Mapex Armory Snare

veecharlie

Senior Member
I recently bought a new Mapex Armory set to accompany my drum build which is going to take a while still. I have read and checked out all the armory snares program, but I don't like any. They all sound like two pieces of drumheads together and have no body, sounds choked. I have also checked out covers and performance spotlights with the stock heads being replaced, raw, mixed and in person.
I was thinking of two options:
- Either scrap the shell and replace it for a different shell, keep the hardware and maybe change the triple flange for die cast or stronger ones.
- Sell it and buy a used Ludwig Acrolite (love it.) I'm also good with restoring so that's a fun project.

My issue here is... who has sold their Armory snare? did it sell? I tried to swap it or sell it to some local drum big bazar/second hand shops but they all refused it saying it won't sell. I even offered it boxed and mint condition (!

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PS: PLEASE read carefully, it’s not about heads and tuning !
 
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IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Something is wrong if you can't get at least a 'good' sound out of an Armory snare. They're metal, so they should be highly consistent. They might not be your cup of tea, but they shouldn't be lacking body, and they shouldn't sound choked.

Have you checked for any flaws in the shell, or the heads? Are you sure it was tuned properly?

I'm always in favor of a used Acrolite, you can't go wrong!
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
Something is wrong if you can't get at least a 'good' sound out of an Armory snare. They're metal, so they should be highly consistent. They might not be your cup of tea, but they shouldn't be lacking body, and they shouldn't sound choked.

Have you checked for any flaws in the shell, or the heads? Are you sure it was tuned properly?

I'm always in favor of a used Acrolite, you can't go wrong!
That’s true. However, I don’t like it. I have heard them in literally probably 90% of YouTube videos and have tried myself at the shop when I deposited the money, but I still did not like it, not my cup of tea indeed.I think the meta shells of the cheaper Mapex lines are not 100% perfect, could be bearing edges, snare beds and/or the shell being wrapped.
I still will have to inspect and completely solve this mystery for my own peace of mind lol but until I get the kit in house, I’m looking what to do with it..
 

TJK

Well-known member
It is about heads, tuning, muffling if needed, snare wires, those f-ing plastic straps, the room you are in, where the drum is in the room, sticks, touch etc. sorry but a new properly functioning and with a round shell and snare beds worth a shit you should have no problem getting a sound out of it you can live with. It’s not like the drum is over or under sized either. What snare do you have now that sounds good?
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I have the smooth steel shell snare (Tomahawk?) that I picked up for dirt cheap. I needed something I could drag around and not worry about and I figured "it's a snare drum, how hard could it be to sound good" but I have to admit it's one of the most finicky snares I've ever owned.

I tried a lot of head and tuning combinations but nothing sounded right on that drum. Usually when I give up on a drum I try "2-ply tuned high" and that combination sounds...okay.

But it's a cheap drum, and the market was flooded by Mapex B-stock trade-ins, so there's NO resale market. I used to be a big Mapex fanboy but the latest generation of their products have all seemed like a BIG step downward/backward from what they were making 10 years ago.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I have the smooth steel shell snare (Tomahawk?) that I picked up for dirt cheap. I needed something I could drag around and not worry about and I figured "it's a snare drum, how hard could it be to sound good" but I have to admit it's one of the most finicky snares I've ever owned.

I tried a lot of head and tuning combinations but nothing sounded right on that drum. Usually when I give up on a drum I try "2-ply tuned high" and that combination sounds...okay.

But it's a cheap drum, and the market was flooded by Mapex B-stock trade-ins, so there's NO resale market. I used to be a big Mapex fanboy but the latest generation of their products have all seemed like a BIG step downward/backward from what they were making 10 years ago.
2 complaints about Armory snares today...very interesting. It kinda sounds like a quality control issue to me.

If there's one thing I've learned from the thousands of videos I've watched...metal snares are hard to screw up.

Metal snares: old Slingerlands, Ludwigs as far back as the 1920s, Ludwig Rocker snares, snares included with budget kits, even CB 700s can sound great, or at least "good" at the very least (with the right heads and tuning). A student of mine has an old 90s Pearl Export with a metal snare that sounds fantastic.

Wood snares are definitely less consistent due to the random nature of wood.

The Armory snares have all sounded alright to me on Youtube demos. Nothing special, but not bad either.

Who else has a Mapex Armory snare? What do you think of it?
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Borrow a snare from a drummer friend, in order to rule out tuning, playing, the room, etc. You’ll probably end up owning an Acrolite, or Supraphonic, or both, somewhere down the road, like so many of us. Why not get an Acrolite now? Or maybe a Rogers or Slingerland COB? Something tried and true.
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
It is about heads, tuning, muffling if needed, snare wires, those f-ing plastic straps, the room you are in, where the drum is in the room, sticks, touch etc. sorry but a new properly functioning and with a round shell and snare beds worth a shit you should have no problem getting a sound out of it you can live with. It’s not like the drum is over or under sized either. What snare do you have now that sounds good?
Yes, but that’s not what I’m asking neither what I’m talking about.
i have played with a Ludwig Black Magic 6,5 for over a year, I have restored a marching snare 14x10 made in the 50s, played with the Catalina Gretsch 14x5,5 snare and also with a pearl Reference I believe it was. I also drum teched for years, all kind of different backline and my “regular” setup to work with was a 9 piece Pearl Reference.

I also build my own drums, I have two snares to finish one is maple beech maple 14x5,5 and one is maple ultra thin shell 14x8.

i think I know what I’m talking about.. again, I’m talking about selling it and talking about the build quality, not how I tune it.

i also have studied physics at propedeuse level of that helps you validate that I’m not an idiot with the dynamics of a room, mics, how you hit the snare, etc ;)
 
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veecharlie

Senior Member
Borrow a snare from a drummer friend, in order to rule out tuning, playing, the room, etc. You’ll probably end up owning an Acrolite, or Supraphonic, or both, somewhere down the road, like so many of us. Why not get an Acrolite now? Or maybe a Rogers or Slingerland COB? Something tried and true.
Yes I’m already hunting for a nice acrolite to restore, that has been a dream to have one for far too long!
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
I have the smooth steel shell snare (Tomahawk?) that I picked up for dirt cheap. I needed something I could drag around and not worry about and I figured "it's a snare drum, how hard could it be to sound good" but I have to admit it's one of the most finicky snares I've ever owned.

I tried a lot of head and tuning combinations but nothing sounded right on that drum. Usually when I give up on a drum I try "2-ply tuned high" and that combination sounds...okay.

But it's a cheap drum, and the market was flooded by Mapex B-stock trade-ins, so there's NO resale market. I used to be a big Mapex fanboy but the latest generation of their products have all seemed like a BIG step downward/backward from what they were making 10 years ago.
Interesting... yes I was also suspecting that, I asked severa luthiers what could it be caused from (I have 0 experience for metal shells building) and they told me most probably is quality control indeed, warped shell or snare beds/bearing edges can choke the sound.
The problem with metal snares is that you cannot rework it.. with a wood shell you can remake the bearing edges. Most of the time that fixes the issue.

I already asked a quote for a 6,5 copper shell. If I can’t get it to be decent, I’ll scrap the shell and replace it with a copper one. I’ll have to trade it for one of the 6,5 in the program (which they still suck) to still get the longer lugs but that’s ok.

I never owned a Mapex but I remember they were built like tanks!
even have a friend of mine teching for a guy that is endorsed by Mapex and he never had a mayor issue.
Maybe the quality lines are still good and it’s a cheaper line issue. I’m also curious to know more experiences with the tomahawk
 
If you can't sell it locally, you could wait for ebay's specials: every now and then you can sell for a maximum fee of 1€ for example. You could make the starting price what you would need to pay for your desired lugs, so that you at least get this amount.
You mentioned the Acrolite but don't rule out vintage Premier and Sonor snares. These are arguably of even better quality than the old Ludwigs and you can easily get them for 100 to 150€ if you also look on German and British ebay. US brands can be pretty pricey in Europe. Also check out www.zikinf.com if you speak French!
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
If you can't sell it locally, you could wait for ebay's specials: every now and then you can sell for a maximum fee of 1€ for example. You could make the starting price what you would need to pay for your desired lugs, so that you at least get this amount.
You mentioned the Acrolite but don't rule out vintage Premier and Sonor snares. These are arguably of even better quality than the old Ludwigs and you can easily get them for 100 to 150€ if you also look on German and British ebay. US brands can be pretty pricey in Europe. Also check out www.zikinf.com if you speak French!
That’s true. Yea and honestly even the cheaper SLP or soundworks from Tama sound 100 times better.
I’ll check out the vintage sonor/premier, I’m personally not a fan (love the modern Sonor though) . And yea, being in Europe it’s hard to find really good deals with drums! I was just looking at a 70’s silver sparkle Ludwig for 1500$. Here used you wouldn’t get it below 2k euro.
I do speak French by the way! Will check it out, thank you :D
 
I forgot about this Dutch seller: https://www.jouwdrumstel.nl/snares/12
Also google for "UK classifieds" - there's some sites like preloved and of course reverb. There are good deals in Europe but you to have to look for a while. I'm not hating on US gear of course but I think that there are also great European drums. Also, it's easier to get replacement parts without ruining yourself. For Premier parts, drumattic is a good source.
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
I forgot about this Dutch seller: https://www.jouwdrumstel.nl/snares/12
Also google for "UK classifieds" - there's some sites like preloved and of course reverb. There are good deals in Europe but you to have to look for a while. I'm not hating on US gear of course but I think that there are also great European drums. Also, it's easier to get replacement parts without ruining yourself. For Premier parts, drumattic is a good source.
That’s true. I never bought over jouw drumstel but I guess it’s worth a try if you pick it up.
I love buying used to be honest... there’s something about hunting for the gear you have been looking for that I find so special. Plus always the extra mods or restoration I love it.
For cymbals I literally never buy them new, they lose 40% of the value immediately after you buy them, there are some awesome deals for half the price in almost mint conditions that is really worth it!
I just got angry at myself lol, I have been looking over a year for a vintage Ludwig under 1500$ in silver sparkle, couldn’t find one so bought a Mapex armory last week. Today I found a guy selling one... :ROFLMAO:😭
 
I just got angry at myself lol, I have been looking over a year for a vintage Ludwig under 1500$ in silver sparkle, couldn’t find one so bought a Mapex armory last week. Today I found a guy selling one... :ROFLMAO:😭
Yeah, if you want a specific finish and brand, it can be hard. That's why I think it's best not to get hung up about only one exact set. I like old Premier drums (watch out if the shells are international, so that regular heads fit!) a lot and people in the US will probably be envious about the prices in the UK - just as we are about those $50 Acrolite deals. :D
You could also get a beat up set and get a new wrap and still spend way less than $1000.

 

veecharlie

Senior Member
Yeah, if you want a specific finish and brand, it can be hard. That's why I think it's best not to get hung up about only one exact set. I like old Premier drums (watch out if the shells are international, so that regular heads fit!) a lot and people in the US will probably be envious about the prices in the UK - just as we are about those $50 Acrolite deals. :D
You could also get a beat up set and get a new wrap and still spend way less than $1000.

those 3 kits are great deals! I'll better hide my wallet. lol.
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
I've never owned one but I have heard good things about them.
the kit itself yes, I was going into the shop to deposit for a Silverstar with reduced price (I still am repented to bring it home too as they don't make them anymore), the Silverstar sounds SO GOOD, except that the hardware is lower quality in my opinion.
Then I saw the Armory and I fell in love, I couldn't stop asking questions about it and I got it to try. Sounds very good! Maple/Birch is not my optimal choice, it's dry with short sustain like birch, but warm like maple. Weird mix, nevertherless, the details on the hardware was impressive, the floating tom system perfect and literally was convinced right away.

The snare though, meh... the shop owner recommended me to keep it as a second snare, but even then lol nope.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Go down the used acrolite route far more versatile drum. I've been meaning to refurb mine for years and I've got a rare one. (One of the first 200 prototypes) acquired it by total fluke.

They are head and shoulders above the Tomahawk. Mapex do a snare swap in the armory series. If you don't like the Tomahawk you can swap it for another one in the armory range.

 
I've recently bought an armoury myself. I took the tomahawk with an m80 heavy snare dampener and listened to the guy at the store play it and I thought it made it sound so so much better. A dry, loud sound with just enough resonance. Might be worth giving it a go?
 
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