The Audient iD4 is a basic USB audio interface unit that will appeal to those who want to be able to record at the drop of a hat when inspiration strikes. Now that could, of course, include band members. But its intended audience is solo musicians who travel with their laptops and want to be ready for anything.
In some ways, the iD14 is the heir apparent to Audient’s iD22. That unit provided robust multichannel functionality in a compact desktop unit, and so does the iD14. In some ways, comparing the iD4 with the iD14 is a bit of apple and oranges. But the two tend to attract a similar demographic. So apples and oranges it is.
Peerless Portability, High Performance
The iD4 does a commendable job of delivering baseline functionality. Solo musicians, podcasters, YouTube developers, and more will appreciate its combination of portability and high performance.
A Portable Studio for Collaborative Musicians
TThe iD14 is a well-considered, versatile desktop interface that’s built to last. It’s easily expandable to accommodate multi-mic setups via the ADAT input and is compatible with all the most popular DAWs.
What’s in a Number? The iD14 Says “Plenty”
Fans of the iD4 sometimes think of the iD14 as occupying a kind of “no man’s land.” The argument goes that both are targeting the lone wolf.
As such, the iD14 is too expensive and contains lots of extra bells and whistles. But is the 14 just a solo box pretending to be something more? Or will it genuinely appeal to both the lone wolf and the collaborative creator?
We had to know.
What We Were Looking For
Is the iD4 all you need to collect your creative musings in the form of digital files? Or does it pay to spend a little more and have the added functionality of the iD14 at hand, just in case?
We wanted to know:
- If the ID4 is in fact too limited in functionality to be practical.
- If the ADAT input on the ID14 is worthy of the hype.
- Whether the single Audient Class-A mic preamp is sufficient.
- If the slightly higher latency on the ID14 really matters.
First let’s breakdown the technical info for both audio interfaces.
We’re not going to spend time rehashing the relative pros and cons of 96 vs. 192kHz resolution. Suffice to say that you won’t notice the difference. As such, we have no problem with the 24Bit/96kHz resolution provided by both units.
For the solo musician, podcaster, or videographer, 24Bit/96kHz resolution is more than sufficient for capturing the nuances of your live performance, interview, or voice-over narration.
Some might think that if you have the iD14 inputs maxed out, including eight channels coming in via the ADAT input, 96kHz won’t allow for subtle differentiation between instruments/voices. They’d be wrong.
Class-A Audient Mic Preamp
Audient’s Class-A mic preamps are, without a doubt, one of the shining stars of the Audient universe. They provide a world-class sonic experience by capturing the subtleties and harsh realities of everything from smooth jazz to buzz saw metal.
Designed by audio legend David Deardon, they’re the preferred preamp of recording studios worldwide.
The fact that such a compact and affordable desktop interface would feature such a high-end preamp is pretty unbelievable. But here it is.
While both units feature the excellent ASP880 preamp, the iD14 has a pair to handle the additional load generated by its wealth of inputs, including the eight channel ADAT input.
Why? Because the presence of two ASP880s is what makes the iD14 a viable mini-mobile recording studio. And a damn good one at that.
Unique Features: Audient iD4
Audio geeks get all excited over things like 1/10 of a millisecond of latency. But in reality, such microscopic differences in audio perception are more negligible than the ear can pick up anyway. So the slightly – and I mean slightly – lower latency of the iD4 won’t make any perceptible difference.
Many solo performers would like to get their hands on the iD14 just in case they decide at some future date they need the added functionality. But coughing up the extra C-note for it can be too much of a stretch. Rather than being a significant step-down, the iD4 is an outstanding option for an audio interface under $200 that’s a little short on features but doesn’t compromise quality.
Unique Features: Audient iD14
The feature that puts space between these two desktop interfaces is the ADAT input on the iD14. This enables you to set up a separate mic array for the drum kit and feed it directly into the mix with up to 8 dedicated channels.
The amount of flexibility this provides is the stuff live performance capture dreams are made of.
While the ADAT input gets all the sexy press, that additional input capacity wouldn’t be worth much if it wasn’t for the pair of ASP880 preamps holding down the fort in the iD14.
They ensure every note of every instrument, along with the full flavor of each voice, gets the white glove treatment.
Why? Sorry, but while the iD4 is an outstanding value, it is a matter of not standing its ground against the feature-rich iD14
Audient iD4 vs Audient iD14 : Pros and Cons
Below is a breakdown of the pros and the cons of each of these Audient audio interfaces. For a quick overview of the perks and downfalls read on and you’ll soon have a better idea of which interface is best for you.
Pros of the Audient iD4
- Impressive audio quality.
- Compact enough to take anywhere.
- The outstanding ASP880 preamp.
- Very low latency.
- Compatible with most DAWs.
- Affordable price point.
Cons of the Audient iD4
- iOS compatibility is hit or miss.
- The single preamp.
- Some reviews note a slight reduction in dynamic range from the ID14.
Pros of the Audient iD14
- For solo performers or bands.
- Two ASP880 Audient preamps.
- ADAT input greatly enhances flexibility.
- Compatible with all popular DAWs.
- Unquestioned build quality.
Cons of the Audient iD14
- The software interface can be glitchy.
- It will cost about $100 more than the ID4.
- At 6.8 x 4.7 x 2.4″ it’s about 10-15% bigger than the ID4.
It must be said that in some respects, this wasn’t a fair fight. The iD4 is an exemplary interface at a very agreeable price. And if you’re a solo performer or podcaster, it will serve you well.
However, if we consider that cost is not an issue, we must conclude that the iD14 is the superior USB interface. Everything you can do with the iD4, you can do with the iD14. And, if you want to plug in a few friends, you can do that too with zero loss in the quality of the finished product.
So if it’s our money, we’re going with the iD14 because flexibility is where it’s at.
Michael Ocejo ( Editor-in-chief )
Michael loves audio production. He especially enjoys the technical aspect of making music sound good! Michael also loves spending time with his friends and family and enjoying parties.
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