance here, but not in a bad way whatsoever. That’s the difference with these here — yes, we can hear those ‘plucks’ we haven’t been able to in the past with other, lower-end IEMs. The detail is what’s noticeable as a whole with these, and the mix isn’t just a flat line (even though we can’t see it, many will know what we mean).
Although a definite low-end presence in the MP-240, analyzing the mids here (especially with some female vocals) shows us a presence of the larger soundscape as a whole. They have a solid hand in the mix. The highs also come into play with a nice brightness to them, and aren’t overpowered by our punchy low-end. Overall, we love the range we’re getting with these. We definitely notice the balanced armature driver at a play, especially with the highs and some of the brightness we feel. Lastly, noise isolation is great and we can’t hear anything around us with an open office window as well as our typing — the 40 dB is great here for the depletion of that pesky ambiance noise from crowds or even while we’re producing or listening music leisurely out in the wild.
Concluding the Mackie MP-240 review
All in all, we’re extremely impressed with Mackie’s entire MP series of in-ear monitors that have come out for this year. They’re usually ones we praise for loudspeakers and monitor speakers; however, they’re continuing to expand their expertise in audio solutions and we’re never going to complain. All of these monitors are considered “budget-friendly”, although not necessarily surprisingly so since the best in-ear monitors (yes, the MP-240 made the cut there!) tend to reach towards the thousands in regards to price-point (for good reason, many IEM out there are extremely advanced and demanded so by musicians for tough audio environments). If your budget isn’t quite this high for the MP-240, you can always read our other reviews on the lower two models of this series. Check out our MP-120 review or MP-220 review for some more information if you’d like to compare.
If you’re debating on the three, we of course recommend the MP-240 since it’s driver build is the most advanced, but if you aren’t completely concerned with “sound” and are fine sacrificing driver type and count, be our guest. This is the only difference of three monitors (aside from a slight increase in sensitivity as we go higher), so there will be no other cons to choosing the 120 or 220. Ultimately however in our opinion, sound is why we even buy in-ear monitors in the first place, so we’re not one to “settle” in this area (just our 2 cents).
The Mackie MP-240 at the end of the day is the biggest and baddest of them all, and brings us amazing sound quality yet a price-range that is still quite affordable in the in-ear monitor world. They’re here to stay.