Review: IK Multimedia’s iLoud

IK Multimedia added to its arsenal of music equipment on Thursday with the release of iLoud, a product the company bills as “the first studio-quality portable speaker designed for musicians and audiophiles.” That’s a lot to live up to with one product—luckily, I got one of the early units, so I had some time to try it out.

I’ll be honest with you—I’ve tried these types of speakers before1 and haven’t been very impressed. In fact, it didn’t take much to make the speakers of other units distort before they reached a very loud volume. This makes them virtually useless to me.

However, that’s not what happened with the iLoud.

The iLoud allows you to plug in your guitar, connect an iPhone or iPad via the headphone jack, or connect your device over Bluetooth, so it has lots of options.

iLoud iPad

Before I even plugged my guitar into the iLoud, I connected my iPhone via Bluetooth and turned on A Pale Horse Named Death. With the bands heavy bass, I figured I could distort the speakers with the first song and be done with it. I was wrong.

When the song started playing, I sat back and smiled. The song wasn’t just loud, it was clear. The bass was pumping through, heavy guitars were screaming and there was no distortion whatsoever. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least.

I tried a number of other songs and bands, in a variety of genres, with the same results. It just sounded really good.

The other part of the iLoud that sets it apart is that you can plug your guitar into the device. IK Multimedia made this so simple, it’s amazing.

iLoud Guitar

iLoud comes with an iRig circuit built-in. So, you plug your guitar into the iLoud with a 1/4-inch cable; plug the 1/8-inch cable from the iLoud to the headphone jack of your iOS device and you’re done.

iLoud doesn’t output your guitar to the speakers, instead it outputs it to the iOS device. With amp software, like AmpliTube or Ampkit, running on the iPhone or iPad, you get a guitar’s amplified signal back through the iLoud speakers.

This too was a great sound, although you do have to play around with the amp settings and gain controls to get the sound you want. To be clear, that’s no different from using any other amp software or device.

On the back panel, iLoud has an 1/8-inch jack, a 1/4-inch jack, gain control, Bluetooth pairing button and an on/off switch. The power adapter also charges the battery, which takes about 2 hours. On the front, the iLoud has one big volume knob and nothing else—just what you need.

iLoud easily fit into my gig bag and backpack. It’s very easy to transport, although you will notice the extra weight.

I had no problems with the iLoud, although the 1/8-inch cable included with the unit seemed to be faulty. It didn’t work at first and when I jiggled it, there was noise and static. I tried it on my iPhone 5s and iPad Air with the same result. It finally did work, but I did my best not to move it around.

Besides the small cable issue, I loved the iLoud. It delivers clear music playback and allows a simple connection of a microphone or guitar to the unit. The built-in iRig circuit is perfect for musicians and allows you to connect to iOS devices to amplify your guitar signal.

  1. Admittedly, I haven’t tried any with so many features. 

  • pxlated

    Thanks for the review Jim – Like you, I’ve tried others but found nothing but a distorted mess (I’m a bass player). Was waiting for a review of the iLoud. Will be getting myself one.

  • Bob

    You wrote:

    “of your iOS device and your done.” Should be: “of your iOS device and YOU’RE done.”

    I’m wondering if there is any latency like other Bluetooth speakers? I already have an iRig HD (which is higher quality), so I’m wondering if that will work here with Bluetooth (but without noticeable latency).

    • Thanks, fixed.

      There was no latency with the iPhone plugged into the iLoud.

      • Bob

        I meant without plugging it in. That is, using it wirelessly via Bluetooth. Specifically, playing the guitar and wirelessly hearing it on the speaker.

        • IK Multimedia

          AmpliTube does not output over Bluetooth because of the latency introduced by Bluetooth. A good rule of thumb is Bluetooth for listening, plugging directly in for real-time performance or recording. You can plug directly in like Jim did with great results.

          • Bob

            Ahhh, thanks. That explains it.

            I think I’ll pass on this product as I already have the iRig HD (which is a great product BTW). Going back to the original iRig with this product seems like a step back.

          • IK Multimedia

            No problem. There’s no reason you couldn’t use iRig HD with this too – just go out from the iOS device into the 1/8″ input on iLoud 🙂

          • No need to go back Bob 🙂

  • mycroftxxx

    I’ll definitely keep this on my Xmas / birthday list, but I recently purchased a Yamaha THR-10C, so my $300 guitar accessory bucket has already been filled. I had been thinking seriously about the iLoud since I already have most of the Amplitube iPad suite and a good-quality digital interface.

    However, I went with the Yamaha to (a) get better portability (only one box to carry), and (b) I really, really like the quality of the amp models quite a bit better than either Amplitube or Ampkit. Not saying those are bad by any means, but the THR-10C’s modeling is first-rate – I don’t expect to top it’s sound until I save up enough for a billm modded Fender Blues Jr.

  • ajp

    I wish they would put out a bass version of this product that could also be used as a subwoofer for playback. Then, every DJ will want 2 of these!

  • John McClung

    Can you mix together and hear inputs from a guitar and an iPod simultaneously?

  • TheZakMan

    So, if I want to use my microphone or guitar into the iLoud it would send it back into iOS via iRig? this means i could use any other app to make live loops or just the IK’s Apps?

  • John_F.

    Just saying… a roland MicroCube would be cheaper and better for a Guitar player (guitar settings, sound …)? What do u think?

  • If I wanted to plug in a mic and guitar would I require 2 x ilouds?