For those of us who are invested into the Zaxcom ZaxNet system, we understand the bliss that are the features offered by the ERX receiver. Within one single device, we are able to offer great sounding client or confidence monitoring (better than any other system out there in my opinion), with the ability to display current time code, user bits, scene and take information! If you have the TCD version of the ERX unit, you are also able to output time code to either the tip or sleeve (or both) on your 3.5mm TRS connector, allowing you to use it as a sync box for jamming time code on cameras (all while still being able to provide an audio guide track as well!). However, an important concern is always how can we better protect our investments, especially since these are devices that are usually handed out to others, be it producers, directors, script supervisors, and/or ACs/camera operators. A good Zaxcom ERX case is required, and not just any case, but one specifically designed for it.
Previous Solution: Phone Case
Previously, I had been using a variety of cases designed for phones that best fit my ERXs. My favorite one until now has been the Cellet Bergamo Premium Leather Cases for the iPhone 4/4S:
At under $10, these are a steal. And when it came down to it, they offered my ERX great protection:
The fit was really snug, so there were no worries of it falling out of the case. Additionally, the clip was always very secure, so no fears of it breaking off either. The case itself protrudes above the ERX, also offering additional protection to the volume knob without affecting the ability to easily change the volume, to the 3.5mm connector while plugged in, and to the switch from being accidentally flipped. However, as great as this case is, it is not perfect. Some of the best features of the ERX are being neglected because this case was not specifically designed to cater ERX users. It was, after all, designed as a generic case for phones.
New Solution: Orca Bags OR-31 Zaxcom ERX Case
Here enters Orca Bags. Orca is a new manufacturer of audio and video bags and accessories, who decided to take on the challenge of creating a case specifically designed for the Zaxcom ERX. The result, is the OR-31:
Immediately, you can notice that the ERX’s LCD screen and buttons are readily visible and available, allowing you to actually use the device to its fullest potential. Now you can easily configure and confirm appropriate settings on your ERX without having to take it out. Now the script supervisor can press the TIME CODE button to hold the time code value on the LCD screen so that he or she can write down the mark points, as well as view scene and take information. Since I label my ERXs, these can now be visible as well. The user can now switch between the main ZaxNet frequency and alternate frequencies. You name it; the OR-31 Zaxcom ERX case now allows me to do what I previously was unable to do with the Cellet case.
The OR-31 Zaxcom ERX case is made of faux leather, with the backside and bottom half of the front reinforced by a more rigid material. The bottom is padded for extra protection, since if the ERX were to fall off, it would likely land on the heaviest side, that being the bottom due to the batteries’ weight. The sides have elastic bands to help expand the case as needed, but I think that the fit for the ERX could be a bit snugger. Not an issue though, I’m very confident that the case will hold the ERX very well. The top flap secures onto the top of the back magnetically, making it easy to insert and remove the ERX, while also helping keep it secure in the case. This magnetic strap also helps make it harder for you to accidentally flip the On/Off switch, though it is still possible to do it.
I wish that the case somehow offered protection to the knob and 3.5mm TRS connector as well, but I think that this is more of a challenge with the Zaxcom ERX itself rather than the case. The belt clip on the back is very secure, though I wish it were removable to allow for other uses outside of monitoring, such as mounting in camera. I think that if you were handing out ERXs to your boom operator, director, producers and/or script supervisor, this would be an excellent product to do so in.
The Orca OR-31 Zaxcom ERX Case retails for about $16 at any of the usual suspects (Gotham Sound and Pro Sound here in NYC), which makes it very hard not to get.
Product Review Summary
- Clear or transparent screen, which allows you to see the LCD panel and buttons.
- Padded bottom, giving extra protection to the ERX.
- Magnetic flap, for easy insertion and removal.
The Not So Good
- The fit could be a bit snugger, though not really an issue here.
- Case could potentially do more to protect the top connection, switch and knob.
- Belt clip is permanently fixed, which limits the use of this case to monitoring only.
All in all, this is a solid case. It works very well for what it was designed, which is to provide the user with a wearable case for listening or monitoring purposes that will protect the ERX, all while allowing access to the LCD and controls as needed. As such, I give this product a solid 4 stars.
What would make this a 5 star product is if it had a removable belt clip with alternative clip(s) to be able to mount on cameras (such as a hot shoe mount).
Please feel free to leave any questions, reviews or opinions in the comments!