Not everyone has the luxury to allocate a lot of space to their studio. But just because you don’t have much room doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy good quality sound. In this review, we check out the compact and powerful iLoud Micro from IK Multimedia.
IK Multimedia iLoud Micro
The IK Multimedia iLoud Micro has a lot to offer producers with smaller workspaces. Let’s check out where these small reference monitors shine and where they fall flat.
Is the IK Multimedia iLoud Micro the best compact pair of monitors currently available? Let’s check it out in more detail.
The sound quality from these compact speakers is surprisingly good. At first glance, I wasn’t expecting much. The smaller form factor instantly conjures images of consumer computer speakers. Not something that inspires confidence considering my experience with those types of speakers. Luckily the iLoud Micro does achieve what it sets out to do. It provides a balanced and flat response for producers without the big footprint of other 3-inch monitors.
The highs are clean and sharp. A little too sharp when pushed to higher volumes but still pleasant enough for short to medium listening sessions. The mids are well-rounded with good clarity. The low-end is substantial enough and better than I expected from a 3-inch woofer. Good depth with a full well-rounded bass warmth. Impressive considering the small form factor.
The imaging was also better than I expected. The audio pushes forward and is direct. A good element to have considering these will likely end up in small studios with walls nearby. Little refraction and pleasant response at the standard near-field position.
A very clean and balanced soundscape. Despite touting features that often aim towards general consumers. This is where there needs to be a word of warning. Don’t expect colored sound like consumer speakers. These are reference monitors. Their job is to represent audio as close to the source material as possible. For some, this may not be very satisfying. But, If you are a producer in a small space the iLoud Micro is a great option.
The iLoud Micro does come with a higher price point than some other 3-inch monitor options. Based on this I was expecting some decent quality. They didn’t let me down. The component quality is high. Neodymium drivers and silk dome tweeters are dependable.
The iLoud Micro is compact and well built.
The textured plastic cabinet is solid and provides just the right amount of heft. These don’t feel cheap in any way. The angled kickstands are also well constructed with rubber bottoms for maximum grip.
There is nothing to complain about here. A well-constructed and solid pair of monitors.
Diving into the specs does highlight a few quirks that are worth exploring. The most notable is the max SPL of 104dB. In practice, the iLoud Micro doesn’t perform well at such high volume levels. Audio quality does degrade once you go beyond 90dB. Some frequencies are more pronounced than others but it throws off the overall balance. But below this threshold the clarity and delivery are excellent. When you consider these will likely be in smaller spaces the volume level is more than enough.
The iLoud Micro squeezes a 3-inch woofer into a small package.
The frequency response of 45Hz-22kHz (-10dB) is good and at 70W peak power, these little speakers mean business. An efficient class D amplifier distributes power.
The front bass reflex port is another excellent choice. These can sit up against a wall without excessive low-end build-up. Perfect for small studio spaces.
The IK Multimedia iLoud Micro also offers some tuning options to adjust output. A must-have if you are trying to professionally master your creations. Adjusting to your circumstances is critical to get the most out of any set of monitors.
Three EQ options are available. The first setting attempts to correct output if the speakers are on a desk. It does a decent job of this but there is a noticeable emphasis on the mids and lows. This leaves the highs, well, high and dry. The second and third settings allow for tweaking of the low and high frequencies. These are far more effective than the desk option and perform as expected.
While a small selection of choices, it is still miles ahead of consumer-grade speakers and budget monitors.
By far one of the most appealing aspects of the iLoud Micro is the unique design. The compact form factor is ideal for smaller desks where space is at a premium. But, they do look a bit more like computer speakers rather than monitors. If you are heavily into the look of classic monitors you’ll likely not like the look of these.
The iLoud Micro is also available in white.
Despite the smaller size, they don’t look cheap with a distinct and solid cabinet. The rounded front edge blends perfectly into your workspace. The protective grilles for the woofer and tweeter keep everything looking smart.
The addition of the kickstands is another excellent choice in design. It limits vibrations. It also angles the speakers towards your head for a better sweet spot without the need for stands. But if you do want to get these up to head height you can install them on microphone stands. While a good option, you’d want to ensure you have very stable small stands. These speakers are lightweight but small stands can be flimsy and not overly stable.
The iLoud Micro includes kickstands to angle the speaker upwards.
The textured matte black finish is like what you’ll find on other studio monitors. Fingerprint resistant and not prone to scratches. If black isn’t your thing there is a white version available that may suit your studio space better.
The compact form factor is a huge draw. The narrow profile allows these to comfortably squeeze in next to your laptop or computer screen. With the ever-growing scale of computer monitors, it’s a welcome option.
The iLoud Micro is one of the smallest 3-inch monitors available.
At just 3.79 lbs (1.7 kg) you could even look at placing these on floating shelves. Light enough to not place undue pressure while heavy enough to stay in place.
The IK Multimedia iLoud Micro offers a small selection of input options. A stereo RCA option along with a 1/8″ AUX input. I would have likely to see some more options here. But, for most applications, these two should be enough.
The iLoud Micro only offers two cabled connection options.
Beyond the cabled options the iLoud Micro also offers up Bluetooth connectivity. Pairing is quick and simple. This also allows these to pull double duty. Not just a solid pair of reference monitors but also a convenient option for other applications.
This is one area where I’m a little torn. On the one side, these are much cheaper than high-quality reference monitors. But they are also much more expensive than other 3-inch studio monitors.
Build quality is high and better than other budget options in the compact space. Sound quality is also great so there is value to be had here. While not the cheapest they are not overpriced either. But if you are on a budget you can pick up some cheaper alternatives that will still do a great job.
What Others Have To Say
Plenty of positive reviews for the iLoud Micro. People love the compact size and appreciate the flat response. A great choice if you’re looking for an unobtrusive set of reference speakers.
Top 3 Tips For Smaller Studios
If you are exploring small reference monitors you are likely working in a small studio space. Generally, small studios are not ideal for music production. Sound quality and ergonomics tend to suffer in smaller rooms. But there are a few small things you can do that can improve your space. Here are our top 3 tips for getting the most out of your small studio space.
One of the most important things you can do is to treat the room. The two main components are absorption and diffusion. Bass traps and acoustic panels are a great way to absorb sound preventing reflections. This will result in a cleaner sound that is closer to the source material. Diffusion is also worth exploring if things are still not sounding right. Uneven surfaces help reflect sound more randomly. This can eliminate echoes and balance the sound in the room.
Acoustic Panels are a great way to balance out sound in your studio.
If you are in a small space it doesn’t mean you need to feel uncomfortable. Ensure you pay extra attention to ergonomics. A comfortable chair is critical if you plan on spending long sessions in the studio. Enough space to move around is also ideal. Eliminate anything in your studio space that isn’t necessary so that you can focus on your productions.
The aesthetic of the space should be inviting and uncluttered. You want to be motivated to sit down. Even if your space isn’t large you want it to feel airy and natural. Keeping your studio space clean and organized is a big part of this. Good cable management can go a long way to keeping things looking professional. But, don’t forget to inject some of your personality into the room. It is your personal space after all. You don’t want to be feeling like you are recording or producing in a lifeless and bland room.
If you are looking at smaller monitors there are some other options available. Here is a selection of speakers worth exploring.
PreSonus Eris E3.5 Review
The PreSonus Eris E3.5 is a popular pair of studio monitors for small studios. While not as compact as the iLoud Micro they offer excellent audio quality.
- A flat response that’s great for producing in a small studio space.
- An affordable price point that’s great for beginners.
- Sweetspot is a little small. Correct placement is critical.
Read our full PreSonus Eris E3.5 review for more detailed information.
Presonus Eris E3.5
Mackie CR3-X Review
If you like the idea of affordable monitors the CR3-X from Mackie is an excellent option. With distinct styling and handy features, it’s often at the top of small monitor lists.
- Loud output despite its small size.
- Convenient forward-facing AUX connection and volume control.
- Very cheap but as a result, not the best build quality.
Read our full Mackie CR3-X review for more detailed information.
Focal Audio Shape 40 Review
Focal Audio also offers smaller monitors. These premium monitors offer excellent quality but they are more expensive. A valuable investment if you have the extra money in your budget.
- Impressive clarity and tonal balance.
- Wood cabinet and glass fiber speaker. Top shelf quality.
- The high price point may be excessive for some.
Focal Audio SHAPE 40
Should You Buy?
The IK Multimedia iLoud Micro is a unique offering in the reference monitor space. For the right studio and the right producer, these are fantastic. Compact, discreet while still delivering that all-important neutral response. The robust build quality and reasonable price point are also appealing. If you need a slimline set of reference monitors the iLoud Micro is a solid choice.
IK Multimedia iLoud Micro