As we continue our reviews for the year, we’re met with another piece of gear by in our opinion the MVP brand of 2018. Mackie’s MR624 studio monitor speaker brings us into the realm of affordability, precision, sturdy build and of course, some clear and flat sound to mix, master and produce our tunes with. This is actually their middle model of the MR studio monitor series as a whole, so choosing this particular level will give us a balance of what their new monitors can offer home studios while saving some cash at the same time. Let’s first highlight some of our favorite features.
Main features of the MR624 monitor
- Built-in logarithmic waveguide
- Ultra-wide dispersion
- Precise acoustic alignment
- Tweeter: 1″ silk dome
- Woofer: 6.5″ Polypropylene
- Power: 65 Watts
- Bi-amplified Class A/B amp
- Adjustable acoustic space filters
- HF filter
- All-wood cabinet design
- Flexible inputs
- Frequency response: 45 Hz to 20 kHz
- Crossover frequency: 24 dB/octave at 3 kHz
- Maximum SPL: 111 dB
- Dimensions: 12.9″ (H) x 8.3″ (W) x 11.2″ (D)
- Weight: 16.5 lbs.
Highlights of the MR624 studio monitor
Let’s first get into what some of these “features” mean, as there are quite a few terms some may not be familiar with to understand what really sets this monitor apart from others. Most notably is the built-in logarithmic waveguide, a piece of tech that aids in the “sweet spot” of the monitor’s sound to be wider than normal. It also enhances stereo imaging to help with sound clarity and consistency regarding the room it’s in, as well as increased acoustic alignment for a balanced sound across its frequency range. If you think of what a “waveguide” is in speakers, it comes down to how it handles audio (we’ve seen this tech in a lot Bose models as well, in particular their theater gear). It does just that — literally guides the waves of audio.
So why do we need our “waves” to be “guided”? Speakers with internal waveguides are aimed at filling a room with audio using a wider range of frequencies from a small component, in order to focus on efficiency when it comes to them sounding louder and more powerful than they usually do without it. In other words, smaller speakers (yes, these are considered ‘small’ in the speaker world as a whole, but not studio monitors) tend to lose their “strength” and “accuracy” the further it travels (these waves dissolve and disperse in various directions through out the room), whereas the waveguide acts as a “funnel” and allows it to keep its sphere and direction it’s pointed at. So why is this a concern for monitors? Well usually it isn’t, considering many of us mix, master and produce up close to these things, but the technology overall doesn’t hurt. There’s still a precious distance between the speakers and our ears, and ultimately the waveguide ensures we don’t lose any of our audio accuracy or power.
Next, we’ll talk about another highlight that’s a big selling point for the MR624, its “acoustic space control”. This feature again pertains to the sound environment we’ll be in (seeing a trend here for these?). These controls give us a lot of power at our fingertips to be able to customize the sound in regards to where we actually are, such as with the HF filter if you need to adjust some of the high frequencies (we have choices here from -2 dB, 0, to +2 dB). On the back here you can see we also have “acoustic space applications” and Mackie gives us three separate presets to choose from depending on how we have our studio set up — A is for a quarter space for those who place their monitors in the corner of a smaller room facing us, B is a half space in which we have speakers against a wall, and finally C with a whole space where both your console and monitors are away from the walls. As you can see, the Mackie MR624 have advanced features here that are really concerned with your mixing room environment, a factor sometimes musicians and engineers forget to keep in mind. These all combine for a very precise manner of finding that extra ‘edge’ to make sure your sound is as flat and accurate as possible. Why not?
The Mackie MR624’s build
Upon first opening the box, we were met with not only our favorite smell in the world with a fresh piece of gear (aside from perhaps a new car), but a monitor with a very sleek, smooth and shiny finish. We’re big into all-wood cabinets and the MR624 has just that — it felt very sturdy in our hands and shows us off the bat it will be a long-term investment that will last years — no cheap plastic here. It weighs about 16 and a half pounds which is standard for monitors, so in terms of the tech specs for build when it comes to the material, weight and dimensions, all is well.
How you’re going to position these will be completely up to you, although for us personally our home studio is quite small (about a standard home office); however, we ourselves aren’t into corner positioning. We also don’t like putting monitors (or any gear for that matter) up against a wall since we feel it gets in the way of not only our ability to adjust filters and various knob levels, but the overall sound of our mix. We ultimately went with position 2 in the acoustic space control here, since we like our console and speakers away from the wall about a foot. We did test all three and felt that a slight difference in sound and feel, although for our particular acoustic setting went with what’s best. In that case, it’ll all just depend on your environment as well as personal taste. But to highlight the effectiveness, the acoustic space control definitely works well.
Sound quality of the MR624 studio monitor
After sifting through multiple genres and making music as well as mixing a track of our own, overall we are happy with the clarity and flat response we have here. We’ve found some monitors in this price range have a hard time with low-ends to where we have to tweak the HF filter or turn on our sub a bit to get a better feel of the lows, but we noticed with the MR624 that wasn’t a factor we first noticed. We think the internal acoustic absorption helps with this, as well as the overall power available that’s preserved with its waveguide and overall acoustic alignment. Testing the HF filter we heard a significant change in our sound on both ends, although for us ultimately we like keeping it at its standard zero with no bass or high increase.
Again, we can notice the acoustic absorption here, in particular the “stiffness” of the sound (for lack of a better phrase), in particular no signs of distortion when we had the babies pumping up loud. We’re ones to mix at low volumes, but for those who do not, will be proud of what they get here — sound quality does not diminish per volume. Of course, we always crank up the heat after we’re done with a session that day to fully appreciate our work. At the same time, the highs came in quite clear and the lower-end here was present with our mixes but comparing to let’s say our KRK’s we typically use, these lack “thump” for bass (which is good for us when mixing, but bad when listening to music leisurely.) So we recommend grabbing a studio subwoofer to supplement the low-ends if you’re planning on using these as every day speakers as well.
Overall when it comes to “sound”, “accuracy” and “clarity”, these are actually on the surprising end of how well they translate considering the price. We’ve asked around with others who have tried these out and have had many state they’re replacing their over $400-$500 monitors with these due to the clarity. Of course, the acoustic environment specialties here are a big selling point, but the sound is very impressive, in particular its ability to translate our tracks, which is a make or break for monitors if you want to use them what they’re for — mixing.
Concluding the MR624 monitor review
Comparing to other studio monitor speakers in the market, the MR624 makes its name within the “budget-friendly” arena since many other professional monitors can get into the thousands range, especially if you’re grabbing a pair. So keeping in mind the price limitations, we feel these dominate most others at the $200 retail mark. We actually included these in our best-of guide linked previously due to the dominance in this particular pricing sector, as we had some Alesis’ in there for a few years but these now replace them since the accuracy here is hard to ignore at this price.
In regards to sound and power, the overall resolution and quality here is very flat and clear. The wattage isn’t the biggest or baddest, but we expect that in this price-point, especially since we have a 6.5″ woofer in this. If you do want a little more power and a large woofer you’ll have to go a bit higher in their 8″ Mackie MR824, which is about $50 more bucks retail. We have 65 watts here which is plenty in a home studio, especially for us since we like to mix at lower volumes (just personal preference), and even if we’re playing our tunes back and want to hear them loud, feel this is quite fine. To us “power” is irrelevant if you’re truly mixing in a serious manner. The 824 has 80 watts so you’ll be getting 15 more if that’s worth it for you. The Class AB amp is standard for home studio monitors in this class, and 1″ tweeter doesn’t change in any of their models (and most monitors in this price-point, too).
The biggest selling point here is Mackie’s focus on room environment and the overall concern of acoustic treatment. Some may call this “advanced” since few actually make a big fuss about this in at least the home studio category, but this is when the more advanced individuals who are into the details and believe in the “sum of its parts equal the whole” approach to mixing and mastering. This is what may be a make or break for you — if you’re a super beginner and just need some speakers to play tunes, it may not be worth the extra cash and you can perhaps get away with something cheaper. We ultimately recommend you do learn about acoustics and environment if you want to eventually make music and mix seriously.
All in all, here at The Wire Realm we’re very happy with what the Mackie MR624 studio monitor brings to the table at such an affordable price, especially if you’re into the smaller intricacies of mixing when it comes to room environment and acoustic treatment. The super clear translation and all-wood cabinet build doesn’t hurt, either.