Battle of The Bags: QSC’s CP8 Tote vs Gator GPA-TOTE8 for the QSC CP8 Speaker

Gator-QSC-CP8ppp
Side by side: The Gator GPA-TOTE8 & the QSC’s CP8 Tote for the CP8 Speaker

After my favourable review of the QSC CP8 speaker, I thought I would go one further and compare two options of tote bags to carry and protect the CP8 speaker. Since, the speaker is made of polypropylene (a hard plastic) and of some considerable weight, it is important to protect your QSC CP8 during transportation. The two most readily available options available to me (there are probably others abroad outside Canada) were QSC’s own brand of tote bag, the QSC CP8 Tote (CP8Tote) or Gator Heavy Duty Speaker Tote (for 8 inch speakers) (GPA-TOTE8). However, does it make sense to buy the more expensive $100 (CAD) QSC CP8 Tote bag for your $600 CP8 speaker or will the $75 CAD Gator GPA-TOTE8 suffice?

Gator-GPATOTE8-handle
Getting a handle on what is the better bag for the QSC CP8 Speaker. (QSC CP8 TOTE on the left, Gator GPA-TOTE8 on the right).

QSC CP8 Tote

When I originally purchased the CP8 speaker, QSC’s own tote bag was my first choice of bag purchased. Functionally, it provided everything I needed in a tote bag. It was modelled for the QSC CP8, so the fit is snug. So snug, in fact, that it takes a little finessing to get it in. The outside of the bag is made of heavy-duty nylon / Cordura, which makes the bag light weight but durable. The inside of the bag is covered with a soft lined PE foam padding which adds protection and is supple enough that it won’t scratch your speaker. The additional velcro pocket on the side provides enough room for the 9-foot power cable that the CP8 comes with, plus a little additional room (I was able to add an additional 6-foot TRS cable). The stitching is solid with straps that seem to take the weight of CP8, no problem. It has a convenient velcro flap on top to access the CP8’s top handle (as seen above).

QSC-CP8TOTE-side-pocket
The QSC CP8 Tote bag could fit the original 9-foot power cable for the CP8, plus a 6-foot TRS cable.

Gator GPA-TOTE8

Gator-GPATOTE8-side-pocket
The Gator GPA-TOTE8 could only fit the only fit the original power cable.

I was so impressed the CP8 speaker I purchased another. So, this time, I decided to instead purchase the Gator brand of 8 inch speaker bag for this CP8 speakers to compare. The design is much the same as CP8 at a fraction of the cost (at a relative 3/4 the cost). It includes (like the QSC CP9-Tote): two straps, a side pocket, with access to the top handle of the speaker so it can be carried two ways (as a bag or by carrying the handle of the speaker itself). However, they differ slightly. The Gator is bigger in size and offers a little more room for the speaker, arguably this is meant to offer more space for other models of 8 inch speaker. This extra space could be used to accommodate more chords perhaps, however this means that it’s not fitted specifically to the CP8 speaker, so its a little less secure with about an inch of space around the cabinet.

However, the side pocket on the Gator is smaller. I was only able to fit just the 6 foot power chord (no additional chords). Also, the flap to access the speaker handle on the Gator is a different design. Instead of a dedicated flap, you just unzip the bag’s main zippers a bit to access the top. This may be an annoyance to some. As far as the construction, the Gator does not feel as sturdy. The slightly thinner straps combined with the weight of CP8, make it not feel as stable as the QSC bag when you pick it up. Finally, the foam inside is feels cheaper and not as thick and protective as the QSC’s foam.

QSC CP8 Tote vs Gator GPA-TOTE8 – Conclusion

CP8-tote-bag-open
The Gator is more “accommodating” but is an inch of space (front, back and side) around the speaker too much?

Does it make sense to buy the $100 (CAD) QSC CP8 Tote bag for the $600 CP8 speaker or does the $75 Gator GPA-TOTE8 suffice? I am going with the QSC’s own brand of tote, CP8Tote on this one. The Gator does not feel as “heavy duty” as its title proclaims (especially for the CP8 speaker). If maybe you aren’t going to move your speakers all that much and you want to keep them mostly dust free this may be your option. However, if you are like me and want (and plan) to move them often or as much as you like, I would say go with the QSC’s. The price is almost negligible compared to keeping and preserving your investment. Between the Gator and the QSC speaker tote you can feel the difference in cost and it may make the difference. I had high hopes for the Gator as I have one of their other bags (The G-MIXERBAG-0909) and it’s great. This one, however, falls a bit short as a bag for the QSC CP8 speaker.

QSC CP8 Tote

Good:

  • made specifically for the QSC CP8, good fit.
  • better quality build and materials (zipper, foam, nylon exterior).
  • bigger side pocket.
  • more sturdy.
  • better access to top handle of speaker.

Bad:

  • such a tight fit, it takes a bit of finessing
  • side pocket (although bigger than the Gator) could be even bigger
  • more expensive

Gator GPA-TOTE8

Good:

  • Slightly larger space, will fit more brands of speaker
  • more room inside for more cables
  • costs less

Bad:

  • padding is thinner (less protection)
  • CP8 sits more loosely in the bag with about an inch of space on the side, top, and front (less secure).
  • to access handle you more or less open the bag.
  • construction is cheaper.
  • materials are cheaper (foam, nylon shell, zippers, velcro)
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