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Mackie CR3™ Creative Reference™ Multimedia Monitors

2-way powered studio monitors with 3" woofer and 3/4" tweeter

28 Reviews | 3 questions - 12 answers


Our take on the Mackie CR3™ Creative Reference™ Multimedia Monitors

Mackie built the CR3 Creative Reference monitors tough to play loud, but kept them small enough to work in even the tightest spaces. Don't be fooled by their modest dimensions or price. These pint-sized monitors deliver rich, powerful sound thanks to a combination of premium quality components and solid, all-wood cabinets. Each boasts a rugged, poly-coated woofer enhanced by a custom-tuned, rear ported enclosure for smooth, even bass extension. Their 3/4" silk dome tweeters feature a smooth waveguide design for improved sound dispersion and stereo imaging. Whether you're creating your next album or simply enjoying your tunes and videos, the CR3 monitors will deliver the goods.

Big on sound, not on space

Mackie built the CR3 Creative Reference monitors tough to play loud, but kept them small enough to work in even the tightest spaces. Don't be fooled by their modest dimensions or price. These pint-sized monitors deliver rich, powerful sound thanks to a combination of premium quality components and solid, all-wood cabinets. Each boasts a rugged, poly-coated woofer enhanced by a custom-tuned, rear ported enclosure for smooth, even bass extension. Their 3/4" silk dome tweeters feature a smooth waveguide design for improved sound dispersion and stereo imaging. Whether you're creating your next album or simply enjoying your tunes and videos, the CR3 monitors will deliver the goods.

Convenient features and flexible connections

Mackie CR3 Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors

The CR3's amplification, connections and controls are all found on the powered monitor, which connects to the passive monitor using the supplied 6' speaker wire.

Setting up your CR3 monitors is easy. The speaker's left/right selector switch lets you choose which side of your work station gets the volume knob, headphone output and auxiliary input jacks. (Thanks Mackie, a lot of us really do have a preference!)  Your choice of balanced 1/4" TRS or unbalanced RCA rear-panel inputs are ready to handle line-level monitor signals from your PC or mixer. The front-panel volume knob makes setting volume levels a snap, and allows you to turn the monitors on and off. An illuminated ring around the volume knob lets you know when the monitors are powered up and ready to play.

Product Highlights:

  • 3" polypropylene-coated woofer and 3/4" silk dome tweeter
  • Class A/B amplifier with 14 watts RMS x 2 (25 watts x 2 peak)
  • frequency response: 80-20,000 Hz (-3dB)
  • peak SPL: 97 dB
  • front-panel volume knob with power ring LED display
  • left/right speaker placement switch lets you decide which side of your workspace has the volume control
  • MDF bass-reflex cabinet with custom-tuned rear port
  • connections:
    • stereo balanced 1/4" TRS line-level inputs
    • stereo unbalanced RCA line-level inputs
    • front-panel 1/8" stereo auxiliary input
    • front-panel 1/8" headphone output
  • included isolation pads minimize vibration and provide up or down tilt for more focused listening
  • includes 6' speaker cable to connect the left and right speakers together
  • 5-1/2"W x 8-1/4"H x 6-1/4"D
  • weight: 9.4 lbs. (pair)
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Powered multimedia monitor speaker
  • Passive multimedia monitor speaker
  • 6.5' Speaker cable
  • 5' Stereo minijack cable
  • 5' Stereo minijack-to-RCA cable
  • 2 Isolation pads
  • Owner's Manual

Great sounding speakers in a compact size!

Anonymous, Boonville, IN


Mackie CR3™ Creative Reference™ Multimedia Monitors Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(28 Reviews)

Great Sound

Anonymous from Boonville, IN on 1/17/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great sounding speakers in a compact size!

Pros: Great Sound

Cons: None

Mackie CR3™ Creative Reference™ Multimedia Monitors

Anonymous from North Olmsted, OH on 1/10/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These speaker really sound nice! I haven't cranked they all the way up but they sound great half and below great separation and Rich quality sound all across the range. From Nutcracker to Rolling Stones they never sounds so good!

Pros: Easy set up great sound

Cons: None

Mackie CR3™ Creative Reference™ Multimedia Monitors

Ramon from Carolina, PR on 12/11/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

All l can say about Mackie CR3 multimedia monitor are pluses. Nothing negative. I'm very pleased with this buy and very sastified with the service of Crutchfield.

Pros: All positive

Cons: None

Good speakers for the price.

Ben from Ruidoso, NM on 11/29/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Good speakers! I do wish they had more control of the bass response.

Pros: Nice compromise of treble/bass for music and voice.

Cons: No way to increase bass for music.

Value for price

Betty from Pinckney, MI on 10/23/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I think in grading these speakers you have to keep in mind, you're not buying a "home theater system", or some super home sound system. These are a set of speakers that enhance the sound of your tablet, phone or computer. If you figure that into your rating,, the speakers are good bang for your buck. Small, easy to set up and decent sound. Hard to beat that for the price. I'm personally happy with them.

Pros: small, light weight, good sound, easy set up

Cons: wired, not blue tooth

Good sound, good features, good price

Frank from Coventry, CT on 8/30/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great speakers, these have enough bass that I don't feel the need for a huge subwoofer. They come with the necessary cables to connect to PC and smartphone. And, they have a switch to swap right/left, in case your setup has the computer and power outlet on the "wrong" side.

Pros: Good sound, front headphone jack and line in jack for smart phone.

Cons: A little big

Mackie CR3™ Creative Reference™ Multimedia Monitors

Jose from Los Banos, CA on 8/29/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Speakers sound very clean. Very good price.

Pros: Great sound great price.

Cons: None

Great value

Erik from Honolulu, HI on 8/18/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Nice solidly built and solid sounding speakers i bought for my parents' computer. The sound quality is better than your average cheapy computer speakers, but i'm sure not to the standards of most audiophiles, but for their price and what they are they are a great value that should satisfy anyone shopping at the budget level that these occupy.



Great sound and price

Randall from Cuba, MO on 4/29/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

For the money, you can't beat these speakers. They are a little on the large size but not huge. They have more than enough power, I rarely turn them past 10-15% volume. The bass is pretty tight and articulate considering the size of the woofer. The biggest issue I had was that without some EQ, these speakers sound pretty average, no better than the little Harman Kardons that came with the PC. I was kind of disappointed. But with a little tweaking, they come alive and sound very detailed with great separation. I have only used them with my desktop PC without a decent stand alone sound card so they could sound even better with better source material. All in all, a great pair of computer monitors.

Pros: Good power, good price, great sound for my desktop


Mackie CR3™ Creative Reference™ Multimedia Monitors

Anonymous from Lynchburg, VA on 4/16/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Very good sound without having a big base speaker



Will never be confused with standard computer speakers

Robert from Christiansburg, VA on 4/3/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I don't think these are up to being called "Monitors." They are certainly better than anything I've fed a computer before, and I didn't want to mess with locating a sub-woofer. Woofing with the Mackies is not as solid as having a sub, but I already said why I didn't buy speakers with a sub. I like that one simply powers them by plugging in a standard AC plug. I already have enough wall-warts occupying too much scarce outlet space.

Pros: Decent sound; no sub-woofer. No wall-wart.

Cons: Kinda big for computer speakers.

Small with BIG sound

BDK from Salisbury, NC on 11/27/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

For something I see as small, they have big sound. I use them with a Turn table and the music sounds great, and they take up no major real estate. The added foam for vibration is a bonus along with the lighted on/off volume control. You can't go wrong when it comes to the CR3

Pros: Everything you need for PC, Turn Tables and more.

Cons: No covers

I LOVE these speakers!

S. Wood from West Springfield, MA on 9/12/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These are the best computer speakers I have ever had. The sound is just amazing and they have the great amount of Bass that I love, although you can always adjust your equalizer. They are good and loud, too!! Awesome!! After buying my first pair, I bought another for my other PC. Awesome! Highly recommended!!




J from San Antonio, TX on 8/4/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Keep in mind I went from standard computer speakers(much much smaller than these), and keep in mind I know good sound quality having a pair of marshall and bose headphones. This is the speaker equivalent to both and then some, only with a subwoofer attached. It is without a doubt very impressive and I am currently in the process of finding a suitable equalizer for this monstrous speaker pair :) (was honestly not expecting this size)

Pros: -Very loud - very clear audio -compatible with anything that has an auxcord -very easy to swap between -did I mention loud?

Cons: -unexpectedly bulky (minor inconvenience given my space, but I'm fixing that issue soon enough -no built-in base control(solving this through software if I can find it lol)

Mackie CR3

Gabriel from Long Beach, CA on 4/10/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These monitors have a very small but they sound much bigger, their clarity and quality are very impressive.

Pros: Small footprint, flexibility with setup and installation, build quality, very clean design.

Cons: none

Excellent Computer Speaker System

mdhdtusa from Cincinnati, OH on 3/2/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I received my Mackie CR3 speakers from Crutchfield in typical fast fashion - well boxed and delivered quickly (I ordered late Friday, and had them Tuesday). My first impression is the CR3s are very well made. The cabinets feel solid, look nice, and for $100 bucks you feel like you bought quality stuff. Connectivity was easy and all needed cables are included. I found the ability to change position of the "control" speaker from left-to-right via a selector switch to be a nice touch. I used the included dense foam angled pads under the speaker to provide some slight tilt and isolation. So how do they sound? I verified my sound card settings were enabled for the highest quality, and I downloaded some "extreme quality" music through Spotify Premium. Out of the box, vocals, acoustic guitars, and piano elements sound excellent. Live type performances, such as "Jackson Browne's Solo Acoustic Vol 1", or "The Live Room" sessions on YouTube sound beautiful. Other rock and alternative tracks that have heavy bass guitar can sound a little muddy. To get the most out of these speakers, having the ability to adjust EQ settings is important. Spotify desktop has no EQ...major bummer. The mobile app does, go figure.. If you adjust the 150 Hz EQ to flat, and raise the 60 Hz to + 8dB, it really improves the low end clarity...nice little punch, no muddiness. They play LOUD without distortion...I was surprised by their output. Very pleased with this purchase.

Pros: Very clear and accurate mids and highs. Impressive volume levels when you want them to play loud, well made, feel like they cost more than $100 bucks. Base response needs to be tuned via EQ to get the sound I wanted for some music types - YMMV. I like the included foam isolation pads.

Cons: I would prefer they didn't have green trim rings around each speaker, but that is more personal preference. If they had a sub-out, that would be sweet.

Mackie CR3 computer monitors

Roger from albuquerque, NM on 2/14/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These speakers are a huge improvement over my original Altec-Lansings. I was mostly worried about the space the Mackies would take up, but they fit nicely on my desk. They deliver clean and accurate bass and once I EQd the treble, I also hear crisp cymbals and high-end vocals at all volume levels. Oh, great price too.



Great Speakers

BethanyR from West Virginia on 12/26/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought these for my boyfriend. He was beyond excited to get them. He loves the small monitor speakers. They are really nice for a small home studio.



Mackie CR3 Monitor PC Speakers

HallB_Stroudsburg from Stroudsburg, PA on 12/21/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Definitely money well spent for this speaker. I am doing a lot of webinars for a certification program and the sound quality for the session is a vast improvement over the standard PC speakers. Music through these speakers is fantastic. My music runs from classical to jazz to rock and acoustic guitar. This unit delivers an amazing sound. The right powered speaker has an aux input and headphone jack in the front. This provides great access for a hook up to my I-Pod. In summation this is a great product at a fair price and intelligently designed.

Pros: A very functional product that has a well thought out design. Set up is very easy.


Absolutely Fantastic Baby!

Anonymous from Austin Texas on 12/6/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These "tough" speakers produce a sound, that is balanced, large, consistent and precise. No distortion whatsoever. I am very impressed; with Crutchfield as well. World class customer service and lightning fast shipping. I appreciate this. Thank you baby!




ks from Ohio on 9/21/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These speakers are perfect for my home office. They sound great, very good stereo imaging. Look good, just as pictured. Mine came from scratch and dent but I can't see any flaws at all. Arrived 2 days after ordering. Great job again, Crutchfield!

Pros: Sound is great. Easy set-up. Look good. Everything in the box you need.

Cons: None.

Excellent Monitors in a Small Size

A.D. from Bayamon, Puerto Rico on 9/16/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I recently purchased these monitors and am very pleased with them. I have a small home studio, and having limitations on space and budget means trying to find something that will allow you to develop your musical productions with quality, without filling up your room or emptying your wallet. These monitors seem to be a great fit in that role. They're very easy to find a place for, and they feature a switch that allows you to decide which speaker is left and right. This eases concerns you may have about having the powered speaker closer to an electrical outlet. There are several different input jacks, RCA (L/R) and 1/4" (L/R) on the back and a 1/8" stereo jack on the front. This gives you the ability to connect multiple sources to your monitors, and the front jack is great for temporary connections. The sound quality is excellent... I'll admit that at first I felt like the woofer might be putting out a little too much bass, but after a while I guess the speakers settled in and the sound now feels very accurate. The output level is definitely enough for a small studio... I've been able to listen to music through these and hear them throughout the house without coming close to reaching their maximum level. Bottom line, I'm very pleased with this product. When you're on a budget, the last thing you want is to invest in something and not feel happy with it... and I feel like I made a very good decision with these monitors.

Pros: Great sound quality, multiple inputs, flexibility, compact size, included accessories

Cons: None

Great all around monitors

Wyatt from Vermont on 8/30/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I was blown away by the clarity and crisp sound these speakers can produce, across a wide range of music and media. The headphone amp has some decent power as well. The only knock is lack of low end, which is to be expected with 3" woofers. My assumption is if you want more bass, buy the 4" woofer versions. Outside of dubstep and house, these speakers produce absolutely excellent sound. A great buy.



Mackie CR3

Giovanni from Puerto Rico on 7/26/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These speakers produce a great sound for compact size





Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've purchased the Mackie CR3's in April and I'm totally happy that I did. Those little monitors are awesome! What a great improvement has been made to watching and especially listening to music videos, movies, etc. through my Toshiba laptop computer. The stereo sound quality is superb 100% all the way! Compare to those low quality sound small speakers that are always installed in laptops and desktops computers that always sound so dead and scratchy! I'm encouraging everyone if you have a desktop or laptop computer, get a pair of the Mackie CR3's or CR4's Multimedia Monitors from Crutchfield as soon as you can. Then when you've the time, post your review. Trust me you won't be sorry at all getting them.

Pros: Outstanding sound quality for small two way speakers, all you need to do is plug the powered speaker into your electrical outlet, then just hook the wires up from the powered speaker to the passive speaker, choose which ever inputs on your powered speaker you want to use from your source, then ALL SYSTEM GOES! I love that feature that one speaker is powered and the other one is passive. Why? Simple, you only need to get the electricity for one to power two instead of individually per speaker.

Cons: None whatsoever

Great for classical music

ChrisPC from Colorado on 2/21/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I listen mostly to classical music, and wanted computer speakers that reproduced it accurately. I had a descent 2.1 speaker system, which sounded great for rock and pop music, but classical music often sounded uneven and unnatural. Chamber music, such as music for string quartet, sounded horrible on the old system and great on these speakers. Bass is very adequate without being boomy. All ranges sound clear and balanced.




DennisS from Michigan on 2/19/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Nice looking and nice sounding speakers for the price.



Fantastic computer speakers

DonB from Wisconsin on 1/30/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought these speakers to replace the small stock speakers that came with my desktop computer. I wanted to hear the playing of flamenco guitar instructors clearly. These speakers are wonderful for that purpose, and I would say a very good buy at this price for anyone wanting a serious upgrade to their PC speakers.

Pros: Wonderful, rich music.



Hands-on research

Product Research


Two-Way Speaker Design: Each Mackie CR4 multimedia monitor speaker features a two-way driver design with one 0.75" ferrofluid-cooled, silk-dome tweeter and one 3" polypropylene-coated woofer with rubber sound. This combination of premium drivers provides a rich and natural studio-quality sound.

Built-in Amplifier: All drivers are powered by a built-in 28W RMS/50W Peak Class AB amplifier which provides clean, articulate stereo sound and an ultra-wide frequency response of 80Hz to 20,000Hz.

Bass Reflex MDF Enclosure:  The CR4 multimedia monitor speakers employ a bass reflex enclosure with custom-tuned rear-firing ports for smooth, even bass extension. These all-wood MDF cabinets provide a natural sonic character superior to low-grade plastic designs. The CR4 speakers do not included grilles.

Convenient Controls: A convenient front-panel volume knob with lit power-ring give you On/Off/Volume control and power indication. There is a rear-panel speaker placement switch which lets you choose which side of your desk gets the speaker with the volume knob.

Balanced & Unbalanced Analog Inputs: The CR4 multimedia speakers give you a choice of analog inputs including stereo 1/4" TRS jacks (balanced or unbalanced) and stereo RCA jacks (unbalanced) on the back panel, plus a 3.5mm aux input (unbalanced) on the front-panel. A stereo minijack cable and a stereo minijack-to-RCA cable are included.

Speaker Cable: Because the amplifier is built into only one of the CR4 multimedia monitor speakers, you'll need to connected the included 6.5' speaker cable between the two loudspeakers rear-panel spring-clip terminals.

Headphone Jack: A dedicated front-panel headphone jack (3.5mm) provides the opportunity to quickly listen to a different source, which is great for any professional. Plugging in phones defeats the speakers for truly silent work and you can quickly adjust levels with the main volume knob.

Isolation Pads: The two included professional-grade isolation pads minimize unwanted bass buildup and allow you to tilt the monitors up or down a bit for more focused listening.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

price and reviewer comments [ richard  Jan 23, 2018 ]
These came as a recommendation. [ Richard  Dec 19, 2017 ]
customer ratings, mackie reputation, past experience with crutchfield on other orders. [ John  Dec 18, 2017 ]
Price and review [ Ramon  Nov 27, 2017 ]
Great speakers. Great sound. Affordable. this mark the 12th set that we have purchased [ Michael  Oct 11, 2017 ]
I liked the price and also the reviews. [ asia  Aug 25, 2017 ]
Based on good price and excellent reviews [ Terrance  Aug 03, 2017 ]
comments from other people was encouraging [ joel  Jun 19, 2017 ]
Size, price point, reviews and I know without a doubt that they will be shipped today and that I will probably be listening to them on Sunday or Monday. Crutchfield service cannot, will not be beat! [ David  May 19, 2017 ]
I was looking for a small, quality amplified speaker system for a notebook computer. The quality / price ratio was good. [ LeighAnn  Apr 10, 2017 ]
Ratings and previous transactions with Crutchfield. [ R  Mar 19, 2017 ]
Great price for active speakers. Works well for desk top application. [ Steve  Nov 27, 2016 ]
price and some youtube reviews [ alex J cuadrado  Nov 01, 2016 ]
Recommended as a good match for the HiFiBerry DAC+ [ MARC  Oct 23, 2016 ]
These monitors offer exceptional quality and versatility and an amazing price, they are my second pair. Plus they are offered by Crutchfield so I know I will receive a quality product and unsurpassed support. [ GABRIEL  Mar 28, 2016 ]
because i want to create my own record studio [ Auvert  Jan 16, 2016 ]
I wanted some media speakers that would not break the bank, but would also perform well. Based on price and customer reviews, I chose these. [ Bart  Dec 09, 2015 ]

3 questions already asked

Well,they aren't bluetooth speakers, and echo dot is a blue-tooth system. If you're using a device with bluetooth connected to the c3's, and said device is connected via BT to your echo dot, then I suppose that would work. But that's probably not what you want. If there's a way to connect via aux-cord port, that would work too I suppose. [ Justin  Oct 05, 2017 ]
It's the set of both speakers. One of the speakers houses the amplifier for both speakers as well as the input jacks, headphone jack, power switch and volume control. It's a simple setup; just connect both speakers together with the included cable. You can actually choose whether the powered speaker outputs the left or the right audio channel, so you can adjust it to whatever is more convenient for your setup. [ Andres de  Dec 18, 2016 ]
Comes with both monitors the passive connects to the powered monitor [ Austin  Dec 14, 2016 ]
It comes with both. The one speaker with amp powers the other one. All the cables come in the box as well. [ Mike  Dec 14, 2016 ]
Both are included. [ GABRIEL  Dec 13, 2016 ]
It comes with both and the wire plus foam paps to set the speakers on that angles them up. [ Michael  Dec 13, 2016 ]
You get two speakers. One powered the other passive. I really like mine. [ George  Dec 13, 2016 ]
The speaker cones are exposed and the green outlines are displayed just like the picture. [ George  Dec 13, 2016 ]
No, there are no grills. The cones are exposed, although they are recessed about 3/4 inch from the front surface. Green outlines look just like they do in the picture. So, I suppose you would have to be careful not to poke the cones with a sharp object. That hasn't bothered me yet! The sound coming from my computer now is really nice. [ Don  Mar 03, 2015 ]
The cones are exposed, the outlines are definitely visible just as pictured. The outlines are a painted piece of decorative trim & aren't removable to my knowledge. If it means anything, their a great set of speakers that exceeded my expectations. [ Mike  Feb 28, 2015 ]
No grills on these. Great sound quality for the size. The woofer is very durable although the cover for the tweeter is paper thin. Not recommended if you have kids near them. I have them paired with a Polk Audio 150 watt 12" Subwoofer and I am very impressed. [ Michael  Feb 27, 2015 ]
As pictured, nothing covering the speaker cones. [ Christopher  Feb 27, 2015 ]

Looking for more? Check out the next model in this lineup.

Mackie CR4

Get deeper bass and more output

The Mackie CR4™ Creative Reference™ Multimedia Monitors offers these features:

a 4" woofer for deeper bass

100 dB peak SPL

70-20,000 Hz frequency response