Review: IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor
IK Multimedia's new iLoud Micro Monitor is the company's second foray into the speaker market, building on its impressive 2013 iLoud in the form of a pair of monitors which can be used with a variety of sources, ranging from Bluetooth to traditional wired inputs, with a design that remains focused for use in a small home or project studio environment. Much like IK Multimedia's original iLoud, the new iLoud Micro Monitor is engineered to provide unblemished, sonically accurate reference sound with no coloration — the kind of transparency that serious musicians and audio engineers are looking for.
In the package you’ll find the pair of iLoud Micro Monitor speakers, a 3.5mm to RCA audio cable, a heavy-gauge shielded cable to connect the speakers to each other, and the power supply. The speakers can be connected using standard RCA inputs, a 3.5mm input jack, or paired to your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or any other A2DP-compatible device via Bluetooth. In addition to the power and input connections on the rear of the left speaker are a volume control, Bluetooth pairing button, on/off switch, and three equalizer switches to provide bass and treble sound optimization as well an EQ setting to switch between a free-field and desktop sound profile. The bottom of each speaker includes both an integrated isolation base for desktop placement, as well as a 3/8” mic stand thread for free-field positioning.
Each speaker includes a 3” high-rigidity composite woofer and a 3/4” tweeter, powered by 50W RMS class D power amps, along with a large front-firing bass reflex port. IK Multimedia promises a low-end frequency response down to 55Hz, and it definitely comes through on listening — the speakers provide surprisingly balanced bass for speakers in their size and class. Much like the original iLoud, the sound from iLoud Micro Monitor is detailed and balanced across all of the frequency ranges, with great sound that is clean and measured without sounding clinical, and is bolstered by more output power and full stereo separation. This is all supported by an integrated 56-bit digital signal processor (DSP) that controls frequency, phase response, and dynamic range, as well as digitally handling crossover between the drivers.
In designing iLoud Micro Monitor, IK Multimedia also showed considerable attention to detail in designing the distance, alignment, and crossover configuration of the drivers to provide excellent sound in smaller spaces. The drivers in each speaker have center points 2.3” apart, allowing for proper sound convergence as close as 20” from the speakers — typical for a desktop speaker setup, meaning that you’ll hear properly blended audio at much nearer distances than most medium-sized monitors. With the woofer’s mid-range capabilities, the drivers also cross over digitally at around 3.5 kHz, with timing controlled by the integrated DSP — this provides very good mid-range accuracy.
Much like its predecessor, iLoud Micro Monitor is designed with the studio musician and audio engineer in mind, and is therefore focused primarily on providing powerful and accurate sound. If you’re mixing or producing audio professionally in a small studio environment, you can’t go wrong with these speakers and you’re really going to like what IK Multimedia has done here. However, we think that iLoud Micro Monitor also has a lot of appeal to those looking for a great set of desktop speakers — users for whom sound accuracy is of key importance, rather than those looking for the kind of artificial deep, booming bass that seems to have become more commonplace among speakers. iLoud Micro Monitor provides superior audio quality and volume level compared to other speakers in its class.