Mapex Horizon Birch’s line of drums came to replace the ‘Mars’ series as a step up from the Voyager series. And until last years, these drums changed the market for entry-level drum sets, especially where Mapex was concerned.
I have been using Mapex drums for quite a while now, and I understand what they stand for. This is why I had to do this review.
And it is not because I love the brand of anything, but Mapex has been leaving a lot of footprints on the market over the past few years.
The newer drums feature all-birch shells, whereas Horizon Birch ones included a Birch/Poplar hybrid.
They are widely available as advertised on major online stores. These drums are very affordable too, often coming at a street price of about US$550 for a five-piece shell pack.
To me, they look like an incredible value-for-money option. Besides, coming from Mapex, you can be sure of the quality of the drums.
I was going through some online comments about this drum set, and I was very impressed. Many of them agree that this is one of the biggest players in the market for high-quality entry-level drums sets.
One person from the Drummerworld online forum says, “I would say that general in the budget to mid-level kits, I would prefer the Mapex kits to Pearl … the Mapex mounting system allows for better tom resonance, better positioning options, and looks more professional. There is less intrusion on the bass as well …”
This could be the best summery of the Mapex Horizon drum kit. It comes with all the features that will make a drummer feel like they made the best decision investing in the kit.
The Mapex Horizon kit is perfect for a beginner seeking to upgrade their gear to better sounds. It can also work well for an intermediate drummer. Also, a professional drummer needs quality sounds without having to spend too much on a practice kit will find this option very fulfilling,
For the sake of this review, I got the Mapex Horizon HX drum kit.
The Horizon also features among the latest Mapex budget drum sets. It comes with an extensive makeover, and a good price too. You have two options with this kit. One is the Horizon HZ Wrap taking over QR after four long years. This one comes with a free cymbal pack. The other one is the Horizon HZB Lacquer, taking over the VXB after two years. It has an extra ‘free’ tom.
First impression and construction
They say you can tell a quality drum set right from its construction. And this Mapex drum kit is a good example of this.
The cheaper HX comes with three set-up configurations, each 500 series hardware, and cymbals. They are, therefore, complete sets; you can just start playing immediately.
All shells came with impressive red finish. Although it is a bit on the thin side and not as perfect as a sheet of glass, still functional, considering the price tag. It was even nicer than I expected.
It is almost clear that Mapex took a lot of effort and time to stem black before sanding them black down. You can set the deeper hints grains, a process that is more associated with higher-end products.
The chrome did not disappoint either. The plating is thin on most parts, covering a less than smooth area. This ends in a dull finish chrome. And it is visible in all chrome parts, except the four lugs on the rack toms.
The bass drums hoops are nice. But the overall metal parts are quite light and thin – not the best for any drum set. But then, I could not complain much about them based on affordability.
The shells and the hardware appeared a bit mismatched since the shell comes from a higher-priced product line.
My kit at the middle of three size configuration, bearing a 22-inch by 18-inch bass drum, 10-inch by 8-inch and 12-inch by 9 inch hanging toms, 14-inch by 14-inch floor toms, and matching wood 14-inch by 5.5-inch snare.
The shells are 7.2 mm, eight-ply made from basswood. The HZB comes with a more expensive birch-basswood hybrid shell.
Inside, each shell is smoothly finished with immaculate angled joins. But the low-quality of the timber shows the end-plies with fairly cut 45-degree bearing coarse.
I like the newly designed lightweight lugs, which are set on rubber gaskets and attached to the rubber with single bolds. This ensures minimum intrusion. Also, the telescopic bass drum mount of the two small toms makes it more attractive. You can use and extra cymbal arm by sticking it into the main post of the mount.
The toms are attached through two ball-and-socket L arms. They easily slot into receiver blocks bolted to the new Isolated Tom Holder System (ITS) brackets.
Metal on the bass drum hoops, rather than wood, is cut down the production cost. There are not many steel hoops in modern drums, but they are really strong, which is a big advantage.
With the newly designed 500 series hardware, the drum set is simply amazing. It comes with several features that take a notch down from the 700 series. They include newly-styled memory lock clamps and ergonomically contoured wing nuts, Multi-Sustain cymbal felts on each cymbal stands and hi-hat clutch and a snare stand.
The bass pedal features a chain drive system with a beater and interchangeable felt-plastic head. The hi-hat, on the other hand, has a larger tension adjuster.
Sound and feel
The basswood shells are much cheaper compared to the maple. But the now have a familiar made-in-China Remo UX single-ply heads.
These will easily give you a warm and resonant sound, imitating maple.
Still, they cannot compare to the quality sounds of maple, especially on the toms. They don’t have good quality and clarity, mostly because of the less than perfect bearing edges. They are hard to tune.
Toms also feature fruity overtones. But you should not be afraid of them if you are a new drummer or use it in schools.
Also, it features a full black bass drum logo head, while the batter head carries a perimeter damping ring. You may want to use some slight damping.
You will love the lively-lightweight snare. It only has eight lugs, which tends to deliver loose, crunchy sounds.
The cymbals are not the best quality. You may also want but new ones for this.
Overall, this is a pretty decent kit. And the hardware is satisfying too. It lets you mount everything with ease.
Frequently asked questions
Where Are Mapex Drums Made?
Mapex is a brand of KHS Musical Instrument. Its headquarters is in Taiwan, but the product is manufactured in China.
Are Mapex Drums Good?
Yes. When you consider their prices and quality compared to other drum sets at the same price range, Mapex drums are really good. Besides, Mapex is one of the biggest manufacturers today, having been around for more than 20 years.
Everything about the Mapex Horizon drum set checks in the right boxes for entry-level solutions. You can now enjoy the sounds.