If you listen to music, watch movies or play games through your desktop or laptop, you could use a good set of speakers. Our favorite pair is the Mackie CR4BT set, which sounds great and is easy to set up and use. In addition, these speakers will not take up too much space on your desktop and will easily pair with your mobile devices via Bluetooth.
We recommend the Mackie CR4BT computer speakers because they provide a complete and balanced sound, whether you’re listening to rap music with heavy bass, ambient soundscapes or conference calls. Intuitive design options, such as placing the volume wheel in front and allowing the left or right speaker to connect to the power supply, make this system easy to configure and use throughout the day. Although the speakers are slightly larger than the others we tested, they are still small enough not to take care of your desk. However, we are not crazy about the neon green accents on the speaker’s face; We would prefer different color options.
The Mackie CR5BT is a complete package which almost seems too good to be true at their priceThe build quality and design of these speakers is good, but not perfect. They have a wooden cabinet, and you can really feel the quality of their construction. These are a very pro-sumer set of speakers, and it is apparent in everything from the informal language used on their box, and the feature set they have, to their choice of colors to appeal to general consumers. They obviously do not have a grill in the front, and have green rings around the drivers. Now in the pictures these rings may seem bright gamery green like Razer uses, but it’s actually a little dull and unexciting shade of green, and I think that the aesthetics would have been greatly improved if they used a brighter green color. The green rings are the only thing that keeps these speakers from looking extremely boring, as otherwise they are completely black, and the drivers are completely black too without any texture on them. They have a power LED around the volume knob, and the Bluetooth button lights up too when it is connected to a device. I think that they look reasonably good when it comes to studio monitors. Two minor complaints I have about the build is that the Bluetooth button is very poorly constructed and feels very flimsy, and that the finishing at the centre of the woofer isn’t good, and the joining point between the driver and the dust cap area has a rough ring of plastic, which looks kind of cheap if there’s light reflecting off it. The tweeter is soft dome, and the woofer is coated with polypropylene, so moderate level of impacts should not damage these easily. They are rear ported, which can create problem with the bass response if you are planning to place them close to the wall, in which case you should really go for front ported speakers. In the box, you will find a complete set of accessories needed to get you going. Apart from the speaker and manuals, you get a 3.5mm to RCA cable, a cable to connect your active and passive speaker, and a set of split isolation pads which you can use to raise and tilt them up by a few degrees. You also get a free sticker if you feel like expressing your Mackie love. The cable that comes with these to power the passive speaker isn’t very long, and even though I don’t keep them far apart from each other, I still have to take care while adjusting the position of these speakers because of the short length of the cable. It’s great that they have included split isolation pads, and while you can use them to raise these by an inch and can also control the tilt angle to some degree, these really work best when you raise them to the ear level, as they are near field monitors with directional sound reproduction. I use a set of acoustic foam panels for this purpose. These speakers do take a serious measure of space on your desk, so make sure you are prepared before ordering these, as they do not have a speaker mount at the bottom, and can only be kept on the isolation pads that come in the box. Now when it comes to the features, these really have all the bells and whistles, and are really an all-rounder of a pair of speakers. At the back you’ll find a balanced input of quarter inch jacks for left and right channels, which can also take unbalanced input. Then you’ve got RCA input for use with a PC, TV, or a smartphone. There’s a switch that lets you swap the left and right channels, so you can keep the active speaker to the left or right , depending on your setup, which is really great to see, and then finally on the active speakers, there’s the output for the passive speaker along with the power button. There’s nothing on the passive speaker except for the input from the amplifier in the active speaker. Now coming on to the unique features they have for a studio monitor, they have Bluetooth, a headphone out on the front, and an AUX in in the front along with it. This is a very good set of input and outputs.
The aux in works as expected, you can of course use it with your phone, and it can even act as a secondary input from any other device. The great thing about these speakers is that all the inputs work together, so plugging in the AUX cable doesn’t mute the inputs from the rear, and even when you have Bluetooth connected, no other input is muted so you don’t need to switch or remove any input, so you can actually use up to 4 inputs at the same time, without having any one of it muted, which is a big convenience, and can really make your life easy if you have a complex audio setup. Coming on to the Bluetooth performance, it is an area where I was a little disappointed with these. Bluetooth has improved a lot, and even though I didn’t expect these speakers to have a great DAC, the low end over Bluetooth is not good, and you can easily hear the compromise compared to a wired connection. They would probably still be much better than any portable Bluetooth speaker that you might have, but these are not as good as they could be for listening to music over Bluetooth. For movies, TV Shows, and YouTube videos, this is fine and I use them quite often with my phone for that purpose Bluetooth is turned on automatically every time you turn these on, so that’s great as the only time you have to press the Bluetooth button is while pairing them with your Bluetooth devices for the first time. Now you may have noticed that I have put a heatsink at the back of these, and that is because I read in many 1 star reviews on Amazon, that these stopped working after a few months. With their sale numbers, it is obvious that there will be more faulty units, and that you will find similar comments on most of the other studio monitors.. When I touched them at the back, they were getting very hot, more than I like, so I used a spare Intel heatsink that came with my CPU, and the heatsink was also getting hot, which means that it was working, which is good. It is normal for speakers to get hot at the back, because they have an internal amplifier at back, which loses a lot of energy as heat. These were getting very hot initially, but after a few weeks they stopped doing it, and now in the winters to do not get hot, so I don’t know what is going on. Still I’d prefer not removing the heatsink for those hot summer days. But of course, this is completely optional. You can also turn off the speaker by turning the volume knob counter-clockwise all the way, but I found that the back of it was still heating up, meaning that it doesn’t completely cut the power, so it’s kind of pointless. Now coming to the most important part, the sound performance of these speakers is really great. Generally I divide my sound performance reviews in different parts for Bass, Mids, and Highs, but these speakers are so neutral that I don’t think that there’s a need for that. The fact that these speakers are so feature filled doesn’t make them compromise on their sound. These have a 5 inch woofer, and a 3/4th inch silk-dome tweeter. A 5 inch woofer can produce a lot of bass, and I don’t think that these need a sub-woofer. If you are not getting enough bass with these, make sure that there’s no bass cancellation going on because of the shape of your room. These really have a good enough range to handle anything, and adding a sub-woofer might actually have a very adverse effect if you work with sound professionally or create music, but for the consumers that are looking to use these primarily as media speakers, and do want those extreme sub bass frequencies below 80 Hz, and like the sub-woofer sound, you can add a sub-woofer, which might actually cost you more than these speakers. The mids and highs are very well balanced, and there’s no emphasis or reduction in the mid to high range to talk about. The mids sound great and natural, and the highs have a great presence without being fatiguing even after long listening sessions. The imaging of these speakers also is great, and these actually have a soundstage that can make you differentiate between close and far away sounds. This is great for general listening and music production, but it also makes these speakers good for gaming, and even in FPS games like PUBG and fortnite, you can actually hear the footsteps and get a very good directional awareness of gunshots and other sounds. You can hear the background noise in your recordings, and these speakers are very revealing of the source, so I did hear a big improvement in sound quality after upgrading my DAC from from a Fiio E10K to an SMSL Sanskrit, so make sure you pair them with a decent DAC to get the most out of them. One thing to note is that the imaging and soundstage depends a lot on your speaker placement and height. So for best results, you will have to raise or tilt them to the ear level, and angle them correctly. These are 50 watt speakers, which is a lot of power, meaning that they can go very loud, which they do without any distortion, and can easily fill a medium sized room with good quality sound. I have not been able to take them past the 70% level, as they get uncomfortably loud at that point, and these can damage your hearing, if you are not aware about the volume level before you play something, especially if you are experimenting with sine waves. These are studio monitors, so of course, if you want to use them for mixing and mastering, they will work great too, they have the detail and neutrality needed for professional audio work, and can compete with higher end monitors. Now one difference between a more expensive and professional studio monitor and the Mackie CR5 is that the higher end monitors have adjustments at the back for bass and treble to make them have a neutral frequency response in a variety of rooms and placements. You are not going to find that here, though you can achieve a lot of it with an equalizer, so it’s not a big deal. These are good for professional use, and for the price it is really tough to beat them, but of course there are better 5 inch monitors out there when you start looking at ones which cost double of what these do. A big limitation on the quality of room can be your room, even though I have used some acoustic treatment in my room and at the wall at back of the speakers, the room still doesn’t have the perfect sound and has a lot of bass cancellation. Room acoustics can have a big impact on the quality of sound, they can be a complex subject, and in worst worst cases you might even need professional help, so do keep these factors in mind while deciding on any pair of speakers. I actually really recommend watching their Studio Monitor Basics video, it is quite informative, has minimal advertising, and what really impressed me was that they tell you to not buy a sub-woofer even though they sell them, and that really tells you that they actually interested in the science of sound reproduction and aren’t only interested in getting you to buy their products. So in conclusion, these speakers really deliver on what you expect, they sound great, can be used for making music, watching movies, and even gaming. Even though they have some minor flaws like the bass response over Bluetooth connection, these are really great all-rounder speakers that should fulfil all your audio and audio setup needs.
- Mackie CR3 Pair of 3″ Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors Speakers. Studio-quality design, sound, and performance, ideal for multimedia creation and entertainment. Professional-grade components for optimized sonic performance: 50 watts of clean, articulate stereo sound. 3″ Polypropylene-coated woofer .75″ Ferrofluid-cooled silk-dome tweeter. Ultra-wide frequency range, perfect for full-range multimedia. 80 Hz – 20 kHz.
- Choose which side of the desk gets the volume knob with the convenient speaker placement switch. Convenient front panel volume knob with lit power ring gives you on/off/volume control and power indication. where you need it . Plug your smartphone (or other sources) right into the front of the speakers and listen instantly. Front-facing headphone jack auto-defeats speaker output and provides tactile headphone volume control.
- A choice of inputs for simple connection to almost any audio source: 1/4″, 1/8″, RCA. Smooth waveguide design delivers unmatched clarity and sound dispersion at all listening levels. Custom-tuned rear ports for smooth, even bass extension. All-wood cabinet provides a natural sonic character superior to low-grade plastic designs.
- Included accessories: Acoustic isolation pads minimize boomy bass build-up and provide up/down tilt control for more focused listening. 1/8″ to stereo RCA cable to connect computer output to speakers. 1/8″ to 1/8″ cable to connect a smartphone or media player to the front panel of speakers. Speaker-to-speaker cable.
]If you are willing to compromise sound quality and connection options a little to save money, consider the Mackie CR3 set. It has most of the same convenient features and design elements as the Mackie CR4BT, but in a smaller way with a smaller woofer, which means that the speakers cannot play as loud or as deep as the CR4BT. The CR3 also lacks Bluetooth, so it doesn’t connect so easily to your mobile devices. Still, these are by far the best-sounding computer speakers we’ve tested in this price range and a significant update for anyone who has been using the integrated speakers of your computer. Mackie is a company that makes speakers and audio equipment, and these are their CR3 audio monitor speakers. A pair of speakers that deliver professional-grade sound at a more affordable and friendly price. The design of the speaker is simple and understated, with a black design with green accent colors. The speaker cabinet itself is made of wood but looks like it is covered with vinyl to keep it protected, the front of the speaker is made of plastic. The speaker isn’t exactly small but it isn’t too big either, and that’s due to the woofer being 3-inches, hence the 3 in the CR3 name. The tweeter is 0.75-inches. Out of the two speakers, one of them is an active speaker or powered speaker, and another is a passive speaker which is powered by the active speaker. The active speaker has the main inputs and connectivity options. On the front, you have the volume knob, which also allows you to turn on and off the speaker. There’s also an AUX in and headphone jack on the front of the speaker. On the back, there’s an RCA input as well as a 1/4 jack connector. This means the speaker should be able to connect to pretty much any device. The speakers also come with a 3.5mm to RCA cable, AUX cable and also speaker cable to connect both speakers. I did end up getting a longer speaker cable as the one that comes in the box was a little too short to be routed through my desk. The back of the active speaker is also where the non-removable power cable goes, which I would have liked it to be removable, as well as the main power switch for the speaker power supply and also a channel selector for where the active speaker will be on your desk. I have had a few problems with this switch where one speaker would be silent or audio wouldn’t be coming through properly. I’ve reached out to Mackie to ask about this and their solution is to spray contact cleaner into the switch, I haven’t gotten around to doing this yet but I will do it eventually. But it would’ve been even better if it would’ve worked properly in the first place. The passive speaker simply has the speaker connectors on it and nothing else. I have been very impressed with these speakers and happy with them since I bought them a few years ago. Just so you know what I’m judging these against, previously to buying these I was using a Logitech 2.1 system. I’ve also used some Adam A5 monitor speakers when I studied Music Tech and my headphones of choice are Audio-Technica M50X. The balance of sound on these speakers is great, as they really should be with monitor speakers. Everything sounds balanced, there isn’t too much bass or treble. I personally listen to a lot of electronic music, so that is what I’ve heard most through them but they sound exceptional with all genres. These speakers are also good for content creation, whether that be mixing audio or editing it for video – I much prefer using speakers for creation than headphones and the clarity and quality that these speakers deliver for me to do that I am very happy with. The speakers are also 50-watts, so they get really loud if you need them to. Most of the time I will have my speakers on 25% volume as otherwise, it’s overkill for how loud I need them to be. The speakers also come with sound isolation foam which can be placed underneath the speakers to reduce booming bass sounds that may pass through furniture to help improve the clarity of the audio. So, to summarise sound quality, the quality of the monitors is exceptional for the price point and affordability that they come in at and I couldn’t be happier with them. In conclusion, the Mackie CR3 speakers are a great buy if you’re on a budget but need high quality and accurate audio for under £100. I can’t really fault them apart from two things, the channel switch on the back and the power cable not being removable – but apart from that, I am a happy customer.
For the music lover who demands better audio quality and is willing to pay more to get it, the Audioengine HD3 set is the closest thing we have found to a perfect set of computer speakers. It has substantially better sound quality and a smaller and more elegant design than the Mackie CR4BT. In addition, the HD3 has a more complete connection panel, with analog and USB inputs and a subwoofer output for people who want to add a subwoofer. Bluetooth with aptX HD is also integrated. However, the HD3 costs twice as much as the CR4BT.
in 2016 audio engine released the HD six a flagship full range powered speaker system not only was it beautifully finished but it also offered tons of options for connectivity today we’ll be reviewing the HD three they’re a smaller version of the HD six the HD three offers many distinct features and aesthetics of the HD six but in a more compact form factor designed for desktop with the hd3 comes in a choice of three beautiful finishes a solid veneer walnut or cherry or satin black black grills attach magnetically to the front but the speaker looks great with or without the room the left speaker has the volume knob which is also used to power the speaker on and off as well as the headphone output and bluetooth pairing button the slot loaded front firing port means you can place them just about anywhere size-wise they’re just slightly larger than audio engines famous 8 2 plus speakers making them ideal for a desktop or small room system the HD 3 is a two way powered speaker system meaning the amp is built-in all you need is a source to get music playing they have a two and three-quarter inch Kevlar woofer and a three-quarter inch silk dome tweeter the hd3 also uses a cast basket which provides great rigidity this is a step up from the stamp basket feature in the AP plus as mentioned earlier the hd3 really shines when it comes to connectivity options on the back panel you will find stereo RCA inputs a mini plug input and a micro USB input the HD 3s also come with a nice gold plated audio mini cable a basic USB cable the HD three also features a built-in Bluetooth and temper more on that in a second if you are looking for some extra bass you will also find a set of audio outputs that will allow you to connect this up a toggle switch on the back of the web speaker will allow you to send all the low bass directly to the connected subwoofer it’s will lessen the demand on the HD 3s themselves allowing it to focus on the mid and I as we’ve come to expect from audio engine products setup was a breeze in the box you will find a heavy gauge 2-liter speaker cable which comes pre-terminated with gold-plated banana plugs use this to connect the left speaker to the right should you wish to use your own cable the connections except either banana plugs or bare wire and the quality is far superior to what you will normally find in speakers at this price range audio engine recommends about 40 to 50 hours of break-in time so while they were playing we decided to test out the Bluetooth capability the built-in antenna works great the HD 3 paired easily with every device we tested and was able to remember the six different Bluetooth devices using the iPhone we were able to stay connected up to about 50 feet away even through multiple walls audial engines powered speakers have always impressed us by building the amp directly into the speakers they make sure they work perfectly together we were very pleased at the way the hd3 amplifier powers these speakers well they will certainly work as a small bookshelf system these speakers really flourished as desktop speakers they were clearly designed for near-field listening they don’t overemphasize any frequencies keeping everything smooth and easy to listen to for hours at a time for more complex music we recommend adding the audio engine sub and utilizing the bass which we mentioned earlier it really opened things up allowing the upper ranges and vocals to come through crystal-clear the audio engine d1 is one of our favorite decks for the money audio engine took the same components out in the d1 and included them inside the HD 3 not only will music coming from your computer into the USB input sound fantastic but you can also drive a really nice pair of headphones as well while we’re a fan of the audio engine 82 plus improvements is extra features you get with the HD 3 make it an obvious choice if it’s within your budget you’ll have a hard time finding a better value for your desktop you can also pair the HD 3s of the photo stage and an entry-level turntable for a great sounding compact system all the products mentioned in this video are available for purchase on audio advice.com the links can be found in the description while you’re there we’d love for you to check out some of our other content including in-depth reviews setup guides thought pieces
- POWERED BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS WITH 100 FOOT RANGE: The HD3 Bluetooth Speakers feature built-in analog power amplifiers that bring you incredible audio. The aptX HD Bluetooth codec with 100 foot range and 24-bit DAC allow you to bypass the low-quality sound card in your laptop or phone to deliver premium quality sound.
- FEATURES Small speakers with a big sound that fills any room, premium Bluetooth wireless that works with all your devices and apps and high-end sound wrapped in hand-built wood cabinets. Simple setup, no receiver needed, no network setup, no passwords, front panel volume control and headphone jack. Bluetooth, USB, RCA & 3.5mm inputs.
- WORKS WITH Turntables with built-in or external preamps, all music players: phones, desktop computers, laptops, notebooks, TVs with an analog output, CD and DVD players, video game consoles and all products with 1/8″ mini-jack or RCA outputs
- WHAT’S INCLUDED: Pair of Audioengine HD3 Wireless Powered Speakers, Bluetooth antenna, 2m speaker wire, power supply & cord, 1.5m 3.5mm mini-jack audio cable, 1.5m USB cable, microfiber speaker bags and cable bags, setup guide, brochure
- WARRANTY: Audioengine builds quality speakers that they stand behind. All Audioengine products come with a 3-year transferable warranty.