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 Saturn Series is one of Mapex's top-of-the-range kits, and is described as being ideal for any studio application or live situation.
With a lot of set up choices available, there should be something to suit everyone, from rockers to jazzers.
The kit I'm trying is the plus bass rock 24 which includes a big 24"x20" bass drum, a 12"x9" rack tom, a 16"x16" floor tom, and a 14"x7" snare drum. Also included is the 750A series hardware from Mapex. Let's get stuck in...
The snare and tom shells have been made using 4-plies of Maple and 2 inner plies of Walnut - interesting! The shells are actually quite thin at 5.1mm, with the aim being to increase their resonance. The bass drum also has 6-plies in total but is a little thicker to help increase the power. A close look shows that the bearing edges and shells in general are flawless. Very smooth.
The toms and snare drum also have Mapex's 2.3mm chrome steel Powerhoops, and all of the shells have been fitted with some neat looking low-mass lugs that work very well.
The Saturn also has Mapex's I.T.S suspension system. This is used to mount the toms, and allows the shells to resonate freely by attaching to the lugs on the toms instead of drilling into the shells.
Less holes in the shell means better resonance and projection. And it does actually improve the sound. Also, the bass drum hoop has the same high quality die-cast claw hooks that are used on Mapex's top-end Orion Series. Great!
Another impressive feature of the Saturn are the finishes available. There are plenty to choose from and they really do look fab with eight hand-rubbed coats of high gloss lacquer giving a beautiful shine and colour. They really are very pretty and will definately attract attention. My personal favourite is the Green Apple Burst, it's totally lush.
Accompanying the shells is Mapex's 750A series hardware. It's all double braced, and seems very high quality. Included is a hi-hat stand, snare drum stand, 2 boom cymbal stands, a bass drum pedal, and a tom stand.
The cymbal stands have Mapex's OS Cymbal Accentuators (rubber felts) which noticeably increased the sustain of my cymbals. They also have other slick features like ball-in-socket cymbal tilters, triple tube construction, and die-cast memorary locks. Oh, and it's worth pointing out that Mapex are so sure of the quality, they give a 5 year warranty too! Sweet.
The snare stand, boom cymbal stands, and the tom stand all allow you to put the drums and cymbals in any position, and they were very flexible and easy to set up. Just the way I like it.
Some of the best pieces of hardware are the P750A bass drum pedal and the H750A hi-hat stand. They are both a delight to use and have a great action and feel. Plus, they are easy to adjust - exactly what you'd expect at this level. The bass drum beater also has 3 beater faces giving more sound options.
Ok, how do these beauties sound? Well, the combination of Maple and Walnut in these shells produces a deep, wholesome tone. It's a little darker sounding than 100% Maple shells but just as resonant. The sound is still very versitile though, and would suit many playing styles.
Both of the rack toms give a punchy, deep sound with a good amount of resonance and projection. And the 16" floor tom provides the same with a bit more low-end that is sustained nicely.
When I tried the huge 24"x20" bass drum I got a big, fat, deep boom! It's a big drum and I found that some dampening was needed to help give it a bit more focus. It's definately a monster and would suit anyone wanting to make their presence felt as well as heard in a band.
Like the bass drum, the 14"x7" snare drum is quite big and gives a quality sound. It's very versatile too, and its tone isn't overly high or low sounding, but occupies a fat, punchy middle ground. Playing rim shots gives a sweet and cutting sound, and makes the attack a little sharper.
When it came to tuning the set, I found that the overall possibilites of the set were really good. The toms give a consistent tone at higher or lower tunings and don't lose their quality sound.
But, the bass drum in this particular set up is big and is obviously designed to give a deep low sound, so higher tunings were not as good here. As for the snare drum, even though it's 7" deep, it still offered me a good range of pitch - higher and lower.
This kit has been played by top pro's including Gregg Bissonette and Will Calhoun. After trying the set myself, I can see why. If there's one word that best describes the kit - it's Quality. From the construction to the sound, from the innovative hardware to the laquered finish. It's all really good!
Better than similar sets? Does the Saturn match other high-end kits? Absolutely! Mapex have put together a set with some quality features, especially the hardware and I.T.S suspension system. And the all important sound is not found lacking, with the 2-plies of Walnut adding a tasty twist to that popular Maple sound.
Any downsides? Some things that are a minor inconvienience include the fact that positioning the 12"x9" tom low enough over the high bass drum was awkward. I ended up having to move it to the side a little instead. Also, the huge bass drum can be hard work, and does need a good old thump from the pedal to get the full sound from it. But, smaller bass drums are available in the series so these aren't really a big issues.
As for the price? The Mapex Saturn is certainly a high-end set, but is still quite well priced. Some other high-end sets cost much more than this, but may only offer a very small amount of extra sound or hardware quality in return. 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: as I mentioned earlier...Quality. It's not as expensive as some other high-end sets, but this set is up there with the best of them. Check it out!
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