IK Multimedia is bringing an ambitious new product to NAMM 2019 – the unexpected “big daddy” of its iLoud Micro monitor. Named the iLoud MTM, this is a multi-purpose studio monitor with a compact design and several inbuilt technologies that put it ahead of anything I have personally seen in its price range. We are talking room calibration (powered by IK’s ARC tech and measurement microphone, bundled in the box), DSP-controlled management (crossover, filtering, time alignment, equalization, dynamics control), and IK’s patent-pending Physical Response Linearization (PRL) system for real-time bass performance correction.
That and other things, such as user-selectable low-end extension (40Hz-60Hz), LF/HF compensation, a calibration button, and signal sensitivity (-10dBV / +4dBu). That’s a lot to throw at you for a first paragraph, so let’s examine briefly what’s in store with this incredibly feature-packed speaker.
IK is touting the MTM as a reference-class, phase-coherent, ultra-linear speaker. These qualities are achieved via DSP techniques, providing results that are supposedly unattainable with traditional analog designs – no matter how refined. We’ll have to take IK’s word for it, as the frequency response diagram does look darn near perfect.
The integrated amplifier is rated at 100W RMS total power per speaker, at 103dB SPL maximum sound pressure. In other words, the MTM stands true to its iLoud branding.
I did mention briefly the PRL system implemented in the speaker. It stands for a performance correction system that takes into account the speaker enclosure’s design, construction, and materials in addition to electro-mechanical measurements. With its help, IK supposedly coaxed 40Hz low frequency extension out of what’s obviously a compact speaker. I think that’s quite an impressive achievement, if true.
The MTM has a midrange-tweeter-midrange symmetrical design, accomplished via two 3.5-inch woofers and a single 1-inch back-chamber loaded tweeter. A key advantage of this design, according to IK, is reduced ear fatigue (owing to so-called “point source” sound) and controlled dispersion. The latter is said to minimize the relevance of room acoustics for enhanced monitoring accuracy.
Each speaker includes IK’s ARC reference measurement microphone, part of the manufacturer’s standalone room correction system. The idea is to set up a pair of the monitors, place the mic in your listening position, and calibrate the speakers’ sweet spot to your room instantly. Pretty nifty! You can also fine-tune the speakers’ response with the included controls on the back of each unit.
A tilting mount is bundled with each speaker, enabling a 0 to 20-degree angle to correctly position the monitor as to have its tweeters pointing directly at your ears. I think that’s quite thoughtful on IK’s part. You rarely, if ever, get this important bit of flexibility unless you invest in a third-party tilt mount. Furthermore, there’s a custom rubber base for horizontal placement, along with a bottom thread for mounting onto (mic) stands.
Price and availability
All in all, the iLoud MTM looks incredibly promising and is priced rather aggressively for what it is – at EUR 350 per speaker, VAT excluded. Hopefully, these will end up in audio history as one of those really good purchases, rather than an over-engineered disappointment. I trust IK knows what it’s doing and I’d love to hear the MTMs in person at the first possible opportunity. The speakers are up for pre-order at IK’s online store.