Drum Set Reviews
The Mapex VX Series is one of Mapex's lower-end sets. But, these days, just because a set is low-end doesn't mean it isn't going to sound any good.
Manufacturers are giving us more features and better quality at this price level to persuede us to choose their set. And that's what Mapex have done here.
The set comes complete with some hardware (stands, pedals etc) so you will have everything that you need to see you through the next fews years of playing.
The set I have for the review has a 20"x18" bass drum, 10"x8", 12"x9" and 14"x14" toms, and a 14"x5.5" snare drum. Ok, just how good is this set? Let's see...
The set has been constructed out of basswood. It's cheaper than maple or birch, and it's not as good sounding, but it can still be used to make some decent drums. Also, an outer ply of maple has been used, probably as it's easier to apply finishes to maple than basswood.
The shells themselves have 8-plies in total and are 7.2mm thick, which is reasonably chunky. They have been made well enough, and there aren't any bumps, chunks, or flaws in the wood.
Attached to the shells are some neat and tidy low-mass lugs, and there's a nice looking Mapex badge that sits on the front. The rack tom holder connects to the toms using Mapex's I.T.S suspension system which helps them resonate fully, giving a better quality sound.
Using the rack tom holder was quite easy and you can move the toms into most positions that you find comfortable. The holder attaches to the bass drum which has had a hole especially drilled into it. That means that the bass drum sound does suffer slightly, but you would only get a non-drilled bass drum on a much more expensive set.
The VX Series set that I reviewed came finished in a Deep Coffee satin colour which looked smart and understated. There are more bombastic colours availbale if you want your set to stand out more. But, whatever you choose it will still look fairly good.
With the VX you get a boom cymbal stand, snare and hi-hat stands, a bass drum pedal, and a throne. It's all well made, double braced, and is sturdy. Even if you hit hard when playing, this hardware won't move or collapse on you. The stands also have memory locks so you can quickly and easily put them up or take them down.
The hi-hat stand is nice to use, and doesn't have a bad action at all. It can be adjusted to get the feel you prefer, and i'd have no problem putting my best hi-hats on it.
One thing that isn't all that great is the bass drum pedal. It's a bit clunky and doesn't give the smoothest action, so you may want to replace it when you are ready. It will definately be good enough for a new player, but once you're playing has developed - consider buying an intermediate quality pedal.
The sound you get from the Mapex VX Series isn't too bad at all, and a new player would be very happy with it. It does sound like there's a lot of high-end, and the mid-range presence is lacking a little bit. But, for the lower price I was happy with it. The rack toms are quite lively and clear sounding, and the floor tom is just as good but with a little more low-end.
Playing the bass drum is great fun. It has a fairly good sound and I was able to get a nice, focused note after adding some dampening. It still has enough power and projection to stamp it's authority in a band too.
Unfortunately, the snare drum is fairly mediocre and sounds a little on the thin side. It does also have a few overtones that were anyoying, but using a small bit of dampening helped it sound much better. But, for the price the snare is still reasonable and again I'll say it would be fine for a new player. If you've been playing for a while already, you might find it a little bit restrictive.
Tuning the VX Series took a little longer than usual, but that was because I was messing around trying to get rid of the snare drum overtones. The toms and bass drum were much quicker though, and I was pleased with the range of sounds I could get from them.
For a lower-end set, the Mapex VX manages to offer a decent all round package. The sound isn't as good as a more expensive maple or birch set, but for the price it still packs a fair punch.
The hardware included is good quality and will last you for quite a long time, and the finshes, while not amazing, are good enough to make the set look professional.
Any downsides? There are a couple of things that let the package down slighty. First, the bass drum pedal isn't fantastic but if you are a new player you shouldn't even worry about it - you'll only need a better pedal once your playing has improved. The second small let down is the snare drum. It's not as good as the rest of the set, but again, i'd only replace it when you're playing needs a better drum.
As for the price? This set is a cheaper set and that's reflected in the overall sound. For a beginner it is a good deal with the 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: if you're just starting out and want a nice set to last you for you're first few years...the Mapex VX Series could be it. Overall - a reasonably good sound, good hardware, and a good price.