Drum Set Reviews
Looking for a good price? After searching for ages the best price I found for this set was here online. Check them out!
The Mapex Orion Series is the top kit available from Mapex. With no expense spared on hardware, finishes, and sound...this represents the very best that Mapex have to offer.
The Orion Series is only available by special order, but you can choose your own shell sizes, hardware, finish and so on.
I've been lucky enough to get my hands on a set to try out. It includes a 22"x20" bass drum, with 10"x7", 12"x8", and 16"x13" rack toms.
There's no snare drum though, as only toms and a bass drum were ordered. It's got a lot to live up to, so just how good is this top-end set?...
The tom shells on the Orion are made with 6-ply quality North American Maple and 1 outer ply of burl Maple for the finish to be applied to. They are quite thin at just 6.1mm to increase resonance. As you'd expect, the bass drum is a little thicker at 7.5mm.
Looking at the shells close up you can see that they have been made extremely well. The bearing edges are 45-degrees and along with the rest of the shells, are precision cut and flawless. A smooth criminal indeed.
The shells are all fitted with the standard chrome hardware, although more flashy looking black and gold options are available too if you want them. The lugs are low-mass, very small, and attach to the shells at just one point of contact to help them vibrate fully.
Having a look at the rest of the shell hardware, the toms all have 2.3mm steel Powerhoops, while the bass drum has a matching wooden hoop with very nice die-cast claws fixing it in place. The bass drum spurs and the toms all use Mapex's I.T.S suspension system to allow maximum resonance. This works by attaching directly to the lugs instead of drilling into the shell itself, meaning less holes and a better sound. It all looks very well done, and I was impressed with the quality.
A point worth noting is that when buying this kit you can even choose to have a tom mount attached to the bass drum via the lugs (I.T.S again), or you can use a seperate stand. The kit I was trying used the cymbal stands to hold the toms in place, and it worked nicely.
Now, as this kit is top-of-the-range and costs a quite a lot, you'll obviously want a great finish for your money. And that's exactly what Mapex give you!
There are 9 high-gloss lacquer finishes to choose from, and they all look amazing. This set had the Blue Mist Burst finish and was stunning.
The outer ply of burl Maple really shows the grain of the wood. I could sit and look at this set for hours. Beautiful.
Ok, now that I've dragged myself away from looking the set, let's concentrate on the sound. First, the rack toms. Playing these was a delight and gave me a clear, powerful sound with a lovely warm Maple tone. There was a good sustain as well though, and they were punchy enough for fast notes to be clearly heard.
Just as good sounding was the 16" floor tom. This produced a great low-end sound, and it sustained very well. It wasn't muddy though, and managed to cut through and project powerfully. I was quite suprised really, as the shell is only 13" deep, I thought the sound might not be so full, but it was. Super.
Does the bass drum follow suit? Hell yeah. This was powerful and deep. It's 22"x20", so is a bit longer than most bass drums, and I think this helps increase the big sound.
There's a lot of air to move in the drum, and it's noticeable when hitting the batter head. It's not a problem though, and the sound is totally worth it. A power house. Most people would probably want to put in a small amount of dampening though.
When tuning this set I was pleased that I could get a quality sound at higher or lower pitches. I liked the bass drum tuned medium-low, where it gave a deep sound, but also a good 'slap'.
The rack toms offered a sweet, melodic note at a range of pitches. And the floor tom also managed to sound great tuned high or low.
The Mapex Orion Series is Mapex's top-end offering for a reason. In terms of workmanship, finishes, and shell hardware, it is top class. The shell hardware looks good and works really well, and Mapex's I.T.S hardware does a great job of getting maximum vibration from the shells.
But, the most important thing is the sound. And thankfully it's great! Deep and powerful with that Maple warmth. But also loud and projecting with a decent sustain to finish things off. When you add it all together, it's fair to say that the kit can hold it's own against any other top-of-the-range set that i've played.
Any downsides? It's tough to really find anything wrong the this set. It's so well made, sounds super, and looks stunning. I guess i'd like it to be a little bit cheaper, but then you probably wouldn't get all of the detailed quality.
So, what's the price? The Orion Series isn't cheap, but if you've got the money to spend, you should definately consider them. Other top-end sets are all expensive too, but as I've always believed - you get what you pay for. Where's the cheapest place to buy? Here's the cheapest site i've found. They usually have the lowest price and sometimes free delivery too, so I recommend checking them out for the best deal!
The final word: they're not cheap, but if you want to choose your ideal set up, and want a superb sounding pro kit...the Mapex Orion Series is a really top-class drum set. A slightly cheaper option is the Mapex Saturn Series which also offers great quality and many of the same features.
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