As someone who makes a living with music, keeping my gear protected when I’m not beating the snot out of it on stage is absolutely crucial. Most cases on the market force you to choose between either having a bulky, oversized hardshell case that’s heavy and clunky, or wafer-thin soft-shell bags that tear and hardly protect your gear from more than simply collecting dust. This ultimatum has always left me reluctant to use soft shell cases, however I stumbled upon the MONO M80 cymbal case and had to check it out.
Here are a few notable features of the MONO M80 cymbal case that I found to be valuable as a touring drummer.
1. LIGHTWEIGHT DESIGN
If you’re a drummer, you know that we’ve got plenty of gear to haul around… and typically everyone vanishes when it’s time to help out the drummer, right? That’s a whole different blog entry. Anyway, even a simple setup of cymbals can be quite heavy; there’s no reason that a case should add an excess amount of bulk and weight to the equation. The moment I picked up the MONO M80 cymbal case, I was impressed with not only the sleek, clean design, but also with how lightweight the case is—just 4 lbs to be exact. But don’t be fooled by its light weight, this case is built to protect.
2. BACKPACK STRAPS
How much brass do you use? I’m use a simple setup with just hi hats, ride cymbal, and two crash cymbals, but even that adds up to a fair amount of weight. Perhaps my favorite feature of the MONO M80 cymbal case is the comfortable, backpack-style strap configuration on the back of the case. This is absolutely fantastic for times when you need to carry your gear over a long distance (airport, festival load ins/outs, public transit) because it gives you the ability to carry your cymbals comfortably by distributing your weight between both shoulders as opposed to slinging 25-30 lbs of metal over one shoulder.
3. WATER RESISTANT
It’s no secret that water and metal aren’t exactly best friends. The MONO M80 is said to be built to military specs to protect gear from the elements. While I can’t honestly say that I’ve taken this case on the battlefield, I can tell you as someone who tours 200+ days out of the year that this case effectively keeps rain and spilled beer out, while the inside of the case remains dry and cozy.
4. THE BOOT™
Some products most important features are ones that you don’t see at first glance. MONO has done a great job of enforcing the bottom of the M80 both on the inside and out. Inside, MONO has put in what the company calls “The Boot™” which is essentially a panel that centers your brass and keeps them slightly slightly elevated off a thick layer of padding. On the exterior, you’ll notice a rubber piece similar to the sole of a shoe (but on steroids) which acts as an extra barrier of protection between your cymbals and the cold, harsh ground.
5. PROTECT & ORGANIZE
Taking a look inside the M80 is like looking into a 5-star resort created for your cymbals. The main compartment is equipped with 5 padded slots to separate and protect your cymbals (up to 22”). Next, the MONO M80 provides a compartment for your hi hats, with a bonus clutch section, which is great if you lose your clutch like I do… all… the… time. Finally, the smallest section in the front allows a space to put your splash cymbals, or in my case, a practice pad. The case helps keep your cymbals divided, protected, and organized.
After a few months with the MONO M80 cymbal case, I can honestly say that this may be the best case I’ve ever owned for my cymbals, and I’ve gone through plenty of cases. While some people may still prefer hardshell cases in instances where you need to check gear for air travel, the M80 has been great for me as a carryon for international travel (some airlines may not allow it, but I’ve been lucky a few times), one-off gigs, travel to and from rehearsal/studio, and extensive, rigorous touring. I highly recommend the MONO M80 cymbal give a 10/10 for impeccable design, quality, and functionality.
*I was not paid by any company for this review but may have received product in exchange for my thorough, honest, objective opinion.