Audient’s iD4 interface was a success with musicmakers who wanted something portable with great quality. The iD4 MkII delivers improved quality and better styling at an entry-level price. The most significant selling point for the iD4 MkII is that it provides such a clean and quiet studio experience wherever you are. We are taking a look at what makes it better than its predecessor and why it’s one of the best new budget audio interfaces.
Audient iD4 MkII overview
The Audient iD4 is a portable 2-in 2-out USB Type-C audio interface. The interface is USB bus-powered, so there is no need for an additional power supply.
On the top panel, everything is pretty clean and well-spaced out, considering the small surface space. Starting on the left, you have two gain control knobs, one for your microphone input and one for your instrument input.
To the right of the first gain knob is the monitor mix control. The monitor mix lets you monitor the direct input, your DAW mix, or blend the two. This feature is found on some other budget interfaces, but no all, and it’s very handy.
Below the mix control is a mute button and the iD button. The iD button is one of the coolest features that I’ve seen on any cheap audio interface. When you activate the iD button, it turns the large main knob (output level) into a smart scroller. So, you can quickly and accurately dial in settings in your DAW/plugins without the painstaking use of your mouse.
Along the top of the main surface are indicator lights to show when phantom power is active and when the USB is connected. Above the main knob are two 5-step LED meters going from -36 dB to 0 dB.
On the front is a 1/4″ instrument input and dual headphone outputs, a nice upgrade at this price range.
The back panel from left to right has a USB-C connector, two balanced monitor outputs, a phantom power switch, and a mic/line combo input.
The iD4 MkII is a new audio interface that seems set to shock a lot of people. It comes with an Audient Class A console preamp on the microphone input. It’s the same preamp design found in Audient’s renowned ASP8024 console from the late 1990s. It delivers ultra-low noise and low distortion audio. They also add some subtle analog warmth to your recordings, which is rare in such a compact interface.
It captures 24-bit audio with a sample rate of 44.1 kHz to 96 kHz.
The JFET instrument input on channel two lets you record electric guitars, synths, and so on while maintaining some of that analog warmth. The accurate but warm signal is thanks to Audient’s discrete D.I circuit that was designed to emulate the input stage of a vintage valve amp.
Sometimes with the cheaper audio interfaces, what you save on the price, you lose on poor converters. However, the iD4 MkII has very impressive A/D and D/A converters that provide a dynamic range of 120 dB. The converters at the in and out stages have been significantly improved upon since the previous iD4 model.
Overall, the iD4 delivers a frequency response that will rival any in the same price range.
Another aspect of the new iD4 MkII that I think might surprise people is the studio-grade headphone amp. As we already mentioned, there are two headphone outputs, and that’s already a major plus point. But, the newly improved 600 Ohm headphone amp is such a lovely addition.
Whether tracking, monitoring, or just listening for fun, the audio quality is top-notch.
The build quality is better than expected. It’s not that we expected it to be poor, but at a glance, it’s easy to assume some of the chassis is plastic. But, once you get your hands on it, you can see that the entire chassis is metal, and it looks and feels superb.
Being such a portable interface with excellent build quality makes it ideal for mobile recording.
The knobs are plastic, but it’s not cheap-feeling plastic. They all have a pretty smooth action, although you do get a little wiggle movement from them. You rarely find a budget interface that doesn’t have some wiggle in the knobs and connections, to be fair.
Overall, the build quality matches the audio quality; it’s surprisingly good.
Audient bundle the iD4 MkII with their ARC software suit. It includes a copy of Cubase LE and Cubase LE for iOS. You also get a selection of effects and virtual instruments from some industry-leading brands along with the free DAW.
One of the most interesting additions is the Retrologue virtual analog synth from Steinberg. Followed by a collection of classic Waldorf synth emulations. Other virtual instruments include a mellotron and piano.
On top of the instruments and effects, you get access to content from Loopcloud, the world’s biggest sample library.
The last part of the bundle is something we really like because it encourages you to be a better producer; access to 3 free online courses from Produce Like A Pro.
Audient iD4 MkII vs. other interfaces
The iD4 MkII is relatively new, so you should look at how it stacks up against some other available interfaces. Here are a few popular choices in the same price range.
M-Audio AIR 192|6
This M-Audio interface is awesome, from the converters and preamps to the build quality. If you want more in/out at a lower price, you might want to go with M-Audio. See our review (coming soon)
Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen
For a very slight step up in price, you could get the 4×4 Scarlett 4i4 interface. It’s a tough call; the 4i4’s Air mode is excellent, but the warmth of the iD4 somewhat cancels it out. I might favor the iD4 based on features like ScrollControl. See our review (coming soon)
PreSonus Studio 26c
The Studio 26c isn’t quite as compact as the iD4, and it doesn’t quite match up feature for feature. But, while it’s not the most obvious direct substitution, it’s still portable and offers MIDI in/out, which might benefit a lot of users. See our review (coming soon)
Final verdict on the Audient iD4 MkII
The iD4 MkII is a fantastic new interface that has vastly improved on the initial version. It really does has some surprising high-quality features for such a cheap and portable interface. Audient is heading in the right direction to get the attention of all mobile recording musicians.
- Class A Audient console preamp.
- Solid build quality.
- Scroll controll.
- Class-leading converters.
- Excellent headphone amp with dual outputs.
- Discrete D.I circuit.
- The step LED meter isn’t as accurate as it could be.