The Mackie CR3 Studio Monitors review today is intended for our readers on a budget! These are designed for multimedia creation and stimulation,delivering studio-quality plan and performance in smooth, small-footprint designs.Featuring 50 watts of power and premium segments like a sound-enhancing high-frequency waveguide, Creative Reference monitors ensure pristine, exact sound for any application.Choose which side of your desk gets the volume handle with CR’s speaker position switch and take advantage of convenient front-panel features like a dedicated input for cell phone playback. Besides, you get all the links you need to bring right out of the box. With Mackie Creative Reference monitors, you get professional sound quality and features in smaller desk-friendly designs perfect for work, play and everything in between.

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There has been a noticeable trend towards active speakers that fall halfway between old-style computer speakers and budget nearfield studio monitors. Considering the bewildering range of activities we conduct on our computers these days it’s hardly surprising.Sometimes a full-blown monitors system is overkill when you just want to plug in and play.

It’s probably fair to say that the Creative Reference series is not designed for critical listening applications in commercial studios.

Creative Impulse

Although similar in many respects to conventional active nearfields, the design criteria for the Creative Reference speaker is somewhat different. There are no frequency shaping or equalisation switches and only one speaker from each pair is active. The not inconsiderable trade off is ease of use and a wider than usual set of connection options.

The bundled accessories include acoustic isolation pads to minimise boomy bass and provide an up or down tilt for focused listening, a 1/8in to stereo RCA cable to connect computer output to speakers, as well as a 1/8in cable for smart phone or media.

Player Connection

The CR3 also come with a generous length of speaker cable.The active enclosure contains the amplifiers for both the left and right sides and there’s a volume control on the speaker baffle. Users can decide if they want the ‘master’ speaker to be placed on the left or right and there’s a Position Select switch so the speaker knows where it is.

Fronting Up

The volume control doubles up as an on/off switch, and sockets for headphones and Aux input are also located on the front panel.This makes it about as it gets to hook up a smart phone to the speakers.Other options include balanced TRS jack and unbalanced RCA sockets labelled for left and right.

The model feature small footprint all-wood enclosures with smooth high frequency waveguides and rear ports to bolster the bottom end.

The CR3 3 has 50 watts of power to drive a 3-in polypropylene coated woofer and a 3/4in ferrofluid cooled silk-dome tweeter, and the frequency range is given as 80Hz-20kHz.

Testing Times

The CR3 acquitted itself very well.The overall sound was open and transparent with a nicely airy treble.The high bass roll off point was apparent because kick drums do lack chesty thump, but the response was fast enough to convey bass lines with the notes and timing of grooves fully intact.

Imaging was also noticeable for its crisp focus and solidity as well as an impressively deep sound stage. However the CR3’s limitations become apparent when they’re pushed hard because material with prominent and deep bass parts induces audible turbulence around the port openings.


  • Professional-grade components for streamlined sonic performance
  • 50 watts of clean, articulate stereo sound
  • 3″ polypropylene-covered woofer
  • 75″ ferrofliud-cooled silk-dome tweeter
  • All inclusive recurrence range perfect for full-range multimedia (80Hz-20kHz)
  • Choose which side of your desk gets the volume handle with CR3’s advantageous speaker placement switch
  • Advantageous front board volume handle with lit power ring gives you on/off/volume control and power indication where you need it
  • Plug your smartphone or other source right into the front of the speakers and listen instantly
  • Front-facing earphone jack auto-massacres speaker yield and provides material earphone volume control
  • A choice of inputs for basic association 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 bureau provides a characteristic sonic character superior to low-grade plastic designs
  • Acoustic isolation pads minimize boomy bass build-up and give up/down tilt control for more focused listening
  • 1/8″ to RCA link to interface computer yield to speakers