Mackie MR5MK2 Active Studio Monitor Review

Jun 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Michael Cooper

AFFORDABLE NEAR-FIELDS STRICK PERFORMANCE GOLD

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The Mackie MR5mk2’s diminutive size belies its huge sound.

The Mackie MR5mk2’s diminutive size belies its huge sound.

Forget everything you might have known about the original Mackie MR5 studio monitor (introduced in 2008). The new MR5mk2 is a whole other ballgame. Among the many design changes, the updated two-way, bi-amplified monitor shows off an all-new silk-dome tweeter and polypropylene woofer. A revamped baffle and eye-catching waveguides contribute to improved imaging and depth. The bass response has been extended, and they can get louder, too, if you want. What’s more, the price has been chopped down to only $199.99 each (MSRP), making these impressive performers veritable trailblazers in their price range.

SMALL FOOTPRINT
The MR5mk2 tips the scale at a reassuring 14.3 pounds, fairly hefty for a monitor measuring only 11.5x7.8x10.6 (HxWxD) inches. The 1-inch tweeter is ferrofluid-cooled to reduce power compression and is driven by a neodymium magnet that diminishes distortion. The 5.25-inch woofer employs an inverted dust cap for smoother response. There’s nothing too unusual here except that each driver is ensconced in a molded waveguide with a moon-crater profile; the circular lip extends forward beyond the baffle, reducing diffraction that would otherwise compromise imaging. It looks très cool!

All corners and edges are rounded laterally, but not toward the front and back baffles. An elegant white LED on the front baffle lights when you apply power to the monitor. The power switch is located on the rear of the matte-black, 5/8-inch-thick MDF cabinet, along with an oval bass-reflex port, IEC power receptacle (for the detachable 6-foot AC cord) and a generous helping of input connectors and controls.

Balanced XLR and ¼-inch TRS connectors and unbalanced RCA jacks are provided for line-level input. (You should connect only one input at a time.) The TRS jacks can also accept unbalanced signals, making interfacing a snap.

The continuously variable input-attenuator control is designed to accept a +4dBu signal when set to full-clockwise position. This rotary control completely mutes the monitor when turned fully counterclockwise. The knob is detented only at the noon position. It’s very tiny (only ¼-inch in diameter) and its intermediate positions aren’t delineated with hash marks. That makes precise matching setups very difficult to achieve using anything other than the detented or maximum setting, especially in dim lighting conditions (as the knob is black).

Two three-way switches activate onboard shelving filters. The high-shelving filter has -2, 0 and +2dB settings and a 5kHz corner frequency, whereas the low-shelving filter offers a 2 or 4dB boost below 100 Hz or unchanged (0dB) response.






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