Over the past two years, I've become increasingly less enamored with the Box. The fabric inner on the sleeves, contrary to initial appearances, is quite hostile to the read surfaces of discs. Turning the discs around, with the read side facing out and the label side against the fabric, seems to solve the problem -- but then you're left with discs you can't tell apart at a glance.

Seeking a solution to this problem, I created an Excel workbook cataloguing my entire collection, with each disc cross-indexed to its numbered sleeve. Setting aside the fact that this little bit of administrative bookkeeping was a royal pain in the ass to assemble, it makes retrieving a particular disc a less-than-user-friendly enterprise. A partial solution I struck upon was to take my most cherished discs and transport them in their original cases, thus requiring a more modest shelving solution in my new apartment while still allowing easy access to my most-watched titles.

Still, with a ~1,500-disc collection, one is bound to have to dip into the flight case sooner or later.

All told, if I did it again, I'd do what one of my L.A.-area friends did and just store the discs in a series of Case Logic binders. Not as sturdy, but I know from experience that Case Logic pages don't scratch discs -- at least, not while new. However, at the time, that solution would have been more expensive than the case was.

As always, caveat emptor, and you really do get what you pay for.

-----

(Originally published 28 July 2009)


This morning, my friendly neighborhood Fed-Ex man delivered unto me a rare delight: a certain long-awaited 1000-disc-capacity DJ case.

With this, I should (knock, knock) be able to safely transport my DVD collection cross-country while consuming a minimal amount of space. Whether the case actually holds up to such duty is, of course, another matter.


All things considered, it's quite compact. That's a foot-long (30cm) ruler in the foreground.

Initial signs are promising, if not particularly revelatory. This is, by any standard, an exceptionally inexpensive way to store so many discs, and it's obvious this case was built to its price point. Plastic abounds in the construction, shock-proofing is minimal-to-nonexistent, and the twin locks -- whetever they're made of, it certainly doesn't feel like metal -- inspire little confidence in their ability to thwart a determined thief.

Still, quality materials are used where they count. The side faces may be plastic, but their supporting frame is molded aluminum. Closed, the case feels reassuringly rigid. You wouldn't want to trust this to the tender mercies of airport baggage handlers, but it should do just fine for transport in the owner's car or truck.

Open the lid, and a pleasant surprise awaits: despite the case's bargain pricepoint, it ships filled with enough double-sided sleeves to store roughly the advertised 1000 discs. While I haven't yet counted exactly how many sleeves I received, user reviews elsewhere on the net reported totals between 500 and 600 for this particular SKU -- apparently, when the manufacturer errs, it does so on the side of giving the customer too many.

Either way, my only hope is that I don't end up short a few sleeves. I bought this case for its advertised 1000-disc capacity, and I intend to fill it.


The background is the textured plastic lid of the case; sleeve inners consist of soft, similarly-textured fabric.

As for the sleeves themselves, they're of surprisingly high quality. Translucent (rather than transparent) pockets suggest budget construction, but the fabric liners are as soft and supple as anything I've seen in a Case Logic.

Be prepared for some grunt work upon initial receipt: the sleeves ship with their cut-outs (for disc insertion and access to the spindle hole) perforated, but not removed. You'll have to perform that last step by yourself. In the above image, the sleeve on the left appears as shipped; the sleeve on the right represents your final product.

Note the numbers -- each sleeve is marked for easy reference. Four of the case's sleeves are filled with index cards, allowing for an alternative cataloguing method should Excel or Access be not to your taste.


Sleeves hang from the case's interior rails, like so.

Note also the plastic wings extending from the upper sides of the sleeve; these allow the sleeve to hang from the case's internal rails like a file folder. The rails in question provide further evidence of intelligent budget allocation: made of extruded aluminum, they exhibit minimal flex.


Cavernous!

All told, initial impressions suggest this case (whose name and manufacturer defy the scrying powers of Google) to be a satisfactory product for light-duty transportation and storage. Professional DJs and movie-loving travellers may be advised to opt for a solution with more comprehensive shock-proofing. A certain breed of collector may recoil at the case's inability to store covers and liner notes. Those with small collections may question the need for this sort of wretched excess.

Yet, for my immediate needs, this case seems to fit the bill. It's spacious, it appears to provide at least a minimal level of protection, and it sits at an attractive price point. Time will tell if it's really all that, but for now, I think it'll do.