Mapex Saturn lV - drum nirvana??

pearlygates

Gold Member
Okay, anyone that knows me, knows that I am a frugal person.. they would also testify to the fact that I'm always wheeling and dealing gear.. Be it, mountain/road bikes, cars and more pertinent here..drums.

I always try to find the best bang for the buck usually taking something middle of the road and trying to hotrod it into a more useable state.
Where cars were concerned, it was buy cheap and sell high. Bikes were/are the same philosophy. Drums.. well..drums are more for aesthetics as well as sonic displacement.

Over the years, I have had a countless number of low, mid and higher end drum sets. Some I liked and others passed through my hands within days or weeks.
I recently came into a bit of disposable cash and decided to make an investment in some better gear. Out of character for the most part, but being an active drummer and having the means, my wonderful wife pressed me to go a bit bigger this time and try to perhaps.. just perhaps find a kit and stick with it. Knowing my tendencies, I knew that that whole concept was a fail at first breath. But I went along with it to appease the wife (wink wink)

My first purchase was a Pearl Masters MCX. Having played Pearl drums most consistent over the past 20 tears or so.. I figured that this was gonna be it. I had played a friend's MCX several times and liked them a lot! I didn't care for his tuning preference, but the drums were of excellent quality.
Surely I could get a kit such as this to fit my style and desired sonic needs.
I tried like HELL to love this kit. Different tunings, head swap etc, but for whatever reason, I could not get the volume and projection I wanted. I know, strange to say the least.

Skipping a kit here, I started to look closer at Pearl's Session Studio Classic series. I actually had one on order after playing the kit at a local drum shop.
A delay in shipping due to ice storms down south gave me some time to rethink this and take the SSC into the lab and do some comparisons. I went back to the local shop as the SSC I had paid for, sat down south awaiting the city to thaw and UPS to start rolling once again. The shop had a few kits set up. One being a Ludwig Classic maple and the others the SSC I originally played on and a Mapex Saturn lV. Going back and forth between the three kits, it was an easy out for the Luddies. No offense here, but they just didn't have the complexity that if I was gonna be laying out over a grand for shells, I darn well wanted.
The SSC was a fine sounding drum set, but almost muted compared to the Mapex Saturns. I had never been a big fan of Mapex, although a few Mapex kits have made their way through the drum cave over the years. Just nothing like the Saturn lV. At this point it came down to value. Granted, I had enough money to buy what I wanted without too much worry, but some of that previously required frugality rose to the surface. The Pearls were offered for around $1300 for the 4 piece shell pack (no snare) The kit I had sitting ensconced in ice down south was a bit more as I went for the matching snare drum and extra floor tom. I am, by nature a less is more kinda fellow when it comes to drum configs. Normally 1up, 1 or 2down..so the extras on the paid for SSC were just that..extras.

Well, I walked away that day knowing that the deal on the SSC was probably going to be snuffed. I didn't know quite enough about Mapex to make a decision, but I knew that there was something different and special about those drums. It wasn't until I started nosing around the internet that same day that I made the deal. I found a Saturn lV 3 piece, 1up, 1down with no snare drum in red blue hybrid sparkle for a grand with a 10% discount and free shipping from the online dealer, I used the savings and grabbed a Saturn lV 14x6.5 snare drum as well. All said and done $1190.00 After placing my order, I went back to the local shop to grab some sticks and a few hardware pieces as I try to give the local shop some love as well.

So I have had my Saturn lVs for just under a month and I cannot find anything that I don't like about them. Nothing. Believe me, I nit frickin' pick!
They are punchy, complex in tonality, tune effortlessly, look awesome and fit my desired sound and style of playing. People that know me think I won't have these long enough to take delivery of the 14" floor tom I ordered (4-6 month wait time) I don't know. I'm willing to bet that this kit will be with me for a long time. So, I ask myself.. Have I reached drum nirvana?

Oh yeah. I still have the MCX. Looking to re home it though. Strange.
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incrementalg

Gold Member
Nice write up and pics too! I'm in the market for my first kit in years. I've tried a ton of great stuff...Gretsch, Ludwig, Pearl, Tama, Yamaha...etc. I keep coming back to the Saturns. They sound fantastic, great fit and finish and great pricing. I'm leaning toward the Saturns more and more.
 

Pass.of.E.r.a.

Gold Member
That's fantastic, I'm glad for you!

It's almost refreshing to hear a story where someone actually goes out and tries the prospective kits! Haha.

That's a beautiful looking kit, and having played on a few Saturns before, I know it's a great sounding kit too! Just make sure you're showing off that badge though, or else!! ;)

What are the specs on your MCX?

-Jonathan
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
It's always refreshing to hear that someone has found what they're looking for. Very pretty kit.

Peace and love.
 

gish

Senior Member
Beautiful kit. I own a previous generation Saturn kit, so I know exactly what you're talking about. Congrats, and enjoy those drums!
 

pearlygates

Gold Member
Thanks for the comments guys..

I am a pretty tough critic on my gear whether it be drums or bikes. I just believe it should perform or at least have some capacity for improved performance.

With stock REMO heads, the Saturns are very inspiring to play. Don't know what, if any improvements can be made sans my own skill level! Lol
 
Beautiful drums ! I also play Saturn IV's ( granite sparkle ) they are by far the best drums I have ever had, and will be keeping them forever. I have a 22,12,14F and 16F and I'm using a Pork Pie BBS snare...
love your set up ...keep on rockin!!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm surprised the other companies aren't copying Saturn's formula. The inner ply of walnut is a grand slam. It's supporters are almost rabid, that says a lot.

Sticks was right.
 

pearlygates

Gold Member
That's fantastic, I'm glad for you!

It's almost refreshing to hear a story where someone actually goes out and tries the prospective kits! Haha.

That's a beautiful looking kit, and having played on a few Saturns before, I know it's a great sounding kit too! Just make sure you're showing off that badge though, or else!! ;)



-Jonathan

Hey Jonathan.. Thanks for the cool reply! I wanted to get this right. With my wife kinda being the instigator of this little excursion, I wanted to try to find THE kit. I will no doubt continue to wheel and deal drums, but this drum set is oddly not like all the others to me. It opened my mind to Mapex as a company and showed be (I believe) that there is a drum set that can tic all the boxes for me. Nirvana? Let's just say, I can't wait for rehearsal tomorrow.
 

pearlygates

Gold Member
Beautiful drums ! I also play Saturn IV's ( granite sparkle ) they are by far the best drums I have ever had, and will be keeping them forever. I have a 22,12,14F and 16F and I'm using a Pork Pie BBS snare...
love your set up ...keep on rockin!!
Strange for me to admit this..I've been at this crazy sport of drumming for 3 decades.. but, I have to echo that these are the finest sounding drums I have ever played. It's inspiring when the instrument becomes an extension of you.
Thanks Mapex!

I'm surprised the other companies aren't copying Saturn's formula. The inner ply of walnut is a grand slam. It's supporters are almost rabid, that says a lot.

Sticks was right.
Yep, Glen knew what he was talking about. He's been preaching at the church of Mapex for years.. I just never listened. My ears were the proof. You sit behind this kit, and you can FEEL them.
 

rustynuts

Senior Member
Beautiful drums ! I also play Saturn IV's ( granite sparkle ) they are by far the best drums I have ever had, and will be keeping them forever. I have a 22,12,14F and 16F and I'm using a Pork Pie BBS snare...
love your set up ...keep on rockin!!

Same here, granite sparkle, 8, 10, 12, 16 and 22. Love these drums and everything about them. Have the 14 inch floor tom on order, though I'm not sure I really need it.

Congratulations, hope you still like them that much five years from now.
 

pearlygates

Gold Member
Same here, granite sparkle, 8, 10, 12, 16 and 22. Love these drums and everything about them. Have the 14 inch floor tom on order, though I'm not sure I really need it.

Congratulations, hope you still like them that much five years from now.

Thanks.. I'm heading to rehearsal in a few hours. Goin hard on the Saturns!
 

King Tiger

Senior Member
That's a nice set-up you got there pearlygates. I ALMOST bought a Saturn IV in that exact color. I can't recall anymore why I didn't buy them, but I do remember they sounded fantastic and the guys who own them swear by them. Looks real good, nice cymbals, too. Congrats.
 

petrez

Senior Member
Very nice kit, I believe I commented on it in your thread over at the Pearl forum as well. And a cool story to go with it :). I can see why some people think that Saturns get a bit too much attention though, as they're clearly spoken highly about everywhere on forums. But it might be a big reason that a lot of the buyers didn't expect it to perform that well, given the price and the general reputation of Mapex drums (at least around my part of the world, almost everybody think of Mapex as a budget line only, at least the ones that don't own or have played a high-end kit from Mapex themselves). So the ones that give them a change might feel stronger about the need to preach about them.... At least that was the way I felt about Meinl earlier, when they where pretty unknown here in Norway and they costed almost half the price of the big companies in the late 90's/early 2000's.

I own the Saturn IV's myself, just got a 8x7" for it (setup: 2x 22x18", 8x7", 10x9", 12x10", 14x14", 16x16", Cherry Mist Rosewood finish). Thought about maybe adding a 13x10" later, I prefer to use 3 rack toms, but I might change it up to use either 8-10-12 or 10-12-13. I might have to order it soon though, as it seems like the new Saturn V's are out, and the IV's might soon be hard to get addons to...

My story was that I got a Black Panther Black Widow kit just 5-6 months before I got the Saturns, and thought the BP kit was all I ever wanted. It was a good allround kit, but soundwise, the Saturns offered so much more, to my ears. More of my desired sound. I play only heavy metal and beyond at the moment, and the Saturns perform excellent for that. So I lost a bit of money when I sold the BP kit shortly after, but that's the way it is...
 

pearlygates

Gold Member
That's a nice set-up you got there pearlygates. I ALMOST bought a Saturn IV in that exact color. I can't recall anymore why I didn't buy them, but I do remember they sounded fantastic and the guys who own them swear by them. Looks real good, nice cymbals, too. Congrats.
Thanks.. I've been through a few kits recently. I have to say that these drums inspire my playing. Wonderful sounding drums to me!

Congratulations on the kit. I have the older generation, they're always a blast to play.
Thanks.. My Saturns are happily part of the family. Impressed straight out of the box.
Very nice kit, I believe I commented on it in your thread over at the Pearl forum as well. And a cool story to go with it :). I can see why some people think that Saturns get a bit too much attention though, as they're clearly spoken highly about everywhere on forums. But it might be a big reason that a lot of the buyers didn't expect it to perform that well, given the price and the general reputation of Mapex drums (at least around my part of the world, almost everybody think of Mapex as a budget line only, at least the ones that don't own or have played a high-end kit from Mapex themselves). So the ones that give them a change might feel stronger about the need to preach about them.... At least that was the way I felt about Meinl earlier, when they where pretty unknown here in Norway and they costed almost half the price of the big companies in the late 90's/early 2000's.

I own the Saturn IV's myself, just got a 8x7" for it (setup: 2x 22x18", 8x7", 10x9", 12x10", 14x14", 16x16", Cherry Mist Rosewood finish). Thought about maybe adding a 13x10" later, I prefer to use 3 rack toms, but I might change it up to use either 8-10-12 or 10-12-13. I might have to order it soon though, as it seems like the new Saturn V's are out, and the IV's might soon be hard to get addons to...

My story was that I got a Black Panther Black Widow kit just 5-6 months before I got the Saturns, and thought the BP kit was all I ever wanted. It was a good allround kit, but soundwise, the Saturns offered so much more, to my ears. More of my desired sound. I play only heavy metal and beyond at the moment, and the Saturns perform excellent for that. So I lost a bit of money when I sold the BP kit shortly after, but that's the way it is...
Thanks for the nice words.
I ordered a 14x14 floor tom and might consider the 10x8. Yeah, Saturn 5 are out now and it will be 4-6 months until I get my hands on the floor tom for my kit.. I'm waiting. I have an MCX I picked up recently that I'm gonna give another chance with getting it to sound right. Short of that, the Pearls will be slotted for the dust bin (jk) No. Probably sell them though. The Saturns have performed so much smoother than the MCX in my taste test. The out of box experience just shows a clear commitment to quality and smart drum building is in your face when you open the box. One I got the kit out of the boxes and threw a quick tuning and sat down to play. It was on for me. Really enjoying all the unique, almost signature tone, timbre and sustained note resonance of this drum set. Brilliant drums Mapex.. A new fave and part of the family. Cool, that they beat out the Black windows. THAT's a HOTT sounding maple kit!

There is something unique and very pleasing about Mapexs' way of making drum shells. Saturn lV is just a joy to play for me. Don't really know how to put that without it sounding shilly or total fanboy. I now am from the belief in playing what makes me wanna play more.
 
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rustynuts

Senior Member
Thanks.. I've been through a few kits recently. I have to say that these drums inspire my playing. Wonderful sounding drums to me!


Thanks.. My Saturns are happily part of the family. Impressed straight out of the box.

Thanks for the nice words.
I ordered a 14x14 floor tom and might consider the 10x8. Yeah, Saturn 5 are out now and it will be 4-6 months until I get my hands on the floor tom for my kit.. I'm waiting. I have an MCX I picked up recently that I'm gonna give another chance with getting it to sound right. Short of that, the Pearls will be slotted for the dust bin (jk) No. Probably sell them though. The Saturns have performed so much smoother than the MCX in my taste test. The out of box experience just shows a clear commitment to quality and smart drum building is in your face when you open the box. One I got the kit out of the boxes and threw a quick tuning and sat down to play. It was on for me. Really enjoying all the unique, almost signature tone, timbre and sustained note resonance of this drum set. Brilliant drums Mapex.. A new fave and part of the family. Cool, that they beat out the Black windows. THAT's a HOTT sounding maple kit!

There is something unique and very pleasing about Mapexs' way of making drum shells. Saturn lV is just a joy to play for me. Don't really know how to put that without it sounding shilly or total fanboy. I now am from the belief in playing what makes me wanna play more.

Completely understand what you're saying. Throughout my day I will constantly wander into the drum room and sit down with them, even if it's only for a few minutes, just to hear them.
 

rustynuts

Senior Member
This is mine shortly after I brought them home. It's about the best shot I could get since they are set up right against the wall but I'm trying to empty out the room so they can be moved out a bit.
 

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