Mapex V series drums are quite impressive. In fact, if you can make them sound the way you like, then there is no need to invest a lot of money in anything else.
Any Mapex drum that is on the market today is designed for a specific purpose. You can always feel like there is something special about these drums, which is one reason they have become extremely popular.
I came across some comments from A PearlDrummers Forum that got the best of my curiosity to review the series. It reads, “Honestly, due if you can make them sound the way you want, by all means, go for it. I agree with the idea of not wanting your nicer kit all banged up, especially if you are not handling it. I don’t trust anyone with mine … but it is a lower end kit, what does it matter, right? You can make any drum sound good as you want them too?”
And this got me thinking that sometimes you just need a nice cheap drum set. Hence,I decided to give the Mapex V series a review.
What makes the Mapex V series special?
The V-series comes as a replacement for the previous range of drums with the same name. They retain the same basic construction, but it looks and feels different.
It is done with a selection of sleek lacquer finishes that makes it stand out from other kits at the same price range. Also, the series market across the glove wrapped and lacquered finishes.
In the UK, however, Mapex has taken a bold step offering lacquered finishes only. And it seems the British drummer prefers lacquered to wrapped kits.
Other distinguishing features further spit the lacquer choice. They are, for instance, predominantly matt wax finishes.
Until recently, gloss finishes were more prevalent, which meant that matt wax or brushed finishes remained unnoticed.
However, modern drummers are finding looks very important when choosing their drum set too. And this leaves manufacturers to come up with different ideas to attract buyers.
The V-series is on point here. The companies seem to have perfect timing as the Wax Oak lacquer finish looks very attractive.
I recently order a Mapex V series drum kit for the sole purpose of reviewing them from eBay. I like Mapex with their speed of delivery. I could not imagine that it took less than a week to receive the kit.
The kit is quite portable and pretty handy. I was already familiar with proper tuning of a drum, and hence, did not take long to set it in the right spot.
Mapex drums are pretty easy to tune. I came to learn this as I tried to get the best sounds from the bass and the snare. The short bass drum measures 22-inch by 16-inch, yet it delivers a sweet deep kick. Well, I was working from my studio, so there was plenty of one resonance.
But before I continue with sound, let me first share a few features that I thought might make a lot of sense to any drummer.
Mapex V-Series drums are finished with Amber hue, which has a certain glow about it, even without gloss. And then there is a grain of wood that swirls elegantly beneath it. This is the kit I received, and it made me feel like it took too long for me to discover these drums.
There are other finishes, too, including Flat Black, Wax Aqua Marine, and Wax Cherry Red. There is only one gloss option, which is Plasma Black.
Mapex has achieved a great pursuit of lacquer further down the kit chain, which is pretty amazing. This drum kit is one step above the basic entry-level drums from the same manufacturer. And the idea of = lacquered finishes seems absurd, especially at this price range.
But it did not hit me as a big surprise as the idea of lacquer finishes has been penetrating the lower market rather rapidly. Even so, the standard of finish remains high.
Consumers have changed their demands and are now looking for quality but affordable products. Mapex realized this and tried to achieve different needs for its customers, as seen in this series.
The shells under the lacquer and build as before, from basswood. This is an economical substitute for maple that appears in many Mapex kits. And a fair amount of the wood has gone into the shells – they are nine-ply deep at a 7.2mm thickness. Basswood is not as strong as maple, which is why it is quite heavy. It may not sound as appealing as other wood types, but they are good enough to deliver the desired results.
The Mapex V series is made up of four shell packs – the usual suspects. My kit was configured with fusion sizes. These include 22 by an 18-inch bass drum, 14 by 14 ½- inch snare, and 10 by 8-inch, 12 by 9-inch, and 14 by 11-inch toms. This hell pack also comes with a 20 by the 18-inch bass drum.
The other options are classic rock kit with 22 by an 18-inch bass drum, 14 by 5 ½ -inch snare, 12 by and 13 by 10-inch toms, and 16 by 16-inch floor tom, and the nifty Voyager drum set.
If you are a jazz, dance, or crossover drummer, then this series is for you. It offers a combination of 8-inch and 10-inch toms, 12-inch floor tom, and an 18-inch kicker. The Voyager kit has smaller sizes, which also reduces the prices. All the larger are sold at the same price.
All the shell packs conform to the modern standard of short toms over a long kick drum, but the Voyager kit. This means all the toms have lost an inch of depth, creating ‘quick’ sizes. The bass drum, on the other hand, has gained a few inches.
All shells come sanded by unfinished inside. The bearing edges are also cut unevenly. However, this may not be such a big problem, especially because Mapex makes its own shells.
Mapex drum always comes out with low mass, single-point contact lugs. The V-series is not different. The lugs are fixed using one bolt, and they are created based on the popular low-mass lugs by Mapex. This is to ensure that you drill fewer holes shells, and withholding their tonal properties.
Note also, that they Remo heads come fitted standard across the kit. Both the bass head contain dampening rings.
Another cool feature is the pressed hoops on the drums, which are not branded, yet able to hold their own and ensure tuning. The bass drum is also fitted with wooden hoops – which seems strange today.
I like it that the kits come supplied with a full set of hardware. This means you can set your gear in place straight from the box, with included tom mountings, a snare stand, hi-hat stand, bass drum pedal, a pair of cymbal stands, and a throne. You won’t be spending any more money to get these crucial components.
Mapex hardware has a good reputation. And together with them are ball and socket holder for the toms, which are also the same as those sound with higher-end Mapex kits. Compared to pro-sec stand ranges from the same manufacturer, the stands on the V-series is quite functional. They are strong, simple to use, but not with the quality find with higher-end Mapex drums.
The inclusion of unique rubber cymbal felts is not here. Also, the spring on the hi-hat stand cannot be adjusted.
But the stands are all sport double-braced tripods. They are also strong enough to withstand all the punishment you may bring their way.
Let’s get back to an essential aspect of any drums – the sounds. As much as the looks are appealing, it is the sound that should create a final verdict for any buyer. And in this case, sound picks from where the appearance left.
The bass drum gives out punchy, suitably in a large note with a casual abandon. The dimensions make sure you get a deep voice, while the shells’ thickness keeps it responsive.
Internal dampeners are placed on the head, keeping the drum under control and allows it to breathe and sound live. The snare answers strike with a crisp, sweet response, full of enthusiasm. There are no clangy overtones, and the rim shot creates a more decisive edge to the sound without seeming too deafening.
The toms are clear and well balanced. They also come with a good number of plies that eliminate overtones. You don’t need external dampeners.
But there are not the deepest sounding toms. However, they still deliver a desirable sound, especially when you consider their price. They are not overly toppy or flabby. Tuning them is extremely easy, taking only a few seconds to set them in the right tone.
Where are Mapex drums made
Mapex Drum is the brand of KHS Musical Instruments. They are manufactured in Taiwan by a company that has been operating since 1989.
I believe the price of the Mapex V-series drums is reasonable given the level of quality and specifications offered by the company. They have confidence in their product and it checks all the right boxes for quality and performance.