This is a backpack style of case that actually works as a backpack. The nicely made and padded backpack straps are included, not an accessory as with some other cases (e.g., Protec). The straps even have a "sternum" strap that goes between the shoulder straps and prevents a shoulder strap from sliding off the shoulder if you bend over or bump into something. Very stabile.
I didn't think I'd use the backpack feature as much as I have. I don't skateboard to a gig, ride the bus to school, fight my way through the mosh pit, or other standard uses for a backpack case. But I can get out of the car, put on the case, and have hands free for carrying music, keys, beer, etc. Nice. The only way the case can fall is if I fall. It also has a subway handle on the neck end, so if your riding the subway, you can carry it in an inoffensive manner.
Unlike the ProTec ProPac, this case doesn't have a pocket on the side that interferes with using the case in backpack mode. The back side of the case even has reflective piping so that you can be seen when wearing this black backpack in the dark. The main pocket is big enough for a 3-ring binder or fake book (unlike the ProPac). A second pocket has a ridiculous number of silly little crevices for holding toothbrushes, combs, lip gloss, etc.
What the Soundwear doesn't have is internal slots for the neck and mouthpiece. An adequately padded neck bag is included for placing the neck in the bell. I got used to that idea. A semi-rigid case, kind of like a sunglass case, is provided for the mouthpiece. But the mouthpiece case has metal zipper pulls. So you shouldn't put it inside the case with the horn if you like your horn's finish. It has to go in an outside pocket. Probably safe, but I already owned a little padded mouthpiece bag and I now carry my mouthpiece in with the horn.
Just like the ProTec, this case has a spit handle with one half on each side of the case. Once connected together, the case can't accidentally open. The closing mechanism is two parallel zippers. The padding is a combination of open and closed cell foams bonded to a semi-rigid outer shell. The padding is approximately 1.5 inches thick, and that's around the entire horn.
That's about 5 times the padding thickness of the ProTec ProPac. There are two additional loose pads inside of the case, but no information on where these pads are intended to be placed. That's okay, because just like with the ProTec case, I immediately altered the padding and the only use I had for the loose pads was as material for making better pads.
For me, the way this case works kind of reminds me of when I broke my leg. This was after they stopped using plaster casts and started using rigid foams and Velcro. You put your horn in the "cast" and zip it shut, encasing the horn in stiff foam that completely immobilizes it. It also kind of reminds me of putting on the crotch strap on a wet suit. The horn is securely swaddled in the case. It takes a little more time to put the horn away than simply dumping the horn in a regular case, but if you are looking for protection and not just a convenient carrying case, the Soundwear is a contender.
As with the ProTec and most other cases, I don't like the amount of force placed on the lip of the bell by the padding. Most cases basically hold the bell in place by the bell rim, causing the lacquer to rub off and not really providing enough protection for the bell. I modify these cases to hold the horn in place (and the bell away from the case sides) with substantial pads at the point on the body tube between the bell key guards and the bell lip. So I'm going to add some pads in that area.
For material, I first looked to one of the extra pads that was provided because salvaging that pad provided me with a piece of matching fabric.