Mackie MP Se­ries Pro in-ear mon­i­tors

Can Mackie re­ally trans­fer some of that im­mense stu­dio mon­i­tor­ing ex­pe­ri­ence into th­ese minia­turised beau­ties? Time for a group test

Future Music - - CONTENTS -

Mackie’s new in-ear mon­i­tor range com­prises three dif­fer­ent mod­els. All are built us­ing a com­mon moulded en­clo­sure, which houses one of three model-spe­cific driver con­fig­u­ra­tions. The en­clo­sure is shaped to fit snugly into the ear, and has a pro­tru­sion that completes the ear canal as­pect of the de­sign. On the top side is a MMCX cable con­nec­tor, and this de­tach­able lock/ snap de­sign also swivels for easy cable ad­just­ment. The cable it­self is stiff­ened for the first few cen­time­tres, so it can be moulded to sit be­hind your ear, and is an in­ter­nally-braided au­dio­phile de­sign that’s pretty ro­bust and should cope with heavy use. A 1/4” con­verter plug is also in­cluded, but you’ll have to grab your own cable ex­ten­der if the mod­est 1.5m cable doesn’t suf­fice. All three come with three types of tips (sil­i­cone, foam and dual flange) each in three sizes, and th­ese push onto the in-ear tip of the en­clo­sure. Com­plet­ing each pack­age is a com­pact hard carry case. www.mackie.com

MP-120

First up is the most 1 af­ford­able of­fer­ing and with it a chance to try the var­i­ous tip de­signs. Th­ese are fid­dly to fit to the en­clo­sure, partly be­cause they’re quite tight. Still, once on, there’s lit­tle chance they’ll come off too eas­ily, so your pa­tience is re­warded. The dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes of­fer a lot of com­fort op­tions, and, for us, the dou­ble flange de­sign de­liv­ered the snuggest fit. The MP-120 has a sin­gle dy­namic driver, and the sound is fairly unin­spir­ing. There’s cer­tainly no high fre­quency hyp­ing and the mid range is quite prom­i­nent, which is what you’d ex­pect from a mon­i­tor rather than hi-fi de­sign. They do the job though and once you find which tips you like, they’re suit­ably com­fort­able. VER­DICT 8.6

MP-240

The MP-240 uses a 2 dy­namic driver for bass and a bal­anced ar­ma­ture for the mids and highs (Mackie call it a dual hy­brid de­sign), and although this model isn’t sub­stan­tially more ex­pen­sive than the MP-220, we feel it’s streets ahead son­i­cally. First up, the mid range is more de­fined yet over­all feels less prom­i­nent, which should be less fa­tigu­ing. How­ever, it’s the top end where th­ese re­ally win, with clear yet smooth high fre­quen­cies de­liv­er­ing ex­cel­lent ar­tic­u­la­tion. In­deed, switch­ing back over to the MP-220 only goes to ham­mer home how much bet­ter the MP-240 sounds. VER­DICT 9

MP-220

The mid-priced model uses 3 a dual dy­namic driver de­sign. The dif­fer­ence son­i­cally is in­stantly ap­par­ent, with bet­ter sep­a­ra­tion be­tween the lows and mids. Even so, the top end is not as re­fined as it could be, with the MP-220 lack­ing sparkle. Com­par­ing th­ese, the im­por­tance of achiev­ing a snug ear canal fit re­ally be­comes clear. It’s a fac­tor which in­flu­ences not only how much iso­la­tion the in-ears achieve (and the MPs are ex­cel­lent in that re­spect), but also how much bass you get, with a tight fit de­liv­er­ing much bet­ter bass def­i­ni­tion. VER­DICT 8.6

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