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  • Writer's pictureNathan Winter


I happened to be at my local music shop when I overheard the owner complaining that he had received an extra set of desktop reference speakers by mistake. Being the curious guy that I am, I decided to ask him what speakers he was talking about. To my surprise he pointed to a Mackie box with a set of CR4's inside it. This was a crazy coincidence as I had been thinking about a proper set of speakers to set up for practice sessions, and listening to music while doing paperwork. Because he just wanted them gone, I got them for a decent amount below MSRP. I only went in there for some extra cables and random connectors I might need, ended up leaving with not just the aforementioned, but some (hopefully) sweet sounding speakers.

The bluetooth on the other hand, is a pain

Setting them up was a breeze. Plug one into the wall, run the connecting cable between them, and select which one you want to be left, and which one right. Oh, and hook it up to some music, either by a hardwired connection, or bluetooth. You can choose between two types of hardwired connects for it. Either 1/4", or RCA, and both sound like you would expect, with no noticeable difference between them. The bluetooth on the other hand, is a pain. But not in the way you would expect. It doesn't add any artifacts to the sound and doesn't cut out when you start to wander around. Why is it a pain though? Because if I'm out in the yard doing something, or walking in the front door while listening to music, it will switch over to the speakers if I left them on in the basement. In the basement. The signal needs to go through the floor, electrical cables, lights, and whatever else there may be to pull the audio from my phone. It's just too damn good, and therefore a pain to my privileged blue collar ass.

I won't bore you with the details of what kind of packaging it was wrapped in, or all the connecting cables you get. There are dozens of other reviews for that. I will however say that the isolation foam they come with to to isolate the speakers were a nice surprise. I have no idea if they make much of an acoustical difference. I mean, I do everything in a dark corner the wife lets me have in the basement. It's not exactly given to beautiful noise characteristics, or soundproof by any means judging by the freight-train like noise the dogs make above me if they decide to play.

Bass is where these boxes suffer.

The sound these little guys put out is pretty impressive. You will start to get distortion before max volume, but max is also pretty loud. The highs are nice and crisp, with solid midrange reproduction. Bass however is where these boxes suffer. This is not really a big surprise as they are marketed as budget reference monitors and so don't need much emphasis on the bassy lows. If you wanted to round out the sound with some thump, I suppose you could always drag in a sub you use in your DJ rig, or pick up a small subwoofer meant to connect to a system such as this.

Are there better monitors out there? Absolutely there are better out there. But at the price point for a set of these, you wouldn't even be able to grab a single one, let alone a pair of the more expensive units. Plus, for most bedroom DJ's or producers, these will fit the bill perfectly. Especially because they have access to the volume and bluetooth right on the front of the main unit. You know, so you can turn it off easily when your phone connects to it from down the street.

#mackie #speakerreview #cr4 #music

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