Here at Major HiFi, we often find ourselves reviewing consumer or audiophile headphones, but we rarely get a chance to demo a professional model. Retailing for a palatable $149, the Mackie MP-220 is a professional in-ear monitor that won’t break your bank. But how does it sound?
Mackie MP-220 Review
The MP-220 utilizes a similar design to most other in-ear monitors, rocking the over-the-ear cable loop to minimize cable-thump. Cable length is a liberal 5 ft (1.5 m). This earphone also uses the near-universal MMCX connection, so third party cables and cable replacement remain an easy option.
The earphones themselves come packaged in a fairly standard box, with eartips aplenty (including dual-flange silicone tips and foam tips) A heavy-duty hard case in matte-black plastic is also included.
As an in-ear monitor, the design is fairly straightforward, with no gimmicky features to win over the fickle masses. Utilizing an deceivingly simple dual-dynamic driver setup, this earphone is on a mission to monitor sound and do it without breaking your budget.
Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 104 dB
The specifications reveal a headphone with a fairly standard frequency range, as well as a very low impedance. As such, you could easily use these earphones with a phone or laptop and never have to worry about volume. The sensitivity, too, reinforces this; at 104 decibels, sound pressure is more than adequate for good volume in most listening environments.
Subtle but natural, the low end on the Mackie MP-220 exhibits good detail and a distinct lack of bass. While this is perfect for the low end of an in-ear monitor, audiophiles may want to eq the sound, or even swap eartips to enhance their listening experiences.
In the midrange, details appear sparkling and contrasting. With no distortion or compression at play here, the 220 retains clean and detailed mids. A sense of space or separation pervades the midrange, easily lending these ‘phones to critical listening scenarios.
Not bright but highly detailed, the high end in this earphone packs a lot of punch. Sometimes that high end seems to overflow with so much detail, yet the sound remains restrained.
Soundstage is actually present in this $149 earphone, helped along by a strong sense of placement and good sense of depth. While not earth-shattering, the feeling of realism goes a long way in recommending this earphone to serious listeners or critical applications.
DICTION! The delivery of vocals in certain tracks can only be described as breathtaking. The intense clarity and separation present in these earphones probably bears responsibility for this.
The sound lacks any coloration whatsoever. I never see this earphone becoming the Last Purchase for any audiophile, but I do see it selling like hot cakes to audiophiles who want a baseline earphone for comparison purposes.
The Mackie MP-220 is a professional in-ear monitor, so it may not be the exact sound every audiophile dreams about.
For those seeking a rich, dynamic sound with ample emphasis on both the highs and the lows, for the love of God, avoid this headphone. Instead, opt for something like the Audio Technica ATH-E50 at $199 (for more bass/low end) or the Final Audio F3100 at $189 (for lows and highs).
Anyone on the lookout for balanced, uncompromising sound, however, would do well to consider this competent earphone. There’s plenty of detail here, as well as some astounding room in the sound to pick apart tiny details you’d miss with any other earphone.
At $149, the Mackie MP-220 is a fantastic professional in-ear monitor. Though dyed-in-the-wool audiophiles may disdain any coloration in the sound, critical listeners everywhere will rejoice at the sheer capabilities found in this tiny contender. That being said, the MP-200 isn’t the earphone you use to enjoy music; it’s the earphone you use to know music.
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