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Mackie CR3™ Creative Reference™ Multimedia Monitors

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

39 Reviews | 6 questions - 18 answers

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

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

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

Just right for my home recording workstation as studio monitors. Great sound and great stereo field -especially considering the price. Driving them with my Presonus Audio interface.

Peter, Charlottesville, VA


Mackie CR3™ Creative Reference™ Multimedia Monitors Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(39 Reviews)
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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?

Wanted small amplified speakers with simple wired audio connections. [ Robert  Aug 10, 2018 ]
When I did my evaluation I focus in size, specifications and reviews. [ Carlos Rovira  Aug 08, 2018 ]
Because of your reviews [ WALTER  Jul 13, 2018 ]
Cheapest desktop speakers, but also excellent quality. [ Aaron Skattum  Jul 12, 2018 ]
inexpensive and highly rated [ jeremy  May 12, 2018 ]
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 ]

6 questions already asked

I'm not sure about that since I use mine for computer speakers but I don't see why they wouldn't be. But if you EQ them they sound very good. If you play them flat, they sound pretty dull. I was disappointed at first but now that I have them dialed in to my liking, they are very accurate, have tons of power and good, detailed bass response for speakers this small. For the price, you can't beat them. [ lew52  Oct 06, 2018 ]
Yes they are but I moved up to 5 eventually. [ Ronney  Oct 04, 2018 ]
Don't get them. Very cheaply made. Mine stopped working just shy of two years. After doing some further digging, I found my problem to be EXTREMELY common. [ Jeff  Oct 04, 2018 ]
Not sure because I'm using the. For gaming om PC sorry [ Rafael  Oct 04, 2018 ]
I use those speakers for my computer. Before l have a bose companion and they broke.Really l don't know if it will work with your equipment. good luck. Ramon [ Ramon  Apr 11, 2018 ]
I don't see why not as long as there is no amp from turn table. Low power preamp is ok. You will get distortion if you use amp between. I did not use these on turntable but I do have a turntable in my system. It is an older one from the late 60's Gerard. Just know that these speakers will not give you volume and quality you would get with a high quality amp. They will give you good for everyday listening Good luck and great for the money Lgf [ New User  Mar 15, 2018 ]
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


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