I still remember the moment I first listened to the Mackie MP-460 In Ear Monitors.
It was a warm day in Lisbon, the sun was beaming through the windows when the delivery person rang the buzzer.
By the way I was tracking this package you'd think I was on a deserted island desperately looking to be rescued. Terrified I’d miss the drop off, I went to the balcony and shouted down that I was on my way.
I ran down three flights of stairs so quickly I nearly fell over the edge; or rolled my ankles. Well, to be honest it was more like an old man carefully taking each step one-by-one while holding onto the hand rail. But trust me, there was an added urgency in my pace!
Back home, package unwrapped, I delighted over the box, and what a delightful box it was with its wonderful hard case. Finally, a company that understands that these simple, thoughtful, things are actually big things.
But it's the monitors we’re here to talk about. And what splendid monitors they are.
Once I picked out my preferred tips they went in my ears fast and furious.
Ok, hold your horses, I want this retelling to be thrilling but we have to slow down and take our time. These are not a cheap pair of generic 'buds you snag from the corner shop as an afterthought with your bag of Doritos.
Inside the box are 3 sizes of 3 different types of tips which take a little care and attention to put on. Investing some time in doing it poperly ensures that your listening experience is optimal. You can't expect the best frequency response if the tips are put on wibbly-wobbly or you don't insert the buds into your ears properly.
Watch Mackie’s video on the strengths and features of each. Make your choice wisely. Thank me later.
So where were we?
Right, once I’d taken the time to follow the proper steps to maximize my listening experience I carefully rotated them into my ears, and picked out some random thing to listen to.
No, you know that's not true. Prior to their arrival I had been rummaging through my collection of songs to pick out a selection of tracks that would both test these earbuds and also tickle my ears.
Ok, thats a flat out lie. I’m just going to come out with it and admit that the first thing I listened to was my new album.
This proved to be a noteworthy choice, not because of the content, even if it is stellar content if I do say so myself, but because this is the material that's been overwhelmingly gracing my ears for the last 8 years.
I have listened to these tracks on external monitors, car speakers, bluetooth headphones, modest earbuds, and even in my sleep. But maybe that last one doesn't count.
There is no better way to compare than to have multiple points of reference over extended periods of time.
As soon as I hit play I was serenaded with the most balanced sound. The clarity and separation were astounding.
To say there was a difference is like acknowledging that your home made, last minute, what’s-in-the-pantry pasta is different from the high-end, Italian, al-fresco ristorante where you made a reservation for a special anniversary.
When I heard the transparency of the Mackie MP-460 IEM’s it became apparent that I've been listening to music through a filter of mud all these years.
Characteristics that I had never heard before were present; tiny little scuffs and scrapes of sound that had somehow eluded hundreds of hours of listening on other devices.
Obviously, I was taken aback. I felt ashamed that in a way I didn't know my music as intimately as I thought I did. Yet, the experience was immensely satisfying.
Listening took on an entirely new meaning as I began to discover nuances from tracks that were instrumental in my musical upbrigning that I'd never heard before. It was like bonus content, outtakes but the main takes.
I'm not going to subject you to a string of poetic superlatives to try and express what these IEM's sound like, except to say that the Mackie MP-460 IEM's sound like reality, heightened.
You can argue that to be more real than reality is an impossibility; but try these on and tell me you don’t hear more.