At one end of the DJ luggage scale are soft bags, and at the other full-on flight cases. But somewhere between are hard cases — essentially rigid moulded shells encased in nylon. And because of the construction, their use is singular — it just takes a single unit and cossets it securely. And that’s what the UDG Creator 2XL hard case does with the Pioneer DDJ-SZ and Numark NS7.
The basic construction is as described above, with a dimpled foam interior. The nylon handle is stitched and riveted to the hard case, supplemented by an offset carry strap. By offset I mean that the strap connects to either side of the hard case so that the heavy load (and believe me an NS7 II is a beast) is spread across both shells. It’s a well thought out touch.
Given the total comfort exhibited by other UDG handles, I find these to be lacking, especially given the weight of the heavy NS7 II. They’re fine for short distances, but generally I’d recommend the shoulder strap for distance trips.
The successful transportation or destruction of your DJ gear inside will depend on how you load it into the hard case. I opened the review case onto a table, dumped my NS7 II into it, and took a turn around the worxlab. Right away, I got a lesson in how to load up a bag with a heavy item.
Firstly, the NS7 II has plenty of room to spare inside, so if you put your expansive controller centrally in the hard case, it’ll move around when you start to carry it. This has implications for what’s inside, especially if you have controls that stick out of the front or back of the unit. So if you plan to get one of these, be mindful of how you load your controller into it. My advice — load everything into the hinge, and make sure no controls that can snap or bend are loaded hinge-first. And because of the space left inside the case, I’d also recommend some additional foam, just to make sure that your gear is just that bit more snug.
As far as protecting your gear goes, the Creator 2XL hard case will do a good job of keeping casual abuse at bay. But this is not one for the luggage hold, nor should anything be loaded on top of it either. So while I wouldn’t trust a baggage handler to take care of my NS7 II like I would, I’d be perfectly happy if I was escorting my gear from place to place, because I’d be mindful of the contents.
It’s hard to make a hard case to fit each and every controller out there, so UDG have made a one size fits some huge controllers hard case. But because the likely take up of the case will be in line with the number of controllers out there, the price is pretty high for what it is. The economies of scale work against UDG on this one, so the combination of large unit + limited number of controllers pushes the price up a little, but what price to you put on keeping 1K’s worth of gear safe?
The Pioneer DDJ-SZ is larger and a better fit in the case, and will fare better than the NS7 II in it. But provided you use it for personal transportation of your gear, rather than trusting it to baggage handlers, I see no reason why the UDG Creator 2XL hard case should keep your big investment safe.