I have been following up on the Mapex drum set over the past few years, and I must agree the company has really come a long way. The Saturn series is one of my favourite products.
When it comes to creating good drums, Mapex does not disappoint. The company mostly makes products for the lower end market. The Mapex Saturn Series has transformed into futuristic drums, beyond the recognition of Saturn Pro, its ancestry.
Value for Money
- Good sound
- Good quality
- Good value for money
I recently reviewed the Mapex Saturn IV, which now includes the same lugs as those found on the higher end, Black Panther. It also comes with nicely engineered Soniclear suspended mounts. Each of these features contributes greatly to a sleeker appearance and better resonance.
These developments have, without a doubt, take the series to another level. And there are other slightly more subtle refinements with the kit too, which makes it even better.
The Saturn series Specs Update 2023
The Saturn series is synonymous with the Mapex brand and has been a cornerstone of the line for decades. Saturn Maple/Walnut Hybrids set a new standard by revealing the potential of body-composite technology to produce rich, warm, fast-paced drums now woven into many modern music genres from live theatres and studios around the world.
For many enthusiasts, the Saturn is also known for its visual appeal, which in 2022 was taken to another level with the introduction of two new stunning faded colours.
Aqua Blue Fade features a light natural shade that turns blue and blue and evokes relaxing views of the crisscrossing of the ocean and the white sand waves of a tropical beach. Brilliant pale sulfur is a warm golden glow that emerges triumphantly from the darkened earth.
All of the innovative features of the Saturn series are retained, including the Sonicclear™ tom suspension system, a floor tom fit that maintains shell vibration to increase overall resonance, and low-contact bass drum claws.
The Sonicclear™ Bearing Edge profile on all Saturn toms and bass drums continues to ensure high-quality sound transmission from headstock to shell, reducing unwanted harmonic frequencies and delivering powerful fundamental sound. It also contributes to an easy tuning experience that serves to elevate the practical characteristics to match the high standards of sound and form of these great instruments.
When choosing a drum set, one of the most important things to consider is the build and design. And looking at the Mapex Saturn series, there is everything you would expect in a quality drum kit.
Mapex was mostly dealing with lower-end products, for budget-concerned buyers. But now they are making a mark on the higher-end market as well.
The first thing you will notice on the brand new four-piece Mapex Saturn V shell pack is the mouth-watering Exotic Natural Maple Burl finish.
They are called Exotic ‘Sound Wave’ drums for a reason, and they are just one of seven preconfigured sets on the market. According to Mapex, this description offers “balanced versatility in the ultimate shell pack for use with any and every music style.”
The kit I am reviewing here is configured with:
· ‘Short stack’ 10-inch by 7-inch and 12-inch by 8-inch rack toms
· 16-inch by 14-inch floor tom
· Portly-proportioned 22-inch by 18-inch kick
· A newly designed TH800 Soniclear suspended tom clamps.
Mapex has tried to keep up with Saturn’s traditional hybrid in construction. Hence, the shells are made from plies of American Rock Maple and Walnut. Then each drum is topped with a sumptuous layer of Natural Burl Maple veneer.
Burl grain offers a deep figuring on this drum, just as you would expect from any high-class piece of furniture. I loved the staggered seam, which runs diagonally at an angle of 45 degrees.
The Maple has four plies, which makes the shell construction a bit bulky. There are another two plies of walnut. The inner shell wall features a thin coating that feels very smooth when you touch. Also, each drum is finished with a complimentary black nickel plating.
The Mapex Drum Shell Pack
Considering these materials, and above all, the metal hard, the Mapex Saturn V is a perfect drum kit for modern drummers. It is designed for high-quality and offers long-lasting services.
The kit follows directly in the marks of Mapex’s Armory and Mar series, which makes one of the most significant upgrades. Its Soniclear bearing edge is, without a doubt, a wonderful component for any drum.
The inner edges are trimmed to 45 degrees for the rack toms and 60 degrees for the kick and floor toms. This is better than the usual sharp summit as it is a slightly rounded, flatted back-cut component, which comes out from the outer edge of the shells.
With this, the drums ensure greater contact between the head and the shell. Mapex says this is too coax as much depth from the drums. And it also helps in tuning.
Mapex has been focused on innovation and discovering better ways to make drumming more sensible for the modern drummer. And for them, this feature is a delicate balancing act between getting out as much resonance from the shells and reaching a fundamental tone from the shell.
The Soniclear rack tom clamps/mounts are another important feature that defined the Saturn V. The company has eliminated the usual two parts of the clamp and spiked resin ball and combined them into one using this bracket. The company says it helps the toms to resonate rather than the hardware absorbing the drums’ energy.
Generally, the Mapex Saturn V is an extremely beefy and robust piece of hardware, each weighing two kilos. With their design, they can fit a wide range of tube diameters, from 3/4- inch to more than 1-inch. They are also designed to help the user easily clamp them using only one hand, with the help of a spring. The springs hold the clap jaws open for the task.
Another great feature worth mentioning is perhaps the recess within the clamp itself. This feature allows the spoked portion to fold into it easily, and hence, it does not take up a lot of space.
The shell pack comes booted with the USA manufactured Remos all through, which is another quality factor that should make sense.
They come with taut tensioning, just like the usual standards. It is rare to find ones that are tuned already.
Now rolling the sleeves up, you may want to begin by slacking off the tension, bringing it back up gradually until to get the best spot. You want to make sure the shell and head vibrate in sympathy. It should not take you more than a minute to get the drums open and resonant. These are the easiest drums to tune I have ever come across; it is more like flicking a switch.
Taking the freshly tuned rack toms to the spikes of the Soniclear mounts it quite easy too. Using the new clamps proves quicker and more convenient than I had, though. It comes with extra-wide clamp jaws that will fit any diameter tubes of most stands. The resin balls fall into place to lock the drums into position with hardly any difficulty you would otherwise face with a winged bolt.
There is the “Memory-Mark’ gauge on the kick, which spurs and helps speed up things. All you need is one twist of the large rubber foot, and the sharp point of the spur spike is exposed. The kick will be “locked” to the surface of the stage you are playing on.
The biggest disappointment was that the spikes retracted. They felt as if they were completely loose and would not hold the components in place for long. At first, I thought it was all the rattling around. The drum is really big and weighty; hence, any worries about the kick sitting on the floor seem misplaced.
But it is not ready to give up just yet, so I continued playing around with the kit, just to get the right angle. I tried altering the tension of the batter heads on each of the toms. This significant reduction was in the hope of achieving a somehow downward pitch bend.
This mid-performance comes with many risks. But since I was putting my trust in the drums with the tuning components and head, the adjustments fell into place quite nicely. The kick came out more clearly with its stature, and Remo Powerstroke heads.
Tuning drum heads come to be hard and time-consuming. But with trial and error, you can be sure to find specific settings that put you on top of everything.
I tried reducing the tension of the butter just a small fraction from the winkle stage. The kick proved very useful in delivering the true meaning of the bottom end.
The rack toms may remain highly pitched. I could feel that they were a small fraction over the midpoint of their tuning range. They are a bit ballsy, too, producing a somewhat pleasant overtone.
I liked the downward pitch-bend that these drum heads possess. The lightning-quick response from the tight heads makes you feel like you have the best overall sounds for any drums on the market.
Not, however, that there is a clear line between getting the most profound sound while keeping the feel, the combination of shallow depth, good-quality in twin-heads, and the rounded bearing. All these components are crucial to creating the best sounds.
Generally, the drums sound professional. They are more than what beginner drum sets can offer.
The Tour comes in four finishes: Black Strata, Black Pearl, Vintage Sparkle, and White Marine. This is a three-piece setup made of varying sizes of bass drums, rack, and floor toms.
In terms of sound and configuration, it does not have much difference from the Mapex Saturn reviewed above. It is a high-end drum kit that produces incredibly wonderful sounds.
Where Are Mapex Drums Made?
Mapex Drums is one of the largest drum brands in the world. KHS Musical Instruments Company manufactures them in Taiwan.
The company has been operating in the industry for more than 18years. They have branches in other parts of the world, including the US, where they make some custom drum sets.
Mapex Drums have become popular with a large number of users today. If you have the budget, getting your hands on any Mapex Saturn can be a great investment. The drums are of good quality, though they are only shell packs.