Thanks to mobile audio processing and recording apps, composing on the road has never been easier. Showing off your latest killer riff to the rest of the band through tablet or laptop speakers is less than satisfying, however. There are a good many battery-powered micro amps out there which might help a little, but the output is often, to put it delicately, sub-par. Italy's IK Multimedia demonstrated a wired/wireless audio thrower at the Winter NAMM show back in January that promised studio monitor sound quality in a portable, chunky tablet-sized package. Developed specifically for musicians and audiophiles, the 40 W iLoud has now been released.
The iLoud features four Class-D amplifiers in a bi-amp configuration that caters for phase-accurate and time-aligned digital crossover, which the company says makes it virtually impossible to detect the transition between low and high frequency speakers. Two of these amps drive a pair of 16 W, 3-in neodymium woofers, and the other two are assigned to two 4 W, 0.75-in tweeters for a total portable power output of 40 W RMS. Combined with an onboard 24-bit digital signal processor that uses a proprietary algorithm, the device aims to keep the accurate, hi-fi quality output as clear as a bell, even at higher volumes.
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The 9.84 x 6.3 x 2.36 in (250 x 160 x 60 mm), 47 oz (1.3 kg) unit has a frequency response of 50 Hz to 20 kHz, tuned bass reflex porting in its reported resonant-free casing, an even, flat response throughout the whole of the bottom end and stereo imaging that, according to IK Multimedia, can't be found in similarly-sized portable speaker systems. Its built-in Li-ion battery can last up to 3 hours between charges at maximum volume, or up to 10 hours at normal levels.
Musicians can plug a guitar or microphone into the 0.25-in instrument input at the back, which benefits from the same circuitry as the company's iRig mobile instrument interface, then connect an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to the 0.125-in stereo analog line in, start a favorite audio processing app (such as AmpliTube or VocaLive) and strut their funky stuff using the digital effects running on the mobile device. The line in port can also be used to feed in music from wired-only audio sources, but the iLoud also packs Bluetooth with A2DP support for wireless tune streaming from iOS and Android devices, PC or Mac.
The portable speaker is available now for US$299.99, and comes supplied with a 3.3 ft (1 m) TRRS audio cable.
You can judge the iLoud's output prowess for yourself by watching IK Multimedia compare the device with three other popular wireless speakers in the video below.
Product page: iLoud