Updated on March 2nd, 2018
Mackie is a well-known and highly regarded audio company. Mackie Designs got their start when a former Boeing engineer Greg Mackie.
Mr. Mackie started his company in a small garage by creating professional audio equipment and amps for guitar during his down time from his “day job” at Boeing.
He started with a small manufacturing company called Tapco where he designed mixers and other equipment. His equipment quickly became acclaimed in the music industry.
By 1996 Mackie had changed the name of the company, quit his “day job” added Carl Perkins to his team of engineers and added a full repertoire of active sound monitors, power mixers and power amps.
Mackie’s has amassed quite the following in the music industry because of their innovative designs and highly reliable equipment.
The Mackie HR Series of active monitors has been one of their biggest successes. They have continuously managed to bring to market exceptional two-way studio monitors that have really set the standards for sound.
The Mackie HR 824 MKII Design Features
Mackie did not handle the redesign of the Mackie Active Sound lines on their own. The EAW Design Team well known for the roll that they play in Loud Technologies brought to the table their expertise and helped to greatly improve this monitor system.
Like most of the Mackie designs the monitors are physically constructed in Asia. Loud Technologies’ parent company is Mackie Designs Inc. The Loud Technologies company was formed in 2003 to keep the brands from being confused.
The Mackie HR 824 MKII and the HR624 MK II are very similar in design except for the woofer size they are just about identical. The HR 824 MK II is larger in size so it brings more power to the table.
The first thing you will notice about the HR 824 MK II is the upgraded cabinet. The HR 824 II has a cabinet that is constructed of heavy duty MDF board that are finished with a really high gloss “piano black” finish.
These monitors are made for upright mounting. The baffle is another very obvious change from earlier models.
The baffle is a plain rectangle with real aluminum molding with radius corners and a curved front. This new baffle is not just for looks. It serves a much higher purpose.
The rounded edge on the baffle work to deflect diffraction and they also have the added value of allowing the tweeter waveguide to be molded into the baffle. This symmetrical design does away with the need for left and right handed options.
The new cabinet design is larger than the original cabinets. It comes in at 425x273x351mm. The amplifier is the same design as it was before.
The fast recovery amps are essentially the same as well but they undergone a few tweaks to work previous kinks in the performance and what you get now is a great versatile distortion free function.
Metal braces are in place to keep the cabinet nice and rigid. The free spaces inside the cabinet is filled with a foam that is porous acoustic which deflects the internal reflections. Instead of a tuning port there is a speaker with a flat front at the back of the cabinet.
This speaker acts very much like a tuning port but is really advantageous at low frequency levels. The radiator is really large but it is concealed by the back panel.
The frequency and gain of the speakers are tested individually before it ever leaves the factory. This is done to ensure better matching of the speakers. Each speaker is shipped with a calibration plot which is a really nice touch and makes set up so much easier.
Great design is important. The cabinet looks great. The design is highly functional and well thought out but what you really want to know about is “how well does it perform?” The answer is really well.
The low range sound is in a word “impressive”. The HR824 MKII covers a range from 35Hz-20Hz. The drivers are completely protected from overzealous usage. The drivers are completely new designs that offer reliable performance.
The ample woofer offers a magnesium chassis that has been cast with a highly functional synthetic cone.
High frequencies are taken care of by the Ferro fluid Cooled Titanium Dome Tweeter. The dome tweeter is suspended in polymer. The predecessor had and domed tweeter made of aluminum.
The older models with the aluminum tweeters produced a sweeter sound than the titanium tweeters or so it seemed until the HR824 MK II came along.
The performance of this monitor is really exceptional so much so that it is almost surprising. The frequency response is great but it starts to drop off at around 48Hz. The bass expansion on the HR 824 MK II really sets it apart from its predecessor.
Taking control and getting the fine tuning done is easy because all of the control knobs are on the back panel. The only button you find on the front is the power button. The control panel is very similar to the other HR Series monitors.
This model comes with a choice of quarter inch jacks, balanced XLR jacks or you can choose to connect unbalanced jacks.
There is a rotary control that is used to set the input sensitivity. There is a 3-way slide switch that is used to select the power setting for the mains.
When this switch is set to the on position you can power up the monitor by using the switch on the front of the cabinet.
In the “auto on” position the monitor will turn off when there is no input detected. This is a great feature that helps to protect the components from wear and tear that is unnecessary.
There are plenty of control features that are very user friendly. The switches are all recessed and easily accessible. The recessed design helps to keep the switches from becoming damaged when the monitor is moved.
This studio monitor this model has really set the standard for other monitors. Initially there was a lot of apprehension from industry insiders about the newly designed HR824 MK II.
The design and the technological detail that went into this monitor has really given it a dynamic sound that is impressive. The HR series has always really delivered in the studio and the HR 824 MK II is no exception to the rule.
You can expect crystal clear sounds. You will hear sounds that you have never expected to hear like the clear pings of the cymbal hits and a great deal of high frequency sounds that you may have been missing all along.
If you loved the Mackie original HR series, you will absolutely fall in love with these too.
This monitor is not just a bigger brother with a really great exterior you will notice the subtle difference like smoother sounds, more mid-range clarity and deep impressive bass.
You will be nicely surprised by the sound that you get from this monitor, especially given its size.
There are always critics out there that will complain about Mackie or other monitors because they have their own personal favorites.
In many cases the critics complain about a monitor and it is not actually the monitor. It is the placement of the monitor in the room and the skill of the user.
One thing to keep in mind with this monitor is that the radiator is mounted in the back of the cabinet so you should not mount the monitor to close to the wall, you can cause damage to the monitor and of course run into some sound problems.
Engaging the LF switch in rooms that are not really ideal for reproducing low frequency sounds can help to improve the sound. Simply set the LF switch in the center. That setting can work really well in most rooms and you will still get plenty of LF sounds.
The main questions about this Mackie should be answered but you likely still have one left. “Is it worth the smallish investment?” Ultimately the answer is yes. You can find better monitors BUT you cannot find better monitors for the money.
The monitor is super user friendly. It looks great and it works well. The cost is reasonable and it offers a true to life sound. The depth is amazing and it offers a truly dynamic sound.
Mackie is a trusted industry name. The bottom line is that Mackie is a reliable company that stands by their products.
They put the work in and it shows in these monitors. Everything from the cabinet to the components are well thought out.
It maybe that it is not over the top expensive that keeps some people away but if you are looking for a sound that you can trust at a really nice price you would be greatly amiss to ignore the Mackie HR824 MKII. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity.
It is a good option for any studio setup.