Drum Set Reviews
Here we have the Mapex QR Series which is the entry-level drum set in the Mapex range. It's clearly aimed at new players who want an affordable set to get them on there way.
Mapex do say that even though it's their cheapest set, that doesn't mean it hasn't got some good features.
Included in the deal is some hardware (stands, pedals etc) so won't need to spend any extra money to get going.
The set being reviewed here consists of a 22"x16" bass drum, 10"x8" and 12"x9" rack toms, a 14"x14" floor tom, and a 14"x5.5" snare drum. Let's get cracking...
All the shells on the QR Series have been made using 8-plies of basswood and are 7.2mm thick. Basswood is a cheaper option than maple or birch found on more expensive sets. It's not as musical sounding as the more expensive woods but still does a good job. In any case, the shells are well made and are smooth. I couldn't find any cracks or bumps at all, and the bearing edges were flawless too.
The shells have small low-mass lugs that are each attached to the shell with one bolt. The rack toms are then held in position by Mapex's I.T.S suspension system. This allows the rack toms to vibrate more evenly and therefore produce a better sound.
I found that using the tom holder was easy and I could put the toms just in just about any position I liked. The holder does penetrate the top of the bass drum which means a slight loss of sound quality, but at this cheaper price range you'd never get an un-drilled bass drum.
The finish options for the kit are a little bit limited with only 4 wraps available - Onyx Sparkle, Angel Wing, Blue Sparkle, and Grey Steel. The review set looks ok but isn't all that stunning. Still, it's been well fitted and has no creases.
The hardware with the QR has everything you'd need when starting out - a snare stand, hi-hat stand, boom cymbal stand, a bass drum pedal and a throne. It's all solid and will stand up to anything you can throw at it.
As is often the case with entry-level sets like this, the bass drum pedal is a bit on the basic side. But, for new players it is more than good enough to use until you're playing develops and you need something better.
The rest of the hardware is actually pretty good. The hi-hat stand works well and has a fluid action, and the snare and cymbal stands are quick and easy to set up. On the whole, the hardware is everything you'd want for your first set.
If you think that this cheaper set is going to sound awful - you'd be wrong. The quality of sound on cheaper sets has been improving over the last few years, and while this set isn't amazing, it still has a fair 'ooomph' about it.
The bass drum, being a little shorter than most at 16", has a more punchy and focused sound than a longer drum would. It still has a good amount of power though, and manages to make a bold statement.
The rack and floor toms all performed well and gave a good clear sound, if perhaps with a little more high-end than i'd have liked. But, when playing with a band they to cut through very well.
Like many entry-level sets, the snare drum does a reasonably good job but doesn't really excite you. It's responsive and I managed to get a decent sound from it, but it doesn't have the same attack as a more expensive drum.
Finally, I found that tuning the Mapex QR Series wasn't to difficult to do. The pitch range wasn't as good as some other sets but I liked the sound best when it was tuned at a medium tension.
The kit has been made with the new player in mind. So, will it make a new player happy? I'd say that it would, my first set wasn't as good as this! But for a more discerning player who has already been playing for a couple of years - you may want something a little better.
The hardware included is good quality and will last you for quite a long time. And, you do get Mapex's I.T.S suspension system which is found on their more expensive sets. Lastly, the finshes are not amazing, but are still good enough to make the set look attractive, especially under stage lights.
Any downsides? Like so many other sets at this price level, the snare drum and bass drum pedal are fairly average, but some sacrifices do have to be made if you don't want to pay more. These can be upgraded later so it's not a big problem. The overall sound of the set is ok, but changing the heads will help get the best out of it.
As for the price? The QR Series is not the very cheapest entry-level set on the market, but if you spend much less than this you'll be in danger of playing some tin cans. Where's the cheapest place to but 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: the Mapex QR Series is definately worth a look if you are a new player. But, for a little extra money you could get the Mapex VX Series which gives a slightly better sound, and better finishes.