Recording - March 2017 - 43

working with a medium- to large-format
console. They were decoupled by a set of
Sorbothane domes (50 Durometer, chosen
by speaker weight). I also listened to the
speakers in a typical desktop arrangement,
set on a table with IsoAcoustics Aperta
isolation stands angled up at the mixing
position in a triangle about 40" on a side.
As I said above, I found the XR824's
sound a familiar and comfortable fit to my
ears, very much sharing a heritage with the
original HR824. After some long listening
sessions, I began to pick out the nuances of
what makes the XR824 a thoroughly modern
speaker when compared to its ancestor.
In the 1990s, there were two extremes
in monitor frequency response, each
with its fans and detractors. One was the
"mid-forward" design, which presented
key sources like lead vocals, guitars, and
the kick/bass relationship forward in the
mix so they could be easily examined in
detail. The other was the "smiley curve"
design, which held the mids back a bit so
that extended treble and bass were easier
to hear. The original HR824 definitely fell
on the latter side of the spectrum; it was
notable for its deep, clear, powerful bass

and sparkly high end more than for its
midrange performance.
When I first started listening to the
XR824, I heard that wonderful bass again.
I don't know if they really are down only
3 dB at 36 Hz, but the low E on a bass
guitar (41 Hz) had plenty of fundamental
to go with its overtones, as did low notes
on a grand piano. We can argue specs
or go with our ears, and my ears tell me
that the bass from the XR824 is plentiful,
deep, and not at all fuzzy, woofy, or onenote. If you're worried about hearing the
low end and you don't want to mess with
a subwoofer, you'll love the XR824.
The highs were my first surprise. They
were clear but refined, reaching high
but not overly-accentuated. This was a
marked difference from the bright HR824;
I half suspect some old hands will flip the
+2 dB high shelf on, just to relive the good
(?) old days! The XR824's treble sports a
much more modern speaker voicing,
giving you what you need to hear without
skewering your eardrums... a refreshing
change, in my opinion.
The mids were my next surprise. They
were full, rounded, gelled my mixes very

nicely, and sat right where they should
be rather than being recessed behind the
highs and lows. I started with bass-centric
mixes and noted the lows as mentioned
before, but when I moved to working
with acoustic or electric guitar, vocals, or
complicated acoustic arrangements with
strings or winds, everything was where
it needed to be. Some folks might still
hear a ghost of the old "smiley curve"
days because of the bottom end, but the
XR824's mixes translated confidently to a
variety of listening environments.

Conclusions

It should be clear that I really like these
monitors. They take a sound that I worked
with for a good chunk of my career and
update it to the modern era with a more
usable midrange and a clear but non-brittle
high end, combining that with the
extended lows that make Mackie monitors
so much fun to use. They're on my short list
for recommended speakers in their price
range... and a notch or two above their
price range as well, when you consider that
they sound better than their predecessors
while costing a third less!


http://www.kiqproductions.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - March 2017

Contents
Recording - March 2017 - Intro
Recording - March 2017 - Cover1
Recording - March 2017 - Cover2
Recording - March 2017 - 1
Recording - March 2017 - 2
Recording - March 2017 - 3
Recording - March 2017 - 4
Recording - March 2017 - 5
Recording - March 2017 - Contents
Recording - March 2017 - 7
Recording - March 2017 - 8
Recording - March 2017 - 9
Recording - March 2017 - 10
Recording - March 2017 - 11
Recording - March 2017 - 12
Recording - March 2017 - 13
Recording - March 2017 - 14
Recording - March 2017 - 15
Recording - March 2017 - 16
Recording - March 2017 - 17
Recording - March 2017 - 18
Recording - March 2017 - 19
Recording - March 2017 - 20
Recording - March 2017 - 21
Recording - March 2017 - 22
Recording - March 2017 - 23
Recording - March 2017 - 24
Recording - March 2017 - 25
Recording - March 2017 - 26
Recording - March 2017 - 27
Recording - March 2017 - 28
Recording - March 2017 - 29
Recording - March 2017 - 30
Recording - March 2017 - 31
Recording - March 2017 - 32
Recording - March 2017 - 33
Recording - March 2017 - 34
Recording - March 2017 - 35
Recording - March 2017 - 36
Recording - March 2017 - 37
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Recording - March 2017 - 40
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Recording - March 2017 - Cover3
Recording - March 2017 - Cover4
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