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The new XR Series of powered studio monitors from Mackie offers up a pro-level monitoring setup for under a grand. If you’re looking to outfit a new home studio with a great sounding control room on a budget, or even if you’re looking for a second set of reference monitors for your commercial space, the 8” XR824’s deliver.
The 8” Kevlar woofer is the centerpiece of the new XR824, which we found to have an incredibly accurate response across all frequencies, especially in the low-end bass. Our go-to mix tests typically include some ultra-low frequency Moog Sub Phatty sequences, and the new XR series passed our critical listening test with flying colors. Bass was ultra-tight, not boomy, and the crossover into the tweeter provided detailed clarity without coloration. Perfect when you need un-altered, flat studio sound as a springboard for your creative tracking/mixing sessions.
Other features we enjoyed were the on-board room optimization controls. There came in really handy, and allowed us to tailor the response of the monitors to our particular space. On the rear of the speakers, you have flip switches that you can cycle between three “Acoustic Space filters,” one each for different space settings. As an added bonus, you’ve also got very usable hi- and lo-filters that allow you to further tweak your sound, and how the monitors interact with your particular space and setup.
For home studios, and especially bedroom studios, without perfect isolation or well-thought-out room treatments, these on-board options are going to be crucial to getting the right sound in your space. The fact that the monitors sound amazing and afford this level of control at this price point, is to be commended.
Standard TRS and XLR connections round out the rear panel, and the monitors themselves come in a handsome black finish. It was hard to find any faults with the new XR series, so go check them out if you’re in the market for a serious monitoring solution.
Great sound, deep rich bass, handy room optimization options.