Connecting to iLoud MTMs from PC

Discussion about IK monitors and speakers like iLoud Micro Monitor and iLoud

Connecting to iLoud MTMs from PC

Postby Kinketsu » Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:49 am

As part of a long-term hobby goal of setting up a basic home studio for learning music production, I am contemplating buying some iLoud MTMs.

In the short term my intended use is to have a really, really nice pair of speakers for listening to music in my day job. I'm trying to figure out what are my possible mechanisms for getting signal from PC to the monitors.

I suppose the simple but dirty solution is to simply physically split unbalanced signal to a plug the MTMs accept. Not sure how much that would mess up their sound.

A better solution, I imagine, would be an audio interface of some sort that can take signal from PC and convert to balanced 1/4" or XLR. And this is where I start to wonder about the long-term hobby goal of the home studio ... what hardware will I need some day, that might do this job for me, right now?

    Would something like a Focusrite 4i4 do this task?

    Is it, for instance, possible to get stereo input into a Stomp I/O and use that as the connection? I'm planning to buy one sometime soon anyway. (But there doesn't seem to be anything but mono line in, and so I'm guessing that wouldn't work.)

    Other suggestions/hints about how best to do this?

    Or maybe the right answer is the iLoud Micro Monitors are good enough and easier to interface.

Sorry for the rambling post ... I'm on a learning curve, here. I'm hoping to sort this out in time to take advantage of the T-Racks promo, whether I go for MTM or Micro.

Thanks,
K
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Re: Connecting to iLoud MTMs from PC

Postby Peter_IK » Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:49 pm

You seem to understand your options, but an audio interface would certainly be the best. Any capable audio interface will do, including iRig Stomp I/O which you mention (but note that it does not have a stereo input, but does have stereo - L/R - outputs). Using an audio interface's outputs will yield the best results.
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Re: Connecting to iLoud MTMs from PC

Postby Kinketsu » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:24 pm

Thanks, Peter.

I've ordered the MTMs but unfortunately it looks like I might not physically get my hands on them until July (due to COVID-related reduced hours of the retailer). Hopefully having an order date of June will be sufficient that IK Multimedia Support can help me with the T-Racks promotion.

Thanks again,
K
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Re: Connecting to iLoud MTMs from PC

Postby Kinketsu » Fri Oct 02, 2020 5:16 am

I'm happy to say that I finally have my MTMs. They sound very good, even with the unbalanced connection that I presently have.

A large part of the time, I'll simply be playing music on them. I'd like someday to get balanced audio, and am exploring ways of making the connection.

Would an AXE I/O do this? I know it is primarily built for recording guitar and microphone, but is it also a USB DAC? If so, it could be the conduit for balanced audio from Spotify to the MTMs, right?

If anyone has other specific suggestions of hardware to do this, I'm happy to hear the ideas. Maybe I have some fundamental misunderstanding, but failing that it's tough right now to find (in stock in Canada at least) very many solutions to this.

Thanks again,
K
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Re: Connecting to iLoud MTMs from PC

Postby dsnyder0cnn » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:55 am

Congrats on the MTMs. I'm not sure that you'll benefit greatly from a balanced connection unless the cables you're using to make the connection are unusually long. But I can understand the interest. When I have the option, I tend to prefer balanced connections. :)

The AXE I/O Solo and a pair of 1/4 in TRS cables would work. Cables with 1/4 in TRS on one end and XLR male would work too.

The AXE I/O Solo has a lot more features than you need for for listening to Spotify from your computer on the MTMs, but you'll have a hard time finding an "audiophile" DAC with balanced outputs for a better price. Here are a few:


Good luck!
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Re: Connecting to iLoud MTMs from PC

Postby Kinketsu » Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:54 pm

Thanks very much for the helpful info!

I am getting a very low hiss on the speakers that I can hear when nothing is playing. I'm not listening at high volumes. I don't have any prior experience with monitors, and so perhaps this is a normal cost of the excellent detail in music reproduction. The hiss is not really an issue when actually playing something and not really a big concern, but I did wonder if balanced inputs would reduce this.

Thanks,
K
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Re: Connecting to iLoud MTMs from PC

Postby dsnyder0cnn » Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:52 pm

Do you hear the same amount of hiss even if you power the MTMs on with no source cables connected?
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Re: Connecting to iLoud MTMs from PC

Postby Kinketsu » Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:07 am

Thanks for the suggested exploration. I’m away from them for next couple of days ... will respond when I’ve had a chance to test that.

Cheers,
K
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Re: Connecting to iLoud MTMs from PC

Postby Kinketsu » Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:39 am

As follow up ... There's definitely a very light hiss when the speakers are powered. It sounds the same to me, regardless of whether there is a source connected.
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Re: Connecting to iLoud MTMs from PC

Postby Ryan_IK » Tue Oct 06, 2020 5:27 pm

Kinketsu wrote:As follow up ... There's definitely a very light hiss when the speakers are powered. It sounds the same to me, regardless of whether there is a source connected.

Try a different power source to see if it could be an issue of dirty power. Sometimes when certainly things are connected to the same outlet without a power conditioner, some noise can occur. Say for example, two laptop chargers on the same wall outlet without any power conditioning. This will normally cause some gnarly sounds in terms of dirty power. in these cases, a power conditioner would help eliminate any possible issues.

If this occurs on any power source, it might be good to check with support for some suggestions. Feel free to PM me your ticket number. https://www.ikmultimedia.com/contact-support/
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Re: Connecting to iLoud MTMs from PC

Postby Kinketsu » Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:13 am

Thanks, I agree that dirty power is the most likely suspect.

I've been sourcing audio from a tablet on battery, so that there's nothing else but power connected to the MTMs... but admittedly there's a lot else going on near that power source. I'll try the same thing in another room and see whether they sound cleaner there.

But the next step is, I want to be able to do this from my PC and at the moment that connection is very noisy (far beyond the light hiss I was mentioning), possibly due to some ground loop issues. My setup right now is pretty much a multi-computer office/gaming room with a really really nice set of speakers, but there's power bricks everywhere and lots of devices intertwined with wiring of various sorts. Trying to get the MTMs sounding clean in that mess might finally be the impetus for me to sort out the relationships between various power bricks and so on, and maybe invest in a decent power conditioning setup. Step by step.

Thanks for the input!

K
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