JBL and Mackie are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry that produces speakers, soundbars, headphones, subwoofers and amplifiers. JBL focuses on the hifi 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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
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.
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.
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.
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, high cost of quality materials, and the cost of advertising.
Headphones: $10 – $200
Amplifiers: $50 – $5000
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
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.
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.
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 watt 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 watt on average. Though 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.
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.
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.