Audient is one of the leading brands on the interface market, even though they also manufacture more high-end equipment (I am thinking of the pretty ASP studio consoles).
The iD14 mkII inaugurates, with its little sister, the iD4, a new version of the brand’s iD series, a range of audio interfaces at a relatively affordable price, and whose first version was already successful because of the sound quality.
The new version of the iD series features some optimizations on the technical specs and the design.
I, therefore, suggest that you take a closer look at whether or not this small, resolutely home studio-oriented audio interface is worth it.
Audient iD14 MKII
✔ Sound Quality
✔ Instrument Input
✔ Ease of Use
✔ Value for Money
✖️ Short USB Cable
✖️ No Display of Input Level
✖️ Absence of MIDI and on/off button
An aesthetic interface
I was a little afraid of the new design looking at the promotional photos because I liked the old ones with the satiny metal look.
But when I unboxed the iD14 mkII, I was pleasantly surprised: the interface is very pretty, with a modern style. Everything is well proportioned, and it looks good on the desk.
Indeed, the look is not everything – but I am one of the people who consider it essential.
In addition, the Audient sound card comes with a USB-C <=> USB-C cable: so be careful to have the right connector and be prepared to get a longer cable if your interface is destined to be positioned far away from your PC because the one included being a bit short.
It is more of a USB 3 interface, which is not very useful for the interface to have better latency but, on the other hand, contributes, given the specifications, to better power the headphone output. So we will appreciate it.
Overall, the manufacturing quality is real with even the presence of Amphenol connectors (an alternative to Neutrik, less expensive but just as qualitative). In short, the iD14 mkII instead gives the impression of being solid hardware even if the volume potentiometer oscillates slightly when it is manipulated.
In terms of connectors, the little Audient stands out a bit from the lot among the other home studio-oriented interfaces because it is very well equipped, making it quite scalable and durable over the long term.
On the front of the device, you will find a DI input and two 6.35 and 3.5 mm headphone outputs that can be used simultaneously (!).
Above the interface, we find:
- 2 gain potentiometers (logical since you have two inputs);
- 2 switches to enable phantom power individually for each input;
- a level indicator with a strip of LEDs (practical, but it only displays the output level: we would have liked an option to view the level of the microphone inputs);
- a massive aluminum rotary encoder whose behavior is configurable via the small buttons located below.
Finally, behind the interface, we find:
- 2 microphone/line combo inputs (associated with the two included preamps);
- 2 pairs of balanced jack outputs (practical for connecting a second pair of speakers or for connecting hardware equipment);
- 1 optical input (Toslink) that can be configured to work either in ADAT or in S/PDIF, which will allow you to add 8 additional preamps quickly.
We regret, however, the absence of MIDI inputs/outputs but especially an On / Off button, which requires you to manually unplug the interface if you do not want to use it for a long time.
In use, the iD14 mkII does well or even very well, especially compared to other models in the same price range.
First of all, if we focus on the inputs, we find good quality preamplification circuits: the DI reacts very well to the details (both for the electric guitar and for the bass, I tested the two), and the mic preamps are efficient and transparent.
That said, they are not transparent in the “boring” sense of the term but faithful and musical: they do the job well without bringing any specific color.
Gain level, we have a decent reserve even if the use of a fethead or equivalent will be recommended if you want to amplify microphones requiring a lot of gains, such as the SM7B — quite simply because there is background noise at the end of potentiometer travel, which is standard on entry-level/mid-range oriented audio interfaces.
Finally, in terms of outputs, the Audient iD14 mkII offers a detailed and honorable sound, especially given the price — we particularly appreciate the rendering of the headphone amplifier, which is sometimes a weak point on specific interfaces from other brands.
The software aspect
The iD14 mkII driver includes a small piece of software to control various parameters.
As you can see in the screenshot below, it takes the form of a nicely designed and well-organized virtual mixing console:
Via this tool, you will be able to manage your signals’ routing and adjust the buffer and the sampling frequency.
On this subject and for information (because it always differs depending on the computer), here are the latency values reported by Studio One on my machine (i7-9700k):
Interesting option on the Audient software: the management of two “cues” in addition to the master mix. This will allow you to send different mixes to outputs 1/2, 3/4, or the headphone outputs.
Finally, I find the “Arc” offer provided with the interface interesting at the software pack level, even if it is not universal. There are light versions of Cubase / Cubasis, Steinberg’s Retrologue synthesizer, or the Torpedo Wall of Sound, which will delight guitarists.
In the end, the little Audient iD14 mkII turns out to be an interface that is both well made, easy to handle and offers quality sound, both for listening and recording.
The integrated connectors will also make it possible to keep the interface even in the future when a home studio would like to expand a little by adding other equipment.
In short, an excellent interface — and the slight price difference compared to other beginner/entry-level/small home studio models seems really justified to me.