IK Multimedia has announced two new portable speakers that combine live instrument and music playback in packages that fit in your backpack but, according to the company, are “2-3 times louder than comparable sized speakers.” The series is made up of the 40W RMS iLoud and its slightly smaller sibling, the 15W RMS iLoud MINI. Both models are powered by rechargeable Li-Ion batteries and support Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music from handheld devices as well as a stereo 1/8" mini-jack input and a 1/4” guitar/bass input.

One of the first cabs off the rank this week at the National Association of Music Merchants trade show (NAMM), the two iLoud models boast impressive functionality, starting with on-board digital signal processing (DSP) that manages the heady heights of having 40W RMS power at your disposal on the iLoud, and 12W RMS on the iLoud MINI. Both have neodymium speaker cones as their main drivers, bass reflex ports and also passive radiators to shed the heat generated by playing thumping beats on a summers day. Though, the larger sibling gets a bi-amped 4-driver array (two low-mids and two tweeters) while the smaller MINI has two full-range speakers that cover as much of the frequency spectrum as their cones will allow.

The iLoud MINI is approximately the width and height of a 7-inch tablet, while the iLoud measures 9.8 x 4.5-inches and both are around 2.3-inches thick. The MINI weighs 650 g (22.93oz) and its larger sibling weighs 900g (31.75oz).

IK Multimedia says that the line up is “the perfect alternative to using studio speakers for music creation on the go.” In fact, the company doesn't stop there, claiming that the iLoud duo is actually “on par” with conventional studio monitors, and were designed with that in mind.

Yet it seems the real fun might start when one plugs their guitar or bass into the iLoud. IK included a 1/4-inch Hi-Z input on the larger model, which then finds its way to circuitry taken from its own best-selling iRig and iRig HD. This allows users to access apps like AmpliTube, or other audio apps in your mobile device. Being a Hi-Z jack, it’s not a problem to plug in a Lo-Z dynamic microphone to use as well, while adding real-time effects into the mix, though condenser microphones aren't supported.

While the jury might still be out on whether such small devices can truly match it with the more traditional speakers found in studios around the world, the prospect of having a workable solution that’s suited for traveling would be music to the ears of some.

iLoud and iLoud MINI will be available worldwide in the second quarter of 2013, and priced at US$299.99 and $199.99 respectively.

Product page: iLoud

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