M-Audio AV32 vs Mackie CR3 are excellent studio monitors that you can get with less than a hundred dollars. Now, the question is, which one should you choose? We will help you answer that question by showing the differences between the two models in terms of design, features and connectivity, as well as performance.
Continue reading below to find out further about:
- The size and weight of each speaker
- Which speaker that looks nicer and better
- What connection ports that are available on each model
- The sound quality of M-Audio AV32 vs Mackie CR3
- Which pair of studio monitors that is generally more recommended
M-Audio AV32: Design and Dimensions
The low-end segment in the market of studio monitors is quite huge, yet difficult to navigate. There are so many options available. But many of them are lacking in terms of features and sound quality. However, the AV series from M-Audio has been around for some time, and it is now known to provide quality monitors at affordable price points. If you prefer to use headphones for monitoring, see AKG K712 Pro Vs HD600.
M-Audio AV32 is one of those amazing monitors that you can get for less than a hundred dollars. At the first time seeing it, you may notice right away that the company has tried to simplify things as much as possible, probably in order to reduce the production cost.
The entire body is black, with some parts such as the border of the woofer having a glossy accent. It indeed looks quite conventional. But it doesn’t look bad at all. The cabinet is constructed from MDF, whereas the baffle is made from a composite material.
M-Audio AV32 has stacked transducers. The tweeter is put in a sizable horn. You won’t find any grill on the speaker, which means that the transducers are exposed. Again, this indicates that the company has cut some corners to reduce the cost and keep the price low.
If we compare the dimensions of M-Audio AV32 vs Mackie CR3, we can easily see that M-Audio AV32 is slightly smaller and more compact. Each speaker measures 7.5 inches tall, 5.1 inches wide, and 6.1 inches deep. But M-Audio AV32 is a bit heavier than Mackie CR3, with each speaker weighing about 5.6 lbs.
M-Audio AV32: Features
M-Audio AV32 consists of two powered speakers that are equipped with Class A/B amplifiers. Each speaker features a 1-inch tweeter and a 3-inch woofer. There is an on-board volume control to allow you to adjust the loudness of the speakers quickly, along with standard auxiliary ports for media and headphones.
On the rear panel, the input and output options are fairly limited. There are RCA inputs as well as outputs for sending the sound signal to the passive speaker.
One nice thing about M-Audio AV32 is the fact that the power cord is detachable. As the effect, you will be able to move the speakers easily. When the speakers are not in use, you can store them neatly.
Overall, the features of M-Audio AV32 are indeed very limited. But, as far as bare-bone monitors go, these speakers already has all the basics that you need. The available inputs and outputs here are sufficient for most set-ups.
M-Audio AV32: Sound Quality and Power
You can spot a notable difference in their power right away when you compare the specs of M-Audio AV32 vs Mackie CR3. Of course, these are active speakers, so their maximum power depends on the amps inside them. M-Audio AV32 has lower power with just 10 Watts RMS per speaker. The total power provided by both speakers is 20 Watts RMS.
To be fair, 10 Watts RMS per speaker is actually already loud enough for use in a small room. You can hear everything across the frequency response range with ample volume without having to find and chase a sweet spot.
Regarding the frequency response range, it spans from 80 Hz to 20kHz. This is a common frequency response range for speakers in the low-end segment, especially those with a 3-inch woofer. However, M-Audio AV32 stands out by having more-or-less flat response on the woofer and tweeter.
The relatively flat response will allow you to get accurate sound, which is essential for monitoring. There is a slight bias, but it won’t affect the overall performance. You can spot flaws in your mix quite easily with these speakers.
Of course, there is some burn-in period when you use the speakers for the first time. You need to let the speakers work for some time before they unfold their optimum performance. Fortunately, the burn-in period is quite short, so you can get to work in no time. Note that the M-Audio AV32 speakers have rear firing ports, so you want to give some space between the speakers and the wall behind them.
Mackie CR3: Design and Dimensions
Now, let’s continue with Mackie CR3. Like M-Audio AV32, Mackie CR3 is available under one hundred bucks. If you want to step up, there is Mackie CR4, which is more expensive yet coming with slightly better specs. However, Mackie CR3 already offers very good performance and great value for the money.
One of the things that set Mackie CR3 apart from the competition is its beautiful look. Some people may argue that appearance isn’t important in the bigger picture, but most of us will still feel better and more satisfied to see good-looking monitors in our studio.
Mackie CR3 doesn’t try to emulate the typical design of high-end bookshelf speakers. Instead, it has its own approach with a simpler yet more assertive design. The cabinet is given a gray finish, but the borders of the transducers and the controls are colored in bright green. The combination of the colors surprisingly creates a refreshing, almost playful look.
As mentioned above, M-Audio AV32 vs Mackie CR3 have different dimensions. Mackie CR3 is slightly larger and bulkier. Each speaker here measures 8.2 inches tall, 5.5 inches wide, and 6.2 inches deep. Yet, the speakers are lighter, each weighing about 4.7 lbs.
Despite the relatively larger size, Mackie CR3 can still fit on most shelves just fine. The build quality is good. The enclosure is made of solid MDF, and it feels robust. The woofer has a polypropylene coating, and the tweeter has a silk dome. Just like M-Audio AV32, Mackie CR3 have exposed transducers, so you want to be careful when handling these speakers to avoid damaging the transducers.
Mackie CR3: Features
Feature-wise, Mackie CR3 is fairly standard. There is a 1-inch tweeter and a 3-inch woofer on each speaker. You can find the reflex ports on the speakers’ rear panels, which means that you want to put these speakers with some distance from the wall behind them to avoid sound reflection that can cause distortion.
The available inputs and outputs are great, and the included accessories can make Mackie CR3 quite versatile. The main speaker has an aux input for connecting a media player device and a headphone output. On the rear side of the main speaker, there are RCA inputs and 1/4-inch TRS inputs, along with the outputs for the passive speaker. The box includes a 1/8″-to-RCA cable and a 1/8″-to-1/8″ cable.
Mackie CR3 has a switch that will allow you to change the left and right speakers. So, you don’t need to worry about confusing the two speakers around. You can place the speakers however you want, and then flick the switch to make the speakers work as intended. This also allows the placement of the speakers to be more versatile.
Mackie CR3: Sound Quality and Power
In terms of raw power, Mackie CR3 is definitely more powerful. It has 50 Watts of power, so it won’t find any problem working in a medium-sized or slightly large room. It will provide ample volume. The overall performance is excellent, which is why many people are driven towards these speakers despite the crowded market competition.
The frequency response range is from 70 Hz to 20kHz. These speakers can reach slightly deeper bass compared to M-Audio AV32. The overall sound of Mackie CR3 is not flat at all. There is an obvious bias, with pretty strong bass. However, the strong bass doesn’t disrupt the mids and highs, and it will allow you find flaws in the low frequencies of your mix easily.
Professionals may find the bias a bit annoying, but most users will get used to it quickly. After some time using the speakers, you will be familiar with the character of the bias. The superb clarity of the speakers will allow you to find subtle imperfections quickly.
The performance at low volume remains impressive. The speakers keep delivering nice balanced sound even when the volume is turned down. There is no distortion. This is useful when you want to hear what sound that has the most presence in your mix.
M-Audio AV32 vs Mackie CR3
Between these two models, Mackie CR3 is generally more recommended. The overall performance is better. It has greater power, and the sound is great. The sound has very good clarity that will allow you to find flaws easily. The bass is pretty strong but won’t disrupt the mids and highs. Feature-wise, Mackie CR3 is also great, with a few input options and the ability to switch the left and right speakers.