REVIEW: Mackie MP-460 Professional In-Ear Monitors

In-ears just keep getting better and better; when they finally started to be available at a reasonable price to the working musician, the results were, well…Meh. The new Mackie MP-460 in-ear monitors sound amazing right out of the box, with no need for custom fitting for overpriced and under engineered features.

The big thing for IEMs is isolation, first off, so getting a proper seal in the ear canal is key. Thankfully Mackie includes a huge selection of sizes of silicone earpieces, in the rounded, wide bore, triple flange versions, along with memory foam versions for pretty much every user preference. Our reviewer likes the memory foam versions that seem to stay put when perspiration is an issue, and still gives a tight enough seal for comfort and stability on stage.

Most earphones use single or even dual drivers, splitting up the frequency band amongst them for better tuning and balance. Mackie went deep, and with 4 armature balanced drivers by Knowles, and the range is pretty phenomenal, with excellent frequency response across the spectrum.

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Sound-wise, these are killer, the overall audio resolution is phenomenal, with excellent balance. Starting off with a flat EQ, and pushing frequencies, they respond perfectly, so when you find preset EQ patches like bass boost, you get that, but not the “bass boost you wish didn’t get so damn woofy or muffly.” When you get into any specific EQ tweaks from your source, it’s easily presented to the user, and makes any guesswork in “well how much treble or mid should I add or cut to feel it in my ears?” pretty much a moot point. Cut or boost a frequency a little, and it translates easily, so the user isn’t fighting their earbuds. Once we found an EQ we liked from the board, it was a set and forget moment, and even after long sessions we didn’t get any physical or audio fatigue.

Speaking of earbuds, they are detachable, which is always a godsend. So many good headphones meet an early demise from cables getting trashed, and Mackie actually included a pair; one with clear-ish silver braided, and the other a black version with audio controls for use with smartphones or tablets.

Mackie includes a nice mini latching case for the headphones and all their accessories, and it makes for a practical setup for IEMs. Considering the price, the features, and the audio fidelity, these are a bargain that are worth every penny. For the performer who wants the mobility of quality IEMs, and wants their wallet to maintain its girth, these are the ticket!

PROS:

Excellent audio, well-designed, modular

CONS:

None

STREET PRICE:

$499

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