MACKIE MP-320 Review
The US manufacturer Mackie introduced its first in-ear headphones around two years ago. After also becoming active in the microphone division, the in-ear range is now being expanded to include three more products. With the MP-320, MP-360, and MP-460, the company is expanding its series upwards, entering the price range from mid to high priced. With the Bluetooth adapter MP-BTA, Mackie also offers an interesting way of using the in-ears wirelessly. We took a closer look and listened to all four new products for you.
- Good sound quality in all models.
- Plenty of attenuation when properly fitted.
- Long-term comfort and stability.
- Detachable (and therefore replaceable) cable.
- Very well-suppressed cable microphonics.
While the first three in-ear headphones from Mackie’s MP series were comparatively simple, the current MP-320, MP-360, and MP-460 contain higher-quality technology. For example, all three headphones are equipped with a 3-way system. The MP-360 and MP-460 also have “Knowles Balanced Armature” drivers, which, according to Mackie, should deliver a clearer and more brilliant sound. You can find more information about this in the following video:
The three in-ears are delivered in compact cardboard boxes, which are suitable for storage and when opened, also offer some product information about the respective headphones. In addition, a small black plastic box containing the scope of delivery is included for transport. This includes twelve (!) Ear tips of different sizes and shapes (4 versions, each in three sizes), a second cable, a cleaning cloth (with the MP-460 also a small cleaning tool), and a gold-plated adapter from small to large jack. Both cables end on a 3.5 mm stereo jack plug. The second cable included in the scope of delivery offers a small remote control so that, for example, the volume can be adjusted when listening to music.
Mackie inear mp320 360 420 test
The packaging of the Mackie In-Ears contains a lot of information and accessories: plastic box, ear tips, cables, adapters.
In terms of appearance, Mackie has equipped all three in-ear headphones with transparent housing, while those of the cheaper models, MP-120 to MP-240, are completely black. I like the transparent housings better because they allow a nice view of the interior and are less noticeable on stage.
Technology and sound
All three in-ears are dynamic headphones that cover a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Mackie specifies the sensitivity as 100 dB (MP-320), 117 dB (MP-360) and 118 dB (MP-460) – all at +/- 3 dB @ 1 kHz. The impedances differ in MP-320: 15.5 ohms, MP-360: 15 ohms, MP-460: 15.5 ohms.
Mackie inear mp320 360 420 test
Easy to see through: the plastic housing allows a good view of the technology
In ascending price order, starting with the MP-320, I gradually tested the in-ears and used them for pure music listening in the studio for listening to my mixes and band rehearsals. In any case, all three models offer sufficient power reserves, and you should be able to handle them in noisy rehearsal and performance environments.
The three models present themselves very differently in terms of sound, but all more mature than the first three in-ears from Mackie, some of which were very much trimmed for hi-fi.
Let’s start with the cheapest of the three new models, the MP-320. A decent bass foundation awaits the user here, as the in-ear trumps. Although the headphones do not necessarily tend towards the hi-fi bathtub, I still find the sound image somewhat unbalanced. The bass range covers the lower mids, making it difficult to hear instruments at home in this frequency range. If you hike further up in terms of frequency, it becomes much more pleasant and clearer. I like the height range a lot.
Mackie mp320 360 460
In contrast, the next more expensive model, the MP-360, is more homogeneous overall. Here, too, I can hear a slightly promoted bass range, but it is not as bulky as on the smaller brother, which is good for the mids overall. Here, too, I like the height range very much, but the drivers seem to act a bit better and more accurately than with the MP-320. Overall, the MP-360 (like the MP-460) is a bit more jagged.
The current top model from Mackie’s in-ear series, the MP-460, sounds more than balanced. The bass foundation of the headphones is much more relaxed and more accurate, and this model fits into the overall sound image much better. The MP-460 also cuts a fine figure with short impulses, as its smaller brother MP-320 could cut a slice of it, but it cannot keep up in some places. With the MP-460, the mids allow a clear differentiation between individual instruments. With the highs, the in-ear shines without becoming sharp or uncomfortable. The sound is lively, and the in-ear catches up quickly, even with quick and short keystrokes, and brings it to the ear.
All three headphones have in common because they sit very well in the ear and can withstand more violent movements. Depending on the shape of the ear, this can, of course, be different for each user, but with a total of 12 ear adapters, there should be something suitable for every user and every ear shape.
Mackie mp in-ears test
Bluetooth adapter MP-BTA
As an extension to the three tested in-ears and compatible with the MP-120, MP-220, and MP-240, Mackie offers a Bluetooth adapter with the MP-BTA. This allows the In-Ears of the MP series to be operated wirelessly. The adapter is connected to the earplugs via the MMCX connections of the In-Ears – instead of the cable. Halfway between the actual Bluetooth adapter and the connection plugs, remote control can establish a connection to another Bluetooth device. The remote control is equipped with a plus and minus button, which can change the volume with a short, single press, and a longer press ensures that you can switch to the previous or next track – provided you use the In-Ears to listen to music.
Mackie inear mp320 360 420 test
This worked wonderfully in the studio and rehearsal room, but the function could not be tested under real-life conditions due to the lack of performances. As a lot more “radio devices” are used here, and the distances are much longer, you should test this extensively before making your first real appearance. Regardless of that, because of the Bluetooth interface, I see the adapter more as an add-on for private use, at least not a no-brainer. Full in-ear systems will be used in the (semi-) professional area, which can be connected to the console accordingly.
With the three headphones MP-320, MP-360, and MP-460, Mackie doubles its repertoire of in-ears for the stage in one fell swoop. Suppose the first three models were primarily aimed at the hi-fi listener. In that case, the focus is now on the hobby and semi-professionals, because meanwhile, a large number of singers and instrumentalists rely on the practical in-ear headphones. Consequently, Mackie has positioned its three new developments in the price range between mid to high price.
In terms of sound, the three versions offer good to very good performances. While the MP-320 comes up with a somewhat unbalanced sound image dominated by the bass range, the two bigger brothers MP-360 and MP-460, show that things can be even better with and with Mackie In-Ears. Their sound is much tidier and clearer and should appear more interesting for many users when choosing a product.
All three in-ears can score points due to the scope of delivery. In addition to a storage box, all three headphones are delivered with a second cable, 12 ear adapters, a cleaning cloth, and an adapter.
A nice extra is the MP-BTA Bluetooth adapter, which can turn the wired in-ears into wireless headphones fed with signals via Bluetooth. However, you have to put extra money on the table for this.