Mackie CR3 Review

I've always loved my music loud but after I had my first baby, I reduced the size of my studio space. I no longer needed (and couldn't) have the volume as loud as We before. This led me on the path of finding good quality studio monitors that were smaller in size. There are simply a lot of options within the market. In this review, I'll cover one of the most popular small studio monitors available today.
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Pros & Cons

The Mackie CR3-X promises to give you high-quality flat sound at an affordable price. A compact 3-inch sized woofer makes it a good choice for a small studio or those without the need for epic volume. With a few extra features built-in for extra flexibility it aims to please both the beginner and professional. Does it succeed? Let’s check out some of the pros and cons.
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Mackie CR3-X Coupon

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Mackie CR3 Features

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty details of what the Mackie CR3-X studio monitors offer and see if they are a good option for your studio.

Sound Quality

For a 3 inch sized speaker, these are pretty good. The mids and highs are robust. The bass is unfortunately lost. Given the size of the monitor, it’s not surprising. If you do enjoy the low-end frequencies you’ll be obliged to invest in a subwoofer to complement these.

Offering a nice flat sound is critical to good studio monitors. While these bankruptcies are not amazing they are an upgrade over generic computer public speakers. They are also surprisingly loud considering the size.

Clarity is good whatsoever volume levels. For those with a more refined ear, they may not be as satisfying. Any audiophile will notice the difference compared to more expensive speakers.

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Build Quality

The Mackie CR Series CR3-X is built well but does not compare to some more expensive options. While rugged and offering a decent amount of heft they are not overbearing in weight. As always I recommend you treat your speakers with care. The materials used are decent but not high-end. That is to be expected at this price point.

There have been reports that the left/right switch on the back can cause issues leading these monitors to eventually fail. Luckily it seems after-sales support appears to be fairly solid.

Either way when picking these be mindful that you’ll likely need a new set of studio monitors in a couple of years. If you are on a budget these will do the job. For the longer term, you may need to invest in a new pair. Or at that point, you may be in a position to buy a longer-lasting pair of studio monitors.

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The 3-inch woofer is well suited for a smaller studio or for near-field listening. The frequency response of 80Hz to 20 kHz (-3 dB) makes these able to represent a good range of frequencies for clear sound. At 97 dB these are reasonably loud especially when you consider their size.
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It’s also worth noting that these come with all the cables you need. Always a good addition to allow you to get set up straight away.

Made primarily from MDF these weigh in just under 8 pounds (just over 3.5kg). A nice combination of solidness without adding a heap of weight to your shelves

Tuning Options

No tuning options are situated on the Mackie CR3-X speakers. Any changes you may want drugs to the sound profile will need to be handled via your audio interface/software. Considering the price on these I’m not surprised there are no tuning options. These forms of features are usually reserved for more expensive monitors.

Connection Options

This is where these studio monitors offer a few options often not found at this price point. Some of these features are not something you would normally associate with studio monitors. It goes to show a desire to appeal to both the casual crowd as well as more seasoned professionals.

The front offers both a headphone input and also an AUX input. Having an option to connect your smartphone straight into the front of the speaker allows for a little bit of extra flexibility.

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The back offers both balanced and unbalanced connection options. This is also where you can find the left and right selection switch. This clever inclusion allows you to set whether the main speaker is the left or right. This gives you the maximum flexibility in placement. Prefer to have your volume control to your left? It’s as easy as a flick of the switch.


The CR3-X goes for a punchy design. The box is covered with a matte vinyl coating that looks smart and appealing. The green accents around the tweeter and woofer add a nice splash of lively color.

The volume knob also illuminates when on with the same green hue. Luckily it isn’t overly bright so if you work in a dark environment you won’t feel like the aliens are knocking at your door! These compact bookshelf-style speakers will blend naturally with the rest of your studio. But, the added splash of color still allows them to make a visual impact.


The Mackie CR3-X keeps the footprint small in both size and weight.
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The smaller size lends itself perfectly to smaller studios where space is at a premium. They can also comfortably sit on most bookshelves.


There is no denying these are good values. With decent sound and some clever features. You will be hard-pressed to find another studio monitor at this price point that offers as much as the Mackie CR3-X monitors give.

What Others Say About Mackie CR3

So what do other people think of the Mackie CR3-X? Most seem to be happy with the sound offered by these small bookshelf speakers. While not perfect they are a popular set of speakers at a great price point.
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Should You Buy Mackie CR3?

Considering the price point Mackie has done a great job. The Mackie CR3-X studio monitors are perfectly suited as entry-level studio monitors for any starting out on an affordable budget. I would take these over generic computer speakers any day of the week.

There certainly are better studio monitors available. You will, of course, be forced to pay a lot more. This is where I think some people lose sight of what these are. I wouldn’t recommend these to a sound engineer. Yet, for the particular person setting up their small home studio on a budget, these are a great start.