Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Audient iD4 Mk2 audio interface.
The original iD4 interface was a success with musicmakers who wanted something portable with great quality. The iD4 Mk2 delivers improved quality and better styling at an entry-level price.
Let’s take a closer look.
Our verdict on the Audient iD4 Mk2
For anybody looking for phenomenal preamps, this is the interface for you.
It is a bit limiting with only one combo input and one TRS-in. However, for the recording quality, the unit is more than enough for any budding engineer.
I/O and controls
All the inputs and outputs are identical to that of the original design. On the rear panel, you’ll find your XLR/TRS combo input, as well as two balanced TRS outputs to feed audio to your monitors.
There is a 48 V phantom power switch positioned right next to the combo input on the back, and a USB-C port to the left of the outputs.
On the front panel, you’ll find a TRS instrument level input, to the right of which are two separate headphone jacks (one 1/4″, and one 1/8″).
Gain controls for both inputs, a direct monitoring mix knob, and the master volume control are all located on the top panel.
Above these are LED lights to signal when USB-C and phantom power are engaged, as well as an LED meter. The meters here aren’t very accurate, and you will most likely be resorting to checking levels on your DAW.
Under the rotary controls, you’ll notice a mute button and an iD button.
The master control knob actually has a few other handy purposes for you to explore. Firstly, pushing down on it will engage 15 dB of dimming.
Pressing on the iD button will turn the master control into a mouse scroll, which you can use to control dials and faders in your DAW by hovering your mouse pointer over them.
Unfortunately, the master control has bumps to set jumps in value, making this far from accurate, and perhaps a bit impractical.
This feature would fare much better with a smooth rotary knob (like an actual mouse wheel) to help you be more precise.
Still, the control software is a cool idea that we’d love to see improved upon.
The Audient iD4 has 24-bit depth and a maximum sample rate of 96 kHz. This is a bit disappointing, especially considering that Focusrite’s Scarlett Solo is nearly the same product but with a 192 kHz sample rate. The Scarlett is also $80 cheaper.
However, most recording engineers won’t be affected by this. On the other hand, folks in film, gaming, and podcasting might benefit from having 192 kHz playback.
Aside from all this, the Audient does sound incredible, mostly thanks to its preamps, which we’ll discuss now.
The preamps on the iD4 are an upgrade from the original model’s. The unit boasts a dynamic range of 120 dB, as well as a gain range of 58 dB on the mic input (although slightly less on the instrument-in). They’re transparent, neutral, and are noise-free.
To be clear, these are the same exact preamps found on Audient’s ASP8024-HE (which can run anywhere from $40,000 to $98,000 depending on which model you’re looking at).
To have this kind of quality in a $200 box is no less than mind-blowing, and single-handedly makes up for any flaws the unit might have otherwise.
At home studio
The Audient iD4 Mk2 is ideal for lone bedroom recording artists. A combo input and instrument-in is more than enough for any indie singer-songwriters trying to lay down some demos. Furthermore, the preamps alone are worth having around.
Its small size and compact design make the iD4 ideal for mobile recording. The unit is bus-powered as well, so there’s no need to worry about external power.
The unit is weighty, and wrapped in an all-metal chassis. Its appearance is stoic and professional, and can certainly handle a drop or two.
Upon purchasing the iD4, you’ll receive access to the free ARC software suite. This bundle includes access to Steinberg’s Cubase/Cubasis LE3 DAW, Two Notes Wall of Sound cab simulation, a slew of virtual instruments from Gforce and Waldorf, as well as three intro courses from Produce Like a Pro.
For any budding engineers and producers, this is more than enough to get you started.
Compared to other audio interfaces
Audient iD4 vs. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
While the Scarlett may lack built-in software control capabilities as well as the high-end preamps that the Audient comes with, the unit has plenty of merit on its own.
For anybody who wants the ability to switch between line and instrument levels, as well as record with two mics at once, the Scarlett is for you.
Audient iD4 vs. Motu M2 ($200)
For anybody looking for MIDI I/O, the Motu M2 is the choice for you. Otherwise, it’s a complete toss up as to which unit is better.
Audient iD4 vs. Audient Evo 4
The two combo inputs on the Evo 4 are a hard bargain, but to our understanding the preamps on the iD4 are better. Probably best to go for the iD4.
Audient iD4 vs. Solid State Logic SSL2
The SSL2 is $70 more expensive, and delivers perhaps the same quality as the Audient iD4. The SSL2 does look nicer, at least in our opinion. Flip a coin.
Who is the Audient iD4 Mk2 best suited for?
The Audient iD4 is best suited for novice recording engineers with minimal setup, looking for high recording quality.
The preamps alone on this unit are mouth-watering, which could be intriguing for more seasoned veterans.
- Amazing preamps.
- Improved dynamic range.
- A bit limiting.
- The built-in control software can be improved.