Mackie CR4 Multimedia Monitor Speakers Review – 2020 Deep Dive
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Mackie CR4 is a pair of multimedia computer speakers from the well-known audio products brand Mackie. Mackie CR series was built in response to the increasing demand for monitor speakers. Usually, multimedia monitors offer accurate studio playback for musicians. However, Mackie CR series is both a mixer as well as an excellent Bluetooth speaker.
A Deep Dive Into The Mackie CR4
Mackie is an audio product brand founded in 1988 based in Seattle. The company is well known in the audio world for its line up of budget audio mixers. The CR series or the creative reference series is designed for the creation of multimedia.
Mackie CR4 hails from the Mackie CR series of multimedia speakers. Though these speakers are not made for serious music production, beginners and small-time music makers will find this both affordable and powerful. If you are a home studio recorder consider Mackie CR4 as an essential gear purchase. If you have some experience with home studio recording then these are a great set of speakers to own.
Mackie at NAMM 2020 released another edition of the CR series called the CR-X series, which offers upgraded features compared to the CR series. Whether you are a home studio producer, podcaster, streamer, or game designer, Mackie’s CR-series has been providing content creators with budget-friendly studio monitoring solutions since its release.
Who’s It For?
The CR series is an ideal machine for home studios, multimedia creation, AV post-production, and broadcast, according to the legendary company. Since they are affordable and compact, you can use them as a set of desktop features to improve your gaming audio and your movie and music audio.
If you are a beginner DJ looking for a pair of affordable speakers then CR4 can’t disappoint you. These speakers are good for editing and playback. You can edit a video and listen to the video being edited or simply listen to some music while you are hard at work.
Mackie CR4 is ideally meant for bloggers, podcasters, YouTube uploaders, and video editors. But, if you are a highly professional music producer, you might find some features lacking in the device. Mackie CR4 is ideally meant for bloggers, podcasters, and YouTube uploaders. As a home studio recorder, consider Mackie CR4 as an essential gear purchase.
What We Like About Mackie CR4
The first noteworthy point that attracts customers to Mackie CR4 is its affordable price and value for money. This is a piece of great equipment to include in your rig if you are a beginner at music mixing. This is also a great set of speakers if you want to listen to some loud rumbling beats at home.
Pair the speakers using Bluetooth to your smartphone or laptop and dish out some loud music. With the Mackie CR4 you get a reasonable mixer as well as a budget-friendly speaker for your desktop monitor. You can also use these as speakers for your phone or laptop by using the Bluetooth connectivity and the AUX connectivity as well.
What We Don’t Like About Mackie CR4
The Mackie CR4 is not ideal for serious music mixing. If you are a professional DJ in need of the perfect DJ rig for your music sessions, you can choose a better set of speakers that will help you edit and create music. You can choose a better set of speakers at the price.
The speakers also suffer from port chuffing so the low-frequency tones may sound disappointing. Pair the speakers using Bluetooth to your smartphone or laptop and dish out some loud music.
- Aux input on the front for easy connections
- Functions great as an additional pair of monitors
- The 50-watt output gives clear and adequately loud monitoring.
- Included accessories that are useful
- Quality build
- Connection is easy
- Weak low end
- Not for serious music production
When you unbox the Mackie CR4 you will find a user’s manual, the speakers themselves, and accessories including 1/8 inch stereo plug 2 to RCA cable, speaker wires for interconnecting the speakers, and an 8-inch stereo cable. The stereo cable can be used to connect to phones and other devices to stream music.
The monitors also accompany pads to create acoustic isolation. These reduce the excess build-up of bass. The pads also give you a tilt option to change the angle of sound delivery.
Overview Of Features
The Mackie CR4 is a sturdily built speaker. They are made of strong fiberboard with a coat of a toughened plastic. The cabinet made of wood gives it a natural warm sound. The monitors are painted in black with illuminated green surrounds on the speakers.
The speaker possesses a 4-inch polypropylene coated woofer and a 3/4-inch tweeter with a silk dome. At the back, each cabinet features a rear tuned bass port. This ensures an even distribution of the low-end frequencies.
Speakers measure 12.5 inches by 16.3 by 9.5, and they weigh 12 pounds. One of the speakers of the pair is powered and the other is passive. The powered speaker is heavier and has a few different features compared to the other one. It has a speaker out to connect to the other channel. It possesses a switch that lets you change the primary channel. So, if you want to make your right channel be the left channel while you are editing some music, you can do that by flipping the switch.
All the controls are located at the back of the powered speaker with the bass ports, except for the AUX input, which is placed in the front. Also an illuminated power button which also functions as the volume control is in the front.
Moreover, the rear of the powered speakers has an unbalanced RCA input and balanced TRS input, while the rear of the passive speaker contains the connections for the cabling to the powered speaker.
Reference monitors promise to provide studio-level performance. However, Mackie CR4 lacks studio-level performance. These monitors are fine for low-level multimedia work and even very basic music mixing. These monitors don’t suit a professional studio environment.
Besides, they have a frequency response of 70 to 20,000 Hz and deliver a sound pressure level of 100dB. The speaker shows a lack of response right until 50-60Hz and starts equalizing in the mid frequencies. The music starts to sink in at 20KHz showing a clear bias to bass.
The Mackie CR4 multimedia monitors are considered to be best for beginner musicians, media production, and playback. It is not suitable for higher levels of mixing and therefore is not meant for professional DJs.
However, with an additional set of monitors, along with flatter reference pro monitors you can get some serious mixing abilities.
They are well worth the price and can be used as a great pair of Bluetooth speakers for your computer. This machine proves to be effective especially for vloggers, bloggers, and podcasters because it helps in easy editing and mixing of sounds. The sound pressure level is excellent and the device offers excellent bass.
Here are some general questions about studio monitors that might cross your mind:
1. Is Mackie CR-4 good for mixing?
Mackie CR4 is built for studio performance. However, professional DJs might want to purchase a device with more features. Home studio recorders and other content creators who have small recording and editing tasks can invest in this studio monitor. This device is equipped with decent features and is well worth the money.
2. How to connect Mackie CR-4 to your computer?
First, simply connect the powered speaker to the passive speaker using the red and black speaker wires in the box. Connect these wires to the spring clips on the back of the speakers. The red one goes on the positive terminal and the black one goes to the negative terminal.
You can connect the monitors to your sound source using a ¼-inch balanced jack or the RCA jacks. You can connect the machine to your computer line-level output using ⅛-inch 2 RCA cable.
3. How much money should I spend on studio monitors for my first studio?
Your budget might be limited but don’t sacrifice on too many features. Features are the stronghold of the product. Even though ones with substantial features are expensive, you should be savvy enough to know the features you would most want as a musician. It is better to spend a little more on a machine that will last than save some cash in an attempt to purchase something you will have to replace in a short while. If you think that the prices seem too high for a particular set of speakers then stop to examine what features is the device missing.
Studio monitors are expensive because of the materials used to create the speaker. They often resort to the means of technology to effectively make the sound more refined and the production of audio more accurate.
Stash somewhere around $1000 in your wallet if you want a good set of speakers with great features. However, there are studio monitors priced below $1000 that you can pick up, which might have all the features you want.
4. Can you use studio monitors for regular speakers?
You can indeed use studio monitors for regular speakers. They are advertised for a professional setting. If they are enjoyable in a professional setup they are certainly enjoyable at home.
However, studio monitors are made for professional sound engineers. They are created to reveal any imperfections in a song so that they can be edited in the studio during recording and mixing. Some music lovers enjoy studio monitors more as they can pick up any type of inconsistency in a song.
5. Do you need an amp for studio monitors?
Studio monitors are a pair of active and passive speakers. The active speaker has a powered amplifier built into its cabinet. The passive ones need external amplifiers. They do not have inbuilt amplifiers in their cabinets like the active monitors.
6. Do Studio Monitors Look Different than Computer Speakers?
While buying a computer speaker people often get confused between studio monitors and speakers. There are a few characteristic features that distinguish both of them.
Primarily, studio monitors are a lot bulkier than computer speakers. You can fit in a set of speakers in a lot less space than a pair of monitors. Studio monitors have a dial that lets you change different parts of the music you are listening to. Other studio monitors have a variety of knobs and buttons to help adjust frequencies.
If you are a beginner content creator looking to edit short videos or to mix some music for a house party you are hosting, these monitors will be the best choice. Not only is the Mackie CR-4 affordable, but it also has a ton of features that can help you edit videos and music easily.
If you want to use it as a set of speakers, that is also possible, as this compact machine takes up less amount of space and can dish out some bassy music over Bluetooth. Plus, if you are a critical music listener you can find out all the flaws in the music recording.
If you want to create flawless content, you need a good monitor to go with it. Additionally, for podcasters and other content creators, investing in equipment like microphones, headphones, and microphone preamplifiers would be a great idea. A fully equipped gear will always make your production easier and also attractive.
However, always do your research before investing in multimedia monitors. There are different products in the market that offer the same features at different price ranges.