IK Multimedia is in the business of making products that help musicians make the most of their iOS devices and musical instruments. They're the company behind the iRig and its many spawn, which make it simple for musicians to plug in guitars or mics for processing by the company's software offerings. Those apps include such musical favorites as AmpliTube, VocaLive, Loop Drummer, SampleTank, and GrooveMaker. Well, they've now made a nice little portable speaker that lives up to its name, the US$299.99 iLoud.
Think of it as a portable studio monitor and you've got the idea. But instead of just being another generic Bluetooth speaker for iPhone and iPad, the iLoud has a direct plug-in connection for your guitar or microphone via iRig.
- Price: $299.99
- Dimensions: 250mm/9.84" x 160mm/6.3" x 60mm/2.36" (W x H x D)
- Weight: 1,330g/46.91oz
- Output: 40W
- Power: Internal battery with 10 hour life, DC in 14V/2.5 A
- Input: Bluetooth, 1/4" iRig input
On the outside, the iLoud looks like a speaker... But sometimes it's what's inside a speaker that makes the big difference and that's the case with the iLoud. First, there are four Class-D amplifiers inside, providing 40W of total power -- two 3-inch neodymium woofers getting 16W of power each, and two 3/4-inch neodymium tweeters each feeding on 4W of power. The frequency response of the speaker runs from a respectable 50Hz on the low end to 20kHz on the upper end.
There's a digital sound processor controlling all of this, and the iLoud can take a lot of different inputs: a 1/8" stereo analog line input and 1/4" iRIg input let you connect a number of wired sources, while A2DP-compatible Bluetooth accepts input from your favorite Mac or iOS device.
The interior battery will work for 3 hours at maximum volume, 10 hours with normal use (i.e., not ear-bleedingly loud...).
While I'm not a musician (other than singing) and didn't have a guitar or MIDI keyboard that I could plug into the iLoud for testing, I was able to attach an iRIg Mic to test how vocals worked with the unit and give it a workout with a Bluetooth connection, first to my iPhone and then to an iPad Air.
Sound quality was really impressive, with fairly good high-end response -- something I've found lacking in a lot of portable speakers. As you'd expect, low frequencies were amazingly well-reproduced with this unit. Volume? Well, if there's a portable speaker that goes to 11 (obligatory "This is Spinal Tap" reference), it's the iLoud.
Pairing with the iOS devices was a no-brainer and Bluetooth worked well for streaming music to the unit.
Whether you're a musician who wants a solid speaker for impromptu rehearsals or small gatherings, or just a music lover who wants a decently priced high quality portable speaker, the iLoud should fit the bill in either situation. When paired with IK Multimedia's other offerings for musicians, the iLoud rounds out a wide-ranging lineup of audio tools that are perfect for the iOS device-toting musician or music lover.
Rating: 4 stars out of 4 stars possible
IK Multimedia and TUAW want to make one reader very happy, so we're giving away one of these amazing speakers. Here are the rules for the giveaway:
- Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
- To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
- The entry must be made before April 8, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
- You may enter only once.
- One winner will be selected and will receive an IK Multimedia iLoud Speaker valued at $299.99
- Click Here for complete Official Rules.