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Audient iD4 Audio Interface Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Audient iD4 Audio Interface (USB DAC and ADC) plus headphone output. It was kindly sent to me by a member. The iD4 costs US $199 including Prime shipping.

The build quality is quite solid:

Audient iD4 Audio Interface USB DAC Headphone Amp Audio Review.jpg

The shell is close to what Schiit uses but thicker gauge. There is a lot of weight in this little package so should be able to stay on the desk without moving due to weight of cabling.

Here is the top view:

Audient iD4 Audio Interface USB DAC Headphone Amp Top View Controls Audio Review.jpg

The rotary encoder/volume control feels good although the adjustments are a bit coarse for my taste. The smaller controls also feel nice.

Back panel shows the paucity of inputs and outputs:
Audient iD4 Audio Interface USB DAC Headphone Amp Back Panel Inputs and Outputs Connectors Aud...jpg

You only have USB for input and Mic for input.

Line out is in the form of 1/4 inch TRS jacks. I have lost my adapters for these mono connections so I was only able to test one channel. These are common on pro products so not an issue for its intended audience.

As soon as I opened the unit it told me to go and download their driver. I did even though I expect such devices to work with class drivers in Windows. Well, that cause audio driver hassle from hell. The device was not seen as an audio device anymore. Windows oddly reported it as a combination of mouse and audio device! Deleting that device showed why: it killed my wireless USB Logitech keyboard and mouse. :( Hitting the power switch and rebooting caused windows to reinstall my keyboard and mouse. I think I rebooted one more time and by magic, the iD4 was recognized as a sound device this time.

I was hoping for a native ASIO driver but what I got was another install of the ASIO4ALL wrapper which I already had. :( Wherever you buy it from, make sure you can return it if you can't get it to work in your operating system.

DAC Audio Measurements
Let's start with USB input and line out:
Audient iD4 Audio Interface USB DAC Headphone Amp Audio Measurements.png


SINAD/THD+N is strictly defined by the third harmonic at -100 dB. That places the iD4 near the top of our third tier of all DACs tested:

Best audio interface reviewed 2020.png


Dynamic range is good for intended use:
Audient iD4 Audio Interface USB DAC Headphone Amp Dynamic Range Audio Measurements.png


Jitter test shows a lot of spikes that bother the eye but not an issue for your ears:

Audient iD4 Audio Interface USB DAC Headphone Amp Jitter Audio Measurements.png


IMD shows what we already know:
Audient iD4 Audio Interface USB DAC Headphone Amp IMD Audio Measurements.png


Linearity is good:
Audient iD4 Audio Interface USB DAC Headphone Amp Linearity Audio Measurements.png


And here is our multitone resembling "music:"
Audient iD4 Audio Interface USB DAC Headphone Amp Multitone Audio Measurements.png


ADC Audio Measurements
Using the device in reverse to digitize its mic input and setting the levels so that we avoid clipping in digital domain (0 dBFS) gets us this dashboard:

Audient iD4 Audio Interface MIC ADC Audio Measurements.png


Please ignore the Channel 2. It is not used and for some reason I could not get AP software to not plot it.

SINAD of 83 dB places the iD4 in our bottom tier:
Best Audio Interface ADC Review.png


Operating the ADC a few dB below its maximum did improve its SINAD to 86 dB or so. You can see this when I sweep the level and measure THD+N (SINAD):

Audient iD4 Audio Interface MIC ADC THD+ N Audio Measurements.png


If you can stay around -8 dB, you will be in better shape. Likely that is how you will use it anyway to avoid overload the input and clipping.

Input linearity is about 17 bits which again is good for the target application:
Audient iD4 Audio Interface MIC ADC Linearity Audio Measurements.png


I could feed the iD5 192 kHz sampling I use for this test but it acted the same as 96 kHz which I think is its maximum spec:

Audient iD4 Audio Interface MIC ADC Frequency Response Audio Measurements.png


Dynamic range is once again the magic number, 17 bits:
Audient iD4 Audio Interface MIC ADC Dynamic Range Audio Measurements.png


Headphone Amplifier Audio Measurements
Power into 300 ohm is not bad for casual use and for a device that is strictly USB powered:

Audient iD4 Audio Interface USB DAC Headphone Amp Power into 300 ohm Audio Measurements.png


It falls on its face though when the load is reduced to 33 ohms:
Audient iD4 Audio Interface USB DAC Headphone Amp Power into 33 ohm Audio Measurements.png


Is it because of high output impedance causing power loss?

Lowest output impedance headphone amplifier 2020 review.png


It is. What a shame. So be careful of headphones that have non-flat impedance that is lower than 200 ohms or so.

Conclusions
The Audient iD4 targets getting 16 bit audio right and in just about every measurement it does that with some headroom left. For a budget audio interface, that is all you want to get: honest 16 bit performance. It is no use to get it as a DAC only device as its performance can easily be bested by many other consumer DACs. Ditto for its headphone output. But for a combination device where you use its input and nice mechanical controls, it is a good piece of hardware.

Alas, the hassles I went through -- as common as they seem to be in pro products -- should not have been there. Only brave that if you know you can return the product if it doesn't work as stated earlier.

Overall, I can recommend the Audient iD4 for this class of budget interface if you don't get hit with driver issues.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Had a large delivery a few days ago. The truck driver refused to come down to our house even though many others have with no issues whatsoever. So I drove my car up to the main street and brought the packages down that way. Alas, when I took him back to his truck and tried to turn around, hit a pole and bashed my bumper. :( The pink panthers are feeling sorry for me and pooled their allowances to help me get it fixed. Alas, their allowance is raw meat and I am not sure what to do with that. You all are not responsible for such costs I incur but you may want to keep in mind that I can delete any post at will if I am too grumpy and consider donating using : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

Matias

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#3
Thanks a lot. Glad I got the Focusrite Scarlett instead.
 

LTig

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#4
Back panel shows the paucity of inputs and outputs:

You only have USB for input and Mic for input.
I think the input has a dual purpose. If you use an XLR connector the signal goes to a microphone preamp. If you use a TRS connector it goes to a line level preamp. This is typical for many USB sound interfaces.
ADC Audio Measurements
Using the device in reverse to digitize its mic input and setting the levels so that we avoid clipping in digital domain (0 dBFS) gets us this dashboard:

View attachment 44348
If you used an XLR connector could you rerun this test with TRS (or vice versa)?
 

daftcombo

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#5
I think the input has a dual purpose. If you use an XLR connector the signal goes to a microphone preamp. If you use a TRS connector it goes to a line level preamp. This is typical for many USB sound interfaces.

If you used an XLR connector could you rerun this test with TRS (or vice versa)?
That situation happened with the Focusrite IIRC.
 

LTig

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#6
Overall, I can recommend the Audient iD4 for this class of budget interface if you don't get hit with driver issues.
Is my impression wrong that you are not as critical in your conclusions as in earlier reviews? Knowing that there are better interfaces for half the price (Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd gen) I would not recommend this device. It does nothing really well.
 

q3cpma

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#7
Thanks a lot for this review. I feel compelled to say that it works perfectly on GNU/Linux though (and isn't as expensive in Europe). Even if the Focusrite is better, I really prefer the controls on top and the features like mute, dim, small VU meter and the heavy duty case, personally. Not a fan of the digital volume lost at each power cycle, though.
 
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amirm

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#9
I think the input has a dual purpose. If you use an XLR connector the signal goes to a microphone preamp. If you use a TRS connector it goes to a line level preamp. This is typical for many USB sound interfaces.
Yeh, I noticed that when posting the review and looking at the back panel. I used XLR so it was the mic setting. Didn't realize it is common practice. Hate overloaded features. :)
 

amirm

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#10
@amirm The standard of product images has improved out of sight since you "upgraded" your photo booth. :)
Thanks. I kick and scream about change but sometimes when I accept it, it becomes a good thing. :) This cheap photo booth performs so well. And cost next to nothing. It is ugly as sin though but the results are worth it.
 

amirm

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Is my impression wrong that you are not as critical in your conclusions as in earlier reviews? Knowing that there are better interfaces for half the price (Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd gen) I would not recommend this device. It does nothing really well.
I have not tested the Scarlett Solo. I can tell you that the mechanical controls on this are really nice. And, it clears the hurdle of achieving 16 bit resolution.

In general, my recommendations are based on subjective gut feel after I finish a review. I found nothing broken here and above my expectation for a USB powered device. So I gave it a thumbs up. I did mention that it doesn't break any records relative to more dedicated devices.
 

Tks

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#12
Was hoping it would have a more impressive ADC ;-\

Ah well, not too bad for the price though.
 
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#13
I had focusrite 2i2 2nd gen, it broke (my fault) so i replaced it with id4.
In my experience id4 sounder better, mainly lower noise level.
I'm using it for playing guitar with amp simulation (bias FX), with guitar input, and hearing myself using headphones out (audio Technica m50x).
Is it just my imagination? According to the measurements the 2i2 is better.
 

bravomail

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#14
id4 reminds me of my pure analog mixer I use for karaoke. And it has good enough measurements.
 

daftcombo

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#17
I had focusrite 2i2 2nd gen, it broke (my fault) so i replaced it with id4.
In my experience id4 sounder better, mainly lower noise level.
I'm using it for playing guitar with amp simulation (bias FX), with guitar input, and hearing myself using headphones out (audio Technica m50x).
Is it just my imagination? According to the measurements the 2i2 is better.
I have the 2i4 2nd Gen, no noise at all. In which occasion did you notice that?
 
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#18
I think the input has a dual purpose. If you use an XLR connector the signal goes to a microphone preamp. If you use a TRS connector it goes to a line level preamp. This is typical for many USB sound interfaces.
If you used an XLR connector could you rerun this test with TRS (or vice versa)?
It might be a thing. I'm archiving about 91dB of SINAD with line out - TRS line in loopback.
iD4 64k.png

BTW second input channel is different, Much higher input impedance and distortion - designed especially as instrument input for guitar.
Personally I didn't experienced any issues with software. Drivers are rock stable on Windows 10 x64. Audient ASIO drivers works perfectly even with very low buffer sizes and latency.
I got if for about 55 USD used, for full price there are probably better options such as new Motu M2 or Focusrite.
 

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