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Cheap Advice On Live Sound
48 Tips To Make Your Band Sound Better
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A Low-Cost Carrying Case For Your Recorder

6:00 am Home Recording

As long as you keep your multitrack recorder safely ensonced in your basement studio, perhaps taking it upstairs to record a piano part every now and then, you really don’t need to think much about its safe transportation. But what if you decide to take it on-site somewhere to record your band playing live? Or what if the local community singing group asks you to record one of their concerts so they can make a CD?

You could just set the unit carefully on the back seat of the car when you drive to the gig, and it would probably be OK. But if you want to be sure about it, or if it looks like you are going to be going places with your recorder fairly often, you are going to want to put it in something. If nothing else, this will make it easier to get the thing from your parking place to the recording area!

On the Case

I have a Korg D16XD 16-track recorder that I use in connection with my on-location recording business. When I first started out, I investigated ways of safely carting the Korg around town without damage. My first thought was to check out the sturdy boxes made by the world-famous Cabbage Cases, Inc., coincidentally located a stone’s throw from Cheap Advice World Headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.

Well, those Cabbage Cases are sturdy and high-quality, but boy, are they expensive! I priced out a low-end case for my D16XD at just under $500, a little rich for my blood. There was an overkill aspect as well, in that the ad copy for these cases made it clear that they would survive impact, fire, or a rough lunar landing with equal aplomb. I’m sure these cases are appropriate for the Rolling Stones or Beck to carry their stuff in, but there’s got to be something cheaper!

Other sources I found online offered cases that were almost as expensive, or that were priced semi-OK but would not fit the D16XD. I even considered making my own carrying case for the recorder, but I had to give that up when I realized I had no idea how to do it.

Time To Improvise

Suddenly it hit me. What I’m looking for is something like a padded suitcase. So, why not use a padded suitcase? Or why not start with a suitcase that’s not padded and add padding myself? Great idea!

A little checking online yielded a plain-jane suitcase that was big enough to hold the D16XD for just over $100. And it had wheels and a two-position handle for easy transport on hard surfaces! I ordered it on the spot.

When the suitcase arrived, I started by tearing out all the pockets and straps they had inside there, leaving just a suitcase-shaped shell. Then I bought a foam sleeping-bag pad, like you would use when camping, for $11 at Target. I cut the pad into variously sized strips and lined the inside of the bottom section of the suitcase with them, forming a double layer. The final touch was a pair of extra-firm pillows ($8 at Target). And there was my carrying case! Total cost: about $130, much less than any of the other cases I had found.

I have used this custom carrying case for over three years with no problems, and the recorder still works fine, so I will have to declare the project a success. The following photos illustrate the suitcase-to-carrying-case metamorphosis.

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