A good, mid-range solution that’ll be about right for most DJs looking for decent protection in a lightweight, durable and not prohibitively expensive bag. A bit more protection on the front pocket would be my only request.
First Impressions / Setting up
It’s a false economy not to invest in protection for your DJ gear, at least it is as soon as you’re playing out. (You are aiming to play out, aren’t you? Good!) The real question is: What type of protection do you go for?
From full-on plywood flight cases with big metal corners that weigh five times as much as the gear within them, right down to soft slip sleeves that don’t seem to protect very much at all, there’s a lot of choices out there. Then you have to decide whether you want a backpack, a shoulder bag, a simple sleeve, or something in-between. And then, of course, do you go for high-end pro gear (with the price to match), or something cheaper?
UDG’s Urbanite series is one of the “something in-between” solutions. Not as pricey as some (the Urbanite bags and cases sit right in the middle of UDG’s own range, for instance), but certainly not bargain basement or poor quality, they are the kind of cases that ought to appeal to most DJs – the “majority in the middle”.
The bag type we’re reviewing here today are the “Flight Bags”. These are bags with a main compartment for your DJ gear, but a number of other compartments too for your accessories, laptop, even maybe a change of clothes. Think of “flight bag” as “longer journey” bag, though, rather than “permitted for flying with” – the Large model won’t be allowed in any aircraft cabin (at least here in Europe) as it exceeds permitted dimensions. You’d be OK with the Medium one though.
UDG is a well-established brand, and doesn’t make shoddy cheap bags; the first impression here is of a well made, durable and attractive bag. The material is black nylon with piped edges and a vinyl bottom half of the front pocket. There are big rubber feet and sturdy zippers. I wouldn’t want to drop it in a puddle, but it’s going to withstand a shower. There’s a big padded handle on the top, and two sturdy hooks for the supplied padded shoulder strap. A single nylon band is stitched around the whole circumference for strength.
The light grey main compartment has eggshell foam padding on its lid, and half a dozen blocks of soft padding, some with Velcro attached, that you can use to alter the size of the compartment. This is important, as you want your gear to fit snugly. Each bag has a piece of paper telling you how to configure it for a whole host of Midi controllers. Correctly configured, the main compartment offers a lot of protection.
As I said in the intro, for most people, most of the time, a bag like this is going to be more than enough. It’s well made and durable, has plenty of protection for the most important part of your gear (your controller), adequate space for accessories, laptop and so on, and is easy enough to carry for short distances.
For hardcore traipsing around town with your gear you may prefer a backpack-style bag, and if you literally take your gear out of the house once a year then a cheaper, “slip” case may be better.
Likewise, if you are a touring pro DJ, getting your promoters to pay for proper hold-carried hard cases would possibly be more appropriate. But for the enthusiast, semi-pro or pro with a decent handful of gigs around town and the odd excursion further afield, one of the UDG Urbanite Midi Controller Flight Bags could well be just the ticket for your gear.