Originally announced by Mackie during the 2018 Namm show, we're pleased to bring you the first unboxing and review of Mackie's brand new MP Series Professional In-Ear Monitors.
Mackie are well regarded for making reference audio products used by musicians & studio professionals for decades.
“From loudspeakers to mixers and everything between, we have decades of experience creating gear for the stage,” says Matt Herrin, Mackie Product Manager. “We were excited to draw on that experience for the creation of these new in-ear monitors.”
Let's zoom in on unboxing the MP-240
Included in each set:
A pair of iEMS
Owners manual & Tips sheet
Braided & externally sheilded audio cable with gold MMCX connectors (1/4" adaptor plug)
Comply Foam tips in 3 sizes
Silicone tips in 3 sizes (M sized pre-installed)
Flanged silicone tips in 3 sizes
Here are some closeup shots of the MP-240.
All 3 models have the same form factor, and look identical except for the embossed model numbers.
Build quality is excellent. They are ergonomically contoured and sized to fit comfortably. On my ears, they seem to sit better with less movement and free play as compared some other iEMs such as Shure. This is strictly a subjective observation, YMMV.
Driver Configuration (From Mackie's product descriptions)
MP-120 - SINGLE DYNAMIC DRIVER
The MP-120 houses a single large dynamic driver. This is a high-quality component chosen for its ability to supply plenty of bass without sacrificing high-frequency articulation and vocal detail. This model offers a balanced sound that performs great across the entire spectrum.
MP-220 - DUAL DYNAMIC DRIVER
The MP-220 steps up the count with two dynamic drivers in each monitor. In addition to offering cleaner performance at higher levels, it allows the monitor to achieve higher efficiency evenly across the entire frequency range. Because you have twice the drivers taking care of the same job, they can resolve details and nuance in the sound much better, this also means increased bass which dynamic drivers are particularly good at.
MP-240 - DUAL HYBRID DRIVER
The MP-240 keeps the same driver count but reaches the next level of detail and clarity thanks to its hybrid configuration. Instead of two dynamic drivers like the MP-220, this monitor swaps one out for a balanced armature driver and a custom crossover that splits the frequencies between the two drivers.
Hold on just a second, what does balanced armature mean?
This is a unique type of driver that is ultra-compact and offers incredible efficiency especially with mid to high frequencies. To keep the ample bass response while enhancing the clarity, we went with the hybrid design for the MP-240. This is the perfect combination. Punchy, accurate bass and beautiful mids and highs.
Before conducting my listening tests, I played 15hrs of continuous white noise at 90% volume on 2013 Macbook Pro on all 3 sets for some burn in time.
Playback when critical listening was through tidal HiFi (Lossless) files played on the same 2013 Macbook Pro in rotation with an A&K320.
All 3 models have a neutrally balanced tonality. The MP-120s were immediately enjoyable. Bass notes had a fullness without being overly boosted. Mids and highs had a lovely richness and body whilst remaining clean and transparent, never fatiguing. Mackie engineer their products for professional stage reference monitor use so this is no surpirse. Moving up to the MP-220 added definition and extension to the bass notes. There was a wider dynamic range. I heard more micro-details from my music and variance in transients. Digging a little deeper, there was an improvement in the separation of instruments and an expansion of the soundstage. Switching to the MP-240 brought out more nuances, and there was a great deal more energy, clarity and extension in the mid and high frequencies. Mackie have chosen to use the reknown Knowles balanced armature driver with a custom crossover on the MP-240 for the mid/high frequencies. Dynamic range is further boosted slightly as a result of better driver sensitivity and efficiency.
Objectively, as compared to the competition within this price range, all 3 Mackie models feature a flat frequency response between 20Hz-20kHz.
Subjectively, Mackie has got their tonal warmth and balance right in the middle. There is enough warmth for long listening sessions whilst not being coloured in a way that is noticeable. I liked the MP-220 most for casual listening for their slightly rolled off highs that tend to pair in a friendlier and forgiving way with various consumer level upstream equipment, whereas the MP-240 is best partnered with high resolution playback sources and especially suitable for professional work.
All 3 models are affordably priced. They are available now at at launch special prices here.