Drum Set Reviews
The Mapex Pro M is Mapex's fastest growing series, due in no small part to its increasing popularity with drummers wanting a good mid-level set.
The set can be bought as a shell pack only, or with some Mapex hardware included.
For review, I have a set including a 22"x18" bass drum, 10"x8", 12"x9", 14"x11", and 16"x13" toms, and a 14"x5" snare drum. And there's the Mapex hardware as well. Let's get started...
The set is made with 7 ply Maple shells. They are quite thin, and are in-keeping with the popular warm tone that Maple shells provide. Striping the kit down and having a closer look at the shells reveals wood that is nice and smooth without any flaws.
All the drums have low-mass single contact lugs, and triple flange Powerhoops which help them resonate nicely. Another great feature is Mapex's I.T.S system. This allows the tom mount to connect to the tom lugs instead of the shell. What does this do exactly? Well, it helps the shell to vibrate evenly and increases projection. Very clever and very effective too.
The rack tom mount itself is functional and allows you to put the toms in most positions. One small problem I found was that it can resitrict the height adjustment of the toms slightly, but taking the memorary locks off helped with this. Another quick point worth noting is that the tom mount doesn't penetrate the bass drum, meaning a better sound. Great.
The finish options for the kit are pretty nice, and there are plenty to choose from. No less than 18 in fact. The quality is clear to see and they look fantastic under stage lights too. This set was finshed in a glossy cherry fade, and was a real pleasure to look at.
The hardware included with the Pro M is a hi-hat stand, snare stand, boom cymbal stand, straight cymbal stand, and a bass drum pedal. It's all double braced, solid, and looks pretty good.
I liked the bass drum pedal, it has a nice action and has a 3 faced beater for more sound options. On the cymbal stands, Mapex have their OS Cymbal Accentuators (I guess Mapex thought 'rubber felts' didn't sound as cool...) that increase the sustain of the cymbals. They work a treat too!
The rest of the hardware performs just as well, and allows a lot of flexibilty when positioning everything.
Ok, they're looking good so far but what about the sound? The rack toms give a nice clear tone and have plenty of volume and attack - something that is the same across the whole kit in fact.
Giving the 14" and 16" floor toms a try reveals a rich, low end sound, with the Maple shells making them sound bright and warm, without being muddy. The 16" tom in particular is a bit more open and boomey sounding, but altering the tuning a little helps to rein it in.
Like the toms, the bass drum isn't found lacking and gives a good, solid bang when hit. A fat, deep sound with power in abundance. I put in a small pilow which helped to focus the low-end and get a more punchy sound from the drum.
When it came to the snare drum, I was hoping it delivered as good a sound as everything else. I wasn't disapointed. The 14"x5" snare drum sounds consistent, and will confidently handle whatever you throw at it. Playing rim shots gives a piercing and crisp sound, and would cut through a band with ease. Cracking.
The tuning range of the Mapex Pro M as a whole is pretty good. The bass drum is capable of making a range of sounds to satisfy most needs, despite having just 8 lugs. Similarly, the toms aren't too difficult to get a quality sound from and have a respectable range. And finally the snare drum, being quite standard, offers plenty of tuning possibilities for different styles.
So, let's sum up. The kit has a bright, warm, tone and the tuning range on the whole is respectable. I found that adding coated heads to the kit helped me get an even warmer sound, but that's just personal preference. The Mapex hardware included is good quality, and with the I.T.S system, Powerhoops, and lugs they complete a very nice package.
How does it compare to similar sets? Compared to other sets in this price range, the Pro M has no problems holding its own. There are other sets that are just as capable as this, but there's nothing that can really over shadow it.
Any downsides? Only a couple of minor points really. The tom mount is a little awkward the first time you set it up, and makes it difficult to adjust the height of the rack toms. But, with a bit of work it's easily sorted out. The only other thing is that the heads provided are fairly basic, and you'd probably want to change these to get the best sound from the kit.
As for the price? Well, the Mapex Pro M is fairly well priced, and is definately good value with the Mapex hardware included. Where's the cheapest place to buy it? 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: for a mid-level kit that looks and sounds good, this is among the best of them. You know you're getting your money's worth, and that's why this drum set has become more and more popular. A real winner.