Any seasoned sound pro will testify to the importance of organization; in an industry where each second quite literally costs money, you should not be fumbling through your bag to change a setting on your recorder or grab a cable. I'll admit it may just be the over-sensitive audio guy in me, but it seems too often audio on set plays second fiddle to the visual. I understand the visual aspect will always be king, but audio is important, too, and the team over at K-Tek know it.
It may seem hyperbolic to say one can design a bag using their experience as an audio pro, but gear bags are a realm where the little things make an entire world of difference. You certainly could cram your digital recorder, wireless units, cables, and batteries into a camera bag or your straight-edge Jansport back pack, but you're no doubt going to end up fumbling with flaps, zippers, and pouches to get to your gear. Fumbling costs time, and when you cost a production time, there is a good chance you will not get hired again by that crew.
Out of the gate, K-Tek knows what you are likely using, and offers their Stingray bags in various sizes that are custom-fit for popular recorders, such as for the pros using Sound Devices. Their bags for smaller rigs are compatible with many different compact mixer/recorders and there’s even a custom bag for the Tascam DR-70D and Tascam DR-701D. Regardless of what recorder you are looking to lug around, K-Tek gives you a number of features you would expect from a quality bag, namely rugged construction designed with an eye for the ultimate goal of keeping your gear safe from the rigors of daily use and those pesky elements. Rigid vertical internal frames help keep their respective bags formed to either the specific recorder they are designed for, or similar-shaped equipment, while allowing for maximum access to the input/output side panels of the mixers.
After these shared, basic features, (which any quality bag should have), K-Tek begins to separate itself from the crowd through attention to workflow detail, catering to real-world workflows. Take, for instance, the built-in kickstand on the above-mentioned Stingray bag for the Tascam DR-70D; allowing you to have unfettered access to the controls if it is going to live on a table or a sound cart rather than slung around your shoulder, or its front-flap holes that accommodate the unit's built-in mics. As the typical shoot is likely involving wireless mics, the bag has MOLLE-style (at Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment) straps on which you can mount your wireless receivers, giving you access to settings at a moment's notice. While that acronym is a stretch at best, this is functionally a space-saving feature that has numerous real-world applications.
The Stingray Junior was designed specifically for smaller mixer/recorders like the Sound Devices 633 or the Zoom F8. As an ultra-compact Pro bag option, the Junior retains all the features of K-Tek’s larger bags, like the large side opening and MOLLE straps on the collapsible front pocket, while additionally offering a kickstand for productions that require minimal gear or where transport to the shooting location doesn’t allow for a large gear package.
Jump over to their larger Stingray bag optimized for the Sound Devices 688, and you get pockets sized to handle NP batteries, a kick stand if you're using a sound cart, a collapsible front pocket with the aforementioned MOLLE straps, a bottom trap door that gives you access to your cabling, and a clear shield that allows you to monitor levels visually, even in wet weather. As it is a safe bet you are running wireless systems if you have a kit this large, two wireless pouches are included.
If you are not a fan of the over-the-shoulder style of carry, you still have options. The perfect companion for the Stingray Junior and the Stingray Small bags is the Stingray Waistbelt. It gives you the means to attach your small Stingray bag, while providing additional MOLLE straps and D-Rings for attaching more accessories. Four carabiners on quick release buckles allow you to connect, adjust or remove your bag quickly, while extensive and well-ventilated padding offer a maximum in wearer comfort. If your audio rig is humble enough, the Waistbelt alone might be able to serve your needs. It is also a snazzy way to keep your pants up.
The larger Stingray bag is optimized for the Sound Devices 688, and you get pockets sized to handle NP batteries, a collapsible front pocket with the aforementioned MOLLE straps, a bottom trap door that gives you access to your cabling, and a clear shield that allows you to monitor levels visually, even when the recording environment isn’t optimal. As it is a safe bet you are running wireless systems if you have a kit this large, two wireless pouches are included.
Larger-scale productions might want something that can handle a higher equipment payload. The Stingray Harness is, no doubt, a step up from the Waistbelt, not only giving you a different set of connectivity but drastically changing the layout of it, as well. Taking its design from hiking and military backpacks, the Stingray Harness uses a rigid ExoSpine to take the weight off the wearer’s shoulders, aiming to help alleviate fatigue that typically accompanies longer shoots, addressing an issue only fellow sound people would know.
K-Tek shows the attention to detail that can come only from knowing your demographic, and how they work. A kit bag should not just be some place to store your gear, but help you stay organized, ease your workflow, and help you do your job better, and these K-Tek Stingray bags can help you do just that.