New Gear Review: Mackie CR3 and CR4 Monitors

Mackie_CR3The CR3 and CR4 are Mackie's new Creative Reference™ Multimedia Monitors that feature studio-quality design, sound and performance in small, desktop-sized all-wood cabinets. The two models have 3- and 4-inch woofers respectively and both use the same 3/4-inch silk-dome tweeter. CR monitor models have a curved high-frequency waveguide for a wide and even stereo sound that’s well supported with good bass due in part to the rear bass port. The CRs have a front panel on/off/volume control knob that also controls the volume of headphones if plugged directly into the front of the monitors.

I received a set of both the CR3 and CR4s—they are sold in pairs with one speaker containing the stereo Class-AB amplifier, master volume control, and front-mounted aux input mini-jack (for iPhones etc.) and headphone jacks. The companion passive speaker connects to the powered speaker by way of an included cable.

The back panel has a master power switch and both balanced TRS and unbalanced RCA input jacks for the left and right channels.

I used the CRs placed on either side of my flat panel monitor. They make a great “second opinion” comparing what my mixes sound like on smaller, more consumer-level speakers. A pair of CR3s sells for $129 MSRP and the CR4s are $199.99.


Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs, and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. http://barryrudolph.com