There is actually nothing about the Mackie MP-20TWS that did not satisfy me: The sound is tight as well as offering a full range, and they are correspondingly fun to listen with. Operation is also well-designed, and the earphones fit firmly and comfortably in the ears. The battery life is remarkable, the active noise cancellation works well, and even the quality of the hands-free calling is pleasing. All in all, the listed price of around 170 euros is absolutely reasonable, and I would recommend the new Mackies without hesitation.
- very tight and direct sound
- very good fitting
- long battery life
- assignment of the touch controls (currently still) pre-defined
With the MP-20TWS, Mackie launch their first True Wireless in-ears on the consumer market. And this debut features not only effective active noise cancellation but also some pretty impressive sound!
That the American audio equipment manufacturer Mackie knows how to build in-ears may be taken for granted on account of their MP series (overview of reviews), which is very popular for concerts as in-ear monitors on stage. Now the manufacturer wants to bring these qualities to the consumer sector and has enlisted the support of Knowles, who are considered specialists in balanced-armature driver technology.
Specification of the Mackie MP-20TWS
This in-ear debut transmits via Bluetooth 5.2, and a choice of AAC or SBC is used as codecs. Apart from the passive ambient noise cancellation of the in-ear design, these earphones feature Active Noise Cancelling, which takes care of ambient noise or wind noise from outside. Knowles also provides a total of three SiSonic microphones, which are supposed to ensure effective noise cancelling and flawless voice quality when making phone calls.
The MP-20TWS have an epic battery life of up to 13 hours on a single charge, and the charging case holds enough juice for another three charging cycles (40 hours) when fully charged.
Design and handling of the Mackie MP-20TWS
The charging case is quite compact, in keeping with the rather small in-ears, and it is supplied with power via a USB-C socket. Four LEDs on the front provide information about the charging status of the case and that of the in-ears. When not in use, the earphones slide into the magnetic shell in the best “Poka-Yoke” (mistake-proof) fashion. In the future, I would like to see rubberised corners or a rubber cover for the case, but this is something that I’d be happy with not only from Mackie but from almost all manufacturers. Because if you drop the plastic shelled case on a tiled floor in the gym, for example, there is an extremely high likelihood of it breaking.
The in-ears themselves come with three earpieces in different sizes and are not much bigger than the tip of your finger. Once you have selected the right fitting, they literally suck themselves into the ear canal when inserted and remain there reliably and pleasantly inconspicuously, even during physical activities. Thanks to IPX4 certification, even light drizzle and sweat during your morning jog should not cause any damage to the buds in your ears.
The in-ears are operated via capacitive touch surfaces, which on both sides are located below the Mackie logo. Currently, the assignment of controls is fixed – but I don’t want to rule out the possibility that Mackie will add an app that will allow users to make personal adjustments.
Hold down and tap to access the following functions:
- Ambient mode on/off
- Pause/Play/Answer call
- Previous/Next track
- ANC/wind reduction/off
- Call voice assistant
- Decrease/increase volume
In practice, triggering functions worked reliably for the most part. There were some operating errors, but these were mainly because the back of the in-ears is slightly larger than the touch surface, and you can’t hit it cleanly. The button commands are fixed but have a logic that can be understood quite quickly.
This is how the Mackie MP-20TWS sound
To cut a long story short: The Mackie MP-20TWS sound really great! There’s something very tight and direct about the dynamics, and this comes across particularly well with contemporary, precisely produced music (e.g. Dawunda’s “Glass Lit Dream”). Here, the concept of dual drivers seems to audibly pay off, with Knowles’ balanced-armature driver responsible for mids and highs, while Mackie’s dynamic driver takes care of the bass. It is very neat and tidy, even at the low end of the bass.
The noise cancelling works surprisingly well but is accompanied by a slight background noise that fades as soon as you listen to music. In fact, the two algorithms for ambient and wind noise act noticeably differently: while the noise cancelling was quite robust and filtered out quite a lot of sounds, from street noise and conversations to background music, the wind noise reduction setting tended to take care of the bass frequencies and let through a bit more ambient noise in the high and mid-range.
I can also report positive things about the quality of telephone calls, which was quite good on both the caller and recipient sides. It was particularly pleasing when the ambient mode was activated and my own voice could be heard in the room. During phone calls, I sometimes forgot that I was wearing in-ears.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic + Balanced Armature
- Frequency response (headphones)10 - 20.000 Hz
- Sound pressure level (SPL)@1mW: 106 dB
What's in the box
- 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- USB-C charging cable
- charging case
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC
- BT version: 5.2