Recently K-Tek came out with the their new MixPro bag. And even though it is called the MixPro bag K-Tek says it will fit the Zoom F4/F8. They sent me one this week to put that last claim to the test and give the bag a run through its paces. So lets get started and examine what all this bag offers and figure out what group of mixers is this bag’s demographic.
First lets start with the main pouch meant for the mixer. The Zoom F4/F8 will indeed fit perfectly in the bag. The sides are wide enough that you don’t need special slim right angle XLR cables like you do for other bags. This helps keep the users cost down and means you can use the stock cables that came with your wireless kit.
The bag offers 2 velcro straps of the bag that hook into the loops on the Zoom F-series and Sound Devices MixPre3/6 to hold the recorder in place. If you use a MixPre3/6 with the bag your mixer will float in suspension because the bag is deeper than your mixer. For the Zoom users out there the bag is just deep enough to house the deeper F-series recorders and still offers about a half inch (2cm for our international metric readers) for cables to run under the unit.
The frame the main bag itself is reinforced with a metal substructure that gives the bag its shape but also adds a great deal of protection to the recorder living inside. This is something that any K-Tek owner can attest to as it is a standard feature in it’s whole bag lineup. But with that said there is one standard feature that is missing from the MixPro Bag and its really not a big deal, this bag does not feature the RF shielding sewn into the bag like its bigger brothers. And at first glance you may say to yourself that the RF shielding in the Stingray bags is a key feature… its not needed for this bag and here’s why.
This bag is not one to see 7x UCR411s inside it. Heck, it probably won’t see 1x UCR411 really. This bag really is meant to be used with clip on receivers like the Sennhesier G3, Lectrosonic LR, Rodelink, Sony UWP, Saramonic uwmic9/10, or Comica WM300. The last are all dual receivers so you don’t really need a lot of space to get a lot of channels of wireless. And all these receivers also feature one other thing in common, low power CPUs running their circuits. The odds of getting cross talk between chips in your receivers and in your mixer is low. Combine that with the fact that they are physically separated a few inches and the odds of cross talk drops even more. Unlike other brands of bags that sandwich receivers next to the recorder, the Stingray MixPro bag breaks it all up; adds padding and strong nylon between everything to keep things organized and protected.
I posted a photo of the bag on Facebook and quickly someone commented that the bag is too small for their use. And maybe that is so for that one user but lets break it down. The MixPre 3/6 and the Zoom F4 all have limited inputs and the Zoom F8 has a max of 8 inputs… ok. If you were to clip on 2 Sony UWP units (the most expensive dual channel prosumer wireless kits) onto the bag you’d have 4 wireless and a boom. I also am doing this example with the UWP because the price of the recorder unit this bag will fit caters to a certain price for wireless though to our higher end readers substitute UWP for Lectrosonic SRc units (these can be added using MOLLE M14 clip pouches.) If your bag has 4 wireless and a boom you can handle 100% of the projects you’d take AND want to mix on a MixPre3/6/Zoom F4.
If you are an Zoom F8 user there will be an occasion you need more than 4 wireless… ok; well the K-Tek MixPro Bag can hold up to 3 clip on wireless receivers, so do that and you have 6 wireless and a boom… Do you want to be bag mixing 6 wireless and a boom? Not especially but even if you did hopefully the production offers you a boom op and than you can utilize the kick stand on the MixPro bag.
So the bag is big enough generally speaking. It does also feature 2 MOLLE straps on each side to hold a Comtek/IFB transmitter though you could also clip that to your harness up on your shoulder if you pair this bag with the K-Tek Harness. If you are a Sennheiser G3 user, 3x wireless and a boom maxes out the MixPre 3/6 and Zoom F4 so that’s also not a big deal.
The front pouch that is packaged with the K-Tek MixPro bag is large enough to fit a NP1 battery but it should also be noted its large enough to fit the Talentcell 12v battery and the Anker USB-C battery that are so popular with this demographic of sound mixers. K-Tek did a great job of looking at this audience and tailoring a wearable office that will work for the user. And it really is an office versus just a big box bag.
Now there is an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. Some might think that elephant is the price of the unit, $190, but those people be wrong. The elephant that needs to be addressed is the mindset that $190 is too high of a price. If you are still reading this article it means you are more than likely a MixPre / Zoom owner seriously looking at bags. The rest of the this article is solely aimed at you owners now. To the rest of you readers, I thank you for your time. Please click on any links you like. If you see an ad you like, click on it, it helps us out and helps keep the servers running. Now… back to the article.
MixPre / Zoom owners are quick to compare the price of an accessory to the cost of their recorder. This is a terrible idea. The price of one has zero to do with the price of the other. I’m a DIYer, trust me, I get the urge and I know its hard to fight. But let me put it to you like this, a SD card might only cost $12 but we store those cards in $23 card wallets… Why? Because we want to protect them and SD cards are critical to us to get our jobs done. Same goes for any piece of gear you rely on for your job. It doesn’t matter if a piece of gear is $10 or $5000, if you need it to work when you arrive on set you will pay what ever it takes to get it to set in one piece.
I was in Seattle 2 years ago for a gig, my show’s semi-truck was stuck in the snow in Kansas and wasn’t going to make it in time before we needed the gear. When it was figured out that we were screwed the whole team started making phone calls throughout Seattle and LA trying to find rental gear or places we could just straight up purchase what we needed. There was one piece of gear we had the hardest time sourcing, an Audio to SDI embedder. It’s not a super expensive piece of gear ($300) considering the total amount of gear needed to pull off the whole show ($650,000) but without that one piece we could not do the show. Luckily the DVE Store had one in stock (no store in LA even had one in stock, it really is a super rare piece of gear to have) and we were able to record the show and meet our deadlines. But the whole situation could have been avoided if the production spent a tad bit more money on the trucking situation and hired a second driver so they could have taken the southern route and avoided the snow. Instead the production ended up spending WAY more on the backup plan. So which would you rather do with your own gear?
The K-Tek MixPro bag really is a dream to use. It’s holes line up not just for the Sound Devices MixPre 3/6 but also line up perfectly for the Zoom F4/F8. At the end of the day your bag is your office and the K-Tek MixPro is a great way to keep your office organized!
Andrew Jones is a location sound mixer based in Los Angeles. He started in the TV and Film industry in 2004. You can email him at Andrew@HoldForSound.com