Today we bring you a long overdue review of the IKMultimedia iLoud Micro Monitor system. This one is something new, and we were pretty much inclined to use it in our everyday productions. This is why it took so long, but rest assured we have used it extensively, in the studio and on the go and are here to tell the story.
From the start, what strikes us the most is the weight and size of this monitoring system. And yes, it is meant to be used on the go, with build quality more than enough for touring with it. And this is precisely what we did. Well, no tours are live right now due to COVID-19 but still, we managed to do some extensive travelling. We are pretty much into this mobile musician thing, and we can pack some gear with us when we do it, like an Elektron Analog4 which is a great synth, doubling as a sound card, to which we connected an Elektron Machinedrum MK1 and an MFB-522 to handle the drum works. Coupled with the power of Ableton and the best VST Synths around (check our article on the best VST Synths in the market right here) we are fully able to make ourselves a nice little studio that more than fits into a VW Golf 6.
Sure, the makers claim that this is the smallest active monitoring system in the world, but we are not sure that this is 100% accurate. But for sure you can snug it in your cabin luggage and take it on flights, to work in your hotel room. You can even buy a dedicated carrying bag on the IKMultimedia website.
IKMultimedia iLoud Micro Monitor Review: Sound
The second thing that shook us was the IKMultimedia iLoud Micro Monitor’s sound capabilities. This was not a full review if we would not have touched on this, as the sound profile is the most important thing with studio monitors.
Sure, this is no 8 inch powerhouse nor is it a subwoofer, so from the start you have to manage your bass expectations (they go down to 55hz). But sound profiling is more than power. In the upper registers the monitoring system is good to great, but not wow. You get crisp and you can judge your hi-hats with good accuracy. There is some air present, also. The monitors shine in the mid range tho, and are extremely good for vocals, guitars and some synth work.
The woofers are 3″ and the twitters are 3/4″. They are perfectly balanced and tuned from the factory, and this thing astounded us for such a small and lightweight package. You are getting a lot for the package, trust us on this. The bass port is in the front, so there is no worry that the bass will reflect from the wall behind the speakers. Also, we found that the monitor pair produced more than adequate headroom. Of course, you cannot compare it to systems costing ten times the money, but for what they are, they bring a lot of utility to the table.
Another thing that surprised us was the stereo field. You get a really immersive experience and can fully work on your tracks with these. When using a stereo widener, you can really feel the setting, as well as for panning and summing into mono. Stereo effects come alive, delays, reverbs, choruses totally make sense and you can pretty much get a feel for each setting that they can offer.
Ok so sound is good, portability is good, what about gear compatibility. This is possibly a weak point for these products, as they do not offer TRS and XLR connections, only RCA. So there is no option to add a balanced cable to this and get rid of interferences. Also, since you will be using them on the go, you should buy a very good quality RCA cable pair, as plugging and unplugging RCA sockets ruin them fast.
We would love to have an XLR and TRS connection just for the sake of it, because most pro studio gear has them and not RCA. But we think that these monitors are perhaps aimed at a different audience, one that travels a lot and simply does not own big studio equipment to plug them in.
The fact that they have Bluetooth connectivity confirms this, you can get away with using just a laptop with no sound card with these, and Bluetooth being fully digital you will not get cable noise in your audio signal path.
You only plug one into your wall socket and audio source, and the other one has a single cable connection and acts as a receiver only. So this might open other issues like imbalanced panning, just so you know. This can also be an advantage when travelling, if you don’t want to pack a power extender with you, two sockets will do just fine, one for your laptop and one for your monitors.
IKMultimedia has a lot of experience in digital sound processing (DSP). Thus, they have fitted the iLoud Micro Monitor system with a very powerful 56-bit chip that can do this, as a unique selling position. DSP features include controlled diffraction / low resonance enclosure and time-aligned crossover. Their chip also handles the linear frequency response, providing real-time micro adjustments to the output sound. Also in control is the dynamic range and the twitter/woofer crossover, so rest assured that you are in good hands when you use this product.
The monitors also have a very nice selectable EQ room correction so you can adjust them to where you are at that particular moment in time.
For what it is, this product is great. Yes, you get a very small package and this is by far the best feature of the IKMultimedia iLoud Micro Monitor system. You can adjust them both physically and sonically to your listening environment. They fit in a small bag and are very lightweight.
The sound is much better than expected. Sure, they lack low end but that is natural and it is advised to use headphones for bass anyway. The materials are quality and the productivity increase is huge, especially when travelling.
The monitors have very powerful DSP features built-in but they lack professional connection types, which can be a let-down in some cases. However, you will not be travelling with your full-sized mixing desk and the use of a direct Bluetooth connection with your laptop eliminates the need for a sound card entirely.