JBL 305P MKII vs Mackie MR524 which is better?

Are you wracking your brain and struggling to choose between the JBL 305P MKII and the Mackie MR524? Both of these are, undoubtedly, two very good and low-cost studio monitors that give an impressive sound, particularly at lower volumes and which both have a 5” woofer.

For some price comparison, the JBL 305P goes for $155 while the MR524 goes for $170 so there isn’t much of a difference here and the price won’t be a major factor when deciding on which of these two to go for. Which has the edge for your home studio? Let’s have a look.

JBL 305P MKII

The JBL 305P is a next-generation powered studio monitor that is one of the most affordable in the range. At just $155, this monitor can make its way to virtually any home studio, bringing JBL’s legendary performance to producers and mixers with a very small budget for their studio monitor.

The JBL 305P MKII brings a host of cool features into the mix including the brand’s innovative Image Control Waveguide along with a wider sweet spot. It also has more refined transducers, an excellent dynamic range, a good amount of detail as well as precise imaging.

These range of features, at such an affordable pricing, will turbocharge your mixing capabilities and are suited for any modern workspace. The 305P MKII has a sleek and modern design and will look good in any studio. In spite of the fact that it comes in a small and affordable package, it has leveraged JBL’s leading-edge technologies like the M2 Master Reference Monitors and the JBL 7 Series to give a superb sound performance as well as a richer and more enjoyable mixing experience. Remember all of these features are available to you for just $155!

This small -sized studio monitor has integrated custom Class-D amplifiers that give 82 watts of power. Peak SPL is 108d. However, in some reviews, a few users have complained of a hissing sound at lower volumes plus you won’t get a good clarity when you ramp up the volume to max. However, at lower volumes, both the JBL 305P MKII and the Mackie MR524 are excellent.

Like other high-end JBL studio monitors, the 305P MKII boasts the company ‘s Image Control Waveguide for detailed imaging along with a broader and room-friendly sweet spot. With this studio monitor, you can still enjoy a good amount of depth in the sound as well as ambience in your audio recordings. These accessible JBL studio monitors are still good enough that you will be able to catch some of the subtle details in the sound, even when you are recording denser mixes.

Main features

  • Features a new, sleek and modern design
  • Has a new Boundary EQ
  • New design improvements in the transducers with excellent deep bass as well as lower harmonic distortion.
  • A broader sweet spot that gives you a more neutral frequency response
  • Custom Class-D amplifiers give 82 watts of power

Mackie MR524

The similarly 5” Mackie MR524 provides good clarity, professional performance as well as better quality translation in your mixes.

Mackie has extensive experience in making great quality studio monitors and the MR524 doesn’t disappoint either. The designed has been professionally tuned to give the most accurate translations and keep true to the mixes. It will handle a diverse array of audio content including hip hop music, dialogue or even rock music. With its logarithmic waveguide, you get a broader sweet spot as well as a much-improved stereo imaging. It also features Acoustic Space controls that allow you to customize the monitor to suit the studio you are operating in.

Main Features

  • Faithful studio monitors that give you a superb mix translation
  • Logarithmic waveguide design assures a detailed vocal clarity and high end.
  • Get a dynamic frequency response from its 5” woofers
  • Class/AB bi-amp output 50 watts of power

The Mackie MR524 is a small studio monitor with a much better acoustic design as well as good accuracy. Thanks to its Acoustic Space Control, it has impressive room optimization that will give you a clear and detailed sound no matter the studio you are working in. It also features MR monitors and HF filters that allows you to easily customize these studio monitors for your environment and get a largely flat response.

The MR524 is an impressive studio monitor capable of competing with the top-line studio monitor brands in its class. You will love the impressive imaging. The 5” woofers will give you a sufficient amount of the low end that you won’t have to worry about subwoofers for most of your mixes.

These studio monitors will do perfectly ok not only on desks but also in near-field environments. It has a green power LED and offers a number of connections options including TS, XLR and RCA so you won’t require any adapters.

JBL 305P MKII vs Mackie MR524 Design Comparison

Both the 305p MKII and the MR524 have been built with materials of comparable quality. They also have an excellent overall fit and finishes. The designs are good enough that they will add some flair to your studios. Both studio monitors have front panels molded from plastics that cuts the costs a bit. In the looks department, the Mackie has a slight edge with its matte finished front panel as well as more rounded edges that are easier on the eye and more practical than the JBL 305P MKII design. The LED in the Mackie is green and isn’t overly flashy.

The JBL design is shinier and the finishes can scratch easily. The edges of the JBL 305P MKII also have a cheap looking square profile. However, the JBL speakers has superior quality controls on its amplifier plate. Its gain knob has a premium feel and contains ten distinct notches that you can use to balance out the levels on both sides of the studio monitor.

Sound Performance Comparison for JBL 305P MKII vs Mackie MR524

Both the MR524 and the 305P are close when it comes to sound performance. Overall, they both have a perfectly neutral sound profile.

The sound profile in the Mackie sounds a lot smoother and is also detailed enough in the frequency range of 2.6KHz to 4kHz. The Mackie has very crisp highs and its lows are full sounding but overall, you get a perfectly well-balanced sound from this studio monitor. However, if you would like some thumping bass from your studio monitor, you will need to try something else as these 50-watt monitors haven’t been designed for that energetic bass. Like in other lower end studio monitors, you won’t have to grapple with any residual noise in the MR524.

The Mackie MR524 also has a very even frequency response. You won’t see any noticeable resonance. You get a very strong volume out of these. It is also built with controls or adjusting your tweeter or woofer gains.

The Mackie has a reasonable and more subdued hiss coming from its internals. It is not as annoying as the hiss you will get in the 305P and other smaller studio monitors.

The JBL MKIIs have an astonishing clarity and impressive bass.  You won’t even need a subwoofer for your casual listening needs with these studio monitors. In fact, you will get a better clarity sound with just the monitor as it is. The MKIIs have a phenomenal low-end which is surprising considering that it is just a 5” woofer. This JBL gives you a clean sound even when ramped up to higher volumes.

However, many users have reported hearing an audible hiss from the JBL 305P MKII although this is not a universal experience. Overall, it gives you a clean and solid sound and is loud enough that you won’t require extra bass in most instances.

The MKII sound is huge on the imaging and with impressive separation. The sound is somewhat surgical and with a dynamic bass. It has well-balanced mids that don’t stick out or sound recessed. You also get a very well-behaved and detailed treble from these. Overall, the sound quality from the MKIIs is an impressive one.

Pros and Cons

The JBL speaker gives you a great sound with good clarity, lots of detail as well as good presence when tuned to all volume levels. It is loud enough that you won’t need a subwoofer and you will get a good bass out of it. The MKII also has a broader and room-friendly sweet spot and sleek modern designs that adds a beautiful flair to any room or studio. It is also a cheap and accessible studio monitor.

On the flip-side, some users have reported a hissing sound in some MKII speakers. Plus, you don’t have the acoustic tuning controls for your studio in this JBL speaker.

The MKII’s competitor, Mackie MR524, is no slouch. It gives you a smooth sound character with a clean and audible sound without any hisses or distortions. Although the JBL has more punch to its sound, the MR524 still gives you a solid bass response.

Both speakers give an almost equal performance in the upper mids and in the treble. You will get quality sound reproduction out both but there is a little more air to the MKII sound. Both speakers also have very good imaging. The MR524 also features good room optimization options lacking in the MKII.

The Verdict

The Mackie MR524 sounds great even when you ramp up its volume and at just $170 or less, gives you superb value. It has crisp highs and full-sounding lows and you get a well-balanced sound overall. The MR524 still has a lot of bass with a very smooth high end. The bass response is also impressive. For the price, these speakers sound really nice and very accurate.

The JBL 305P MKII doesn’t disappoint ether. It gives you a great sound with excellent mids and highs. The bass is satisfactory for its driver size and should serve you well if you aren’t looking for a bass heavy sound.  They have a responsive bass and an overall well-balanced sound. The sound from the JBL is crisp and pleasing to hear, even over long duration.

The Mackie’s tend to get a little warmer while your MKII will run ice cold. You will love the designs in both; they both look sleek and modern.

Conclusion

Both speakers have a very impressive sound signature and stereo. The stereo imaging is also excellent. Overall, if you are shopping in this range, we think you won’t go wrong with either the MKII or the Mackie MR524. They compare really well but the Mackie has better low end and acoustic controls lacking in the JBL monitor.

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