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Mackie MP-360 & MP-460 In-Ear Monitors — A Real-World Review

Recording pro Fela Davis puts two different models of Mackie IEMs — the MP-360 and the MP-460 — to the test in the studio, and comes away impressed.

Mackie MP-460 In-Ear Monitors
Mackie MP-460 In-Ear Monitors

Mackie’s MP-360 and MP-460 professional in-ear monitors are a great option for the engineer that can’t afford $1,500 custom IEMs but wants something better than basic buds that have one speaker driver.

Fela Davis
Fela Davis is a 2019 Hall of Fame inductee at Full Sail University. She also owns 23dB Productions and One of One Productions Studio, which specializes in podcasting, video, and music production. Clients include the Holding Court with Eboni K. Williams podcast, Sirius XM, Atlantic Records, iHeart Radio and numerous Grammy award-winning musicians. www.oneofoneproductions.com Courtesy of Full Sail

More drivers can give better clarity for recording and mixing, so Mackie has packed both models with Knowles balanced armature drivers and a 3-way crossover. The MP-360 has three Knowles drivers in each ear, while the MP-460 gets four drivers for a quad driver design. These drivers, originally developed for hearing aids and critical listening applications, are intended to provide fidelity, realism and detail, providing considerable output with less power, with the MP-360 impedance at 36 ohms and MP-460 impedance at 15.5 ohms.

The Mackie MP IEMs arrive with a small, sturdy hard-molded travel box that holds everything needed to take care of the in-ear monitors. This includes a cleaning cloth, cleaning tool, 1/8″-to-1/4″ adapter, braided cable and an extra braided cable with remote for phone or laptop use. Attaching the IEMs to the MMCX connectors is with a simple click-and-go system. There’s also a dozen pairs of ear tips which include wide-bore silicone, silicone, foam, triple-flange styles with a small, medium, and large option in each style.

The frequency range for both sets of MP IEMs is 20 Hz to 20 KHz, with up to 40 dB of sound isolation, which is key to blocking outside noises in order to hear what’s going on with your recording or mix. The Mackie MP-360 has 117 dB of audio output and the MP-460 gives you an extra decibel at 118 dB. I could definitely hear the differences and it’s one of the reasons I liked the MP-460 a bit more. The MP-460’s four drivers ultimately give you more information in the mid-range; that was what really put it over the edge, not the loudness. You’ll never turn it up all the way with it being so close to the threshold of pain for hearing.

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The isolation that can be achieved once you find the correct ear tips is just what’s needed for a pristine recording and mix. Clarity in the mid-range for vocals is what I look for in any IEM and the MP-460 knocked that right out of the park for me! That clarity gave me a real sense of what was going on with my recordings and mixes.

I found that the MP-460 sat better in my ears as well, and gave a better seal for me to hear, whether I was recording, using them for mixing podcasts or walking around town listening to music. The MP-360 felt a little tighter in my ears compared to the MP-460, but both pairs were enjoyable and comfortable.

Overall, I was very impressed by both pairs of MP IEMs. They’re versatile enough to use out on tour, in the studio or during a good workout! The hard-plastic case that houses the IEMs is perfect for the road and light packing. An important accessory for the Mackie MP series is the MP-BTA Bluetooth adapter, which makes the IEMs perfect for working out, also adding a crystal-clear microphone for cell phone use. It was amazing to finally have mobility with a great-sounding IEM. The additional $99.99 is well worth it to have an enjoyable listening experience.

The Mackie MP-360 retail price is $399 and the Mackie MP-460 retail price is $499. Both of these IEMs were impressive, but I’d suggest spending the additional $100 for the MP-460, as I found the fit and clarity are totally worth it.

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