Some new Mapex gear in the hizzy. Haters R welcome.

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I recently joined a group and decided I'd like have a kit I could leave at the rehearsal studio. That way I can have a kit at home to practice with on my own. There has been some incredible sales on Saturn V exotic kits lately so I grabbed one seeing I'd had a Saturn IV kit for awhile and liked it. Sizes are 22x18, 10x7, 12x8, 14x12, 16x14. Finish is Cherry Mist (my fave of those offered). It's fine if you don't like the badges, sizes, or the Alpi veneer. I dig them. Here's some photos. View attachment 92063View attachment 92064View attachment 92065
I love this color, and I'm generally not a fan of two-tone shells. These have a certain demonic flare, however. Were I to descend to Hell to take on Satan in a drum-off, I imagine this is the set he'd be playing. I, of course, would be enshrined behind a kit of angelic white. He'd probably win. It's tough to out-drum Satan in his own studio.

I'm a Pearl guy, but Mapex makes quality stuff. Looks like you have a gem.
 

RickP

Gold Member
That is a nice looking kit - I like the finish and the black nickel hardware . The inner walnut ply really enhances the sound of those drums . Now is the inner ply vertical grain or horizontal grain ?
These Saturn drums remind me a lot sonically of the Noble and Cooley Horizon series except the Saturn has a bit more enhanced attack due to the walnut inner ply .
Mapex has had some great finishes regardless if the veneer it Alpi or not. The Orion Series has some crazy looking Birdseye maple veneer finishes .

One of the best sounding multi ply snare drums I have ever played was a Mapex Deep Forest walnut snare . It was the drum that piqued my interest in Walnut .

Does anyone know the differences between the various Mapex Saturn versions ? Are the shells different ?
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Hey Rick, You had me going there. I had to go look to see if the inner ply was vertical or horizontal. It's the latter. I can't speak to the details of the Saturn III series but I think, and don't quote me on this, the shells on the III's are the same as the IV and V but they don't have the Soniclear bearing edges. I'm not sure that's as big a deal as Mapex would like us to think. I had a Saturn IV kit and it sounded pretty much like this newer V version. The biggest difference to me is the 18" kick depth as opposed to the 20" That was just totally unwieldy as far as I was concerned. Also, when I first saw the finish on this kit at a Guitar Center in Las Vegas last September I was struck as to how stunning it was in person. It has this rich black cherry look to it that pics don't do justice.

It basically is what it is. An 1800-2000 kit that rivals some of the Tama, DW, Pearl, stuff in that same price range. It's definitely pro level. Sounds pretty good and looks good doing it. Thanks for the kind words.......... and BTW, I'd love to try one of those N&C kits someday. There's a Dire Straits concert video out where the drummer is playing one and it sounds killer! I've never even seen one.
 

RickP

Gold Member
The Dire Straights Drummer was Chris Whitten who also played with Paul McCartney .
Back to the Saturn kits - I was asking about the grain orientation because most companies use a horizontal grain orientation for their drum shells . I know Sonor uses a vertical grain orientation and since Sonor and Mapex are both owned by KHS I thought they might have a similar interior ply grain orientation.
I know Sonor microstitches vertical grain panels together for their vertical grain plies . They do such an excellent job of book matching that you cannot find the seams .

Darth I had the pleasure of chatting with Russ Miller for two hours in the hotel lobby and a cab ride at the last Chicago Vintage Drum Show and he told me a lot of interesting things about Mapex that really changed my impressions on Mapex . Mapex has a lot of things in the works that nobody knows about yet .
 
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Darth Vater

Senior Member
Yeah, that's him. I really like his playing. I think the concert video I saw was from somewhere in France. Phenomenal show. With Mapex, they aren't afraid to innovate that's for sure. I don't always like the end result but they try. Their China factory is ISO9001 so they're at least adhering to manufacturing standards. That Design Lab tom mount is novel but is pretty bulky looking. It's like a floating magnet or something. I just watched a couple Russ Miller videos. Man can that guy play. Just effortless brilliance. My Prolite kit is vertical grain. You're right I can't even see where the seam is unless I get in there like an ant. hehe
 

RickP

Gold Member
Attached is a picture of a perfect example of the great finish work Mapex is capable of . This finish was from their sadly discontinued Orion series . Greg Bissonette used a kit like this when he used to be a Mapex Endorser .
 

Attachments

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Attached is a picture of a perfect example of the great finish work Mapex is capable of . This finish was from their sadly discontinued Orion series . Greg Bissonette used a kit like this when he used to be a Mapex Endorser .
I thought that was your old PHX kit when I first glanced at it. Yeah, those Orions were sweet.
 

RickP

Gold Member
I thought that was your old PHX kit when I first glanced at it. Yeah, those Orions were sweet.
The Orion finish was the reason I had picked the finish I did on my former PHX Kit . I ended up selling the PHX Kit and fortunately did alright with the resale .

Going back to Mapex - when I spoke to Russ Miller I asked him about what happened to the Orion line and he mentioned that poor sales was one of the reasons for its demise . The Uber high end market is saturated with so many flagship models and there are only so many people buying them . Mapex decided to focus on the high end market with the Saturn kit which is a very good seller for them . Personally I think this is a great business decision on their part . KHS already has the Sonor line for the super high end stuff .
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
I recently joined a group and decided I'd like have a kit I could leave at the rehearsal studio. That way I can have a kit at home to practice with on my own. There has been some incredible sales on Saturn V exotic kits lately so I grabbed one seeing I'd had a Saturn IV kit for awhile and liked it. Sizes are 22x18, 10x7, 12x8, 14x12, 16x14. Finish is Cherry Mist (my fave of those offered). It's fine if you don't like the badges, sizes, or the Alpi veneer. I dig them. Here's some photos. View attachment 92063View attachment 92064View attachment 92065
All I can say is, "Wow," that is a beautiful set of drums. And perfect sizes.

I have to constantly fight my prejudice against Mapex drums. Despite hating the name, I bought one of the first Saturn Pro kits when Mapex first hit the streets. Despite having impeccable build quality, that kit sounded horrible.

They have certainly improved since.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Not usually a fan of fades, but this one looks fantastic. That Hendrix snare is quite dreamy as well.

How does it compare sonically to your Sonor Prolites? Does it compel you to play differently in any way? For instance, do you play jazzier or funkier on your Prolites, and more rock on your Saturns?

My Vistalites bring out a totally different feel in my playing. I definitely have more of a rock Bonham feel when playing them.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
I recently joined a group and decided I'd like have a kit I could leave at the rehearsal studio. That way I can have a kit at home to practice with on my own. There has been some incredible sales on Saturn V exotic kits lately so I grabbed one seeing I'd had a Saturn IV kit for awhile and liked it. Sizes are 22x18, 10x7, 12x8, 14x12, 16x14. Finish is Cherry Mist (my fave of those offered). It's fine if you don't like the badges, sizes, or the Alpi veneer. I dig them. Here's some photos. View attachment 92063View attachment 92064View attachment 92065
It's a nice looking set - I have to admit - I'm really not familiar at all with Mapex - I think the only person I've met that plays them is Russ Miller. Funnily enough - I do own one of their super inexpensive piccolos - 3x13 and honestly it's one of my favorite drums. I assume this sounds as good as it looks!!!
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Not usually a fan of fades, but this one looks fantastic. That Hendrix snare is quite dreamy as well.

How does it compare sonically to your Sonor Prolites? Does it compel you to play differently in any way? For instance, do you play jazzier or funkier on your Prolites, and more rock on your Saturns?

My Vistalites bring out a totally different feel in my playing. I definitely have more of a rock Bonham feel when playing them.
Regarding fades, totally agree. Not only that but I'm not a big fan of red drums period. There's just something about this finish that really stuck out to me. The Hendrix snare fits just perfect with this kit. Stave walnut. Which leads to your question about sonic differences. With the Saturn, think classic rock. To me walnut has always offered not only a lower fundamental but also less articulation than thin shell maple does. Maybe like older Jensen speakers compared to a set of JBLs is a good analogy. Saturns to me are great for blues, blues/rock, and straight rock. I use 2 ply heads (Remo Emp clear) on the batter side with Remo clear ambassadors as resos. I use different sticks with the Saturns too. Vater 5B wood tip. They are a bit thicker than the Vic Firth 5B wood tips I use with the Prolites. I play the Saturns in the vein of people like Simon Kirke and Marty Simon (Sharks w/Andy Fraser). Heavy english rock kick punch in the chest. Triplets and flams on the lower toms are big fun. This is a bar kit to beat the band!

Prolites I use clear ambassadors top and bottom. To me they are the swiss army knife of drums. Funk, pop, rock etc etc. Excellent articulation at any volume. I truly believe that you can't go wrong with thin shell maple w/re-rings especially Sonor stuff. I regard my Prolites as my finesse kit. More of a show band, prog rock, pop type of kit. I run them wide open, no muffling and they SING! Snare is a Sonor Phonic Reissue D515 PA 14x5.75 heavy beech, rosewood veneer in and out for a total of 12 plies. Articulation is fierce at all tunings as is the crack. I play these more along the lines of Andy Newmark (yeah, yeah, I know he plays Yamaha RCs) and Art Wood (Gary Wright). More of a studio approach if you will. You can hear what I mean with the Sonor Prolite promo vid w/ Gavin Harrison. And no I'm not saying I can play like that. He's not human if you ask me. :cool:

 
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