Mackie CR3 Review

Mackie CR3 Review

Summary – Mackie CR3 Review

The Mackie Reference Series CR3s are a really decent set of bookshelf speakers you can find that closely rivals the Edifier R1280Ts. The CR3s deliver studio-quality design and performance with an ultra-wide frequency range for full-range multimedia (80 Hz – 20 kHz). The speaker is built using professional grade components for optimized sonic performance with convenient front-panel controls. With high-output drivers, a true studio-monitor waveguide system and an all-wood cabinet enclosure, the CR delivers excellent sound through its meticulous design. It also comes with handy features like a front panel aux input for your smartphone or tablet, headphone out and volume knob that doubles as an on/off switch. If you are looking for a Bluetooth setup with these best bookshelf speakers, the CR4-BT and CR5-BT editions feature no-hassle steaming via Bluetooth – simply pair them with your smartphone, tablet or Bluetooth device to instantly stream music.

Mackie CR3 Review

The Pros & Cons

The Pros. The Mackie CR3s deliver studio quality sound performance with a wide frequency range between 80 Hz to 20 kHz. They are especially good for vocal and instrumental performances with clear stereo separation and crystal clear details.

The Cons. While the Mackie CR3s deliver crisp and clear sound performance, the bass lacks depth and does not feel as punchy. The CR3s would definitely benefit from the addition of a powered subwoofer.


We were quite impressed with the solid construction of the Mackie bookshelf speakers. The size of the CR3s and CR4s fit perfectly into the bookshelf and are very easy to hook up. The quality construction of the Mackies was apparent straight out of the box. These speakers feel solid, durable and heavy, and we particularly liked the green/white colored rims which gave these speakers a very stylistic appearance on the bookshelf. The meticulous design, combined with various sizes to choose from in the CR series, makes the Mackies one of the most versatile and best bookshelf speakers you can find.

Sound Performance

In terms of sound performance, these speakers sound extremely good and you can tell that the manufacturers really went out of their way to test these speakers to perfection. With the Mackies you get to hear all the nice details in the music with very good lows, mids and highs. There is certainly a lot of bass with these speakers and you can be surprised at how much bass you can get out of these speakers. The clarity that we got at low volumes is simply breath-taking – we did not expect such good sound quality and soundstage from these bookshelf speakers at this price range. In short, these speakers deliver the clearest and some of the best studio quality sound we have heard, in fact reaching much lower than you would expect from little cabinet speakers.

Unlike most tweeter and subwoofer combination speakers, we found that we could listen to the Mackies in very low volumes and they still give nice balanced sound without filing the whole house with subwoofer. The CR3s and CR4s are hands down little beasts as bookshelf speakers go and will deliver stunning music performance to your home audio/theatre setup without the heavy price tag.

The Verdict?

The Mackies CR3s and CR4s make for a pair of stunning set of bookshelf speakers with phenomenal sound performance and are highly value for money. Not only are these speakers solidly built and look sleek from almost any angle, the Creative Reference series bluetooth versions allow you to connect seamlessly to your smart phone for wireless playback. The Mackies also come with lots of accessories included such as cables and isolation pads for you to hook up these speakers and run instantly. The sound performance of the Mackies was surprisingly good – we were very surprised that such delicate and detailed sound could come out of these monitors with good bass extension, even at low volumes. Overall, the Mackies are a really solidly designed set of bookshelf speakers that excels in sound clarity and detail, and are definitely worth a closer look.

Be sure to check out our top picks for the best bookshelf speakers that deliver really detailed and stunning sound performance.