We have tested the Mackie CR8-XBT studio monitor!

The Mackie CR8-XBT speakers feature maximum flexibility and are attractive to as many users as possible. The Mackie CR8-XBT can be used as a multimedia monitor for desktop, gaming and music production, which means that the Mackie CR-X series speakers can also function as primary or secondary studio monitors.

A significant compromise between the affordable price of the CR8-XBT is that one speaker is active and the other is passive. Use a switch (on the back of the speaker) to select which monitor is active. The second speaker is passive and must be connected to the included speaker wire (it can also be used to connect speakers to a computer).

Design

Mackie-CR8-XBT-studio-monitor-review

All monitors in the CR series have similar construction and features and are offered at extremely competitive prices. Each model is made with an MDF housing with black foil, measuring 37.6 x 34.6 x 25.1 cm. The two speakers together weigh 16 kg, although the active speaker is a bit heavier due to the electronics. The speakers are of good quality and solid construction. There’s a green ring on the edges of all the speakers in the Mackie CR-X series, and the Mackie logo can’t be missed either. There is a power switch on the back of the active speaker so you can leave it in “constant standby mode” and a rotary power switch / volume control on the front of the active monitor. There is also a built-in 1/8 headphone jack on the front of the active speaker, which can be controlled with the volume control. The frequency response ranges from 40 Hz to 20 kHz. The maximum sound pressure is 108 dB.

CR8-XBT-speaker -back panelThe Mackie CR8-XBT is well-built, but not comparable to some of the more expensive monitors, but we can’t expect more at this price.

At first, we were a little skeptical that we could get a good quality studio monitor at all at such a low price, but we were pleasantly surprised at how good the CR8-XBT sounds with every sound source we’ve just tried. Since the CR8-XBT speakers do not have frequency converter switches, we expected an excessive bass response. (The speakers also come with an accessory kit that includes RCA cables and foam pads that separate the speakers from the surface on which they are placed and direct the sound slightly upward.) The CR8-XBT are rear speakers, so this should be considered when placing them. , as this significantly affects the sound.

Test of the Mackie CR8-XBT

We tested the monitors in a small studio. The studio acoustics was optimal, with sound-absorbing panels and diffusers on both the walls and ceiling providing the ideal sound. In the case of studios, it is even more important to eliminate echoes, standing waves, problems caused by excessive bass, without falling into the mistake of over-attenuation. Whether you are building a professional or home studio, the first and most important step should always be acoustic treatment! Fortunately, flawless acoustics have been achieved thanks to sound-absorbing leather membranes and Pyramid diffusers. Previously, there were foam wall panels on the walls, but the result was far from satisfactory, so the studio owner decided to replace the previous panels with products made from premium materials from Perfect Acoustic (wood, acoustic cotton, acoustic silk…, etc.). The change was immediate and clear.

All the audio we listened to with the Mackie CR8-XBT always sounded clear, never exaggerated and accurately reproduced. The sound from the speakers was more like high-end stereo speakers than neutral studio monitors, but still remained neutral enough to be used in some professional applications. The overall frequency response of the Mackie CR8-XBT was absolutely ideal. We got tight bass, the middle range was clear and definite, and the peaks were definitely present but not too sharp. The pair of speakers also performed quite well while watching a movie, although the upper middle and high ranges sounded a bit exaggerated. Medium ranges were sometimes found to be unbalanced.

It was an extremely positive experience that there was almost no noise at all during speaker operation. This can probably be attributed to Class AB amplification, modern digital amplifiers often operate with more noise.

Bluetooth is available on all models in the product family. This is advantageous because it allows the speakers to be placed anywhere in the listening area without having to deal with speaker cables. It was much more liberating than we first thought. You can move the speakers anywhere in the room, monitor a mono or stereo source. The speaker or speakers can be placed either in the bathroom or in the hallway. This flexibility makes the Mackie CR8 -XBT especially useful when you want to listen to studio footage in another room – giving you an even more accurate picture of the sound. We have heard an obvious difference in the frequency range, for example. Thanks to the wireless connection, the songs sounded less sharp in the highs, the mids were fine. The bass lost a bit of their strength, but it still remained definite. At times, it seemed as if the monitor could not cope so well with the very neutral and fine-resolution sound of the sound source.

With the Mackie CR8-XBT multimedia speakers, you get a studio or multimedia monitor with as many connectivity options as you probably need, the only missing link is the XLR balanced input. The CR8-XBT also comes with a download card that allows you to download ProTools First and Musician Collection plug-ins for free.

Conclusion

This speaker promises high quality, relatively neutral, balanced sound at an affordable price. The compact size speaker is a good choice for a small studio or for those who don’t need frenetic volume. This does not mean that you do not have the right volume. Compared to its size, it is quite loud. The Bluetooth connection allows us to place the monitors virtually anywhere. It has an attractive exterior design, but the workmanship is not premium quality.

Written by Róbert Polgár