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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.

mono2

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

mono3

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

mono4

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.

mono5

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.

  • Antoine

    I have a :

    – Traktor S4
    – APC40
    – a MBP 17
    – HDD
    – headphones
    – cables and baterry charger

    Does any of those bags fit ?

    I found this one does any one know ?
    http://www.magma-bags.de/produkte/multi-purpose-gig-bag-2-e.php3

    Does any one know if my gears fit in it ?
    I saw some pics with a S4 in this bag but no pics with everything.

  • Great articele and the bag looks great. Was wondering if it will fit the following gear:

    Numark Mixtrack
    Numark DJ IO
    Akai MPD18
    15.6″ Laptop
    Headphones
    Mic

    I would really appreciate it. The Mixtrack is a bit longer than the VCI-100 so been trying to find a good bag for gigs.

  • [quote comment=”35125″]365 has just arrived. Easily fits the xone 1D and 17″ laptop plus headphones and cables all fine. Plenty of space left for extras.[/quote]

    Xone DX i mean!

  • 365 has just arrived. Easily fits the xone 1D and 17″ laptop plus headphones and cables all fine. Plenty of space left for extras.

  • Klark

    I’m using the Namba with a Macbook Pro 17″ unibody, APC-40 and other gear. Tons of room and it fits nicely on my back. The only complaint I would have is that the build quality is low. After a month of moderate use (two trips via plane) it has separated near the top and by one of the zippers and it isn’t even full and it was a carry on. No response from Namba. Looking at a Fusion bag now.

  • I was gonna go for a Mono 365 but then I came across one of the Fusion Sound & Audio DJ bags:

    http://www.fusion-bags.com/products/laptop-dj-bags

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOcPDePr3fg

    Those Fusion beauties are going to be launched at NAMM 2010 next week. IMO those look much better than Mono bags, can’t wait for the launch 🙂

  • 365 is my most fave bag until now..
    it’s confusing when a lot of people saying that it’s too big, but demanded the bag to be able to carry tons of things..
    just bring a suitcase and you’re done..
    maybe the closest rival is udg creator backpack..

  • …yes…the mono 365 makes my name…jet pack-ish profile is the reason…i feel like ol comix hero rocketeer…electro image numer uno…

  • Phil

    The UDG Producer bag is just too narrow to fit an APC unfortunately 🙁

    • The_Ned

      the large one is able

  • red

    Hi Phill great article. I have a question but its not about the 365 or producer mono bags, its about the UDG producer bag.

    Would a Macbook Pro 15″ and a APC40 fit a UDG Producer bag? besides that i will put my headphones and a audio8 or a firebox.

    Greets!

  • petr

    Hi! Thanks a lot for excellent review.
    But I’m still a bit confused. I’m looking for a bag that will fit MacBook Pro 15, Xone:2D and headphones (plus cables of course…). Can Producer fit this?
    Thank a lot.
    PETR

  • Multiplayer

    [quote comment=””]I bought the producer and it’s really too tight for my liking. I have the vci-100 and a laptop in it, plus assorted goodies and it’s crammed.

    The shoulder strap interferes with access to the side pockets.

    Definitely too small for an xponent.

    [quote comment=””][quote comment=””][quote comment=”21347″]The 365 will not fit the following:
    MacBook Pro 17″
    VCI-100
    Audio 8 Interface
    WD HD
    Headphones
    Cables
    Stanton DJ Stand
    Monster Cable 4-outlet Plug

    The UDG Creator Pro bag can.[/quote]

    I have to disagree.

    I own the 365.

    I own The VCI-100 and a 17″ Macbook Pro

    Hard drive, audio 8, etc.

    And I have room for my jacket as well.[/quote][/quote]

  • Multiplayer

    I bought the producer and it’s really too tight for my liking. I have the vci-100 and a laptop in it, plus assorted goodies and it’s crammed.

    The shoulder strap interferes with access to the side pockets.

    Definitely too small for an xponent.

    [quote comment=””][quote comment=””][quote comment=”21347″]The 365 will not fit the following:
    MacBook Pro 17″
    VCI-100
    Audio 8 Interface
    WD HD
    Headphones
    Cables
    Stanton DJ Stand
    Monster Cable 4-outlet Plug

    The UDG Creator Pro bag can.[/quote]

    I have to disagree.

    I own the 365.

    I own The VCI-100 and a 17″ Macbook Pro

    Hard drive, audio 8, etc.

    And I have room for my jacket as well.[/quote]

  • [quote comment=””][quote comment=”21347″]The 365 will not fit the following:
    MacBook Pro 17″
    VCI-100
    Audio 8 Interface
    WD HD
    Headphones
    Cables
    Stanton DJ Stand
    Monster Cable 4-outlet Plug

    The UDG Creator Pro bag can.[/quote]

    I have to disagree.

    I own the 365.

    I own The VCI-100 and a 17″ Macbook Pro

    Hard drive, audio 8, etc.

    And I have room for my jacket as well.

  • [quote comment=”21347″]The 365 will not fit the following:
    MacBook Pro 17″
    VCI-100
    Audio 8 Interface
    WD HD
    Headphones
    Cables
    Stanton DJ Stand
    Monster Cable 4-outlet Plug

    The UDG Creator Pro bag can.[/quote]

    It won’t? Didn’t Phil say the opposite ? That is kind of my set up minus WD HD, the DJ stand and the outlet plug (not sure why you would bring that). Phil, can you confirm this?

  • [quote comment=””]Can you fit in the “Mono Producer” a vci-300 and a 15″ Macbook Pro, plus headphones and misc. cables? Or do you recommend the the “365” for that matter?

    Thanks,
    Jonathan[/quote]
    Definitely need to go with the 365, the Producer is too small.

  • Jonathan

    Can you fit in the “Mono Producer” a vci-300 and a 15″ Macbook Pro, plus headphones and misc. cables? Or do you recommend the the “365” for that matter?

    Thanks,
    Jonathan

  • kelsey7k

    just noticed the 365 bag has been added to the new products section of akaipro.com, with the note “available for sale soon”

  • The 365 will not fit the following:
    MacBook Pro 17″
    VCI-100
    Audio 8 Interface
    WD HD
    Headphones
    Cables
    Stanton DJ Stand
    Monster Cable 4-outlet Plug

    The UDG Creator Pro bag can.

  • [quote comment=””]Hey – any idea if I could fit a VCI100, 15″ macbookpro and an uberstand into the producter bag? I prefer a smaller bag if I can get away with it but I dont want to “crush” the faders on the vci100[/quote]
    Yes, all 3 will easily fit!

  • Hey – any idea if I could fit a VCI100, 15″ macbookpro and an uberstand into the producter bag? I prefer a smaller bag if I can get away with it but I dont want to “crush” the faders on the vci100

  • Anonymous

    Just read this review and was totally sold 😀 Thanks Phill just went and purchased the 365 now as it is totally what i was looking for! Looking forward to receiving this bad boy sometime next week ^_^ Big ups to DJTT

    Cheers
    EnGramik

  • DJ Pirate

    [quote comment=””]I just picked up a 365 month or two back. Great bag, but you’re right, Ean, Tight fit if you’re carrying more kit than just a laptop+VCI. I can manage to cram my laptop power supply, my M-Audio sound card, My VCI-100, my 17inch XPS laptop, AND my MPD 24. But it’s tight. REALLY tight. difficult to get all that kit back in after 6 hours of spinning and more drinks than you care to admit.

    However, it’s a really rough N’ tough bag. waterproof, with a pocket to organize your cables, too. And even though it’s big, it’s better than carrying two bags to a gig, especially if you’re cabbing it.

    -The Pirate[/quote]

  • DJ Pirate

    I just picked up a 365 month or two back. Great bag, but you’re right, Ean, Tight fit if you’re carrying more kit than just a laptop+VCI. I can manage to cram my laptop power supply, my M-Audio sound card, My VCI-100, my 17inch XPS laptop, AND my MPD 24. But it’s tight. REALLY tight. difficult to get all that kit back in after 6 hours of spinning and more drinks than you care to admit.

    However, it’s a really rough N’ tough bag. waterproof, with a pocket to organize your cables, too. And even though it’s big, it’s better than carrying two bags to a gig, especially if you’re cabbing it.

    -The Pirate

  • Jason Name

    plus one on the article. I must say, I’ve been using a Lowepro CompuRover AW for about 2 years now and I still tell my wife it is the best thing she has ever bought me. I did recently pick up an APC 40 (which won’t fit into the bag) but it always held every other soundcard/midi/cans/wires/duct tape/elf tears/scrimshaw inlaid orc sword/ and every other thing I often find I needed for my rig.

  • Handata

    [quote comment=”20998″]hey phil, do you have any chance to fit in Xponent inside 365? some time ago there were several threads in our forum that tried to find a bag that can carry Xponent. My friend has one and he would love to get some recommendation.

    nice article, plus one![/quote]
    [quote comment=””]Those bags look great, seriously considering buying one.[/quote]

    i was reading on the torq forum and thats how i found this bag so im pretty sure it sits inside its the reason im getting one but when i get some cdj’s ill have flight cases

  • Alex Byrne

    Those bags look great, seriously considering buying one.

  • judeson

    One last thing, in the 365 there is a small, “fur” lined inner pocket perfect for iPods, iPhones, thumb drives, etc.

    Just think thats pretty cool, personally, so I thought I’d share. LOL

  • DJLp

    FYI…this is probably THE DJ bag for all UDG fans that don’t own one. I’m hearing from a very reliable source that UDG is in a court battle of the design of the producer bag so reportledly not in production right now. Also for those who saw it, that Vestax bag that had our mouths watering is also a bag NOT made by Vestax. I’m told somebody just slapped their logo on there as if it didn’t matter.

    All that said, the Mono appears to be 1 of the only true DJ bags on the market that’s legal. I must admit, Guitar Center has a nice one too with wheels. It’s very laptop/VCI friendly. Take a look.

    http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gator-GK-LT-25W-Rolling-Laptop—MIDI-Controller-Bag-546095-i1166505.gc

  • judeson

    [quote comment=””][quote comment=””]hey phil, do you have any chance to fit in Xponent inside 365? some time ago there were several threads in our forum that tried to find a bag that can carry Xponent. My friend has one and he would love to get some recommendation.

    nice article, plus one![/quote]

    Yes, my roommate has an Xponent and has used the bag many times…it fits quite well![/quote]

    I second that. I have the Xponent as well, and it does fit perfectly even with my 17″ inch Macbook pro and an Audio8DJ.

    On a side note, I had the M-Audio Xponent Bag (made specifically for it I may add) and the strap broke within 30 minutes after I started using it. When I went to return it, the store had just recieved the Mono DJ Bags for the first time.

    I now have 4 bags. One for my guitar, bass, and both DJ bags.

  • [quote comment=””]hey phil, do you have any chance to fit in Xponent inside 365? some time ago there were several threads in our forum that tried to find a bag that can carry Xponent. My friend has one and he would love to get some recommendation.

    nice article, plus one![/quote]

    Yes, my roommate has an Xponent and has used the bag many times…it fits quite well!

  • Kupujte_Pytle

    hey phil, do you have any chance to fit in Xponent inside 365? some time ago there were several threads in our forum that tried to find a bag that can carry Xponent. My friend has one and he would love to get some recommendation.

    nice article, plus one!

  • magTraxx

    Pretty nice Bag. Still searching for one. Tried ordering one, but no delivery to Spain / Europe from there Website.
    Awaiting response from their Support.
    Pretty nice bag at all.

  • I use a Thinkpad-backpack which has a lot of bags and is very comfortable padded. Compared to UDG- or Mono-bags, the price is pretty good as well.

  • Handata

    seen this bag before it was on this site price is reasonable and would have helped before i dropped my macbook with that shitty as incase cover still bent the corner of my macbook.

    50 for an incase – protects nuthing but scratches
    190 for mono bag – protects most things
    not ever having to pay 430 dollars to replace macbook topcase and bottomcase – priceless

  • [quote comment=”20991″]Excellent review and find. Love this type of articles about the stuff that we often don’t think about but are essentials such as a good bag made for the digital DJ. I was wondering if the side pockets on the 365 are big enough for an NI Audio DJ8? If it is I am getting one of these puppies. Thank you for the review Phil![/quote]
    Side pockets are probably just big enough for an Audio 8. I will try that out this week. Even if they are too narrow, the main front pocket is expandable enough to fit a pair of DJ headphones and large sound card without being too bulky. The main cover flap has an adjustable clip strap which makes the pack pretty expandable. without getting too thick.

  • Really nice to see this kinda thing appear on DJTT from time to tim! This is just what I need right now! Cheers Phil 🙂

  • Excellent review and find. Love this type of articles about the stuff that we often don’t think about but are essentials such as a good bag made for the digital DJ. I was wondering if the side pockets on the 365 are big enough for an NI Audio DJ8? If it is I am getting one of these puppies. Thank you for the review Phil!