I bought a leather Reunion Blues gig bag about ten years ago and it was the best $150 dollars I ever spent. The bag is lightweight and durable (I have done nothing to the bag in the way of maintenance in ten years and it is still going strong.) The section of the reunion blues gig bag that holds the slide is reinforced by a piece of plywood so it is quite well protected. The bag is small so don’t expect to put a lot of accessories in it with the horn (mutes, stands etc.) but I haven’t seen a trombone gig bag (or a hard-shell case for that matter) that is large enough to hold accessories. You can keep the bare necessities in it though. I keep mouthpieces, a spay bottle and a K&M stand (another great investment.)
As far as price, like I said I paid $150 ten years age so I don’t know what they are going for today but they are less expensive than hard shell cases in general. Spend the extra money for the leather it will be worth it in the long run.
I really like my Sennheiser HD380. Whether they’re the best is completely up to you and what you’re after. I use a pair a lot and it’s not always for playback. I love tracking with them. I have found that by getting sounds to sound good on these makes mixing much easier. I use a pair while tracking vocalists a lot and many vocalists and guitarist love them while tracking as well. They are a little expensive for just tracking phones, but they’re worth it. In my opinion, best studio headphones are the ones made by Sennheiser.
Find a service you trust and use it. The reason of a former pre-press technician is that maintaining knowledge of that expertise and getting the equipment a person would want to use is far more expensive than making prints at a service. It is true that each individual print costs more, but we cannot negate the cost of the printer and our time and maintenance. Instead of working on more images, we are caught at the printer running through sheets, calibrating and testing, when a service will do this all for us. The cost of the printer is one most people leave out of their calculations.
The envelope printing service you use should have leading edge technologies. Machines costing $10,000 to $100,000 are not those you will buy for your home or even for your business unless your volume is very high. The $100,000 printer will do things that your $1000 home printer is incapable of. Using a service We do not have to maintain various paper stocks, and always have flexibility in my options for output. If I am in a business where I rent by the sq. ft., I don’t need to relegate a portion of that to my printer stock and supplies. I also do not have to maintain cropping equipment, and expensive printer calibration devices.
Depending on what you do the home printing option may be viable. But for me I stick with the service and end up printing what I need for decidedly less…The best of both worlds.