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SKB Studio Flyer 4U Reviews

3.0 stars based on 8 customer reviews
Questions about the SKB Studio Flyer 4U?

Questions about the SKB Studio Flyer 4U?

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  • Eric
    from Preferably stage left June 3, 2016Music Background:
    Bass, keyboards, and guitar

    Buyer beware

    The function of the StudioFlyer is nearly what I needed: a single unit to contain my computer and some rack gear (I would have preferred two additional rack spaces), with the extra bonus (a selling feature) of casters and a retractable handle for improved ease of transport.

    Understand what you really need before purchasing this unit. If you need to transport something from room to room within a fairly small facility with smooth floors, this might be fine. If you need to transport expensive audio gear in a traveling situation, beware, and here's why.

    First, the hardware on this unit is brittle plastic. While I was rolling the unit down a paved slope, the rack suddenly snapped upright, in the process shattering one of the plastic feet attached to the lid. When the guitarist offered to help carry the rack, he cut his hand on the subsequently exposed screws.

    The retractable handle never appeared sturdy to me, and I usually avoided rolling the rack because of it. I rolled it that one time because I was very tired, otherwise I carried the rack everywhere. When the handle is extended, it is not straight (at least not on mine); there's an obvious "bend" where one piece of the handle sits inside the other (similar to some suitcases I've seen).

    After the infamous shattering foot incident, I looked inside the rack for shock-absorbing materials around the rack, i.e. springs or some other material or mechanism. I couldn't find any—if they're there, I couldn't see them. Compound this with the fact that the wheels are small and hard (or with apparently minimal rubber), and I immediately realized that if this case is rolled around over bumpy thresholds or cracked pavement, all that shock will be going right through my rack gear. Again, I never intended to roll this rack, but I have lots of helpful, well-intended colleagues who are inclined to roll it. I became so frustrated with the lack of quality in this build, that I removed the exposed screws from the broken foot (rather than replace the foot), as well as the remaining foot, and the retractable handle—thereby getting rid of more cheap plastic, as well as the temptation for others to roll the rack.

    There are still two plastic spring handles that I'm considering removing. I might replace all of the above with other hardware, or just deal with it for now until I save up to have a custom case built.

    When I use the rack at a gig, I use a metal AV stand to keep the rack high enough for me to access the computer during shows, but the surface area of the table is smaller than the footprint of the rubber feet installed on the bottom of the rack. The underside of the rack is slick, and the thought of a bandmate or a roadie or me bumping the rack and sending it toppling was a real nightmare, so I put a cloth on the table to create some friction. Trimming out a rubber shelf-liner might work. I realize this deployment might be unusual to me and that it isn't necessarily a design flaw, but it was another problem I had to solve, so I'm offering that up to anyone who might have a similar need.

    The idea behind this unit is really good. I use a software-based keyboard rig, and this rack should be a great solution. I'm giving this rack one star, because it does hold rack units, and so far there doesn't seem to be a problem with it holding the computer in place, so that much of the form factor works so far, but I can't help but wonder when I need to start worrying about it. The low rating, though, comes from both the inferior quality of the hardware, as well as the disappointment that a marketed function is really just hype rather than a useful feature for a professional situation. Were it not for the wheels and the handle, plus the related sales pitch, my expectations would have been different, and I probably would have given the rack three stars.

    I realize that we all face varying needs and circumstances, so again, buyer beware. I bought this case because at the time, it was the only ready-made solution for encasing a computer and rack gear that I could find. If you need a professional case to transport your computer and rack gear in a safe, reliable way, I'd recommend either separate rack and computer cases, or that you save your money and order a custom-built case, even if that means spending two or three times as much.

    **********

    Since I began writing this review, I decided to pull all my gear out of the rack and place it in other racks that I had. With Sweetwater's invaluable help, I restored the hardware to its original condition.

    While I was enduring my frustrations with this unit, the Sweetwater sales engineers and support team were very gracious, professional, and conscientious. I've been purchasing from Sweetwater for a few years now, and they've come to my rescue on more than this occasion. Onward and upward, then. I'm looking forward to my next purchase with Sweetwater.

  • T Lin Chase
    from San Francisco March 18, 2015

    Not great but no real alternative

    One of the plastic feet was broken when the unit arrived. Overall it feels kind of cheap and not well made. The screw holes on one side of the rack were not properly bored. I made the unit workable by removing both the broken and unbroken feet, and drilling out the screw holes on the improperly manufactured side. The design concept is good and I need the unit and hadn't seen anything else functionally equivalent, so for now I'm sticking with this.

  • LV
    from Minneapolis, MN November 21, 2014Music Background:
    Musician, Manufacturer, Vocalist

    Needs to be built stronger

    Shipped it in a box to a show. Rack gear face plates arrived bent. Shipping box was fine. Gear in the rack moved. Didn't have that much weight in the rack. There are no reinforcement framing for racks. Racks are attached to thin mold piece. Friend of mine had the same issue.
    SKB, please revisit your design.

  • Kerry
    from Chicago January 30, 2014Music Background:
    Live Musician, hobbyist recording.

    Neat idea

    I really was excited to receive this. It does seem to be built pretty good and is a great concept. A few cons though are making me decided whether to keep it or get something else. Its bulkier than I thought it would be. The handle is flimsy. I bet on the 2u the handle is fine but with a 4 space full rack (no amps, just effects) it doesn't appear this handle will last to me. Also the velcro underneath the tabs to hold your laptop isn't very sticky velcro. It is holding my laptop though. Another con was there isn't as much space in front of the front rack rail. Because of the handles on my axe fx II, the front door is hard to get on.

    However, this might just not be for me. I really like the idea of it though. The way the lids all go on is great and the latches are nice too.

  • Francisco Gavila
    from New Mexico August 17, 2013Music Background:
    Hobbyist Musician Composer

    Impressive SKB Studio Flyer 4U

    This is a very sturdy case with ample ports for channeling wires from the laptop to the compartment below. I added an SKB-VS1 Rack Shelf that was simple to install, allowing me to gain access to my digital drum machine by means of the sliding shelf that extends well outward. The front and back covers remove and reattach very easily and are securely held in place by the locking top cover.

  • Daniel
    from Debary, FL March 9, 2012

    Great piece of equipment

    This portable rack mount works wonderfully. It is quite sturdy and the customizable velcro positioning for the laptop is great. I cart this unit back and forth from our rehearsal office to our church location at least 2 times a week. So far it is working out great.

    The roller handle has 2 positions which is convenient but when it's pulled out to the furthest point it feels a little flimsy but other than that the unit is great!

  • Jeremy Taylor
    from Dayton, OH February 2, 2012Music Background:
    Musician

    SKB Studio Flyer 4U

    Great rack. The tabs that hold the laptop down are adjustable because they velcro to the pads on top. They hold well. I would buy this rack again.

  • Timothy G Beeman II
    from Winston-Salem, NC USA October 27, 2011Music Background:
    25 years of recording musician, 6 years self-recording musican, 2 year professional podcaster

    Solid

    This case is rock solid. Sturdy hard plastic and convenient in accessibility, it is a great travel case for the MacBook Pro, my Focusrite Saffire 40, the Glyph HD, a power conditioner and headphone amp. It rolls so even the weight of the equipment is moved easily. And it locks to protect tampering.

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