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  #1  
Old 08-31-2012, 09:39 AM
RobertM RobertM is offline
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Default Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

I know this conversation/question has probably been raised before, but does anyone have good evidence as to why Mapex Saturn kits are (a) not as expensive as DW Collectors, Gretsch USA Customs, Ludwig Classic Maple, Sonor Pro-Lite, Yamaha RCs or Absolutes, etc., and (b) not thought of as equal quality of these same kits?

Saturns are considered pro-level drums, and I know that manufacturing in China helps to lower production costs, which leads to more affordable street prices. So, is the reason why the Saturns still suffer in reputation when compared to a Grestch USA or Yamaha high-end down solely to reputation and/or locale of production/costs?

Is there a solid, legitimate, or even factual reason for why a Mapex Saturn kit would not be universally accepted as on par in terms of quality with a Gretsch USA or Yamaha RC/Absolute, etc.? If this were the 1990s, then I know there would be a factual reason: Mapex kits back then had numerous quality problems. For the past several years, though, Mapex has left that era behind and even has the ISO 9000 facility certification.

Just trying to look beyond the reputation issue to see if there are legitimate factors for why some in the drum community--both players and drum shop dealers--consider a Saturn kit to not be of good enough value when compared to other contemporary high-end kits.

Thanks for any input!
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:50 AM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Ok, to my mind the Saturn is marketed as a workhorse kit. A pro kit for the working musician to be played a lot. It doesn't have the pedigree that a Ludwig, Gretsch, DW or a recording custom has, but it's every bit as good, so long as you like the tone.

The build is superb, finishes are spot on, and a lot of pro players use them on the road. To my mind they fall in the same category as a Tama Starclassic. Quality, well priced gear.

You have to remember its a salesmans job to SELL stuff. The higher the value, the better for them. So they'll always tell you the Yamaha et al are better. When it comes to the crunch, there isn't a lot in it. The DWs are a little different, as the collectors are more custom and with those customisation options, and the hand building, comes a premium in price. Compare it to a performance series......

Bottom line is this. It IS a high-end kit. It's well priced, and a whole host of pros (including Steve White, Gregg Bissonette, Josh Devine and many others) play them on a daily basis. If you vibe the kit, it's a solid purchase!
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:32 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

I think being china made is part of it, the other part is a pricing strategy.

And as for brand perception - it's amazing how silly people get over the brand written on a bass drum head and what they assume they know, the emotions tied to it etc etc

We're all guilty of it really but some ppl are just dumb, and outspoken.

My heart was tied to sonor but when you look at the price of a Saturn vs delite/prolite, you really need to believe the sonor is twice as good if you're going to spend twice the money. I did not.
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Old 08-31-2012, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Not sure, but I think that people in the know will not agree that Saturns are below the other kits you mentioned. Quite a bit of perception in the marketplace is due to the marketing efforts of the manufacturer and price point. Expensive is percieved to be better.

I'm a nobody, but, I've owned or own Ludwigs, Rogers, Mapex and have played DW's, Pork Pie and a number of other high end "pro" kits and I'd say that the Mapex brand owes no other brand any apologies in terms of sound. build, quality and when you put price in the mix then Mapex certainly wins the battle on the topic of value.
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Let me start by saying I own a Saturn kit and I think it's the best value pro level kit out there. It's not a DW, Sonor Delite or a Gretch New Classic or whatever and isn't marketed as one- Mapex have the orion for that level of customisation.

My buying decision was made by looking at value- bang for your buck if you like. It was pretty much the only pro level kit that i could afford in the sizes I wanted in a finish that I liked (supernova burst with nickel hardware). I did get a very good deal and a similarly specked Starclassic would have been an additional 600 (I was a tama user before).

The kit sounds great, looks great, is really well put together, so I'm not sure what else anyone needs. The hardware is excellent too!
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Interestingly enough, I didn't find that the price difference between the Saturn and Orion series worth it.
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

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Quite a bit of perception in the marketplace is due to the marketing efforts of the manufacturer and price point.
Yeah back in college an economics professor used Haagen Dasz ice cream as an example of this. When that brand was launched, the owners decided to give it a fancy sounding foreign name and price it higher than other brands to create the perception of higher quality. In reality the ice cream itself was not THAT different from cheaper brands like Baskin Robbins or Ben & Jerry's.

My guess would be a combination of this idea plus the fact that Mapex is a relatively smaller brand in the marketplace, compared to the giant 50-100 year old names that we're all familiar with. Korean cars in the US market went through a period where they were perceived as inferior, but it looks like that perception is changing as their quality improves and as their names gather a little longevity and recognition. I bet Mapex experiences a similar shift in public perception the longer they stick around.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:08 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

I paid $1200 for my Mapex Saturn Jazz kit in March. 20x18, 10x8, 12x9, 14x14.

I've owned a DW kit and I currently have a Spaun Acrylic/Maple Hybrid set that I love, but I truly think these Saturns are the best sounding drums I have played. The Walnut/Maple combo is beautiful and the build quality is superb.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:06 AM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

I have played almost every level of drumkit over the years.
I bought a Saturn Manhattan jazz kit back in January.
I will run my Saturn against any kit out there and be confident that it is equal to or better than.
Mapex just plain got it right.
I don't understand the price difference either, but I am glad that I can buy a pro kit for a great price.
I paid $1100 USD for my 4 piece Jazz kit.
The best money that I have ever spent on drums.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

My A kit is a 22, 10, 12, 14, 16, 5.5 x 14 Saturn that was $1300 brand new (ended up trading them an old kit and getting it for $900 if you can believe that). It's pro level all the way (and also very heavy... do some squats)
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:30 AM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

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(and also very heavy... do some squats)
I agree, My 14x18 jazz sized base drum weighs substantially more than the 22 inch bass that I have with my other kit.
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:16 AM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

I got my Mapex Saturns back in February and I love 'em. I've played every level of drum kits and I'd put these Saturns up against any others that I've played. The finish and build quality are top notch and they sound amazing! I'm pretty much a Mapex guy now. The price/performance ratio on the Saturns is the best that I've seen. The hardware is sturdy and dependable as well. Don't buy into the marketing garbage. Half of those people can't even spell the word drum. You really can't lose with the Saturns or with the Black Panther snares. They're both world class.
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:25 AM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

I entirely agree.
I love my Saturns a whole helluva lot.
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

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Originally Posted by RobertM View Post
I know this conversation/question has probably been raised before, but does anyone have good evidence as to why Mapex Saturn kits are (a) not as expensive as DW Collectors, Gretsch USA Customs, Ludwig Classic Maple, Sonor Pro-Lite, Yamaha RCs or Absolutes, etc., and (b) not thought of as equal quality of these same kits?

Saturns are considered pro-level drums, and I know that manufacturing in China helps to lower production costs, which leads to more affordable street prices. So, is the reason why the Saturns still suffer in reputation when compared to a Grestch USA or Yamaha high-end down solely to reputation and/or locale of production/costs?

Is there a solid, legitimate, or even factual reason for why a Mapex Saturn kit would not be universally accepted as on par in terms of quality with a Gretsch USA or Yamaha RC/Absolute, etc.? If this were the 1990s, then I know there would be a factual reason: Mapex kits back then had numerous quality problems. For the past several years, though, Mapex has left that era behind and even has the ISO 9000 facility certification.

Just trying to look beyond the reputation issue to see if there are legitimate factors for why some in the drum community--both players and drum shop dealers--consider a Saturn kit to not be of good enough value when compared to other contemporary high-end kits.

Thanks for any input!
I don't perceive much of a quality difference between Saturns & other kits you mentioned. I think they offer remarkable value for money. When you factor in all the shipping costs, distribution/retail margins, etc, those $1200 kits at retail have a production cost sub $300. You'd struggle to buy the drum fittings for that.

Labour cost & general production overheads are obviously very keen. Economical materials help that price too, but the end result is certainly greater than the sum of it's parts, & that's always a sign of a company that's got the mix just right.

BTW, although ISO9000 is likely to assist in consistency & product fault reporting, it has no bearing on product quality. You can make complete crap & have ISO9000 certification. It just means that you produce crap consistently and keep suitable records. (that's a general observation, not specific to any company, & not implied criticism of Mapex).

Every decade or so, a manufacturer just gets the mix right. A roadworthy kit at an affordable price. Pearl got that accolade with their Export series in the 80's, & Mapex get it in this decade, although the game has moved on, so at an overall higher quality point.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:08 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Interesting post KIS, Nail on the Head answer!
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:31 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

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Interesting post KIS, Nail on the Head answer!
Neil on the head :)?

No this thread must be quite difficult for Sticks to resist, if he sees it...
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

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Neil on the head :)?

No this thread must be quite difficult for Sticks to resist, if he sees it...
Who's that? Never heard of him.
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

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Who's that? Never heard of him.
You mean Sticks?

Also known as Sticks4Drums...he really likes Saturns and has a monster kit purely from saturns if I remember correctly.
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

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You mean Sticks?

Also known as Sticks4Drums...he really likes Saturns and has a monster kit purely from saturns if I remember correctly.
...and he's back on this forum! Appeared as 'newest member' some 2 days ago (almost identical username).

Andy - very interesting post of yours!
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:33 PM
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You mean Sticks?

Also known as Sticks4Drums...he really likes Saturns and has a monster kit purely from saturns if I remember correctly.
Yeah. Search arctic monster and you'll see it. Quite the kit, makes Neil Pearts kit look compact and bijou.....
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Pro kit that will be in the middle of any conversation about the best bang for the buck. Like 'em better than the Orion's, which I believe have been discontinued.
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:55 PM
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Pro kit that will be in the middle of any conversation about the best bang for the buck. Like 'em better than the Orion's, which I believe have been discontinued.
Has the Orion line been replaced with the BP line?
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Old 09-01-2012, 05:01 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Pretty much comes down to perception. This forum and many others are filled with threads like "what is the best kit", "DW vs Gretsch vs....." and the like. Often times you are going to hear people recommend DW, Gretsch, Sonor etc. Also on tv you almost always see a DW or Gretsch kit, even Yamaha. So when looking for a quality kit we are already somewhat "trained" to think that we have to chose only from those "elite" brands and even when we go to the music store we want to believe this DW kit sounds way better than the affordable Saturn. Most people don't relate to "best bang for your buck" = Quality sounding drums. Let's be honest, we share pics of our kits because we are proud of them, it's even accepted to brag about your kit as we all love to ooooo and ahhhh over gear. But are you proud of the sound or just want to be known as a DW or Gretsch owner. Please, I'm not knocking those of you with these kits, everyone has different tastes in sound. We are lucky to have so many choices in todays day in age.

To be honest, still being fairly new to drums playing for less than 2 years, I had these same impressions until I started being honest with myself about the sounds that I like and what I hear in my head. Because of my "impressions" I was sold on getting a Gretsch Renown and so I did my research, hit some in the music stores and it was just a matter of finding a good deal for a used kit.

One day at one of the local shops in the corner was a 3pc Black sparkle Saturn in 12, 16, 22. It wasn't really even set up. I moved the toms around to get a nice 1 up 1 down set up, grabbed a stool and just started hitting the toms. Man did it sound like @#$@#$! as the heads were so out of tune. At this point "average Joe" would have moved on to the Gretsch and DW because this kit sounded like @#$%#$$. I asked for a tuning key, tuned the heads to the best of my ability (also noticing the stock heads were emperors over ambassadors so these heads should sound decent) and started hitting the drums again. This time I was like "wwooooaaaahhhh!"
So I started playing some melodic tom beat.

I'm not the best player in the world but that day, the drums I played sounded like the drums in my head, you know where I'm coming from. The sound wasn't a DW, Gretsch, Yamaha, or Sonor. It was found in a Mapex Saturn. So, more research, surfing the net for reviews and videos. I kept my eye open for a used Saturn and after a few months I pulled the trigger.

I'm sure my ears will change and in the distant future I'll be looking for yet another sound, the point and reality is many of us are not honest with ourselves on what "we" like and rather than find our own sound we rely on others opinions.

When you hit your drums do you get a warm fuzzy feeling and think....wow that sounds awesome. When you do the Jazz pattern on your ride does it take you for a journey and you forget where you are? Does that 18" crash make you smile every time you hit it?

For me ....yes and I'm so happy with my choices. If the sounds you get out of your kit doesn't move you in your soul....then keep looking!


Sorry this wasn't supposed to be this long of a post, I just feel people are robbing themselves of really enjoying this instrument based on their impressions and assumptions without really doing the leg work to fins a sound that they enjoy.

Last edited by Tyger; 09-01-2012 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 09-01-2012, 05:29 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

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...and he's back on this forum! Appeared as 'newest member' some 2 days ago (almost identical username).
Is he? Well good for him. I don't mind having him.

So how's your Tiger Arky :)?
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Old 09-01-2012, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

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Is he? Well good for him. I don't mind having him.
That was just for info.
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So how's your Tiger Arky :)?
Not going to disturb this thread so I'll post an info upgrade in my Tiger thread now.
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Thanks for all the good, solid, honest responses, folks. I really wanted some serious discussion to get at this perception issue about certain drums, and in particular Saturns because I still hear more high-end shops or vintage experts speak somewhat less respectfully about Mapex stuff (or even Drumcraft Series 8--they are kind of like the new "Saturn" example on the market, which Art notes in another thread here on DC drums).

Andy--I'm glad you responded because I was thinking about your expertise in design and manufacturing and the all the recent work that you and Dean have been doing with the Origin kits. And Tyger is right about focusing on the sound you want to hear and like, but gear lovers or nuts like us all also, at some point, start to find interest in the quality question when it comes to screws, bolts, lugs, bearing edges, etc. For example, I hear quite a few players here and elsewhere on the Web offer likes and praise for a kit like Tama Silverstar, but I have also heard quite a few people complain about the tools used in the kits. The drums can sound good, but there is more of a liability with parts than, say, with a Tama SC B/B. I think, as Andy noted, hitting that market point of quality tools/hardware *and* sound mixing with price point is really a feat indeed.

Thanks again, all, for some very good input.
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

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I don't perceive much of a quality difference between Saturns & other kits you mentioned. I think they offer remarkable value for money....Every decade or so, a manufacturer just gets the mix right. A roadworthy kit at an affordable price. Pearl got that accolade with their Export series in the 80's, & Mapex get it in this decade, although the game has moved on, so at an overall higher quality point.
This is what I find stunning, really, when you think about it: that the evidence is there to confidently suggest that Saturns are in the quality ballpark with USA Customs or Yamaha RCs. Stunning because a 4 pc Saturn usually averages $1800 on the Web (now), while a Grestsch USA 4 pc new is at least $2700--a whopping $1K difference. But is that whopping grand difference due to USA labor costs/markets (USA Customs made in South Carolina, not China like Saturns) or quality of construction and sound, etc.? I think, with current evidence, it is getting harder to maintain an argument, in this example, of the difference in price being a result of quality, though that is usually the explanation offered by dealers.
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:39 AM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

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That was just for info.
Sorry, wasn't meant that way.
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Not going to disturb this thread so I'll post an info upgrade in my Tiger thread now.
Fair enough.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Ok, please allow me to open up this subject matter a little, but also let you in on exactly what I think, hopefully, without too much rambling. As most of you know, we're about to launch some drums that are 3 - 4 times the price of Saturns. Does that mean they're 3 - 4 times better? No, of course it doesn't. Although almost impossible to quantify, If I was to take an informed guesstimate in percentage terms, I'd say the Saturns get to within 85% of the sonic capability of our new drums.

Now that 15%, in purely statistical terms, seems like incredibly poor value for money, but by way of example, if a 100Metre sprinter is 15% faster, the end result difference is huge. This is really the principal of diminishing returns, & that principal can be applied universally. The real question to ask is will that additional performance actually be of any real world benefit in my situation? Only the individual artist can answer that. The principal of diminishing returns however, is not linear. With some products you get more than you paid for, compared to others where you get less. Also, typically, it's those companies that bite on the heels of established brands who deliver that bit more, try that bit harder. Why? Because they have to! Overcoming brand mass means you either have to throw a bucket of money into marketing, or develop a better mouse trap, or both. Just because drums are made in a certain way, using a specific wood variety, or with features a, b, c, etc, is meaningless, unless each of those features have been considered with a defined goal in mind. For example, just because a drum is constructed using stave or steam bent shells, doesn't mean it's automatically better than a ply construction. I've seen & played some really crappy examples of the type I've just mentioned.

All of this considered, I genuinely know what the differences are across many constructions with some punchy marketing claims attached. Some claims have a degree of validity, some are just plain BS. To make such an evaluation, you need to have made the A - B comparisons, & that's something the average player simply can't facilitate. Accordingly, many rely on marketing messages, video's that are often processed discreetly, opinions of store staff, etc. Ultimately, quality is about what the instrument delivers to you, & there's no substitute to trying drums in person. Regrettably, that opportunity is diminishing rapidly, & even where there are good shops with a willingness to let you try stuff, the choice is often limited only to those major brands the shop knows it can move.

To me, the Saturn has a degree of honesty about it that I like. It's not spectacular, but it's not spectacular money, so that's cool. Of the examples I've tried, the Saturn certainly delivers to the same standard as instruments costing up to 50% more. It doesn't sound the same as those alternative instruments, but nor should it. It's a winning product, & from what I can make out, growing in popularity.

Contrary to an understandable perception, I'm not a gear snob. I see much merit is a lot of products across many price points. The old saying is "you get what you pay for". Well, sometimes you get a little more than that, & the Saturn is as good an example as I've seen in that regard.
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

As usual, Andy, balanced an insightful. The Saturn is not for me, purely through perception of sound, but it's making waves in the industry and gaining momentum. Fingers crossed the Origin will do the same, eh?
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Wonderfully articulated, Andy. This is the kind of nuanced, insightful discussion I was hoping for.

You also make an especially good point about the increasingly difficulty for the average drummer being able to a/b kits, snares, guitars, etc. Many stores indeed are limited by what they carry or how a kit is set up (head choices), which makes it impossible to gain first-person experiential input, and now the Internet has introduced more confusion because user or company videos, while helpful, can easily distort sound and tone through audio engineering (as you note). Greenbrier Percussion, a shop in Maryland USA, has pretty good videos: they demo kits with features in the audio mix applied, but then they usually cut off everything except for a basic overhead mic so that you can attempt to hear the kit in a more natural room setting. Still not perfect, but a bit better than most.

Thanks again to all for a good discussion.

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Ok, please allow me to open up this subject matter a little, but also let you in on exactly what I think, hopefully, without too much rambling. As most of you know, we're about to launch some drums that are 3 - 4 times the price of Saturns. Does that mean they're 3 - 4 times better? No, of course it doesn't. Although almost impossible to quantify, If I was to take an informed guesstimate in percentage terms, I'd say the Saturns get to within 85% of the sonic capability of our new drums.

Now that 15%, in purely statistical terms, seems like incredibly poor value for money, but by way of example, if a 100Metre sprinter is 15% faster, the end result difference is huge. This is really the principal of diminishing returns, & that principal can be applied universally. The real question to ask is will that additional performance actually be of any real world benefit in my situation? Only the individual artist can answer that. The principal of diminishing returns however, is not linear. With some products you get more than you paid for, compared to others where you get less. Also, typically, it's those companies that bite on the heels of established brands who deliver that bit more, try that bit harder. Why? Because they have to! Overcoming brand mass means you either have to throw a bucket of money into marketing, or develop a better mouse trap, or both. Just because drums are made in a certain way, using a specific wood variety, or with features a, b, c, etc, is meaningless, unless each of those features have been considered with a defined goal in mind. For example, just because a drum is constructed using stave or steam bent shells, doesn't mean it's automatically better than a ply construction. I've seen & played some really crappy examples of the type I've just mentioned.

All of this considered, I genuinely know what the differences are across many constructions with some punchy marketing claims attached. Some claims have a degree of validity, some are just plain BS. To make such an evaluation, you need to have made the A - B comparisons, & that's something the average player simply can't facilitate. Accordingly, many rely on marketing messages, video's that are often processed discreetly, opinions of store staff, etc. Ultimately, quality is about what the instrument delivers to you, & there's no substitute to trying drums in person. Regrettably, that opportunity is diminishing rapidly, & even where there are good shops with a willingness to let you try stuff, the choice is often limited only to those major brands the shop knows it can move.

To me, the Saturn has a degree of honesty about it that I like. It's not spectacular, but it's not spectacular money, so that's cool. Of the examples I've tried, the Saturn certainly delivers to the same standard as instruments costing up to 50% more. It doesn't sound the same as those alternative instruments, but nor should it. It's a winning product, & from what I can make out, growing in popularity.

Contrary to an understandable perception, I'm not a gear snob. I see much merit is a lot of products across many price points. The old saying is "you get what you pay for". Well, sometimes you get a little more than that, & the Saturn is as good an example as I've seen in that regard.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:30 PM
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kettles kettles is offline
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

I work at a music shop, and when customers ask what kind of kit I have, the only ones who don't have an "I don't know what that is" look on their face are the youngest guys who can be assumed spend more time on the internet reading forums and watching videos. Most drummers actually don't pay any attention to what kits are being made until they are looking for a new kit. Basically I think the Saturn is going to have to be around for another 10-15 years until it becomes a household name.

As for the low price - they are mass produced to hell. I think most of their kits are all made in one factory, and I once read that Sonor's Asian kits are also made there too (Don't know if that's true, I'll try find it again). The company that owns Mapex, KHS, also owns Walden Guitars and Jupiter brass instruments, both which are fairly significant companies in their own markets.

The hardware on Saturns and older Pro-M kits is largely the same too. That's another area where production quantity leads to lower unit cost.
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:47 AM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Great discussion here guys and I've learned a lot from reading all your views and perspectives. Keep it coming!
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:22 AM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

I never found it a problem to find and A/B drum kits, it's one of the redeeming factors that separates "custom" and mail order from actual floor models, that being the ability to sit behind and in front of a kit and directly compare it to another. I gave Mapex Saturns a shot when I was buying my last three kits, but always deciding on something else. They are not bad kits, they just didn't work for me, both sonically and aesthetically. Also back a few years ago, Mapex along with just about everyone else had their issues, so that was another factor that entered into my decisions. Their prices are some of the best in the industry for that particular quality of drums, primarily because of very cheap labor, some materials and also being mass produced. If I had to buy a Mapex product, it would either be the Blaster or Velvetone series of drums. To my ears they sound superior and their looks are much more attractive.

So nothing at all against the people who own Saturns or any Mapex products, but as an individual, they just aren't for me. It's a bit lame to believe that everyone has to like and purchase one particular set of drums, maybe it's these people who cannot get to a very well stocked store or two to personally hear and appreciate the differences..

Dennis
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:12 AM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

My first Mapex drum was a 13x5,5 Black Panther maple snare that I bought used about three years ago.. Great drum!
I loved it then, and I still do.
That is what prompted me to buy a Saturn kit.
I haven't found one flaw in my Saturn kit.
The snare is amazing. The toms and bass produce a wonderful warm tone.
These drums really do have a character all their own.
When I first got the Saturn drums home I wasn't really sure if I liked them or not.
I played them for a few hours and I just wasn't sure.
I didn't dislike them. I just had to get used to them I guess.
It wasn't until a few days later that I understood them.
It was love ever since.

Like anything, Saturns aren't for everyone.
We each must follow our own path when it comes to drums and cymbals.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Great thread with tons of good discussion. I love KIS's replies in most threads but I think even higher of the ones in this thread.

It is these kinds of discussions consumers have to have. How much of the view of a drum line is due to marketing? How much is due to a real usable difference?

I think KIS's responses spell it out well. A lot of drummers would be very happy with Saturns as their kit. And others, if they can justify the cost, will be very happy with some more expensive drums. If you are planning on playing your drums a lot and for many years, then cost is obviously just one of many considerations. If a kit cost 2x ore more, but brought you real happiness over and over again as you used it 1000 times, then I'd say the cost is justifiable for sure.

I'm a miser and have to have real justification to spend a lot of money. On the other hand, I hate regretting a purchase because I didn't spend more to get more.

A/Bing the drums is the real solution. Try to ignore perception going in and really listen to the drums. Really take in how they look. If only there were more shops that had a wide variety of drums to check out. For me, I'd have to travel 4 hours to get to a sick shop that has nearly everything in stock. Outside of that, I only have local Guitar centers which are very limited for stock options.

Man, I love threads like these!
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

I have a Mapex Saturn kit I purchased in 2007. Great kit. I always get tons of compliments on the sound.

I joined a new band recently and for this project I wanted a smaller, lighter kit. I decided to go with a Ludwig Classic Maple 1 up / 2 down configuration, with plans to use it as a four piece kit most of the time.

The Mapex Saturn's fit and finish is every bit as good as the Ludwig's, if not better.

There is no comparison between the sound of the two kits. The Saturns produce a nice rich warmth and are very easy to tune. The Ludwigs have avery different sound. Not bad, mind you, but the just don't have that EQ'ed sound the Saturns have.

I'm using the Ludwigs for most of our gigs because space is as issue. When we have a really high profile gig, like next weekend at the casino, I'll be taking along the Saturns.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:46 PM
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steverok steverok is offline
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post

Ultimately, quality is about what the instrument delivers to you, & there's no substitute to trying drums in person. Regrettably, that opportunity is diminishing rapidly, & even where there are good shops with a willingness to let you try stuff, the choice is often limited only to those major brands the shop knows it can move.
Ain't that the truth. I would love to try more kits ... they just aren't out there to try. I have played Saturns at a store, and found them formidable. Maybe not inspiring enough for me to make a big change in what I use, but they were impressive sonically. I think the hybrid wood approach is a little perplexing to some drummers. They want maple, or birch, or whatever wood, not a mixture.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:37 PM
Spencer Spencer is offline
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Hi Guys, I have moved from Alberta Canada to the Algarve Portugal 3 years ago and I brought my Huge Mapex Saturn special edition 5 piece drum kit (24") bass and 3 floor toms with me. reluctantly I have to part with it as we are altering the apartment layout and there will not be room for it. It is a beautiful kit in a kind of sky blue sparkle colour Mapex Hi Hat stand Gibraltar Ride stand Mapex Tom and Crash stand combined.
It was made in 2008 I think and has only been lightly played due to noise restrictions imposed on me , lol.
I would be grateful if anyone could suggest its actual value for a fair sale price.

I think I have managed to attatch a picture.
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Last edited by Spencer; 09-22-2012 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:04 AM
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bigiainw bigiainw is offline
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Default Re: Mapex Saturn: Quality & Price Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boom View Post
A lot of drummers would be very happy with Saturns as their kit. And others, if they can justify the cost, will be very happy with some more expensive drums. If you are planning on playing your drums a lot and for many years, then cost is obviously just one of many considerations. If a kit cost 2x ore more, but brought you real happiness over and over again as you used it 1000 times, then I'd say the cost is justifiable for sure.

I'm a miser and have to have real justification to spend a lot of money. On the other hand, I hate regretting a purchase because I didn't spend more to get more.
Like most things I buy, I bought my Saturn unheard (I tend not to test drive cars before I buy either). Now, many people would justifiably thing this borders on madness, but I believe I have sound reasoning behind this.

I have never played any kit I have owned before I bought it. I've only ever owned 3 acoustic drum kits in 25 years, A Premier Projector, bought mail order in 1987, a Tama Rockstar Custom, shop bought in 2006 and my current Saturn bought in 2011. I have only ever bought kits from known makers with a reputation to uphold, and with some insight into the opinion of others on their sound. I can tune a bit and firmly believe that with the exeception of very high end kits (such as the new Guru for example) most drums sound pretty good, tuned well with good heads. So I was unlikely to be disapointed unless they proved untunable. They weren't, indeed, they produce a sound that totally surpasses my expectation.

I would have to say also that I am a reasonable player with good groove and such, but I'm no Steve Gadd. Using Andy's 85% equation, I am probably 85% of a good drummer, but I doubt that if I had the extra 15% in the kit that would be able to exploit it. And even if I could, it's probably superfluous to the gigs I play with my mates in a covers band in acoustically challenging venues.

Now, I have a good job and my wife and I save for a rainy day. I could have gone out and spent 3k on a DW or similar, but in terms of expenditure, ability, usage and desire, none of these justified the extra 2k it would have cost me over my Saturn shell pack.

And I needed a new car too. Which I did test drive. Go figure!
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