IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor
This pair of keenly-priced micros just pip the otherwise excellent Audioengine A2+ reviewed below to the one spot by dint of their crisp, highly detailed soundstage and deep, rich bottom end. Ostensibly designed for studio reference, the iLouds make most styles of music come alive and are especially well suited to acoustic and electronic music.
Comprised of a 3-inch woofer and 3/4-inch neodymium magnet tweeter, the bi-amped iLouds produce an exceptional level of sound quality that far belies their diminutive dimensions – stereo imaging and separation between the various instruments are exceptional and bass response is huge, especially given their titchy size. Indeed, the single floor tom stroke on Robbie Robertson’s ‘Somewhere Down the Crazy River’ sounded better on this pair than all bar the Genelec and KEF – deep, rich and with bags of resonance.
Granted, the low-mid frequencies could do with a minor boost and they can sound a mite too bright with some thinner sounding recordings (especially those from the ’70s), but in the main they reproduce music in a lively, analytical fashion that’s very difficult to beat at this price band. The iLoud’s bass response, meanwhile, is nothing short of astonishing; indeed some listeners may find they deliver too much bottom end. If this is the case, simply look round the back of the left master speaker and switch the low frequency cut to -3dB.
The iLouds are very easy to set up. Simply plug the left master speaker into the mains, join both speakers together using the admittedly over-engineered 1.5m audio cable and connect them via Bluetooth or the provided mini jack-to-stereo phono cable. They also come with grippy rubber feet that can be angled upwards for low desktop use. If you’re in the market for a very reasonably-priced stereo desktop speaker system that delivers in spades, then this is the package to go for.