• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

iLoud Micro Monitors measurements and quasi-anechoic spinorama

napilopez

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
552
Likes
1,394
#1
I've had these little monitors for a while. I'm a big fan. Their name might sound like a cheap Apple knockoff product, but for $300 a pair, they sound great so long as you intend to use them in the nearfield and don't intend to listen at ridiculous volumes. I'm a 70dB kind of guy, so that's where I'm coming from.

Because I'd seen noaudiophile's excellent review and measurements, I hadn't been in any hurry to do my own measurements. Turns out my particular unit appears to show some significant differences, so I'm glad I did.

Here's the quasi anechoic spin:

iLoud MM Spin Small.png


We see a lot of good here, and some notable bad. Let's start with the latter. There are three prominent deep and narrow/high-q dips. These appear to be caused by port cancellations, as there are big peaks in the port response at the same location as these dips. The port definitely makes some noise during the sweep, although I honestly hadn't noticed major port noise during music.

There's also a medium-sized shallow-ish scoop around 3KHz, where the crossover is. But it doesn't appear to be the result of a middling crossover. Given the linearity of the rest of the frequency response, the consistency of the dip, and the fact that the ERDI curve is almost completely smooth here, I get this impression this dip is a tuning choice.

These trends generally follow IK Multimedia's own on-axis graph, but assuming similar performance its pretty clear theirs is smoothed significantly, showing none of the narrow dips.

(Curiously my measurements look quite different from NoAudiophiles. No 2K peak on mine, and his have no 3K dip nor the low Q dips, though his measurements show port peaks in the same places. I repeated the measurements with several different setups because the measurements seemed so different, and both my left and right speakers measured similarly. Maybe the white and black units have different resonances somehow? Or they retuned the Micro's at some point. Who knows).

The good news: High-Q dips aside are generally the least audible of frequency domain anomalies(we are more sensitive to peaks than dips, and are more likely to notice broad/low Q dips than high q ones). I mean, they're not great to have, but, better than, say, equally sized peaks. The one around 600Hz is probably the worst offender, but my measurements exaggerate its width a bit due to the diminished resolution of quasi-anechoic data in the lower midrange.

The Micro Monitors are timbrally balanced throughout most of the frequency range. That is my impression from listening too, though perhaps the combination of dips within the mids might make them seem just a tad recessed compared to an even more linear speaker like the Neumann KH80.

The bass extension down to below 50Hz is good stuff. I'm regularly impressed by the bass I'm hearing out of these little guys. it's not the cleanest I've heard, but I was expecting a lot more compression given their size. I wish they had a sub out to complete the package though.

Similarly important is the directivity performance. While matching two small drivers makes things a bit easier and the direct sound takes priority in the nearfield that smooth ERDI curve is commendable (even if it's not quite as important here as it might be in a living room setup). This also means you should be able to further smooth out on-axis/listening Window response with EQ if you'd like, though I'd probably leave the high Q dips as is.

Here's the horizontal SPL graph:

Hor off Axis.png


Well extended out to 15Khz or so, evenly spaced lines, consistent shape. That's that wide directivity I like to see. This results in an impeccable soundstage for such small budget speakers.

Also, apparently some of you actually like polar maps for some reason, so here you go:) Note that this is normalized to the on-axis. Even though the crossover is all the way up at 3Khz, directivity is well controlled down to the mids.

VituixCAD_Directivity_(hor).png

Things get more interesting in the vertical plane. Here's the response at 0/5/10/15 degrees above and below the tweeter axis, as well as the Ceiling Reflections (40/50/60) and Floor Reflections (20/30/40) curves (Note turning speaker on its side for vertical measurements inevitably causes a bit of variation in the on-axis graph. I'm interested in the trends):

Ver off axis.png


You can see it's surprisingly well controlled above the tweeter axis, lending itself to desktop use without having the tweeters perfectly at ear height; there's basically no change out to 15 degrees. 'Floor' reflections are worse, though still better than normal for vertically aligned drivers (again, small drivers help). Might still contribute to a sense of recessed upper midrange though, considering there's already a dip here on-axis. Use the little built-in stands to minimize the desk bounce, or place them on proper stands.

Here's the vertical polar, which basically says the same thing in a more trippy fashion:
VituixCAD_Directivity_(ver) (Ref V0).png


The incomplete: It got late, so I didn't do SPL stress tests on frequency response yet. Noaudiophile has you covered there though. IK Multimedia also has a chart depicting SPL limits at 10 percent THD too.

The pinnacle of hi-fi? No. Good for bass loud enough to annoy your neighbors down the hall at 3AM while mixing your latest dubstep drop? Probably not.

Very solid performance for $300 in a compact package that actually leaves enough room on your desk for gear, food, and whathaveyou? Yep.
 
Last edited:

q3cpma

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
541
Likes
546
Location
France
#3
For those who don't know, a good review can be read here: http://noaudiophile.com/IK_Multimedia_iLoudMM/
I agree that this model doesn't have any real competitor at that price (260€/pair), their newer MTM (700€/p), though, is fighting against Genelec (8010A: 465€/p, 8020D: 670€/p) and Neumann (KH80DSP: 730€/p).
On the subject of very small monitors, the Eve SC203 (460€/pair) is quite interesting with its small ribbon tweeter, small passive radiator and cool looks. Made in germany, too.

Free-field frequency response (1/6 oct.). Red = 0° / Green = 30° horizontal off-axis:


Polar pattern (1m). Purple = 200Hz / Blue = 1kHz / Yellow = 5kHz:


Distortion 2nd (orange) / 3rd (green) vs frequency response (red):
 

napilopez

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
552
Likes
1,394
#4
For those who don't know, a good review can be read here: http://noaudiophile.com/IK_Multimedia_iLoudMM/
I agree that this model doesn't have any real competitor at that price (260€/pair), their newer MTM (700€/p), though, is fighting against Genelec (8010A: 465€/p, 8020D: 670€/p) and Neumann (KH80DSP: 730€/p).
On the subject of very small monitors, the Eve SC203 (460€/pair) is quite interesting with its small ribbon tweeter, small passive radiator and cool looks. Made in germany, too.

Free-field frequency response (1/6 oct.). Red = 0° / Green = 30° horizontal off-axis:


Polar pattern (1m). Purple = 200Hz / Blue = 1kHz / Yellow = 5kHz:


Distortion 2nd (orange) / 3rd (green) vs frequency response (red):
Mentioned noaudiophile's review in my OP =] I don't know why our measurements seem so different. Might L/R units measured very similarly, so did his. Weird.

Thanks for pointing out the Eve's, I'd never heard of them. Looks like something to check out...
 

napilopez

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
552
Likes
1,394
#6
My reviews are often followed by unpublished changes to products. I think this might explain what you are seeing. Other differences might be measurement technique, or general product variability.
Nice to see you here! I think some unpublished change is the most likely explanation. Some prominent FR features (2K peak on yours, 3K scoop on mine)seem too different to be accounted for by differences in measurement technique. And our L/R units measured were both well-matched, so it seems unlikely manufacturing inconsistencies are the issue.
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
7,857
Likes
9,461
#7
My reviews are often followed by unpublished changes to products. I think this might explain what you are seeing. Other differences might be measurement technique, or general product variability.
Yeah, welcome to ASR. Glad to see you here as well. Your reviews of products have been very helpful to many people.
 

napilopez

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
552
Likes
1,394
#9
Details on your measurement technique? Looks like a great product. Agree the name isn't ideal.
My standard procedure is to measure from 1m at 75dB and gate at 6.5ms. Speaker is mounted on a stand, placed on a turntable with angle markings. I then flip the speaker on its side for vertical measurements.

Used to do 15 degree intervals but now I do 10 degrees as well for more accurate spins. Bass is taken nearfield and modelled (aka dimensions put into a spreadsheet) to adjust for baffle step. I use a Umik-1 Calibrated by cross-spectrum labs. I import the measurements to VituixCAD for sound power measurements and polars, then back to REW they go.

Used to do 85dB but that risks annoying the neighbors too much :) . I measure indoor in an apartment which thankfully has a low noise floor and decent sound proofing for NYC, but they've told me they can hear the sweeps sometimes so it's definitely noticeable, especially now that I'm doing full 360 measurements at 10-degree intervals.

That said, I do still run a few sweeps at 85dB too to make sure the measurements line up within the quasi-anechoic range. Likewise with the measurement distance, I run a few at 2m to make sure everything looks right from the mids on up. 1m is definitely not ideal, but as I only test bookshelf/small speakers as I have no interest in towers, I've yet to see a speaker that measures noticeably different at 2m.

The iLouds were mounted on a microphone stand via the screw hole on the bottom, elevated about 6 feet from the ground.
 
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
59
Likes
63
#10
Bass is taken nearfield and modelled (aka dimensions put into a spreadsheet) to adjust for baffle step.
Can you tell more or link an article/post? At which distance do you measure the low end and how do you correct it?
 

napilopez

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
552
Likes
1,394
#11
Can you tell more or link an article/post? At which distance do you measure the low end and how do you correct it?
I typically use the nearfield method described in this Jeff Bagby whitepaper (Warning, PDF download), except I use REW for most of it. Basically measure right up against the driver and port(less than one tenth of the radius), then compensate for the respective areas of the port and woofer and add them up.

Then for Baffle correction I usually use this Bagby Excel app, which has given me quite good results in the bass so far. I've tried modelling speakers in VituixCad but the spreadsheet usuallly suffices for the bass.

The iLouds, like a few monitors, involved a bit more guesswork and trial and error than usual, since I couldn't remove their grilles for the super-nearfield measurement.
 

617

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
417
Likes
614
Location
Somerville, MA
#12
I typically use the nearfield method described in this Jeff Bagby whitepaper (Warning, PDF download), except I use REW for most of it. Basically measure right up against the driver and port(less than one tenth of the radius), then compensate for the respective areas of the port and woofer and add them up.

Then for Baffle correction I usually use this Bagby Excel app, which has given me quite good results in the bass so far. I've tried modelling speakers in VituixCad but the spreadsheet usuallly suffices for the bass.

The iLouds, like a few monitors, involved a bit more guesswork and trial and error than usual, since I couldn't remove their grilles for the super-nearfield measurement.
I've never measured a woofer that small but I'd expect you can get close enough. Your measurement technique is similar to mine - arta -> vituixCAD. I use VCad to splice them and Vcad to do the baffle compensation for the nearfield too.
 

Krunok

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 25, 2018
Messages
4,600
Likes
2,735
Location
Zg, Cro
#13
I've had these little monitors for a while. I'm a big fan. Their name might sound like a cheap Apple knockoff product, but for $300 a pair, they sound great so long as you intend to use them in the nearfield and don't intend to listen at ridiculous volumes. I'm a 70dB kind of guy, so that's where I'm coming from.

Because I'd seen noaudiophile's excellent review and measurements, I hadn't been in any hurry to do my own measurements. Turns out my particular unit appears to show some significant differences, so I'm glad I did.

Here's the quasi anechoic spin:

View attachment 46628

We see a lot of good here, and some notable bad. Let's start with the latter. There are three prominent deep and narrow/high-q dips. These appear to be caused by port cancellations, as there are big peaks in the port response at the same location as these dips. The port definitely makes some noise during the sweep, although I honestly hadn't noticed major port noise during music.

There's also a medium-sized shallow-ish scoop around 3KHz, where the crossover is. But it doesn't appear to be the result of a middling crossover. Given the linearity of the rest of the frequency response, the consistency of the dip, and the fact that the ERDI curve is almost completely smooth here, I get this impression this dip is a tuning choice.

These trends generally follow IK Multimedia's own on-axis graph, but assuming similar performance its pretty clear theirs is smoothed significantly, showing none of the narrow dips.

(Curiously my measurements look quite different from NoAudiophiles. No 2K peak on mine, and his have no 3K dip nor the low Q dips, though his measurements show port peaks in the same places. I repeated the measurements with several different setups because the measurements seemed so different, and both my left and right speakers measured similarly. Maybe the white and black units have different resonances somehow? Or they retuned the Micro's at some point. Who knows).

The good news: High-Q dips aside are generally the least audible of frequency domain anomalies(we are more sensitive to peaks than dips, and are more likely to notice broad/low Q dips than high q ones). I mean, they're not great to have, but, better than, say, equally sized peaks. The one around 600Hz is probably the worst offender, but my measurements exaggerate its width a bit due to the diminished resolution of quasi-anechoic data in the lower midrange.

The Micro Monitors are timbrally balanced throughout most of the frequency range. That is my impression from listening too, though perhaps the combination of dips within the mids might make them seem just a tad recessed compared to an even more linear speaker like the Neumann KH80.

The bass extension down to below 50Hz is good stuff. I'm regularly impressed by the bass I'm hearing out of these little guys. it's not the cleanest I've heard, but I was expecting a lot more compression given their size. I wish they had a sub out to complete the package though.

Similarly important is the directivity performance. While matching two small drivers makes things a bit easier and the direct sound takes priority in the nearfield that smooth ERDI curve is commendable (even if it's not quite as important here as it might be in a living room setup). This also means you should be able to further smooth out on-axis/listening Window response with EQ if you'd like, though I'd probably leave the high Q dips as is.

Here's the horizontal SPL graph:

View attachment 46629

Well extended out to 15Khz or so, evenly spaced lines, consistent shape. That's that wide directivity I like to see. This results in an impeccable soundstage for such small budget speakers.

Also, apparently some of you actually like polar maps for some reason, so here you go:) Note that this is normalized to the on-axis. Even though the crossover is all the way up at 3Khz, directivity is well controlled down to the mids.

View attachment 46636
Things get more interesting in the vertical plane. Here's the response at 0/5/10/15 degrees above and below the tweeter axis, as well as the Ceiling Reflections (40/50/60) and Floor Reflections (20/30/40) curves (Note turning speaker on its side for vertical measurements inevitably causes a bit of variation in the on-axis graph. I'm interested in the trends):

View attachment 46638

You can see it's surprisingly well controlled above the tweeter axis, lending itself to desktop use without having the tweeters perfectly at ear height; there's basically no change out to 15 degrees. 'Floor' reflections are worse, though still better than normal for vertically aligned drivers (again, small drivers help). Might still contribute to a sense of recessed upper midrange though, considering there's already a dip here on-axis. Use the little built-in stands to minimize the desk bounce, or place them on proper stands.

Here's the vertical polar, which basically says the same thing in a more trippy fashion:
View attachment 46637

The incomplete: It got late, so I didn't do SPL stress tests on frequency response yet. Noaudiophile has you covered there though. IK Multimedia also has a chart depicting SPL limits at 10 percent THD too.

The pinnacle of hi-fi? No. Good for bass loud enough to annoy your neighbors down the hall at 3AM while mixing your latest dubstep drop? Probably not.

Very solid performance for $300 in a compact package that actually leaves enough room on your desk for gear, food, and whathaveyou? Yep.

Nice little speaker!

IMHO those 3 high Q dips are not at all that bad as their audibility would hardly be, if at all, noticeable. That shallow dip in THE Xo region around 3kHz seems to be very easilly corrected as it is present on Early reflection and Sound power curves as well.

All in all, this little fellow looks really good to me. :)
 

napilopez

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
552
Likes
1,394
#14
I've never measured a woofer that small but I'd expect you can get close enough. Your measurement technique is similar to mine - arta -> vituixCAD. I use VCad to splice them and Vcad to do the baffle compensation for the nearfield too.
Yeah, and nearfield splicing always involve some degree of guesswork. Something or the other about perfect being the enemy of good.:)
 

Soniclife

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
Messages
2,383
Likes
2,041
Location
UK
#15
Thanks for pointing out the Eve's, I'd never heard of them. Looks like something to check out...
They are what I use on my desk at home, used very nearfield, subjectively I really like them, though on their own unsurprisingly lack bottom end, they sound amazing with a sub. So far I've decided not to measure them, ignorance is bliss.

I bought them over the iLoud because they have USB in, they don't have a front port, and they have a volume control on the front.
 
Top Bottom