I have been reviewing Mapex Drums over the past few months, and that has made me realize just how much there is to discover about some manufacturers.
The Saturn series, in which Mapex Saturn IV belongs, is one of the company’s main products. If you have been using Mapex drums, then you know this is one of their higher-end drum set. In this review, I will be looking at the features that make these drums unique.
About the Mapex Saturn IV Shell Pack
Mapex introduced to the market its new Saturn Pro line of drums at the beginning of the new millennium. This series quickly became a major player on the market, offering immense benefits for those who needed something extraordinary. After five years, the rebranded their products, giving birth to the Saturn series. And for the many years that followed, the pro-level drums have gone through different rebranding and re-engineering levels to meet user’s needs.
Today, their fourth incarnation, Saturn IV, is making the same mark across the globe. They are pitched just below the Mapex’s flagship Orion series, occupy the second place slows in the
Mapex rankings. In other words, owning a Mapex Saturn IV shell pack is a great way to achieve professional drumming. They are constructed with the best materials and top-notch sound configuration. Mapex is a wonderful company in terms of creating affordable drum sets with top-quality construction. Their products offer long-lasting benefits.
Mapex has been focusing on great innovation in their drums, ensuring users get everything they need from every drum set.
For my review, I order a new four-piece shell pack with a Deep-Water Ash Burl finish. The drums come from the Mapex MH Exotic Edition, bearing black-chromed hardware. The finish is quite impressive all the way from the drums to the hardware.
Contrary to the normal Saturn finishes, the MH Edition features a selection of wraps (including two sparkles), transparent lacquer, and sports chromed hardware.
My 529x shell pack comes configured with 10-inch by 8-inch and 12-inch by 9-inch rack toms, a 14-inch by 14-inch floor toms, and an undrilled 22-inch by the 18-inch bass drum.
The suspended toms hang from the supplied resin-type mounting clamps. Even so, Mapex also offers the option of a ‘Free-floating’ bass drum mounting kit that has special rails attaching to the topmost lugs.
The kit comes with the classic maple/walnut hybrid build common with the Saturn series’s drums. The first Saturn drum came with a mix of maple/basswood, but they changed it in favor of the new finishes.
These shells are, therefore, similar to more recent models. However, the new Saturn IV series comes with a complete facelift. They include all pieces of metalwork re-modeled, re-created, and enhanced.
You can notice most of these changes almost immediately. For instance, the Mapex “M” badge is present, where others are more subtle. The best, and ironically, the smallest change is the reduced lug size. They are now sleek and slender.
The edges have been smoothly contoured, a similar approach to the Black Panther kits and snares. The steel straps which straddle the lugs of the floor toms are no longer there. Instead, they come with floor tom legs that have sprung rubber feet for easy stage isolation.
Another big improvement is the presence of the new SONIClear rack tom mounts. This is has become common in most of the latest Mapex drums. The usual ‘rims’ types have been eliminated,and the drum is no longer suspended from the tension bolts.
The system comes with a T-shaped diecast bracket featuring a steel insert that easily attaches to two lugs’ underside, specially designed for the job. The bracket size has not changed for each drum, but the insert’s length is a bit different. It changes based on the distance between the lugs.
Each of the four drums come built with the highest materials. And this one thing that set Mapex aside from other brands. You can see this from the inside of the drums were a smoothly finished rich brown walnut grain construction greats the user. The outside comes with the most outstanding visual banquet represented by the lush ‘Deep Water Ash Burl.’ The result is a stunning drum set that produces amazing sounds just as it is beautiful.
The toms glitter under the gorgeous grain look. Even though it is the kick that reveals the full impact of such finishes, you can see it other drums as well, which is quite recommendable for Mapex
The first impression I got of this kit was as though it was staring into a watery pool where the sand has been pulled aside from gentle waves.
One thing about Mapex is that they never compromise with quality. These drums are made from the highest quality timber on individual shells, as well as the hardware.
Each piece has been beautifully crafted without any evidence of sharp or rough edges. The same standard is evident in the contoured lines of the kick claws. As if that is not enough, the tuning bolts and the rubber gaskets have been added, helping to avoid rattles,
The black-chrome plating adds class and luxury to each drum, creating an overall wonderful touch. Every aspect of these drums is designed to ensure you are experiencing the best sounds in any drum.
I thought it was only the looks that were impressive on these drums, but when I started playing them, I realized there was still a lot to discover. Remo’s heads are pre-fitted on each drum of these Mapex products. The Taiwanese factory has ensured easy setting up of the drum setup.
They come with a provided 13-inch Mapex Black Panther snare. It has also included Mapex hardware to fit the standard of the shell packs. The stands all up, and the telescoping bass drum spurs extends to five notches on their built-in gauge.
This feature elevates the stands slightly to the front of the drums. The floor toms’ lugs are easy to install, too, as they are locked well by clamps. The memory locks seem over-engineered since the clamps already have ample grip.
It does not take long to attach the SONIClear mounts at the top of the bracket. The lower section makes things even easier by simply resting on a rubber stop. I had to raise the whole drum before lowering it into place, as opposed to holding the drum in my hands using the mount.
Once you get used to the routine, everything falls into place quickly. I did not find any issues with the tuning, which was smooth and extremely quick. You can even do the same on the suspended toms while on the mounts already. And if you want, this design may allow you to change the heads without pulling everything down first.
The toms will adjust easily and freely at any time you feel like changing. You can create anything from a low rock pitch to a tune for a jazz player. There is not much hustle in getting everything in place.
This kit makes you feel the power from any position. Even if you set them to recline back into the drumthrone, there is still that bounty of power every drummer expects from a high-quality drum set.
The 10-inch toms did not seem like they would give me much from the start. But when I started playing them, everything fell into place.
I could not have noticed any overtones if I did not search keenly. They are well controlled by an overall dry but rich and crystal-clear tone.
The 14-inch floor tom did not disappoint either. It offers a specifically robust and powerful punch, just like the suspended toms. They are given more boost at the bottom-end with the duo-ply Emperor batters and the maple/walnut shells.
My first impression of the Mapex drum was generally not very positive. But after trying out these shells, I could see what some of the most popular drummers use them.
The kick has packed an incredible punch as well. It has a surprising well-controlled on the resonance, which creates a low-end oomph without too much boom.
This should come as a surprise any drummer, considering there is so little done in terms of dampening. What you see is only in a small amount from the internal perimeter ring of the Remo Powerstroke-3. And yet, it impactful enough for the job.
The drum is very powerful, yet fully in control, which is one of the reasons I would recommend this product to any professional player drummer.
Where is Mapex Drums Made?
Mapex Drums are made in Taiwan by one of the most experienced manufacturers. They drum sold across the globe at an affordable price.
Once again, I find myself in the presence of the unique drum set. Mapex Saturn IV will excite both drummers and sound studio engineers. Apart from the real head-turner finishes, these drums sound great both in live gig and studio. These offer an inherent dryness and rich sound that will easily cloud your mix if you tune them skillfully.