Location Sound Mixer – K-TEK KSRA2 Stingray Review
As a long time Sound Devices 664 owner, our options for audio bags have been quite limited.
Professional Sound Services was kind enough to allow me to review K-TEKs new product offering the KSRA2 Stingray for 664.
Right off the bat I was impressed with the bag. I like its lunchbox feel as opposed to a lunch bag! You set the bag down and it stays where it belongs!
- Sound Devices 664
- 2 Lectrosonics SRb’s
- Zaxcom TRX900CL
- PSC RF Multi SMA
This bag features a big main compartment separated by an adjustable partition. Inside the main compartment are 3 elastic straps for wireless RX/TX and then an extra divider that Velcro’s to the partition for an additional 3 RX/TX.
The outer compartment is a rigid boxish space that is 2/3’s open on the bottom. This also features several elastic straps for securing anything you might want.
There is an opening between the rigid compartment and the main compartment making cable routing very easy.
The outer side pouches have external multi-zipper openings. On the left side there is a slot for flat items and on the right there is elastic for pens/tweakers etc.
Inside the outer pockets have a mess netting with Velcro on the bottom and a zipper on the top. Convenient for storing Time Code cables or loose items.
The outside seems to be durable with nylon strap and riveting to the frame for strength.
Of course we cannot forget about the handles! They are retractable and tuck away nicely when not in use.
The back of the back is contoured with a mesh to allow for airflow between the bag and your body.
Securing the 664
It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but the center divider was actually installed backwards, making my initial bag build kind of frustrating. Once I figured it out I was off to the races!
There are two Velcro straps on either side to secure the mixer and a strap that essentially runs from the back panel and Velcro’s to the center partition. This strap supports the mixer. I will say that while this is a great idea, the strap is very narrow and if there is any weight at all on it, it causes the back panel of the bag to buckle.
The other thing I noticed is that the top straps on the outside don’t have enough Velcro on them and they are quite long. If you prefer to have your mixer ride high in the bag you have to find a place to tuck the excess strap.
All in all, the mixer is very secure in the bag and sits exactly where I want it.
Wireless and Peripherals
There is plenty of room for 6 wireless inside main compartment and another 3 if you need them in the front section. The pass through for cables made routing cables to the BDS and PSC box in the front section and stick my NP1 in the strap up front.
There is room in the bottom of the bag for an NP1 but I found it to be inconvenient to change on the fly.
The KSRA2 feels very sturdy. I really like the fact that the input/output sides of the mixer are completely enclosed, secured with zippers. The center divider frame (when installed properly) allows complete access to the SD/CF card door. It opens completely without obstruction.
Inside each of the end flaps is a mesh pocket. It has Velcro at the bottom and a zipper at the top. I have found this useful for my time code cable. I finally have a place for it where it won’t get tangled in everything else!
I found the rear part of the bag to be very interesting…the bag is contoured with flexible plastic on the inside and has a mesh on the outside. My understanding is that it conforms better to your body while keeping an air gap so you don’t sweat so badly.
I live in Arizona, and the first 2 days I had the bag I was working outside and temperatures were upwards of 110 degrees. Lets just say I didn’t really notice the benefit of this feature.
I think the contouring makes the mixer sit out a bit and is definitely easier to see than inside the Petrol bag. I can see all of the trim knobs at a glance now as opposed to before I felt like I had to really look down to see display and the faders.
One of the downsides to the contouring is that there is a lot of dead space at the bottom and back of the bag. I have a feeling however that my PSC RF Multi will find a new home in that space at a later time.
MY Overall Impression
While I have pointed out a few things I might not care for, my overall impression is that I really like this bag. It’s comfortable! It has handles! All of my gear fits and is easily accessible.
For those of you reading this that have not seen the bag up close, please take this into consideration. There is not as much storage space in this bag as its Petrol counterpart. The only real place to store anything is in the outer side pouches.
I do not look at this as a negative. K-TEK took a different approach to this bag and for those of us that assimilated to the Petrol bag for instance there is about half the storage space.
A few other comments:
The straps that hold the bag to a harness are a little disappointing. It would look and feel a little more robust if they simply extended the material so that both portions of the strap are riveted and sewn to the bag.
I would also like to see heftier rings. I have no doubt that what is installed is strong enough, but they feel cheap and thin compared to other bags.
The “designated” area for an NP1/Cup is pretty inconvenient. If you were to strap your battery inside the main compartment, you have to open the entire flap to change. This doesn’t really bode well when your on the fly and don’t have time to secure your battery.
Overall storage in the bag seems to be lacking. As discussed this is a matter of preference, but if you are used to relying on this space, it could be a deal breaker. There just isn’t a lot of room for multiple TX’s lavs, and mounting materials.
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