Mapex has been made a lot of impact on the market with its affordable drum kits. The Mapex M series is one of their best products for low to mid-level drums..
I recently came across this post on PearlDrummersforum, ‘I was looking for a new kit, either a Premier Cabria or Pearl Exports, while I decided to stop into Cash Converters. Well, in the front, there was this kit, mint condition, not even a stick mark on the heads. It was priced at $550!!! So, I took it right away.”
This is one of the drum set from the Mapex M series. For the photos, and the comments that followed, I took into an interest in reviewing it.
So, I ordered one.
Mapex M Series Review
I normally don’t review any drum kit unless I think it is really worth it. This kit has what it takes to appear on the list of best drums.
Before acquiring this kit, I researched Pearl, Sonor, Gretsch, Tama, Mapex, and a bunch of other drum brands. Well, I had never really been fun of Mapex, and most online reviews were not helping much.
My initial thought was to go for the Pearl Export, but it did not look very appealing to me, and it was really cheap. The next kit I almost got was the Tama Rockstar Custom, but I did not have enough to hit its price. And then the Mapex M series came into play, offering great features at an affordable price. It came as a 5-piece I set with almost everything I needed to start playing.
This drum kit is the best at this price range. Most similarly priced kits feature crappy finishes, and they are not impressive in terms of sound production.
The sound from the kit is surprisingly nice. I compared with the standard Pearl Export I had been using for a while and found this to be much better.
Mapex is has been operating on the market for more than 18 years now. They, therefore, have the best experience to offer modern drummers with everything they need.
The team that creates these drums is music lovers, mostly drummers who understand what it takes to get good sound from drums. Everything that comes with the Mapex M series is designed for high-quality performance. For instance, the Fusion tom sizes are a little deeper than mores sets, and hence, they sound deeper.
The product I received was a Mapex M birch that came with an excellent kick drum and tom setups. You can replace this if you don’t feel comfortable with them.
Birch is a classic drum material that went out of the market for a while after more exotic woods came into place. Luckily, the wood was not the kind to go out silently.
Over the past few years, it has come up stronger and even more popular. Many professional drummer have come to appreciate the kit. The Mapex M Birch series comes in as a replacement for the old M Series range, and the sporting birch shells. The kits are available in a wide
range of high-gloss lacquered finishes, Standard packs are available in the comprehensive hardware packs. These kits also have a few features you will find in the higher ranges of Mapex.
Dial M for Birch
From the name, it’s easy to assume the shells are made entirely of birch. However, the outer layer of ply is maple. This is a normal approach where companies mix up woods as they try to create unique sounds from their drums. In this case, maple is a technic that has gained a lot of favor with manufacturers.
Why use different wood? The reason is simple; it is faster and easier to apply the lacquer coats to the maple, more than it is for birch.
This is important when economies of scale are factored in. The competition is quite fierce, and yet users are expecting better features at lower prices. Manufacturers are resorting to lateral-thinking solutions.My kit comes with a Midnight Black finish. It is quite had to find any fault with it, just like any other lacquer finish on the market.
It features a proper gloss application, while the grain of wood retains a smoky view under the coats. There are many other finishes, too, including Transparent Cherry, Honey Amber, Transparent Purple, Mustard Green, and Transparent Sapphire.
My kit was configured with a 22 by an 18-inch bass drum, 14 by 5 ½-inch snare, and 10 by 9-inch and 14 by 12-inch rack toms.
There are two other shell packs Mapex, market together with a more focused fusion kit carrying a 20-inch bass drum. The tomes and snares are retained as the classic, reliable rock-sized kit with 12-inch and 13-inch toms.
My kit also comes with Mapex’s 550 Series stands and pedals. The hardware also includes a throne.
The shells are eight plies in total, with an overall depth of 7.2mm. This chunky ply is less than I expected. The inside is not treated either. However, it has been nicely treated and cut at 45 degrees on the bearings.
The lugs are a bit low-mass examples, different from the normal ones. They are fixed to the shell with a single nut, though they are not as stubby as the common Mapex lugs.
The toms are held in place using ball and socket holders, which don’t get a wonderful job at this. It is an ingenious and discreet system that seemingly offers more resonance without penetrating the shell, or adding too much pressure on the drums.
The two bass drum mounted ball and socket holders come with a post located in the socket on the bass drum, and it penetrates the shell. There is nothing too unusual there. More expensive Mapex kits come with a pioneering plate mounted above the bass drum, inside of which is the tom post.
The M series Birch comes with quality materials, but its pricing means the company had to do some specific area economies. This is one such area. And it makes sense from the start because the company would have to count a loss if they were to include every feature.
The bass drum also comes with complimentary wood hoops and a pair of well-measured spurs. These components keep the set-in place while gigging.
I wouldn’t say I liked the claws on the bass drum, though. They are just not of good quality as most of the heavy-duty examples. Nevertheless, they still do a remarkable job. Besides, the pressed rims on the other drums ensure even tunings throughout your performance.
Finding a good quality drum set at this price range is not very easy. Mapex has proven once again that you can rely on their products for good sounds.
Relating to set up and sound
I must agree that Mapex has really tried building a reputation for themselves. The company’s stands and pedals, and other hardware pack
supplied come highly recommended. Double-braced tripods hold the stands in place, which includes memory locks where possible. The chain-driven hi-hat stand comes with an adjustable spring, a solid footplate, and a wide, swiveling tripod.
The snare stand is also impressive and functional, with a smaller trip spread to hold the pedals in place. There are two cymbal stands, one straight and the other boom, all strong and steady. They also feature cymbal rubbers by Mapex, known as OS Cymbal Accentuators.
Another good feature is the heavy tripod bass that makes the stool feel stable and steady in place. However, the cushion could use some more padding. The bass drum pedal is highly responsive, with a sturdy air around. A similar huge footplate is also found with the hi-hat, making it comfortable to play. Also, there is a nifty three-sided beater that offers wood, felt, or plastic areas.
One of the greatest facts about birch is its delivery of a mixture of high-end attack and bottom-end punch. And these drums are a good example of these sounds.
The bass is extremely good, offering deep and powerful notes that will easily take over the show. They are suitably rich and bassy, yet with a tautness to its response, that is quite pleasing. Despite having an enormous length, there is not much need for dampening.
The toms do not disappoint either. They produce clean and bright sounds without being too toppy, yet they are well rounded enough at the bottom to fill out without being diluted by the subwoofer sounds. Also, they come with such a superb projection, cutting through the stage sounds with easy flow.
There is no hassle in tuning the toms. And since the kit is supplied with a full quota of Remo’s heads, the drums are influenced to sound great. I did not feel the same authority as the snare. Even with the hardest whacks, it failed to deliver the rifle crack I needed. It comes with a woody clonk that is a bit disappointing. Even there is not much to expect at such a price range, yet this drum set beats many others.
Alternative: Mapex Pro M
If you are looking for something more substantial, yet with from Mapex line, I would suggest you try out the Mapex Pro M. These kits come with a free Black Panther snare. The thin maple shells feature a wide range of choice for high-gloss lacquered color – durable. They also sound much better.
Where is Mapex Drums Made
Mapex stands for Music And Percussion Excellence. It is a Taiwanese brand of musical instruments established by KHS Musical Instruments. The company has been operating since 1989, offering high-quality drum kits and hardware.
How to Identify Mapex Drums
Identifying Mapex Drums is quite easy. They come with a logo and specific finishes that are unique to the manufacturer.
Also, you can visit the brand’s website to see what collection they have. The online world is full of different drums, which can be confusing at times. But every company has specific features that set them apart. The Mapex logo has been carried in its name.
A majority of Mapex’s drum ranges come with maple shells. It is impressive that the company is turning its attention to birch. The Mapex M Birch features an outer layer of maple, which only contributes to its incredible sounds.
For the purpose of intention, this all-birch kit can be a good alternative for a high-end drum kit.