Mono EFX Series Bag Review

If your looking for a stylish alternative to the popular UDG producer bag (reviewed here) then you may have run across the San Francisco based company,  Mono. The EFX series (above) is Mono’s first line of DJ specific products from a company otherwise specializing in guitar and cymbal cases. The 365 is the flagship DJ backpack and the Producer Bag is geared more towards mobile laptop producers but both bags are well suited for today’s digital DJs.  Read on for a full review…

THE DJ VERSION

Theres no denying Mono is making some of the most visually appealing bags for DJs at the moment. I’m a sucker for design which is what originally led me to the 365…it’s a sexy beast. The term “sexy beast” works on both levels too: this bag is huge. The ample vertical side pockets used for cable storage stick out quite far, making the already wide pack even wider. My friends walking to the club with me before a gig would poke fun asking if I was ready to “blast off to the moon” with my “awesome jetpack.” I took this mostly as jealousy, because while I was able to comfortably haul two VCI-100 Arcades, a 17″ laptop, Presonus Firebox and assorted cables (thanks to ample back padding and roomy shoulder straps), they were still lugging all their expensive gear in a torn up Jansport.

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The 365 can carry a lot of DJ gear, and is particularly well suited for the larger controllers on the market such as the VCI-300 and the APC-40, which most other bags are too narrow to accommodate.

Considering all the other dj focused features you begin to realize the 365 is truly a top-of-the-line DJ bag if you dont mind the jet pack-ish profile. It boasts steel riveted straps, beefy top handle, waterproof shell, tough rubber sole, anti-skip zippers, and plenty of plush stash pockets for headphones, cables, and sound card

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Pros:
Looks: Eye catching design; nice colors and details
Size: One of the biggest DJ backpacks, allowing larger controllers and more gear
Build: Extremely well built out of high quality materials and components

Cons:
Side Pockets: Too narrow for some sound cards, such as my Firebox, which has to be stored in the outer pocket near headphones
Free Standing: While advertised to be easily free standing, I found the bag to tip over while not propped up against the DJ booth
Jealous Friends: Might tease you because of its size and wide profile

Overall: A highly recommended, high-end DJ bag especially suitable for DJs with larger controllers like the APC-40.

THE PRODUCER VERSION

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Price $139.99

The little brother in the EFX series is the Producer Bag, a shoulder strap sling bag with similar design for a different use.

I personally prefer the smaller size and style of the Producer Bag, and as a video producer I often found myself using this bag to carry my camera gear to friend’s gigs. It perfectly fits a VCI-100 and 15″ MacBook, however the dedicated laptop sleeve is just a little too small to fit my 17″ unibody MacBook with hard shell case, my main complaint about the bag. With the laptop’s case removed it’s still a tight fit but does work. The outer pockets are the perfect size for larger sound cards like the Firebox and a smaller pair of collapsable DJ headphones (with a slight squeeze I fit my Technics RP-DH1200s in fine). The side pockets are great for cables and other accessories.

Again, what impressed me most about the bag is it’s rugged build quality. The thick padded top handle, sturdy sling strap, ample interior padding, and tough rubber base make the bag able to take severe beatings while still protecting your gear inside — and it’s built to last.

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The two removable velcro center dividers are handy if you are carrying a laptop with a smaller controller, mixer, or larger audio interface.

For controllerist DJs, this bag borders on being a stylish carryon as opposed to legitimate gig bag because it’s just a tad short on storage. If you are looking to carry a laptop, VCI-100 sized controller, sound card and a pair of headphones, it gets a little too tight. The perfect use of  this bag is for a Serato CD DJ who may also want to carry a Korg NanoPad, or the mobile producer. If you want to bring your laptop, Kaos Pad, recording interface, and studio headphones onto a plane to work on some beats mid-flight, then this is the bag for you.

Pros:
Modular: Removable dividers allow you to safely fit different things ranging from controllers to mixers to sequencers to recording interfaces.
Compact: Form factor allows you to easily take this bag on a crowded subway or down the isles of a packed flight.
Big Pockets: Large front and side pockets allow you to carry a plethora of accessories.

Cons:
Storage: Tight fit for a 17″ laptop or controllers larger than a VCI-100.

Overall: Great bag for the mobile music or video producer, or digital DJs with smaller controllers. Usable as a gig bag for certain controllers, but too tight a fit for most DJ gear which would be better suited in the 365 DJ Bag.

LAST WORD

These bags are great looking, well built, and highly functional in different roles. For digital DJs, the 365 is certainly the way to go, as the Producer lacks the size to fit most controllers plus accessories. If you use an APC-40 or VCI-300, the 365 is one of your few soft shell backpacks options, and it’s certainly not a bad one at that. Visit www.monocase.com for their full line of products and more information.