Continuing my quest to make my sound bag a bit lighter (see "Can Sound be Light?"), in order to take some extra strain off my spine, I've taken the first step in making it a reality. The first item to make way for a new workflow was my bag. My old Sachtler SN-601 is still a very good and functional bag, with loads of space and places to store things which is great. The only downside to that being that you inevitably end up using all of that space for things you don't actually need immediately to hand. Stuff like batteries and spare mics and rolls of tape, the list goes on... The new Stingray Jr. is a much more elegant design for my use case
Whats in the box?
1x Stingray Jr bag
1x Stingray Shoulder strap
1x Covert carry cover
Everything you need to get started really. The bag feels premium straight out of the box and looks great. The shoulder strap is a nice lightweight, high quality strap. The padding I think is just a relatively cheap foam, but feels like it would be comfortable over the course of a day. The cover that comes with it is a nice touch too. I sometimes find myself getting the train or wandering around London and this will be put to good use making the bag look less like something full of expensive tools/toys!
Design / Functionality
The Stingray range has been redesigned over the last couple of years and now sports a pretty rad orange and black motif, which I quite like.
The new bags prioritise functionality over plain design. The two side panels zip down and open fully, for easy access to cabling and cards. The underside also opens up, allowing quick access to the lower part of the bag, typically used for any external battery. The one in here has an adjustable velcro strap for fitting NP-1 style batteries, and it also fits my NP-F970 and sled rig without too much problem.
There are four elastic loops for holding radio receivers in place too. Two on the inside of the main bag and two on the opposite side of that wall. That gives you enough space to hold four dual-channel receivers, completely filling the eight inputs of the Zoom F8 recorder that I'm rigging into it. Arguably the inside ones could be a little higher in the bag. That would allow me to bring the velcro support a little higher on that side to better accommodate smaller recorders like the F8
There's also a super handy built in kick-stand built into the bag (on the belly side). This means you can take the bag off and set it on a table or Peli case to mix or monitor. This just removes the awkward complexity of having to find something to prop up the bag when this scenario does crop up.
Quest Goals (weight/size)
The SN-601 weighed a fair bit, coming in at just shy of 2kg when I put it on the scales. This was quite surprising considering it's predominantly a soft bag with just some plastic struts giving it a bit of rigidity. The fully loaded rig coming in at about 5kg. With extra batteries and all that probably tipping it over 5.5kg!
Comparatively the Stingray Jr comes in at just over 1kg, immediately reducing my bag weight by the weight on an entire Zoom F8 (without batteries). Fully loaded, with all of the batteries, holding the F8, two Sennheiser radios, a couple of small rolls of tape and pens it comes in at a dainty 3.5kg.
The Stingray is also significantly smaller in physical size (for a similar feature set) and is clearly designed with the all-in-one recorder/mixer in mind. The two shots here show the difference in the dimensions.
All in all, I'm nicely pleased with the new rig. It makes life easier in a number of different ways, not only in the weight and size, but also with the improved access to the various sides of the recorder.