DJ/VJ Controller Carrying Case Showdown

By January 21, 2013 Gear Reviews No Comments
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by Mark Hines (Fingas)

Choosing the right bag or case for your gear is sometimes as important as the gear itself. After all, what purpose is there in showing up to a gig only to have your equipment not work because it was damaged during travel. The right case is your part of your insurance policy, protecting your kit, and your ability gig.

As hardcore road musicians, producers, DJ’s and VJ’s, we’ve been scrutinizing case manufacturers for years, both in terms of how their products hold up, and how the brand supports it’s product when in fails. When the Pioneer DDJ-SX hit the market, we had our hands on the first ones out to determine if it was a serious contender in the emerging DJ Controller scene. But, soon after determining it made the grade in the studio, we were ready to hit the tour circuit to confirm it could beast equally on the road.

The size of the unit was my first concern. The largest controller I’ve been toting regularly is AKAI’s APC40 which is 2/3rds of the size and weight of the DDJ-SX. I’ve been rocking a Mono case for that, which I love, but it was just not going to fit the SX so, the Visualeyz crew did some research on the options. OPTIONS:

With a gig 6hrs away by car only days after receiving the DDJ-SX, my options were limited; GuitarCenter was out of stock on the Numark case. UDG’s case was also unavailable and those were the only two cases I was hip to at the moment. I decided to plop my SX into a Gig Skinz 49 Key keyboard case I had on hand, placing my projector next to it to fill the remaining space. This solution was bulky, and left the SX swimming around, potentially exposing faders, knobs and platters to damage, not to mention that the other cats in the ride (tall ass DJ Rich Medina, and Rocksteady Crew founding member Crazy Legs) looked at me sideways when I arrived to attempt to cram my equipment in the car trunk. It worked out of course. We rocked the show, of course (big ups Afrika Bambaataa and The Cornell Hip-Hop Collection), but it was clear that the keyboard case was not going to be the look for my next gig where I’d be traveling from NY to Miami via plane for Art Basel.

Back in NY, GuitarCenter had the Numark case in stock. I rushed there hoping to find a proper solution or my Controller-toting. At $150, this bag’s best feature is it’s price. But, if price is your only parameter for gear selection, you may as well grab a $.99 garbage bag and toss your unit in there. Not only will you have saved money on the bag, but you can use the very same bag to throw your broken controller away in; this Numark bag was so flimsy, I couldn’t believe it was being sold to actually carry equipment in. This is the bottom of the barrell… don’t get this one if you are serious about your craft and gear.

Next I tried to procure the UDG Case. I have had good experiences with UDG Bags in the past and I still have a few in my arsenal. UDG makes quality bags but, always seem to have some achilles heel. Some weakness in a critical place that renders an otherwise great case useless, often on the go. How many telescoping arms have we snapped off of their rolling record crates?? Still, l didn’t know of another bag that would fit the SX at the time, and S1 users who had this bag, at least confirmed the SX would fit. I ordered from GuitarCenter.com with 5 days to travel. I started reading some user reviews and looking at the “features”… these really made me consider my needs again. I wasn’t just looking for a case to carry my DDJ-SX. I desired to pack my full VJ Kit (Controller, Laptop, Laptop Stand, Projector, Cables, Adaptors, and Headphones) into one solid, protective case, that was comfortable to carry. I realized this was a tall order but shared the requirements back with the crew as I cancelled my UDG order. It would only hold my controller and laptop at best, and at $250, I wasn’t traying to be dissatisfied. Then, PapaFZ hits me with a text displaying a case with every feature we have been looking for. Only, I had. NEVER heard of Fusion Bags. I hit their website encountering imagery that made me double-take and make sure I wasn’t on some camping outfit. Then I recalled seeing some horn cats travelling with these as well as my good friend, Cellist, Marika Hughes, carrying her axe under this brand. The construction looked solid and the features really stacked up… at $350, they BETTER! Though not looking forward to my pokets being that much lighter, I was anxious to get something solid to carry my SX safely in. I skeptically entered my order and prayed that the bag would arrive in time for travel. It did indeed! And what a sexy case this is! Here are some of the features:

The bag is big, b. When you get this bad boy all packed down, you will be astounded that you are not only able to lift it, but also that it is VERY comfortable when worn as a backpack. The backpack straps conveniently and cleanly zip away so, it can slide into an overhead bin, which I did lovely on Jet Blue from NYC to MIA. This is a TUFF piece that can pack all my gear essentials (Controller, Laptop, Projector, iPad, Power Cables, Video Adapters, Laptop Stand) AND rock with me on the plane. The fact that the unit breaks down into several separate totes (Controller, Laptop/iPad, Headphone) takes it over the top, making it the hands down winner in this showdown. If you use the Pioneer DDJ-SX, ReLoop, Mixtrack Pro, or other similarly sized controllers, find $350 and GET THIS BAG!

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