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IK Multimedia iLoud portable Bluetooth speaker review

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Being loud is simply not good enough. IK Multimedia’s iLoud portable studio monitor is more than just loud, it sounds great too. It’s the first portable wireless speaker made specifically for musicians. The iLoud packs 40 watts of musical power into a footprint small enough to ensure your music will be heard loud and clear wherever you are without weighing or letting you down. The iLoud also includes an iRig circuit that allows you to utilize the device as a guitar amp of sorts. Not only can you listen to music with the iLoud, you can use it while creating new music, anywhere you go.

iLoud

The iLoud is, first and foremost, a wireless portable studio monitor. Why studio monitor instead of just a speaker? The iLoud has a time-aligned 2-way system, precision custom neodymium loudspeakers, tuned bass-reflex, a non-resonant enclosure and DSP processing. That might sound like a mouthful of unfamiliar words, but what it means is that this wireless speaker is a step above the rest in terms of both sound quality and power. It has 40 watts of total musical power, to be exact; that’s about twice as much as some comparable size speakers.

Using the iLoud is simple. To start, all you need to do is charge it with the included power adapter. After charging is complete, flip the power switch on the back of the iLoud. Pairing happens with a single button press on the back of the iLoud. All of the controlling happens from your connected device, but you also can adjust the device’s volume level manually with the large lighted knob on the front.

I’m quite pleased to report that it really does produce superb audio all the way up to sound levels that would likely get you in trouble with the neighbors. Hopefully you won’t need it to be that loud all of the time, but it’s nice to know you have this kind of power available and that it won’t distort. Ever. As if it didn’t sound good enough unaided, you can further enhance bass response by placing the iLoud with its back close to and facing a wall. I’d recommend doing this as often as possible because the difference is actually quite noticeable.

iLoud back sx openIn addition to being a wireless portable studio monitor, the iLoud pulls double duty as a guitar amp of sorts. There’s an iRig circuit built-in so you can plug your guitar into the iLoud and then plug the iLoud into your iOS device. You’ll need an iOS device to accept the output of the iLoud via a TRRS 1/8th inch (headphone sized) cable, which is included. You cannot simply plug your guitar in and start playing without an iOS device connected to handle the processing and return a signal. That’s not really a problem in my mind, because I’d want to use my presets in AmpliTube to make my guitar sound exactly the way I want it to anyway.

Being physically connected isn’t a problem because Bluetooth would add an unacceptable delay to your signal. It would have been nice to see the iLoud function as a portable guitar amplifier, but it’s billed as a portable studio monitor, and having the ability to use it as an amp of sorts without any other gear is still very much a welcome feature. If the analog nature of the built-in iRig circuit introduces too much noise for your liking, you can obviously still use a digital instrument adapter with your iOS device and connect to the iLoud with a cable.

iloud_playing_irig_keys

The design of the iLoud is quite sleek; it’s a speaker that both looks and sounds impressive. To me, it looks a little like a mini guitar amp cabinet with a lighted knob in the center. It definitely looks the part of a high quality speaker. On the bottom of the iLoud is a foot that pulls out to help stabilize the unit and folds back for easy transport. This helps to keep the iLoud a bit thinner than comparable portable speakers. That also makes it easier to throw in a backpack while maintaining stability when you need it. To be honest, the sleek design might actually go a little too far. There are no playback controls on the iLoud, so you’ll be controlling everything from your connected device. That’s not a big problem, but it might have been nice to have play/pause and skip track controls on the iLoud itself similar to other portable speakers.

Overall, the iLoud is a superb portable studio monitor. In fact, it’s hard to knock the iLoud for much of anything. I would have liked to see playback controls (play/pause, skip track, etc.) and a battery meter on the iLoud, but these aren’t strictly necessary. Instead, the iLoud has a very sleek design that both looks and sounds amazing. It’s priced similarly to other portable Bluetooth speakers, but the slim design, inclusion of the iRig circuit, superior sound quality and power weigh in its favor. If you’re looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker, you’d be well advised to consider the iLoud from IK Multimedia.

Appletell Rating:

Buy the IK Multimedia iLoud

Provides: Portable studio monitor and audio input adapter
Developer: IK Multimedia
Minimum Requirements: Bluetooth device
Price: $299.99
Availability: Now

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