Mackie are presenting this new range of studio monitors just under the current flagship HR Mk2. Whilst there are some differences such as power, the specification from the HR Mk2 range to the XR Series is very close. The new XR Series clearly look much smarter and have some nice features, so perhaps they’ll become the new favourites from Mackie. Either that, or we might see a HR Mk3 coming soon…?
Mackie XR Series: XR624 & XR824
Mackie have a strong reputation for building reliable entry and mid-point professional studio monitors. You will probably find a pair of the original HR monitors from the 90’s in every studio store room. For the price, the HR range was in a league of it’s own and sounded surprisingly good once you got to know them. Mackie have continued to develop their studio monitors, releasing additional ranges to cater for even the smallest of budgets. The XR Series, without doubt, draw on the technology that Mackie have developed and bring some new features to the field.
Like the HR range the XR Series come in two models, the XR824 and the XR624 with 8″ and 6″ woofers respectably. New features on the XR Series include a ‘Logarithmic Waveguide’, which is said to help dispersion of the HF and “providing acoustic alignment of high and low frequencies”. Mackie report that this new waveguide also provides a great stereo image with a large optimum listening position. There’s also a new “ELP Bass Reflex System”, which is effectively a longer, internally curved port. This is said to deliver an extended bass response and less un-wanted noise from the rear port. It’s not quite the transmission line that PMC employ, but a similar concept.
There are a couple of features I’m personally not a fan of, which seem to be a current trend for monitors in this price range. The rear panels sport ‘Room Optimization’ controls. Whilst some control of frequency roll-off and perhaps HF level can be useful in difficult rooms, what’s ‘Acoustic Space’ all about?! How on earth does Mackie know what every room sounds like? In my opinion, if you’re going to ‘calibrate’ against your acoustic space, then that needs doing properly with something like Sonarworks. The monitors should be your ‘control’ in what could be described as our ‘experiment’.
I do however, like the auto on/off feature. This is not only a ‘green’ feature, but the number of us that don’t bother turning gear off in our studio is probably quite high. Anything that aids to our laziness can only be a good thing. The XR Series will also ship with high density foam pads to sit the monitors on. Even if this isn’t the best solution for your studio, I applaud this idea and it shows Mackie are keen for their monitors to deliver as intended.
For full specifications and detailed information, head over to Mackie’s webpage for the new XR Series. Prices are reported to be 629.99 USD for a single XR824 and 519.99 USD for a single XR624. Available from November, these prices come slightly under the current HR Mk2 range. I think these look much smarter though and the specifications are unbelievably close.
Here’s a video from the MackieTV YouTube channel, which covers the main points about these new monitors. Of course, it’s quite ‘sales-heavy’, but still provides a nice summary of the XR Series features.