iLoud Hands-On (Review)

iLoud_1

To call IK Multimedia’s iLoud a Bluetooth speaker would be oversimplifying it. It’s much more than that. Sure, it works perfectly as a Bluetooth speaker, but that wouldn’t be giving it full credit for what it is. Think of it also as a practice amp and portable studio monitor. You won’t just be listening to music on this little beast. You’ll be making it.

As a Bluetooth Speaker

As a basic Bluetooth speaker, you’re already getting some serious sound out of the iLoud. It’s much louder than you’d expect. (Ask my cat who darted out of the room while I was testing it. Sorry, Bruce.) Realistically, though. You probably won’t be listening that loud. If you live in an apartment complex, it will very likely anger your neighbors. If you live in a home, it’s loud enough to fill the room, and then some. Let’s just say that for most practical applications, it probably won’t be necessary to blast at full volume. It’s easily loud enough to provide music while you play basketball at the park with your friends or to keep visitors entertained during a small get-together.

As a Studio Monitor

The iLoud also functions as a studio monitor. Actually, that’s what it’s marketed as. It’s a portable speaker made to sound like a studio monitor. While I will admit that my ears are not the best (29 years old. Lots of concerts and club time under my belt) I will say that the music I listen to sounds clear to me. It’s loud, the mids sound clear as do the highs. The lows really seem to come through better at slightly higher volumes (which is true for all studio monitors I’ve used), but it’s adequate enough for anyone composing music or mixing on their iPad or iPhone. We’ve been listening to a lot of music we are familiar with and it’s definitely been enjoyable. That said, most of us don’t need to buy a pair of $800 studio monitors to have on the go. We need enough to give us a clear idea of what the mix sounds like, and how it translates to a speaker system. This is a good way to go.

The portability also ends up being a benefit for those who want to mix their songs. One of the most important things to be mindful of when you’re working on a mix is how it sounds in different places. While your studio environment may be great for your mixes, it’s nice to be able to carry this baby to different rooms or buildings to see how well your mixes translate under different conditions. The fact that it’s small and light, and works wirelessly on its own battery is a major plus.

iLoud_iPad

iLoud next to an iPad 3 (for scale)

 

 

As a Practice Amp 

We plugged it into our iPhone with an iRig interface, and ran AmpliTube through it. It made for a nice little practice amp suitable for jamming in the bedroom or at the park. Because everything is self-powered, you can take it with you anywhere you want and don’t have to worry about finding an outlet. It’s the kind of practice amp you can take to a park bench and strum the guitar with.

You can also take a stereo aux cable and plug in any drum machine, iOS device or synth and program some basslines or drum patterns.

While the iLoud is quite loud, it’s definitely something you’ll want to dedicate to practice or relax jam session. You probably won’t be able to hear it over your live drummer, but it’s plenty for your own practice purposes.

 

Overall

The iLoud is made with musicians in mind. The speakers are made to have a flatter frequency response than typical speakers. That’s because they are supposed to play back a more accurate representation of what you are supposed to hear. This will help you make small, but necessary adjustments to your mixes. That said, you will still be able to use just as well for guitar or entertaining guests, because this sucker is loud for its size, so take one out to the park and crank it up!

You can check it out at IK Multimedia’s site: iLoud

 

 

 

 

 

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