JBL vs Mackie – Which Brand Is Better?

Norvan Martin
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JBL and Mackie are two renowned and well-respected brands in the audio industry that produce speakers, soundbars, headphones, subwoofers, and amplifiers. JBL  focuses on the hi-fi market and targets audiophiles while Mackie focuses on the budget customer.

In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at sound quality, durability, price, and so on. Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points, however, we will compare them as closely as we can.

JBL is known for its high-quality speakers and headphones, while Mackie is a well-regarded brand in the pro audio industry known for its high-quality speakers and other audio equipment.

JBL vs Mackie Comparison Table

Brand ReputationGlobal brand known for professional audio equipment, including speakers, headphones, and sound reinforcement systems.Well-regarded for audio products, especially in the live sound and recording industry, offering a range of audio solutions.
Sound QualityEmphasizes clear and powerful sound reproduction, suitable for a variety of applications, including studio monitoring and live sound.Known for delivering reliable and accurate sound, with a focus on studio monitors and live sound reinforcement systems.
Build Quality/DesignFeatures robust construction and ergonomic designs, often with a focus on durability for both portable and installed applications.Emphasizes sturdy build quality, typically designed for professional use, with features catering to ease of use and reliability.
Product RangeOffers a wide range of audio products, including studio monitors, portable speakers, and professional sound systems.Specializes in studio monitors, audio mixers, and sound reinforcement systems for live events and studio applications.
PricingVaried pricing, offering options for different budgets, with both entry-level and high-end professional audio products.Varied pricing, with a focus on providing affordable solutions for musicians, producers, and live sound professionals.
FeaturesKnown for incorporating advanced technologies, such as high-performance transducers and proprietary waveguide designs.Emphasizes features such as Onyx preamps in audio mixers, built-in DSP processing, and rugged designs for on-the-road use.

Before we continue, you can check out similar comparisons in the series:

Pros and Cons of JBL:

  • Pros: Known for producing a wide range of audio products, including speakers, headphones, and home theater systems. Many of their products are well-regarded for their sound quality and value for money.
  • Cons: Some users have reported issues with their devices’ audio cutting out, being muffled, or experiencing other issues.

Pros and Cons of Mackie:

Mackie is a well-respected brand in the professional audio industry, known for producing high-quality speakers, amplifiers, and other audio products. Here are some pros and cons of Mackie products:


  • Known for producing high-quality professional audio products with good sound quality and build quality.
  • Strong reputation in the professional audio industry.
  • Offers a wide range of products for a variety of applications.


  • May not be as well-known for consumer audio products.
  • Some products may be on the expensive side.

Quick History

JBL Quick History

JBL was founded in 1946 by James Bullough Lansing just after World War II. It is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, USA. The company manufactures amplifiers, loudspeakers, and headphones with the JBL Professional LSR10S being one of its best-selling subs with a class D amp, among other features. It is currently owned by Harman International after its Vice President Bill Thomas sold it in 1969.

jbl logo

In the 1970s, JBL entered the studio industry and launched its new technologies academy of motion pictures’ first full-line portable system in the 1980s. Also, the company was the first to introduce titanium in high-frequency diaphragms.

Mackie Quick History

Greg Mackie, a former employee of Boeing who started creating pro audio equipment and guitar amps in his leisure time, started Mackie Designs, Inc. in Woodinville, Washington in 1988.

Mackie logo

Mackie Designs Inc. is a manufacturer of professional audio equipment used in sound recordings and a wide range of other applications.

With products including amplifiers, professional audio speakers, and digital audio mixers, the company’s products are offered at more than 1,000 retail locations throughout 100 nations. They are especially well known for their studio monitors.

Sound Quality

JBL Sound Quality

JBL speakers tend to depict a neutral, balanced sound profile. Their bass-heavy audio profile makes them ideal for party and personal use, especially for those looking for deep bass to listen to modern pop and hip-hop music. The speakers are also loud with rich sound.

JBL monitor speakers

The speakers perform well in both high and low volumes. Built for DJs and other professionals, the speakers are tough and reliable. The Bluetooth speakers have a long battery life lasting 24 hours or more.

On the other hand, JBL headphones are packed with features that help them deliver a well-balanced sound that closely follows the Harman curve.

However, the design and fit of these headphones are not very comfortable. A top-of-the-range JBL could sound unique with the depth, power, and accuracy every listener appreciates!

Mackie Sound Quality

Some Mackie devices don’t give adequate balance, which makes them either an excellent choice for audiophiles or a less-than-ideal choice for anyone searching for speakers for professional use.

Mackie CR3-X BT

The Mackie CR3, for instance, favors upper bass over lower bass. Also, the treble is out of rhythm with the bass. Hence, these are perfect if you don’t have a preference for bass or other elements.


JBL Features

JBL manufactures futuristic speakers to ensure users can easily fit them into their modern home systems. Bluetooth speakers and subwoofers from JBL, for instance, come with the following features:

  • Polypropylene or cellulose-fiber cones
  • Rubber surround
  • Frequency response depends on specific speakers
  • Sensitivity of about 2.83V at 1 meter
  • Power handling up to 250W RMS

Mackie Features

Mackie devices have useful features that have kept them operating for more than 30 years, some of which include the following:

  • Wireless Bluetooth control and streaming
  • Built-in DSP for speaker voicing modes
  • Channel mixer with gain controls
  • Works with mic & line signals
  • Protective Interior foam
  • Speaker stands with a carrying bag

Build Quality

JBL Build Quality

JBL speakers are well built with Aluminum, Nickel, and Cobalt which is a strong high-power permanent alloy.

Also, the wireless speakers are high quality and built with solid features. The performance is reliable and they are waterproof which makes them all weather.

How To Pair Your JBL Speaker To Your Device

The headphones however have a plasticky build that makes them look average despite the well-balanced sound.

Mackie Build Quality

The materials used for the building of Mackie devices are not too good. Most devices are often made of plastic. But Mackie’s products are largely made of wood with a black vinyl wrap.

Mackie CR3 CR Series 3

However, the components aren’t completely high-end. Because of this, it is especially advised to use these speakers if you’re seeking something inexpensive or switching between speakers.

Ease of Use

JBL Ease Of Use

Setting up JBL speakers may not be easy if you are not ready to handle the process. However, if your speakers are within the Bluetooth range, JBL speakers will easily pair with nearby devices.

The subwoofers may not be very easy to set depending on your car, but they are easy to use.  The wireless headphones are easy to use, whether you want to talk or just listen.

Mackie Ease Of Use

Mackie products are simple to use because they are Bluetooth-enabled and can be used wirelessly.

You can also use the special built-in DSP to tune each speaker. Additionally, there is always detailed instruction available for those who are having trouble installing or customizing any configuration in the manual guide booklet.


JBL Cost

Bluetooth JBL speakers are available at a range of prices. You can, however, get them between 40 dollars and 400 dollars.

However, the GBL Go is still ranked the most affordable Bluetooth speaker owing to the added value of sound quality and portability. The cost is generally high due to the high cost of engineering, the high cost of quality materials, and the cost of advertising.

Headphones: $10 – $200

Amplifiers: $50 – $5000

Mackie Cost

Mackie products are inexpensive and relatively affordable. Below is the price range for different products by Mackie Company.

  • Loudspeaker: $300 – $1200
  • Mixers: $400 – $1000
  • Amplifiers: $200 – $500
  • Studio monitor speakers: $50 – $200

Space Requirements

JBL Space Requirements

JBL speakers are built to fit in many room sizes. The Bluetooth speakers are tiny in size and easily portable. Therefore, you can easily place them anywhere in your room or carry them for an outdoor listening experience.

Mackie Space Requirements

Most Mackie devices have stands to put them in any position you see fit while using them which makes them consume less space in the provided area.

Remote Controls

JBL Remote Controls

JBL builds remote controls to help with easy and safe control of music together with other call functions on other devices such as smartphones.

JBL Click, for instance, is a mountable Bluetooth controller that makes it easier to control your music and call functions on any smartphone. However, JBL Boombox and JBL Partybox 310 do not have remote controls.

Mackie Remote Controls

Most Mackie devices don’t have a remote control but can be controlled with the use of the mobile app. The Mackie Master Fader app provides complete wireless control over your Mackie DL Series digital mixer.

The Master Fader control app is packed with powerful processing and a rich set of mixing tools for any professional application. It has a completely customizable UI that is usable for users of any skill level.

Power Range

JBL Power Range

The speakers have a high power handling capacity. For instance, the 840 Cinema Surround Speaker can handle 350 watts of continuous play, while the JBL Stage 1210 12” woofer can handle up to 250 watts RMS and 1000 watts peak power.

  • Subwoofers: 50W to 1600W rated power
  • Speakers: 50W to 250W rated power
  • Amplifiers: 50W to 800W per channel

Mackie Power Range

The Mackie devices have a power range of about 500 watts to 1500 watts on average. However it varies depending on the type you want. An example is the Mackie SRM212 V-Class with 2000 watt and the Mackie SRM350v3 with 1000 watt power range.

Frequency Response

JBL Frequency Response

JBL speakers work well under various frequency ranges. For instance, the JBL ES Series speaker systems, such as the ES 20, operate between 65 HZ – 40 kHz.

The 840 Very High Power Cinema Surround Speaker for digital surround sound immersion application performs within the 60 Hz to 19 kHz frequency range.

Mackie Frequency Response

Like the power range, the frequency response also varies from device to device, but the average frequency response of Mackie products ranges from 30Hz to 20KHz.


JBL offers a wide range of speakers for all use cases. Although most of them do not have EQs for customized sound, they have a pretty neutral sound profile. Besides, they have an excellent build quality that ensures that the portable JBL sound systems last longer. However, Mackie products can not be recommended for professional use given their sound quality and price. If you are not concerned about the bass and treble of your audio system, then this product will serve you well.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin