I just completed a job in Nashville, and I did some shopping at Trew Audio. One of the things I was interested in was a long-overdue bag upgrade. This time I went with a Petrol bag… a small Deca Eargonizer. My friend John Billings (location sound, studio engineer and session musician in Nashville) bought one recently and likes his, so I brought one home.
There are a number of things that I like about this bag, one of them is space. It’s a bit roomier than my old bag, which means it’s naturally a bit bulkier than before, but not by much. It’s “stiffer” as well, meaning that it’s made with semi-rigid sides. This means more protection for my mixer (though I never felt my gear was vulnerable with my old case). It also allows more flexibility with the configuration. Petrol includes little risers to lift gear up, which works because of the rigid sides.
Actually, Petrol includes a lot of little options and extras. Some will be indispensable for some folks, some will be unneeded for others… but it means I can configure the bag the way I want it, which is a big plus. One item that everyone will like is their wireless pouch… my bag came with a pair, and there are anchor points for two more, which I’ll be ordering directly.
Other details that are really handy:
- Multiple anchor points for the strap, so the bag can be balanced
- the clear vinyl window flap attaches with velcro on both sides, so it can be removed and stowed out of the way in clear weather.
- Places to put sharpies and pens (though it doesn’t have a dedicated business card pocket, and I always like to have cards ready to hand out).
- Cutouts on the inner divider for easier & neater cable routing.
Just to be fair, there are a few small details that I’d personally like to improve. I’d like some more padding on the strap, since I usually run a fairly heavy bag. And some method of attaching transmitters for Comteks or camera hops on the strap, up high and away from the mic receivers, would be cool. But my biggest irritation are connector covers. For some reason most bag manufacturers don’t make them removable, and they are always getting in my way when I need to make fast connection changes in the mixer. I never take my personal gear out in bad weather, since I can’t afford to replace it if it gets damaged, so the connector covers aren’t quite as big an issue as it is with, say, a news crew. At least Petrol makes their covers out of a lighter, more flexible material, but I’d like something that could either be removed or rolled completely out of the way.
This isn’t to say that I don’t still like my Portabrace bag… for me, the Portabrace is better for my old Shure FP33, since its smaller & lighter. That’s my rig of choice when I need to be very mobile. (Portabrace doesn’t list the FP33 anymore on their website, but there should still be plenty of bags for them around.)
Overall, though, I think the Petrol is a great bag and I expect to get many years of work out of it. By listing my old bag (that wasn’t really that old at all) with Trew’s consignment program, the net cost of my upgrade was pretty small… a successful trip, I think.