BPM Skills is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Mackie CR3 Review: Complete Studio Monitor Guide

Mackie CR3 Review

Studio monitors are one of the MOST IMPORTANT components of your music studio. After all, they give you the opportunity to record and edit sounds in real-time.

There are a few low-priced studio monitors on the market, but you need to be careful when buying one of them.

In this Mackie CR3 review, you will find out if this set of studio monitors is the best fit for your home studio setup.

Table of Contents

Overview of the Mackie CR3 X

Mackie CR3 Review: Complete Studio Monitor Guide

The CR3 is a set of Mackie speakers that provide value for your money, since these affordable studio monitors also double as multimedia speakers.

I love how they work GREAT with entertainment centers or even plugged into a computer.

Here’s a quick rundown of the features:

  • Helps provide feedback on audio recordings.
  • Provides feedback on sound editing projects.
  • A great option for a small studio in your house or recording in a bedroom.
  • Also great for VIDEO editing.
  • The monitors connect to a multimedia system to improve your gaming experience.
  • The set of Mackie speakers is also great for DJ setups for practicing purposes.

The BEST benefits I found from the Mackie CR3: X include:

  • A great option when you have a SMALL studio that you need to equip with monitors.
  • One of the more affordable options that are currently on the market.
  • Inputs are located on the front of the speaker for easier access.
  • Even though a compact size, the speakers still produce a loud sound.
  • Creative reference multimedia audio system

But since I’m focusing on providing an unbiased view of these multimedia monitors, it’s important to also consider any drawbacks you may face when using the CR3 speakers.

As such, some of the most important drawbacks I need to mention here include:

  • There seems to be a common issue with the selector switch on these studio monitors.
  • The build quality of the speakers is not great compared to some alternatives.
  • The sound quality isn’t bad, but it isn’t AS GOOD compared to some alternatives.
  • You may find that the Mackie CR3 X lacks the bass you need in your studio setup.

In this post, I’ll discuss more about the benefits you get when you decide to invest in the Mackie CR3 X. 

I’ll also tell you what to look for in a studio speaker, along with an overview of what OTHER customers think about these multimedia monitors.

Mackie CR3 Review

Mackie CR3 Review: Complete Studio Monitor Guide

The Mackie CR3 X studio monitors comes with quite a few impressive features at a low price point.

To better understand if this is the right pair of computer speakers for your studio, let’s take a closer look at the specific features.

This will help you see if the monitors will match the functions that your studio needs.

Let’s dive in and see if it fits into the type of activities you perform in your small home-based studio.

Below is a full overview of the top benefits and features that come with the use of the Mackie CR3 X:

  • Provides a professional-grade experience when monitoring audio in a small studio setup.
  • The speakers offer an ultra-wide range frequency. The frequency ranges from 80 Hz to 20 kHz, which is an IDEAL frequency response for providing a better audio experience.
  • A volume knob is located on the front panel of the speaker system, making it easier to have full control of the volume.
  • Two input ports are located at the FRONT of the speaker, making connecting the speakers to a headphone or to a device easier.
  • The volume control on the front of the speaker also doubles as a power button. A lit power ring is used to indicate the current power state of the speaker.
  • The CR3 doubles as a speaker system that can be connected to a multimedia system and to a smartphone! This adds more variety of sources that can be used to stream content through the monitors with good sound quality.

Social Proof

For me, social proof is an IMPORTANT part of understanding if a product would suit you.

In this case, it’s actually quite easy to come across positive reviews for the Mackie CR3 studio monitors!

Some customers claim that the CR3 monitors are a great pair of universal speakers with excellent sound quality for most situations.

People have used this product for more than just a monitor speaker. I’ve found that these speakers are also GREAT to use when watching movies and playing games. 

This adds MORE value when buying a general set of speakers for studio and multimedia use.

There are also a few videos on YouTube where people show off the performance offered by the Mackie CR3 X.

Here is one example:

While the majority of reviews about the CR3 are positive, I also came across a few negative points.

Some people do seem to have a problem with the bass on the CR3 monitors. A few customers have also described the Mackie CR3 X speakers as feeling “cheap.”

Studio Monitors Buying Guide

Studio monitors serve a VITAL role in the recording and processing of audio, which is why you need to ensure careful consideration when buying a pair of studio monitors.

Knowing what you should look for makes it easier to ensure you MAXIMIZE the value you get for the money you spend.

When you shop for studio monitors, be sure to take the factors I listed below into consideration.


Some studio monitors come in a set of two speakers, while others only include a single speaker.

If you are setting up a studio, I’d say two speakers are ALWAYS a great option to consider.


Consider the type of inputs offered by the speakers. Some studio monitors will offer a universal solution. This expands your options of how you can stream audio files through the speakers.

Port Location

Where are the ports of the speakers located? If all the ports are at the rear of the monitors, it can make it inconvenient.

Having a front-facing input panel is great for connecting smartphones and headphones.

With FRONT inputs, the process of hooking the monitors up to an input source becomes much EASIER.

Frequency Response

You always need to look at the frequency response range offered by the set of studio monitors.

You want a bigger range to ensure you can hear BOTH the highs and lows. This will help to provide better clarity and accuracy in editing audio files in the studio.


The construction quality of studio monitors also matters. Higher-quality construction means the monitors will last LONGER, even with consistent use.

Mackie CR3 X Alternatives

There are a few alternatives to the CR3 if you need a budget set of monitors for your studio setup.

Let me present to you the best alternatives to the CR3 monitor speakers below.

1. JBL 305 MKII Review

Mackie CR3 Review: Complete Studio Monitor Guide

READ MORE: Yamaha HS5 vs JBL LSR305: Studio Monitor Showdown

The JBL 305 is a professional-grade set of studio monitors that still comes at a reasonable price. I suggest you get your hands on these monitors if you are on a low budget!

The JBL 305 MKII comes in three different size options: 5” speaker, 6” speaker, and 8” speaker.

The monitors contain two transducers for both high and low frequencies.

The speaker was recently improved to provide BETTER performance than the previous model. The boundary EQ helps you get a more neutral and natural sound quality from the monitor.

The speaker itself features a modern design to match the aesthetics of your music studio.

Balanced XLR and TRS inputs are used on the JBL 305 MKII speaker. The package comes with a single monitor and peel-off rubber pads and a compatible power cord.

I found it very helpful that a setup guide is also included in the package.

2. PreSonus Eris E3.5-3.5” Near Field Studio Monitor Review

Mackie CR3 Review: Complete Studio Monitor Guide

If you need speakers that come in pairs without breaking the bank, I suggest you consider the Presonus Eris E3.5-3.5”.  These are rear-field studio monitors that WON’T break the bank.

The Presonus Eris E3.5-3.5” Near Field Studio Monitors come with two front input ports, making it easier to add an input to the monitors without the need to reach its rear. 

Both monitors contain speakers that measure 3.5 inches in diameter. The monitors weigh 3.1kg as a pair, making them a lightweight option too!

The manufacturer also offers a wide range of alternative models that you can choose from.

One of the best features is the “true sound quality” technology used in the speaker, providing a SUPERIOR sound experience when editing vocals and recording sounds.

The monitors offer a crossover frequency of 2.8 kHz. It has several inputs, including a headphone jack and an auxiliary input port.

3. Yamaha HS5 Review

Mackie CR3 Review: Complete Studio Monitor Guide

READ MORE: The Complete Yahama HS5 Review

When quality is your MAIN priority, I’d say the Yamaha HS5 powered monitors may be a good option to consider.

It features a built-in 5” woofer. Larger models with a 6.5” and an 8” monitor are also available. The Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor comes in a classic black and white color option.

The two-way bass offers superior bass compared to the Mackie CR3 X — as some people have found that the Mackie CR3 X lacks in the department of bass.


Mackie CR3 Review: Complete Studio Monitor Guide

I understand that finding a good pair of budget-friendly monitors for your studio can be a PAIN.

While there are many options available at a low price point, many of these fail to meet expectations.

But I‘d say the Mackie CRX 3 is definitely one of the best studio monitors under $200!

The Mackie CR3 X is a pair of studio monitors that offer great value for money. The CR3s are compatible with your audio interface, multimedia system, AND computer.

If you do all your production work at home, these are also a great option for your home studio!

About the author


After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Nick became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.