Smallest active studio reference monitors in the world, at just 180 x 135 x 90mm. Manufacturers also claim them to be the lightest with a pair weighing only 1.7kg. These Class-D bi-amped active monitors are rated at a total power of 50W RMS and are the successors to the original iLoud. An excellent option for those looking for portable, high fidelity computer speakers or needing to do audio work on the road.
First Impressions / Setting up
They’re even smaller than you might think, and they’re pretty nondescript: Plastic moulded boxes, albeit with a reasonably attractive painted finish. They have a 3″ woofer and 0.75″ tweeter, and a small bass reflex port on the front.
There’s subtle black-on-black “iLoud ” branding on the sides, and they have small rubber feet at the front that can be folded in or out to angle the speakers up towards you at your production desk or have them more horizontal. As they are a master/slave configuration, all the controls are on the back of the master speaker, with simply a socket for the lead from the master on the back of the slave.
While under the cover they are bi-amped and pack 50W of output, to all intents and purposes they appear just like multimedia speakers, an impression reinforced when you see that they have Bluetooth pairing too. As well as the wireless Bluetooth input there are a pair of unbalanced inputs (TRS minijack and twin RCAs).
The volume control is accompanied by three rocker switches: One for “flat/desk” (designed to try and compensate for you having them on a desk, close to a wall), and roll-offs for high and low frequencies of -3dB. Input is 9V DC (a rather bulky transformer is included in the box), and also in the box, you get a useful twin RCA to minijack lead, and a rather thick lead to connect the two speakers together.
I really wanted to like these, as IK Multimedia has made some cool products that fit the Digital DJ Tips ethos of “small is better” – and luckily, I did. They couldn’t really be far more removed audio-wise from typical multimedia speakers if they tried.
They packed clarity, were engaging and bright, and went pretty loud – although they do distort at highest volume, despite having a DSP (digital signal processor) built in to try and sort that stuff out. Nonetheless, they had a full bass, clear mids and basically, are up to the job of production in tiny spaces.
The clutter of leads and the big transformer mean, I feel, I’d rather be setting these up in as small space and leaving them there rather than carrying them around everywhere with me, but that said, you can buy a carry bag for them at around $40 if you want something portable. They are certainly small enough for that, all said.
These are aimed at a very specific use case – the person DJ practising or producing in a tiny space. Think box bedroom, converted under-the-stairs cupboard – that type of thing. And they deliver what’s needed in such situations in spades.
They have the basics (good sound quality, basically), and throw in lots of quirky extras to be useful in such situations: EQ and positional roll-offs, Bluetooth connectivity, lots of inputs, stands to alter the positioning…
I’d have like to have seen the stands angle the speakers up a bit more, and to me the speaker connecting lead appears curiously thick, but they’re small things; overall, they’re filling a gap in the market well. If cheaper multimedia speakers don’t cut it for you DJing or producing in a small space (and they shouldn’t), and even something like the smallest KRK Rokits are too big/impractical for your set-up, look at/listen to the iLouds. I think you’ll like them.