Are overpriced drums worth it ? A Defence of mapex

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
It's actually this little horror that I had in mind:https://images.app.goo.gl/TGTLuczLKXKBby8x9
From the 'A' that sticks up above the word, to that horrible 'M', to the vast space between the A and the P, to the dwarf, crushed 'P' that's also crashing into the 'E' - to anyone with a graphic design/typography background this shouts incompetence and 'cheap and nasty'.
Which is a shame as the drums could be great for all I know.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
It's actually this little horror that I had in mind:https://images.app.goo.gl/TGTLuczLKXKBby8x9
From the 'A' that sticks up above the word, to that horrible 'M', to the vast space between the A and the P, to the dwarf, crushed 'P' that's also crashing into the 'E' - to anyone with a graphic design/typography background this shouts incompetence and 'cheap and nasty'.
Which is a shame as the drums could be great for all I know.
No argument here. Mapex is a funky name and their badges don't help. They aren't the worst though. Think little piggy faces on those Pork Pies. Those are definitely a deal breaker for me regardless of how good their drums are or aren't.
 

Cpb19

Active member
I think that we all make our own decisions based on facts and opinions unique to each of us, including: income level, debts and financial obligations; how important music is to each of us versus other interests; how important a particular brand is to us (and our background prejudices re brands); how important country of origin is; whether one prefers (or feels more comfortable with) buying new; the budget that one sets; how much one the buyer can distinguish between one drum set and another; how important breakdown and setup is (gigging vs home use); how much one likes an underdog; stage of life; whether we're making money with music; how stable our jobs are; whether we're planning to keep the set long term, or if we get bored and enjoy flipping; etc., etc., etc.

For example, I've got 3 non-paid "gigging" kids, so I need guitars, basses, amps, PA system, drums, lessons, etc. They're 10-15 years old, so who knows how long this will last, and I'm saving for college for them.

Me? Ended up with Mapex Saturn Vs last fall after 4 years with Pearl Roadshows for my oldest. She was heavily involved in the decision-making process and we not only have no regrets, she's in love with the tone of the toms and kick drum. But I have friends that were drummers back in the day that wouldn't have even considered Mapex.

I'm just glad that there are so many shell options for those of us with such varied background facts and opinions.
 

drumstud4u

New member
I really like Yamaha drums myself, but I definately think that with kits like the Saturn (you could add Gretsch Renown, Pearl Session Studio Select and to a degree, Tama Starclassic W/B in there as well) makes one question just how much more money it is worth to spend to get a kit of any more perceived quality, badges and logo aside. I understand you pay more for a well-known brand, but I still feel, at least here in Europe, that paying about double the price for a Oak Custom Hybrid (which aren't even ranked as their top of the line kit) than a Mapex Saturn is somewhat questionable, just thinking about what you are actually getting for the money.

Then again, I had a Saturn myself, that I decided to sell. Reason? Well, they definately sounded awesome and looked the part. I got a great offer on them when I sold it that helped, of course. But there is just something about being proud of what you play and how you are being perceived when gigging, you would want to use something that you don't have any bad feelings or annotations about, at least if you are a gearhead like me, care (maybe a bit too much) about your equipment and have the money to get a high-end kit regardless. I constantly had to make conversations with other drummers that claimed Mapex made s**** drums, and just people in general that wanted to chit-chat and the main argument I would always try to sell; "well they are really good quality drums for the price". Sure, they really are. But it came to the point that I got a bit tired of it all, having to almost "defend" myself of why I bought the drums, since I definately could have afforded a high-end kit from another brand anyway. It's vain, I know, but as I also have a habit of switching kits every now and then, I decided I wanted to let them go for now.

My point to all this? I'm not sure... I would be proud to play that Yamaha kit if I already had paid for it, but I definately feel you pay a bit too much if you take into consideration the kits I mentioned in the first sentence. If money allows though, it's best to pick the kit you have your heart set on, all aspects considered, even if it means you pay more for it. At least that's how I feel about it now. Paying more for it just affects your wallet at the time of your purchase, you have to consider that you would like and be proud of this kit in the long run, so it might very well be worth it.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
T
You have officially crossed the line. You now understand it's just a drum. The best value in drums you seek? Buy used. That's the holy grail of drum purchases.
The drums in my picture here, I forgot the brand, Maybe Mapex.. I paid $300 for the set plus a Yamaha direct drive pedal, a hi hat stand, 2 cymbal stands and a snare leather bag. plus a brand new set of Evans heads to include the special head for the bass drum with the rim muffler, and also another full set of Remo heads that he might have used a couple of times. (All of it for $300) They sound pretty close to the $8000 DW kit I played before, which is one of the best sounding kits i've ever played. That was without tuning them or muffling at all, I then spend some quality time with a drum dial and got it as close to even on each lug as I could, that set is great!.. I could spend $8000 on a kit, sure, but why? my cheapo drums look the part and sound the part and that is in a non treated garage, I can imagine in a room with good acoustics, or properly miced... (I will try that when I get back, currently floating along in the Persian Gulf). If Someone needs to get a specific brand then I feel like their priorities are what others think vs what they themselves think. I Also agree the used market is where you can find really good drums for a lot less. Unless you must have new. Other option is make your own drums it's not that hard plenty of YT videos on how, or just buy a set of shells, put your own finishes and hardware, you can create your own custom for a lot less you can even splurge and create your own badges.
 

Cpb19

Active member
T

The drums in my picture here, I forgot the brand, Maybe Mapex.. I paid $300 for the set plus a Yamaha direct drive pedal, a hi hat stand, 2 cymbal stands and a snare leather bag. plus a brand new set of Evans heads to include the special head for the bass drum with the rim muffler, and also another full set of Remo heads that he might have used a couple of times. (All of it for $300) They sound pretty close to the $8000 DW kit I played before, which is one of the best sounding kits i've ever played. That was without tuning them or muffling at all, I then spend some quality time with a drum dial and got it as close to even on each lug as I could, that set is great!.. I could spend $8000 on a kit, sure, but why? my cheapo drums look the part and sound the part and that is in a non treated garage, I can imagine in a room with good acoustics, or properly miced... (I will try that when I get back, currently floating along in the Persian Gulf). If Someone needs to get a specific brand then I feel like their priorities are what others think vs what they themselves think. I Also agree the used market is where you can find really good drums for a lot less. Unless you must have new. Other option is make your own drums it's not that hard plenty of YT videos on how, or just buy a set of shells, put your own finishes and hardware, you can create your own custom for a lot less you can even splurge and create your own badges.
Agree re cymbals. You can make many lower priced shells sound very good, but there’s not much you can do about cymbals. Right now my daughter is running vintage Z new beats hats, and a mixture of Z As and Ks for crashes and ride (all bought used). She likes the new Sabian HHX complex series, but not enough to switch from what she has. And her tastes changed over time from bright to dark. Same on drum tuning (mid-high to low), but that only takes a few turns of a drum key.
 

jimb

Member
Well, as I've said before I rather naively bought the cheapest Mapex four piece, cause I really didn't figure I'd stick with it. I got a deal on a shell pack which was cool and I'm now playing in a band doing AWB, Mayer, Genesis and a load of other nice stuff...not too shabby for two years practice.

But the point I wanna make is - CYMBALS and to some extent hardware, pedals etc. But for me it really is all about the darn cymbals.....and especially hats etc......The el crappo Mapex sounds good enough after a lot of tweaking but my torment is with cymbals, I keep changing them, listening to the latest vid review etc......suppose if I had big bucks I would just get the top models and be done with it...but until then I'll carry on with the torment! Mind u I have just picked up a nice vintage set of crispy New Beats so its a good start.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
I own 2 Yamaha motorcycles and I sold a third one. Excellent machines. now drumsets I like them but I could care less about the brand as long as the drums look good and sound even better.
 

jimb

Member
But there is just something about being proud of what you play and how you are being perceived when gigging, you would want to use something that you don't have any bad feelings or annotations about, at least if you are a gearhead like me, care (maybe a bit too much) about your equipment and have the money to get a high-end kit regardless. I constantly
I'm new to drumming hence my cheap Mapex Tornado but in the bass guitar world, well I clammered for expensive vintage P basses because of the image and vibe and the two I had were lovely ...then years later I picked up a light weight Indonesian Squire P bass and it was bye bye vintage. I can honestly say I'm proud to own my dirt cheap Squire....almost in every department including tone it outshines those vintage basses that I owned.
 

markdrum

Silver Member
In
Reminds me of Boeing - being a great engineering company making great planes making a great profit was not enough for the new breed of management - it had to become a finance company that only made planes because it had to and considered engineers an inconvenience to making a higher profit margin every year. Enough was never enough - until the camel's back broke.
That's just the way I remembered them. Worst contract that I ever worked.
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
Man! I've seen and played a lot of kits in my life. Over all these decades I still...still think about how this cheap set of luan mahogany r.o.c. drums sounded. The lugs looked semi ludwig/soonish but the darkness of the cheap porous wood and super round edges just hit me. Dark-fat-punchy..and yet the price (dirt cheap) affected my psych. Why couldnt the store manager seen me coming and raised the price by 2 grand. I probably would have bought them.
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
Man! I've seen and played a lot of kits in my life. Over all these decades I still...still think about how this cheap set of luan mahogany r.o.c. drums sounded. The lugs looked semi ludwig/sonorish but the darkness of the cheap porous wood and super round edges just hit me. Dark-fat-punchy..and yet the price (dirt cheap) affected my psych. Why couldnt the store manager seen me coming and raised the price by 2 grand. I probably would have bought them.
 

jasz

Junior Member
The only real problem I have with Mapex is that the quality of the cast tooling is a little sub par and there were tons of injection blemishes on my lugs and general hardware that honestly shouldn't be that apparent. They need to replace molds more often. Other companies are much better in this regard.

Shell quality is okay... bearing edges were so so on my 2017 saturn V. Soniclear marketing aside, they're not perfect, but that's likely a matter of tolerances and quality control on a kit by kit basis.

Wraps... arent applied properly and will develop lifting after a few years. Wrap seam should be under a lug, not next to the lug, but the lug design itself and how it mounts is likely 100% to blame.


If Mapex ever improves general hardware quality and fixes the little things, they would offer excellent value, but they're on my "sub par" list in reflection to price point.. mostly due to injection molds being worse than competition.
 
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