What We Like
- Impressive performance.
- Lots of details in the lowest parts of the frequency range.
- An abundance of power.
What We Don’t Like
- Weird acoustic control cluster.
Mackie’s higher tier monitors are definitely a serious piece of studio gear. Their XR824 is one of the models that packs a whole lot of punch. If you’re looking for a $500 monitor, this is one of the better choices.
If you know Mackie, you probably know that some of their cheaper monitors look much better than they perform. This isn’t an attack on Mackie specifically, since a lot of brands do this. However, they seem to have stuck with a reputation of pursuing form over function. Once you step into models such as the XR824, that is definitely not the case anymore. This monitor features a rather simple design with a cabinet made out of MDF.
Baffle comes with a logarithmic waveguide and is made of composite materials. Considering the size of the drivers, these are actually not that large. Since Mackie went with a fairly simple black aesthetic, an XR824 is bound to fit into just about any environment.
These monitors have a port in the back that is elliptical, which also goes towards producing a fairly refined performance. More on that subject a little bit later. In terms of design, the most important thing we were looking at was the build quality, and it is absolutely spot on.
The core of Mackie’s XR824 is a 160 Watt, Class D amplifier that pushes power to the speakers. You get a single 1″ aluminum tweeter that has been previously anodized and sits in a fairly large waveguide. Underneath it, you will see a whopping 8″ Kevlar woofer that has proven to be a true clinical tool. The port in the back is a part of Mackie’s ELP Bass Reflex System.
Its elliptical shape is there to reduce turbulence, thus making the lower end of the frequency range much more responsive. Right underneath the port is where all the controls are. The way Mackie designed the control cluster is where some people start to object. Instead of going with standard knobs, Mackie actually put buttons that engage and disengage various acoustic settings.
While the whole system works for the most part, not having that ability to fine tune your settings is a bit disappointing. In terms of inputs, there are both XLR and TRS ports available.
Performance is undoubtedly the best thing about this monitor. Once you hook everything up and push that power button for the first time, all of the design flaws we have mentioned so far, simply disappear. To put it in simple terms, this thing is flat. The output comes with loads of transparency, even in the lower end of the frequency range. Having that kind of definition in the bass spectrum is the result of Mackie using Kevlar as the main material for that 8″ woofer.
This has made it very rigid, extremely responsive and overall durable. Add to that the ELP Bass Reflex System in the back and the logarithmic waveguide, and you have a pretty tight package. What is really great about the XR824 is the amount of power you available on demand. 160 Watts may not be a whole lot of pto some audiophiles, but it is more than enough for monitoring purposes in a studio.
Overall, Mackie XR824 comes across as a very optimized monitor that has a few quirks here and there. However, these don’t impact the performance it has to offer, making it a reliable choice for both professionals and casual users.