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Mapex Saturn Drum Kit and Black Panther Black Widow Snare Drum

This is the second of the two kits we were recently given to try out, the first being detailed here - http://www.mikedolbear.co.uk/story.asp?StoryID=4042

The Saturn review kit featured a 22"X18" bass drum with 10"X8", 12"X9" mounted toms and a 16"X16" floor tom, although the 10” drum wasn’t used in the video. The snare drum is a separate item but was the Black Widow model from the Black Panther series.

The kit

Mapex says the maple and walnut hybrid shell produces a strong attack and a rich tone that projects well in live settings and tracks perfectly in the studio. As I’ve probably mentioned in previous reviews, the SONIClear bearing edge design is intended to simplify the tuning process and enhance the tone and tuning range of each drum. It''s a more rounded edge than Mapex previously used which allows the head to mesh with the shell better and produce a warmer, more rounded sound.

The specs of the kit included maple and walnut hybrid 7ply 7.5mm bass drum shells and 7ply 6.15mm tom shells with a flat blue ash burl finish and black chrome hardware. The kit also features the previously mentioned SONIClear bearing edge as well as the SONIClear tom suspension system and floor tom feet. The toms have 2.3mm power hoops which feel nice and sturdy.

The snare drum

As I mentioned, this is from the Black Panther range. It featured a 14" x 5" maple shell. It had a rounded 45’ bearing edge with a centre cut, that Mapex says produces dark, focused and balanced sound. The drum was finished in Transparent Black with brushed nickel hardware.

Playing the kit

In use, the drums were a lot of fun to play.

The bass drum was big and punchy and the toms - particularly the floor when doing the video - were just huge. I have to say that I found the ‘strong attack and a rich tone that projects well in live settings and tracks perfectly in the studio’ bit from the Mapex text copy to be spot on. In a band situation, I had no issues with being heard. The snare drum had plenty of tone and crack and I got a sound out of it I liked with no real trouble.

The drums were well made and finished from what I could see and I even had a guitarist comment on how much he liked the finish of the kit; normally he never notices the drums. My only gripe with the kit was that I couldn’t manage to get the spikes on the bass drum legs to come out when I needed them, but that I could have probably have fixed had I had some WD40 to hand.

The Saturn series is available in many different configurations and finishes.

Overall, a nice kit both visually and sonically and that’s what you want. 

Find out more at - http://mapexdrums.com/us/products/drum-sets/saturn-v/mh-exotic/sv529x/

David Bateman
May 2015

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