A relatively new addition to our chart on the best sub-$200 audio interfaces, the petite iD4 comes from the respected British brand Audient. It’s a small device, but don’t let that fool you – with a quality build and even better performance, it puts some of the others in this price range to shame!
When designing the iD4, Audient went against the grain compared to many audio interfaces in this range, making this device feel quite unique. The majority of the action takes place on the top of the device as opposed to the side, meaning it’s easy to work with while sitting at a desk.
Aesthetically it is quite simple, with no overly-complicated designs or branding – just a sturdy all-metal chassis which is gently curved at the front, along with a solid black control panel. As for the build, this compact interface oozes quality. It’s designed in the UK, but made in China, although this takes nothing away from the rock-solid feel – certainly capable of surviving both a busy studio as well as regular voyages out of the studio.
The USB-powered iD4 is packed with features. Starting with the connections, the iD4 sports two inputs in the form of an XLR with phantom power for condenser mics, while plugging in a guitar or bass is easy with the discreet JFET instrument-level DI. As for outputs, you get standard L/R TRS main speaker ports around the back.
Clearly there’s not as many inputs as other interfaces on our chart, but some additional features help set the iD4 apart in other areas. This includes the monitor mix knob, which allows blending of the input signal with the DAW playback for close to zero-latency monitoring, while the monitor pan feature gives you the choice to pan your mic pre-input and your DI input from left to right. This gives a great headphone mix, while the two headphone ports (both different sizes – jack and mini jack) allow for two sets to be connected at the same time.
There’s also ScrollControl, where the volume encoder can be switched to act as a virtual scroll wheel, which proves a very useful feature. Finally, Audient promise more than $600 worth of free software, which instantly puts this interface in a good value zone. On closer inspection, this includes Cubase LE and Cubasis LE 2, as well as a host of sample packs, synths and plugins.
Because Audient install the same Class A mic preamp design as used in their higher-end interfaces, the iD4 is a solid performer, punching well above its price tag. As we have mentioned, the build quality is excellent and finetuning things with the responsive aluminum control knobs is a pleasure. Finally, the fact that this interface is compatible with Windows, macOS and iOS means you can use this bad boy pretty much anywhere you want.
Considering the sleek design, tank-like build, high-end preamps, and myriad of features and controls, the versatility and quality on offer with Audient’s iD4 is astounding! While many in this sub-$200 range show good value for money, this is something else. For all levels of producer, the iD4 is worth serious consideration.