Tuesday, 28 February 2012

so, you have your recorder, your microphones, cables, spare batteries etc etc, now you need a good, well made & convenient kit bag to carry it all in, protect it & make using your valuable equipment stress free. There are some location sound industry leaders in the field, Portabrace being the most well know. Their bags are very good & the various models, with add on pouches, are designed to fit specific equipment needs. However they are expensive & for those either on a budget or who want a bag that will fit a wide range of different options you might find it hard to find Sound professional bags that meet your needs.

Well, on one of the recent Wildeye courses I tutor on, a student, Lindsay Todd, came along with a bag none of us had seen before. It was impressive, with a ton of pockets, a rubber base to prevent damp entering the bottom of the bag, a detachable waterproof cover, the whole thing made from sturdy waterproof material & all the zips being heavy duty. The thing is, it wasn’t a sound pro case, it was in fact made by Shakespeare - the fishing supplies manufacturer & has the name ‘royalty shoulder bag’ (note: its the old design not the new ‘royalty base station’). Needless to say I bought one online straight away & set about using it as my main bag to see how it handled. For me, its ideal. I can fit in the following:

main, central compartment holds:

Sound Devices recorder + spare battery

field mixer / pre-amp

2 cased lavelier mics

4 JrF hydrophones

4 JrF contact mics

1 pair of BSM9 mics

1 pair of Sennheiser headphones

olympus camera in case

front pocket (left) holds:

4 jack to xlr adaptors

2 xlr adaptors for laveliers

front pocket (right) holds:

2 JrF coils pick ups

front zipped compartment holds:

note book

drawing pens

spare camera batteries

spare camera memory cards

side pocket (left) holds:

pettersson D200 bat detector in case + battery

cable to connect to recorder

side pocket (right) holds:

hand held recorder

spare batteries

back zipped compartment holds:

waterproof cover

cloth for cleaning hydrophones

& what’s more some of those pockets could have taken a few more bits & pieces too. For example, the main central compartment could take a couple of conventional microphones, especially if one moves some of the smaller items to the free space in the other pockets.

The bag has a fully adjustable shoulder strap - very sturdy & well made. The main compartment is covered with a zipped top complete with 2 velcro loops & a further top covers that & fastens at the front with two tough click-buckles.

Not bad eh ! So, imagine if you found a bag with these specs for sale from one of the Location Sound equipment manufacturers - how much would it cost ? £200 ? £300 ? perhaps more ? well, my Shakespeare ‘royalty‘ cost £35.99 inc p&p & from the tests i’ve put it through so far it looks like it’ll last & last too.

One other plus point is that, unlike some of those pro sound bags, this one doesn’t scream ‘look at me, i’ve got thousands of pounds worth of tech equipment in here !’. Instead, given that Shakespeare are well know as fishing kit suppliers, this looks like it’ll be full of fishing line, hooks & a half eaten pond side packed lunch !

grab one ! either as your main bag, as a standby or as a handy carry-all to keep bits & pieces in that won’t fit in your Portabrace.

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