Mackie’s entry into the headphone market can certainly be described as successful. Especially the – second place in terms of price – MC-250 which convinced us with their price-performance ratio. All three previous models in the series (MC-150, 250 and 350) had one thing in common: they were all closed designs. With the MC-450, Mackie now introduce their first studio headphones with an open back, and these have all the advantages associated with such a design, like less heat build-up and the feeling of still being in contact with your surroundings.
The MC-450 also differ from their three stable mates in technical terms. While the closed models use a 50-millimetre driver, the 450 have 42-millimetre drivers. At 58.2 ohms (averaged), they also deliver the highest resistance and respond with a sensitivity of 92.82 dB per milliwatt. The frequency response covers a range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
The resemblance between the closed 350 and the 450 is obvious, as they share the same headband construction. What is right for the MC-350 can only be right for the MC-450, which is about a hundred euros more expensive. They also come with real leather covers that have visible seams on the ear pads, which gives them a higher quality appearance. I didn’t find the green ring on the right bracket particularly stylish – and the Mackie logo, a little man, is prominently placed on the back of the ear cup as it is on all the models in the MC series – but that’s ultimately just a matter of taste. Apart from this, everything about these headphones is solid due to the generous use of materials: The MC-450s are not “flimsy” in the slightest – and as they weigh in at 350 grams, you would hope not. Their headband fits relatively tightly to your skull, so there are no wobbles to deal with here. The connection cable is exchangeable and it locks into the left ear cup by means of a bayonet plug. There are three different cables in the package and these cover a wide range of applications: in addition to a fabric-covered 3-metre cable, there is also a 1.20-metre spiral cable and another 1.20-metre cable with integrated media control (functions: volume +/-, play/pause) with a hands-free microphone included, plus a mini jack adapter. All of this is housed in a solid fabric case, which should protect the headphones sufficiently even under tough handling conditions, something that really adds value.
In terms of sound quality, the MC-450 are really pleasing. First of all, the assertive treble display is striking: no transients remain hidden here; every little crunch above 6 kHz to far beyond the limits of the audible spectrum is powerfully brought forward. The density of acoustic information is also very high in the mids, and here too, the agility in the transient display is positively noticeable, resulting in a very “crisp” sound image overall. In the bass range, all frequencies are tidily conveyed and reach the ear – when necessary – with a lot of level. All in all, the sound is weighted slightly towards the mids and highs, as with all the models in the MC series. As a result, the sound image is not so much warm and cosy as bright and impulsive. This makes a lot of sense, especially for studio and post-production applications, allowing you to receive maximum information density in your ears, and therefore hearing every movement or error clearly. The quality of the integrated hands-free microphone is not quite as clear and convincing – if necessary, you can use it to hold a conversation, but for longer meetings it sounds a bit too dull and fuzzy on the other side.
No further questions, Your Honour: The verdict is that Mackie MC-450 are excellent studio headphones, which – if you like a high-range and impulsive sound image – are not out of place even for hi-fi friends. Of course, they don’t generate the same level of pressure in the bass range as the closed MC-350 model, but thanks to the open back, you don’t get an unpleasant build up of heat on your ears as quickly. The very robust case and the flexibility of the three connection cables make up a good overall package and also make the price of the MC-450 seem reasonable. So, if you’re looking for robust, open and precise sounding headphones, in the three hundred Euro price range, you should definitely consider these Mackies.
Measurement ResultsMore measurement results
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Impedance58,2 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)92,82 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head711,5 g
- Weight with cable374 g
- Weight without cable323 g
- Cable length330 cm
What's in the box
- 3.30 meter cable (straight)
- 1.20-meter cable (spiral)
- 1.20 metre cable (incl. hands-free & remote)
- 6.35mm stereo jack
- Travel case