Audient ID4 MKII Review

Audient ID4 MKII (2-in | 2-out) Review

Audient ID4 is among the most popular options for affordable audio interfaces or sound cards for bedroom producers. Priced at less than $200, I find this interface to be a great deal. I have been using the ID4 for over a year and haven’t yet encountered any issues. In fact, my experience with it has been nothing but sound. 

So, I will review the ID4 for you and break it down so you can decide whether to buy it or not. 

Connectivity

Back Panel

  • USB-C Connection

The Audient iD4 MKII connects to your computer via USB-C. This connection allows for high-speed data transfer between the interface and your computer, enabling recording and playback of audio.

  • XLR Input

The interface features a single XLR input with a built-in Class-A microphone preamp. This allows you to connect a microphone directly to the interface for recording vocals or acoustic instruments.

  • Monitor Output

You can connect your monitors with the ID4 using two (1/4″) TS cables, which could be either TS to XLR or TS to TS tables.

  • Phantom Power

The interface provides phantom power for condenser microphones that require it. This switchable feature allows you to activate or deactivate phantom power as needed for your microphone setup.   

Audient ID4 MKII (2-in | 2-out) Review

Front Panel

  • 1/4″ Instrument Input

In addition to the XLR input, there’s a 1/4″ instrument input. This input is suitable for connecting electric guitars, bass guitars, or other instruments with a 1/4″ output.

  • 2 Headphone Outputs

The Audient iD4 MKII includes 2 headphone outputs for monitoring purposes: a (1/4″) TS out and a (1/8″) TRS out. 

Audient ID4 MKII (2-in | 2-out) Review

Software

If you’re a Mac user, the device will be connected and recognized automatically. However, for Windows, you will need to download its driver separately, which you can find here. Further, you can select either the Loop-back or the Analog output. 

Audient ID4 MKII Review

Whatever sample rate you select on your DAW, that sample rate will be set on your interface automatically. The interface lets you record at up to 96 kHz of sample rate. Alternatively, you can also select the sample rate and buffer size from the taskbar in Windows by clicking on its icon, as shown in the image below. 

 Audient ID4 MKII Review      Audient ID4 MKII Review

Audient ID4 MKII (2-in | 2-out) Review

Audio Loop-back functionality allows you to record your computer’s audio alongside your microphone input directly within your audio software. It simulates the process of connecting an output cable back into an input. However, all the routing happens internally, eliminating the need for physical cables while utilizing your microphone input for recording.

With Audio Loop-back, you can record your computer’s audio on separate channels from your microphone or combine them into a single channel for streaming or software that accepts only one audio input at a time.

On the Audient iD4, this feature is facilitated by virtual Loop-back inputs, which appear as additional input channels in your audio software. These inputs can be controlled using the dedicated Audio Loop-back Mixer accessible through the iD app.

By adjusting the input channels, main outputs, and Loop-back 1+2 outputs in the Mixer, you can easily route and control the audio from your microphone, computer, and selected applications. Additionally, you can direct specific applications to the Loop-back outputs within the application settings or by configuring your computer’s default audio output to the iD4 Loop-back outputs.

Audio Loop-back on Audient iD4 MkII - How to record computer audio and mics!

Compatibility

The drivers are available for macOS 10.13.x (High Sierra) and later Windows 10 and later operating systems

Workflow & Practical Operation

The user interface of the ID4 is quite straightforward, as it consists of just four knob controls. Firstly, you require a USB-C cable to connect this to your system. Once you’re connected, you should see a white light turned on it. 

Recording Workflow

Let’s say you’re connecting a condenser microphone with the interface. In that case, you’ll need to turn on the +48V/phantom switch on the back panel of the interface after you’ve connected the mic with it. Next, you’ll need to select the input on your DAW. The IN1 is the microphone. 

If you’re using a dynamic mic, you don’t need to turn on the phantom power unless you need extra power to charge the mic or you’re using a mic like Electro-Voice RE20 or the Shure SM7B that has active circuitry which can benefit from phantom power. 

Next, you get the microphone gain knob that you can set for the mic. I usually set the gain knob between 50 and 60%, in which I get sufficient loudness. The audio at this gain peaks at about -16 dB or so. If you have a home studio or record in your bedroom or any space that is not that well acoustically treated, I suggest you keep the gain at or below 50% so as not to catch too much room noise. 

The interface has sufficient headphones loudness and gain that you can bring down your backing tracks and still get sufficient loudness for monitoring.  Otherwise, if you’re recording a guitar or any other instrument, you can connect that with the interface with a TS cable at the front panel. This one is IN2, and you can control its gain by the Instrument gain knob signified by the guitar icon next to it.  

Monitoring Workflow

You have the option whether you want to monitor on headphones or speakers. You get three outputs, technically. One is the stereo at the back panel, where you can connect your monitor speakers using TS cables. The other 2 are two headphones out at the front panel that you can connect using TS and TRS or normal headphone cables. 

To turn on monitoring, simply turn on the monitoring switch (speaker icon) and dial up the output volume knob.  

What I like about the interface, as I mentioned above, is the loudness you get on the headphones. Both the headphone-outs are quite hot and the output is powerful. However, the TS headphone out is a little more hot. The levels for all three outputs are controlled using the knob shown in the image below. The meter above tells you how hot your signal is and will turn red if it’s near 0 dB or crossing it.  

Build Quality

I like the feel and the build quality of the Audient ID4. It has a metal casing, yet the device is not heavy. Its small size (4.72 x 5.2 x 1.57 inches) and lightweight (1.63 pounds) make it one of the best interfaces for touring producers and musicians, and it can easily fit in a backpack. Its knobs are made of plastic but are still pretty solid. 

Audient ID4 MKII (2-in | 2-out) Review

Audient iD4 MKII features a high-speed USB-C connector, facilitating easier handling and improving power supply efficiency. This eliminates the need for multiple cables, streamlining connectivity. The package includes the Audient audio interface iD4 MKII, equipped with a Class-A console microphone preamplifier, ensuring compatibility with Mac, PC, and iOS devices. Additionally, it comes with a 1-meter USB-C cable.

Sound Quality

The interface’s transducer technology and Class-A microphone preamplifier integration derived from Audient’s premium ASP8024 HE console, home recording experiences significant enhancement. I upgraded to this one from the Scarlett 2i2 and noticed quite some difference in audio output when I first heard it. The recording quality also got significantly better. 

Latency Optimization

Direct monitoring with minimal latency is achieved through meticulous analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversions. At 48 kHz, latency measures a mere 0.55 milliseconds, further reduced to 0.3 milliseconds at 96 kHz. This real-time monitoring capability and negligible delay ensure seamless recording sessions.

Advanced Converter Technology

Inside the ID4 MKII, upgraded AKM AK-5574EN converters for analog-to-digital conversion and Cirrus Logic CS43198 for digital-to-analog conversion deliver satisfactory audio quality. These high-quality converters contribute to the interface’s transparent and pristine sound reproduction.

Ultra-Low Noise Preamps

The interface impressed me with its ultra-low preamp noise, measuring at an outstanding -130.4 dBuA weighted. This low noise floor ensures clear recordings, even with notoriously low-sensitivity microphones like the Shure SM7B. The preamps provide ample gain, eliminating the need for additional amplification devices.

Dynamic Range

ID4 boasts an acceptable dynamic range of 113.1 dB, offering ample recording room without introducing additional noise. This high dynamic range ensures pristine audio capture across various input levels, ideal for capturing delicate nuances and powerful performances.

I use this for home studio recordings and have also done bedroom recordings. I quite liked the overall output, as it handled the noise pretty well while maintaining the input’s dynamic range. 

Frequency Response

With a flat and extended frequency response, the ID4 MKII captures audio with good enough accuracy. The response remains flat up to 48 kHz, ensuring faithful reproduction of subtle details and high-frequency content. This flat response contributes to the interface’s transparent and natural sound reproduction

Distortion Performance

ID4 MKII exhibits exceptional distortion performance, with total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) figures well below the threshold of audibility. Even at maximum signal levels, distortion components remain below the noise floor, ensuring clean and distortion-free audio output.

Output Quality

Output performance is equally impressive, with the main output exhibiting a flat frequency response and improved dynamic range compared to the previous generation. The interface delivers transparent audio output with minimal distortion, ensuring faithful reproduction of recorded material.

Headphone Output

The headphone output of the ID4 MKII offers improved frequency response and dynamic range compared to its predecessor. It delivers clear and detailed audio playback with low distortion and noise, making it suitable for critical monitoring and mixing tasks. 

The sound card introduces several usability enhancements, including finer volume control, a loopback feature, and flatter frequency responses. These improvements enhance the user experience and make the interface more versatile and intuitive. 

Comparisons: Audient ID4 MKII v/s its competitors

  • Audient ID4 MKII ($199) vs. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 ($99-$199)

The Audient ID4 MKII offers Class-A console microphone preamplifiers, while the Scarlett 2i2 features Focusrite’s preamps, which are known for their clarity. ID4, to my ears, is the superior out of the two. Despite the Focusrite’s iconic design and lower price, the Audient iD4 Mkii’s superior build, sound quality, and unique features like Scroll Control make it the preferred choice, especially for desktop setups.

  • Audient ID4 MKII ($199) vs. Audient EVO 4 ($129)

EVO 4 offers two microphone inputs and a dedicated instrument input, suitable for scenarios requiring multiple microphones simultaneously. In contrast, iD4 features a single mic preamp and a separate instrument input, making it ideal for single-microphone setups. 

Additionally, while iD4 utilizes an Audient console mic preamp design for the analog character, EVO 4 employs digitally accessible EVO preamps with Smartgain technology for automatic input level adjustment.  While iD4 delivers superior audio performance, EVO 4 offers more features for its price

  • Audient ID4 MKII ($199) vs. PreSonus Revelator io24 ($99)

The Revelator io24 by PreSonus provides extensive I/O options and integrated effects, while the ID4 MKII focuses on high-quality preamps and simplicity for solo recording setups. Sonically, as well, the Audient ID4 beats the ios24. 

  • Audient ID4 MKII ($199) vs. Universal Audio Volt 176 ($199)

Audient ID4 MKII ($199) offers premium preamps and metal construction, while Universal Audio Volt 176 ($199) provides renowned Universal Audio sound quality and bus powering. Both have a pretty decent sound

  • Audient ID4 MKII ($199) vs. SSL2+ ($299)

Audient ID4 MKII ($199) boasts high-quality preamps and a compact design, whereas SSL2+ ($299) delivers additional inputs and SSL’s signature analog sound. However, the ID4 MKII had a better dynamic range and slightly higher resolution in a sound test. 

  • Audient ID4 MKII ($199) vs. Apollo Twin ($499)

The Apollo Twin boasts premium sound quality, extensive DSP processing capabilities, and compatibility with Universal Audio’s renowned plugins. It is ideal for professional audio engineers and producers seeking top-notch recording and mixing capabilities. That said, you can get professional-sounding and high-quality recordings out of the ID4 as well! 

Verdict

The Audient ID4 MKII undoubtedly gives the best value for your money in the affordable range of interfaces. The ROI is great! Suppose you’re a podcaster, voice-over artist, singer-songwriter, rapper, touring artist, or DJ looking for a simple, portable, and easy-to-use interface with a single microphone input. In that case, the ID4 qualifies as a strong consideration. 

It can fit easily in your workflow, can be easily carried around, is durable and lightweight, and has a solid sound quality. I hope this article helped you with your decision. Thank you for reading. 

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