Mackie, the American brand that specialises in professional audio equipment, has entered the near-ear audio market with a range of over-ear monitors. We spent some time with the MC-250 to see if Mackie could crack the formula on its first attempt. We were rather impressed.
Bring the sounds
On the outside, you’re met with a mostly-black plastic construction aside from the silver Mackie logo on either earcup. No frills or RGB found here. These are budget studio cans after all and the build quality reflects that a little. The size adjuster lacks any noticeable steps so sizing is left up to ‘feel’. Both cups can be folded inwards for easy transport with the included vinyl bag. You also get an ample 3-metre detachable cable that terminates in 3.5mm stereo jacks, one of which you can increase to a standard jack using the included adapter.
The closed-back design and thick earpads provide some passive noise isolation but you won’t find active noise cancellation or any software features on these.
“Then how can you justify that price?”
Well, these are for professional studio use. Their sound is what matters. And these are some of the most neutral sounding headphones we’ve tested. There is a slight emphasis on the mid-range but, overall, they handle the entire audible spectrum well. There’s no extra oomph on the lows or tinny highs, which is what you’d expect from professional headphones and what you want when mixing. You want to hear the sound exactly as it is. These get you very close to that.
That being said, we struggled to use them for extended periods. We found the ear cushions to be a little restrictive and the headband and clamping force, a little tight.
Mackie MC-250 verdict
If you’re looking for a budget set of studio headphones then you can’t go wrong with these. The neutral response and light construction should get you through most sessions. You might need to take constant breaks though, but then we’ve heard that’s a good thing. These punch well above their price.
The Mackie MC-250 is available in SA from Musical Distributors for R3,000.