I was recently looking online for some information about the Saturn Pro drum kit from Mapex, but could
not find much. However, a few of my buddies had told me that this was one of the best drum set on the market today. And so, I went ahead and ordered one. For this review to work, I need to have a first-hand experience of how it feels like to play drum from one of the biggest manufacturers today.
What inspired me, even more was one post on the drummworld.com website. The post states, “I recently got a new Mapex Saturn Pro. I don’t know too much about, other than the fact that it uses the same maple material as the current Mapex Saturn .
I want to know if anyone knew a little more about it, such as what is a good price for I, compared to the price I paid for it ($700) ….” Well, if you have the same issues, you have come to the right place.
What is the best drum set?
Choosing the right drum set for your genre is one step towards getting the best performance. Unfortunately, this may not be so easy because there is a wide range of drum sets on the market today.
The first thing you should look for in a drum set the brand. You need to trust that what you are getting is the highest quality product, only from a reputable manufacturer.
Among the best drum companies are Gretsch, DW, Pearl, and Yamaha. Mapex drums also feature among the biggest names around.
The next factor to consider is your music style. If you are a rock player, you will need a drum set made for this genre. And if you play jazz, then you are looking for something more subtle and responsive.
Drums have greatly evolved over the years. This is why you will get drums of different sizes, depending on how you want to use them.
For touring drummers, the last thing you want is a heavy, bulky drum set. Consider, therefore, looking for something smaller but durable.
What material is your drum set made from, both on the shells and the top? Maple and Birchwood feature on higher-end shells. Poplar, on the other hand, is more common on cheaper, affordable drum sets.
Where Are Mapex Drums Made?
I have come across this question so many times, about the quality of Mapex drums and where the company is situated. Some can only guess that it is either a Chinese or a USA company.
So, what is the truth about this great brand?
Mapex started making drums in 1989. The brand name is owned by the KHS factory, which is one of the largest companies manufacturing musical instruments. The factory’s main location is in Tianjin, North China.
The headquarters of Mapex drums in Taiwan, but the product is made in China. The majority of its marketing is done in the USA.
In terms of quality, Mapex is not a brand to joke with. It even beats Tama and Pearl, according to what many experienced drummers have noted. Note also that many of Pearl and Tama’s drums are manufactured in Taiwan. Sonor’s drums come from China.
Mapex is a bit different from the other two because it touches on many regions. Also, it has been a globally recognized brand on the grounds of its quality.
Mapex Saturn Pro Series
Mapex launched the Saturn Pro series of drums at the turn of the new millennium. Over the years, this high-end product line has evolved, marking the beginning of the Saturn series.
These pro-level drums have gone through different re-definition and re-engineering, giving birth to their fourth incarnation.
The Saturn series is generally pitched immediately under the flagship Orion line. It holds the second rank in Mapex ranking.
Mapex is, without a doubt, a very innovative company. They have a wide range of solutions in the Mapex Saturn Pro line designed to meet any drummer’s needs.
They also come in different finishes for unique selections. The drums I have comm from Mapex MH Exotic edition, which include black-chromed hardware.
I ordered a four-shell pack for this review, consisting of 10 by 8-inch and 12 by 9-inch rack toms, a 14 by 14-inch floor tom, and an undrilled 22-inch by the 18-inch bass drum. It comes with suspended toms that hang from the resin-style mounting clamps offered.
You can also choose to use the ‘Free-floating’ bass drum mounting kit, which settles astride special rails on the top lugs.
The popular maple/walnut hybrid construction has been retained. This is contrary to the first Saturns, which came with a mix of maple and basswood. Maple/basswood is better, both in sound and quality. Therefore, most of the modern shells you will find in this series are similar.
However, certain lines within the series have been given a complete facelift. Consider the Saturn IV series, for instance, which now includes a redesigned metal works on every piece.
There are different sizes of and configurations within the Saturn Pro series too. For instance, my kit came with a black lacquer finish and red rims, which defines its quality.
The bass drum is 24-inch. It features as Reso hoop, finished with a Transparent Red Lacquer. Conclusion this is a two-tone effect that features the old Mapex endorser, although they started appearing on the market recently.
Another great feature of these drums is that they feature a unique shell configuration with 6-ply and 5.1mm shell toms. The inner two-ply layer is made from walnut, while the outer is made from maple. The bass drum also bears an 8-ply, 6.5mm configuration on the shells.
These features ensure you get a deep rich tone, and with plenty of power. Mapex has tried to make sure that the user enjoys what they are offering, and it is working pretty well.
Some of the improvements made on the modern Saturn drums are pretty obvious. For instance, the new Mapex ‘M’ badge is a little subtle. Also, they come with a reduced lug size, making them sleeker and slender.
Smooth contouring on the edges, similar to what you see on the Black Panther kits and snare, tells of a great improvement too. The steel straps have been eliminated.
The design of the new SONIClear rack tom mounts is among the major improvements in their design. This means the drum does not come suspended from the tension bolts. Instead, the system features a T-shaped die-cast bracket with a steel insert that attaches to two specially made lugs. The bracket has not changed on each drum; only the insert length is altered depending on the distance between the lugs.
In a nutshell, the built of these drums has been designed to the highest quality of construction. You can see this right from the inside on the smooth finishes of the rich walnut grain, as well as the outside where the magic can be seen.
The toms look great too, but it is the kick that stands out the most. And this quality is not only in the timber of the individual shells but also on the hardware. Everything has been set in the right place for the best performance.
Each drum is fitted with Remo heads, which lets the drummer crack up the kit’s best setting.
All stands are the best quality, and the telescoping spurs on the bass drum are extended to five notches on the internal gauge. This makes the front drum seem a bit elevated.
The legs on the toms are locked in place using clamps and memory locks.
With the SONIClear mounts, setting the toms in place is extremely easy. They simply rest on a rubber stop, which also compels you to lift the whole drum and lower it into position.
Once you have everything nicely set like this, the setup flows smoothly. There was no hustle in the tuning, which I found to be extremely easy. You can do it on the suspended toms, while in position.
Now to the sound, you can feel the bounty of power and attack with a strong low-end on the tom. They give out a huge amount of air.
It does not produce many overtones, and any that might appear is controlled by an overall dry and rich tone. And the kick does not disappoint either. And you don’t even need to dampen them, yet they still deliver a sweet low-end oomph without too much boom.
Generally, these are drums that could offer you a unique experience. And I am quite sure any drummer will find them satisfying. They are great for both live gigs and studio setups.
Mapex Saturn Pro Gold Badge
I have tried out the Mapex Saturn Pro Gold Badge five-piece drum kit that has a snare, and I must admit they sound really nice. It came with a natural matte in color Mapex Saturn Pro series Gold badge with chrome hardware. They have a Remo hole in the front, except for the bass.
The Mapex Saturn Pro drum kit is everything you may need for a great drumming experience. It comes from the higher-end line, which means you might need an upgrade. But these features don’t come cheaply.