IK Multimedia has made something portable that I really didn't think was possible or practical, to be honest. It's a mobile speaker that can double as an amp for your guitar or a makeshift studio monitor. While I wouldn't say make this your primary reference monitor, it certainly has enough kick to give you an idea of what your tune is sounding like when you are on the road and don't feel like using headphones.
IK Multimedia has been innovating for years for the mobile content creator, and they continue to prove that you can do it all, almost all of it anyway, on the road.
The iLoud is just that, loud and it works as a Bluetooth speaker (or wired with included cable), a guitar/mic amp and studio monitor. This speaker is not targeted at tweens on the beach having a dance party; this is a real speaker that produces some impressive sound for its size.
The design is clean with a single knob on the front, and all of the switches are nicely hidden in the back of the unit. The speaker comes in at about three pounds, so it feels pretty substantial, and while very portable it does add some heft to your pack.
The unit has a kickstand that swivels out to keep it stable as well as grippy rubber bottom to keep it in place. Underneath the bass port on the back you will find all the controls/inputs which include 3.5 mm and 1/4 inch jacks, Bluetooth connect button, gain knob, power and power source input.
iLoud is just as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside with four powered drivers (two 3" mids / two 3/4-inch tweeters) with a total of 40 watts of power.
The iLoud will give you about 10 hours of mobile play time before the battery buckles, which is great when you are on the road, but keep in mind the louder you crank it, the faster the battery goes. The LED on the back of the device indicates battery life and the one in the front around the dial will glow red when powered on and blink when you have peaked the volume level.
I'm not sure what version of Bluetooth tech they are using, but it sounds pretty decent most the time. It does have a bit of that Bluetooth hiss from time to time, so if you are trying to get the best sound out of it, you might want to use the included ⅛-inch TRRS cable and connect it directly to your device. The speaker also pairs with two devices at a time which is a nice feature.
If you are going to use the iLoud as an amp, then you will need to download their amp modeling apps. The speaker and mobile device then work together, allowing for easy touch control of all digital parameters, with no audible latency. The free version's of AmpliTube (guitar) and VocaLive (PA) will get you started, but you will probably want to invest in the full versions of the apps for more flexibility. You can also get plugins for this to keep pushing the creative limits.
After you have loaded up the app, you can plug in your mic/guitar/instrument to the 1/4 jack (note there is no XLR input so you'll need an adapter for your mic). After you have done that, plug the ⅛-inch TRRS cable from your mobile device to the speaker and turn up the gain to dial it in.
The sound that comes out of this speaker whether wired or wireless is thunderous, and it crushes most (or all) of the speakers its size. This thing will fill up a room quite easily with crisp highs and full mids with just enough bass to round everything out. You should mess around with the positioning of the speaker as well to dial in the sound when you are using it as a monitor. Again this is not something I would use to replace studio monitors but an excellent solution for road warriors that don't want to have headphones on the entire time.
I've cranked everything from Jazz to Electronic to Rock, and the iLoud handles all the genres with ease.
If you are a producer or musician that is constantly on the go and needs a speaker that will crank and double as an amp/monitor, then this is a great purchase. You can find the speaker for $250 and under now if you do a quick search online. There are minor bugs like Bluetooth hiss and having to run your instruments/mic through an app, but nothing substantial that would deter us from recommending this kick ass little powerhouse.