There was a lot of talk about IK Multimedia’s iLoud Micro Monitors (which PSN reviewed) when they were released a few years back. Packing a significant amount of punch, they became a favorite of producers, engineers and musicians who needed to take their studios on the go. Now the company’s new iLoud MTM Monitors are significantly larger, significantly louder and significantly more expensive ($700 a pair versus $296 a pair).
They sound much better too, largely because of IK’s acoustic room correction system (ARC) integration; ARC is typically unheard of for a monitor in this price range. The speakers are sold individually as well as in pairs, indicating IK Multimedia’s desire to get iLoud MTM Monitors used in the rapidly growing immersive market.
The monitors’ injection-molded plastic construction keeps the weight of the speakers quite low (5.5 pounds each). The monitors incorporate three drivers—twin 3.5-inch bass/mid drivers and a single 1-inch silk dome tweeter. The bass/mid amp is rated at 70 watts and its tweeter amp at 30 watts.
Connectivity and controls, located on the rear of the enclosures, include a dual female XLR/balanced 1/4-inch input jack, volume knob, EQ setting switches and a mini-jack input for the ARC measurement microphone. There are also several push switches for selecting EQ and input sensitivity options as well as activating the ARC room correction mode, and a USB port for firmware upgrades.
The box’s internal signal processing happens entirely in the digital realm at 48 kHz, 32-bit. The two conversion stages and internal processing add 3 ms of latency to the signal path, which likely won’t be an issue unless your DAW is already fairly laggy.
ARC configuration is quick and easy. The user simply places the reference mic in the listening position, plugs it in, then presses and holds the rear panel CAL button for two seconds to activate the configuration process. The process allows a few seconds to get out of the way and get quiet before playing four sine wave sweeps.
During this approximately 15-second process, the mic measures the monitor’s frequency response, then generates and applies a correction EQ curve that results in a flat (as flat as possible, anyway) frequency response. The front-panel LED temporarily flashes green to confirm a successful configuration. While leaving the microphone in the exact same location, the process must then be repeated with the second monitor (and more monitors if it is a surround configuration).
I’ve spent a lot of time listening to the MTM monitors in several locations over the past couple of months. The monitors have a natural, smooth sound, especially at lower volumes. When the volume increases, the lower frequencies begin to collapse a bit and the low-end definition deteriorates. They are small monitors, though, and they have a far better low-frequency response than other monitors in this price range.
When set up in a great-sounding control room, the MTMs aren’t overly impressive, but when placed in less desirable or acoustically compromised sonic locations, iLoud MTM monitors truly shine. The ARC implementation is quite impressive and will allow a bedroom, garage or hotel room to provide monitoring at a level otherwise unachievable without the investment of significant time and money.
IK Multimedia • www.ikmultimedia.com