On our way to Florida in June, 2019, I stopped by Gotham sound in Atlanta and picked up an Orca Bags OR270 sound bag.
I’ve been using the MixPre3 with just a strap for a while but kept feeling like a bag would be a better choice. It could provide storage and some protection for the recorder. It would also make using external power more of an option. I’m not a sound-for-film guy, so I don’t use wireless mics or have time code thingamadoojer’s or a battery distribution system hanging around.
I bought the OR-270 and have been using it on and off since then. While it’s a nice bag, it’s not ideal for some situations but very good for others.
Here’s my thoughts:
- It fits both the MixPre3 and MixPre6, although the 3 cannot use the lower mounting straps because there’s no opening to run the webbing through.
- Easy access to all connectors, the power switch and the headphone knob.
- The sides unzip easily and there’s a handy velcro patch to hold them in place when fully unzipped.
- The back pocket holds a big (26,800mah) Anker battery snugly, and has a slip pocket for smaller items.
- The front pocket has straps for wireless receivers, and a giant pass through window. Don’t consider this pocket available for storage because anything you put in it ends up in the main compartment with the recorder, and then ends up falling out when you unzip the sides.
- It is dorky looking – the color, shape, and prominent label all make for a rather obviously strange looking bag. No one is going to mistake this for a simple fanny pack. Most of the time I could not care less about this, but in some circumstances it’s better to look more amateur.
- There’s plenty of ventilation space around the recorder, which is nice when it’s warmer out.
- The clear plastic window/raincover doesn’t really have enough space to get in to actually mix anything. Not an issue for me, but for some it might be.
- The inside and outside of the bag – basically all the blue fabric – is the fluffy side of velcro. This makes it easy to stick things to the inside if needed.
Where the bag excels is in good conditions, and when access to the sides is really important. The bag really opens up, and it’s barely more difficult to get to things than with no bag. Power is no problem, it’s easy to fit a battery in the back pocket and route a cable to the USB-C jack, or to the bottom if using a Hirose adapter. Whether on the shoulder or sitting on a table, everything’s easy to get to. With the giant Anker battery, I can go all day easily using a mic or two and also be able to charge my phone, iPad, or other stuff.
Where the bag lets me down is when conditions aren’t so good – rain, blowing sand, etc. The bag doesn’t seal up very well with any mic cables leaving the bag. It is possible to zip up one side and have the cable leave the top of the bag, but it looks awful and puts a sharp bend in the cable along with pressure on the connections. If you have two cables coming out, forget it. The recorder is suspended off the bottom of the bag, so if you put it down somewhere wet the recorder isn’t going to be sitting on the wet ground, but the bag isn’t designed to keep liquid out.
So where I ended up was that I like the bag for times when I needed external power, but don’t use it much otherwise because it doesn’t offer any real benefit over going naked and makes the recorder much, much larger. This bag was clearly designed for someone using some wireless in a sound-for-film context, which isn’t the context I’m in.