IK Multimedia iLoud full review
With so many portable Bluetooth speakers on the market it is hard to know whether you are getting a bargain or not. Some people are more comfortable purchasing a familiar brand like Bose, Sony or Beats while others willing to go for something different providing it achieves comparable or better quality. IK multimedia has produced a Bluetooth speaker with at least two fantastic features which make it stand out from the crowd.
IK Multimedia iLoud review: Price
The recommended price of £264.99 is high - no doubt - but the good news is that you can buy the iLoud for £173 from Amazon, which is considerably cheaper. You can also buy a travel bag for £41 which is designed specifically for the iLoud.
IK Multimedia iLoud review: Features and design
The first of the iLoud's great features is its power. Few portable speakers have a massive 40W on tap (2x16W low-frequency, 2x4W high frequency). It’s got a lot more volume compared to other portable speakers, and is easily loud enough to fill a small hall for parties even without using full volume. We tested it against the similarly priced Bose SoundLink and it eclipsed the Bose's volume.
The second feature is the iRig system. For those unfamiliar, it allows you to use your phone or tablet to process real-time effects for your guitar, bass, keyboard or dynamic mic. To set it up you need to connect your instrument to the 1/4in jack on the back of the speaker, then connect your phone using the TRRS audio cable provided (a TRRS audio cable looks similar to an standard auxiliary minijack cable but has an extra ring for sound input).
You then download IK Multimedia's AmpliTube app or another similar app of your choice and apply your desired effects. It is a great and simple way to use digital effects. Make no mistake: this isn't a replacement for your guitar amp but it is fantastic for jamming along at home or travelling around when it’s not practical to lug around a heavy amp.
Compared to other Bluetooth speakers we've reviewed, the iLoud is not the smallest or most portable. However, it will still fit easily into a backpack, gig bag or of course the optional travel bag.
Even though the speaker is made from plastic, it feels solid and looks great. On the front there is a classy lookiong red light around the volume knob and on the back is a pull-out stand to give it more stability.
Pairing the device over Bluetooth is as simple as pushing the dedicated Bluetooth button on the back and then tapping on iLoud in your phone or tablet's Bluetooth devices menu. We walked around the room with our paired device and found it kept a good connection without experiencing dropouts. If your mobile device doesn't support Bluetooth, or you are not quite ready to lose those leads, you can connect your phone to the AUX input on the back.
Also on the back is an LED which glows orange and then green when it is charged and changes to red when it is time to charge the device again. The battery claims to have 10 hours of charge at normal volume. We found it did keep its charge quite well but would run out a lot faster when the volume is higher. To save energy it automatically goes into standby mode if it wasn't used. When in standby the red ring around the volume control dims and gently pulses unless it is switched off at the back. The downside for some people is that if you wanted to keep it in a bedroom it would light up a dark room.
If there's one niggle, it's that the volume control isn't also an on/off switch. As it is, it's fiddly to find the off switch at the back of the speaker.
IK Multimedia iLoud review: Sound quality
We've already touched on this, but the iLoud as good as you'd expect for the money. The dedicated 3/4in tweeters help deliver crisp highs. Mid-range is present but not too overwhelming and the bass is just right: deep but not too boomy. It’s frequency range is great when put to the test and managed very well with the low frequencies.
IK Multimedia iLoud: Specs
- 40W total power (2x16W low-frequency, 2x4W high frequency) Frequency response 50Hz to 20kHz Four Class-D amplifiers, bi-amped system Two way 2x3in neodymium woofers & 2x3/4in neodymium tweeters Bass-reflex port 1/4in iRig input for connecting guitars and dynamic microphones to iOS devices Bluetooth compatible with A2DP protocol 1/8in stereo analog line input DSP controlled Auto Standby Integrated li-ion rechargeable battery Battery duration at maximum volume: up to three hours
- Normal usage: up to ten hours Size: 250 x 160mm x 60mm (W x H x D) Weight: 1330g