It’s International Fashion Week at Headphonesty (ok it’s not), and today we check out a one-of-a-kind carrying case that allows you to bring around your portable gear in glamorous and fabulous fashion.
- »Superb build quality
- »Premium, durable materials
- »Practical and flexible design
- »Luxurious hand-feel
- »Protects your gear in style
- »No color variants
- »Clumsy Velcro separators
- »Tight microCD card slots
- »Small cable outlet
Since time immemorial, man has sought to carry stuff, yet leave both hands free. Whether a folder under the arm, a phone between the ear and shoulder, or a woman in a fireman’s carry, I’d still like to hold a turkey leg if handed one, you know? For the modern man, the wallet was a superb invention. Carry all the stuff you need within a few folds of leather, and have hands free to hold two turkey legs. Brilliant.
But man, as always, is prone to greed. With the advent of bigger cellphones, laptops and other wizardry, we want to carry more stuff while traveling further, and not resort to looking like tortoises. So man-bags of varying shapes and sizes were in (or if you’re a Hangover fan, satchels). For the discerning audiophile with piles of portable gear, our cries to look good while out and about has been answered.
A Case for All Seasons
We love a case that can carry a digital audio player (DAP), a few pairs of in-ear monitors (IEMs), extra cables and adapters while on-the-go. Portable audio has always belonged to a niche group of (very handsome and sophisticated) fans, so choices are few and often expensive, like the fancy stuff from Dignis and Van Nuys. Commoners wouldn’t understand our plight.
Today we look at the Portable HiFi Carrying Case C-2019, a customized case built specifically with the audiophile in mind. It houses multiple compartments, pockets, and fasteners to ensure your audio gear is tidy and presentable, to impress the ladies. The case also combines a solid exterior with a comfy padded interior to make certain that your equipment feels protected and pampered, like a queen I guess.
The C-2019 retails for $36 and is available via their official website or Amazon. I’d like to thank Lily of DDHiFi (also formerly of FiiO) for reconnecting and providing the review sample. I love working relationships like these.
Let’s get the dry subject out of the way. The packaging for the carrying case is direct and succinct, just a cardboard box and some shrinkwrap, because how well do you need to protect a protector? The paper sleeve provides a funny easter egg though: the original name for this product was the Portable HiFi Handbag, which would’ve drastically altered customer demographics.
I’m not in the handbag or satchel industry, but DDHiFi mentions that the case utilizes a widely-used 2:1 ratio, so I’ll spend some time measuring my wife’s purses later. The case is 20cm by 10cm (about 8 by 4 inches) with a thickness of 4cm (about 1.5 inches), and looks exactly like a purse to the untrained eye. For now, there’s only one design choice, which is a cuboid pattern with black and beige weaves.
The main compartment is intended to accommodate your DAP, and one or two pairs of IEMs. The interior measures 19x9x3cm and has two elastic bands to fasten your DAP to, as well as two removable Velcro separators. The separators introduce more compartments into the main area, allowing you to organize your gear tidily. Or maybe the sight of more rectangles pleases you.
Pockets of Sound
The lid compartment has more storage options. You have two mesh pockets at either side that are perfect for IEM and charge cables, adapters, interconnects, and loose change. At the center are 5 individual pockets for microSD cards, so your music collection is always with you. At the side of the case is a small outlet meant to stick the IEM cable through, so your DAP is snugly and smugly protected while you listen to music.
The C-2019 case is a one-of-a-kind design, and as of now has no equal. I wouldn’t say the design is groundbreaking, for one I’d love more color choices, but this is probably the first case tailored especially for the pocket audiophile. DDHiFi thought of the essentials and threw a few extra features in, ingenious.
How many of us had to make do with fanny packs, camera bags, and briefcases to carry our stuff around and get laughed off the streets? No more, no more.
The DDHiFi case has materials worthy of a fashion rag with the beige/black surface made from 1680D Oxford bifilar fabric. Made with dense and heavy 100% polyester, it has wickedly strong tensile strength and water resistance, and is widely applied in luggage, handbags and even baby strollers. It finished second in a fabric strength challenge, so go ahead and do your worst.
We might have stumbled upon superhero fabric, folks.
The interior is lined with Taslon, a woven polyester that is soft and breathable but is stain-resistant and quick-drying. You shouldn’t get your apparatus wet or dirty (how could you?), but in the event that you do, Taslon has you covered, literally. Securing the case are two zippers from YKK, a company so adept at making zippers, they control 90% of the market. It’s best to get on their good side, yeah?
Strength From Within
No doubt about it, the C-2019 is supremely well-built and ornately constructed, using materials much stronger and more durable than usually expected of a carry-case. I wish my wallet and backpack was made of Oxford bifilar fabric. Same goes to my mousepad, raincoat, coffee cup, whatever! What a wonderful world it would be.
Instagram influencers (pfft) have their OOTD (outfit of the day), while we gear nerds prefer SOTD (S for setup). On my way to international influencer superstardom, the C-2019 helps out by keeping my gear organized and in tip-top shape. It has become routine. Every morning I pick my preferred setup, arrange them in the case, and pack it in my backpack before sauntering off to Adventureland (er, work).
The main compartment easily accommodates either of my DAPs (Sony NW-WM1A and iBasso DX200), with enough room next to it for an IEM and a 4-wire cable. The Velcro separators keep things neat in storage, but in practical use, they get in the way when you plug the cable to the DAP. It’s a good thing they’re removable. I use the mesh pockets to carry an adapter and charge cable, and well, mesh pockets have never failed me.
I used to get awkward stares in public places for lugging around my gear as-is, but now with C-2019’s practical and elegant solution, I get complimentary stares from people thinking I have a fat wallet. It’s a win-win. I love the build quality, the design, the hand-feel, and the utmost attention to detail DDHiFi made to the case. It does very little wrong.
However, it’s not a perfect product. There are certainly ways the C-2019 can be better. Like mentioned before, I’d love more color choices. Beige is an “uncle” sort of color if you know what I mean, and I’m more of a navy/white/gray/black person. Think car colors. Also, the microSD card slots are hella tight, you’d need to keep your fingernails long to get the cards in and out.
Lastly, the side outlet for the IEM cable is woefully tiny. Anyone knee-deep in portable audio would have a couple of thick, 4-wire custom cables at least, and the tiny side outlet permits only thin cables.
As politely as I can put it, I want a bigger hole.
I hope the C-2019 will kickstart a stylistic movement of sorts in portable audio. Phones and tablets have so many selections to accessorize, it’s high time portable audio followed the way of high fashion too. We’re sensible people but won’t say no to a bit of style. I’d love to see some variants of this design, like a leather exterior or a taller case for DAP/amplifier stacks.
There’s no mistake, nor mystique. The DDHiFi Portable HiFi Carrying Case is indeed a fine product that other companies should pay attention to. First off the block and the case already sets a sky-high standard. I hope there’s some competition soon, otherwise it’d be lonely at the top.