OVERVIEW Mapex drums is one of the younger drum companies in the industry but have quickly built a reputation for quality sounding drums. They manufacture drums for drummers at all levels of the game. The Mapex Voyager and Horizon lines are targeted more at entry level drummers. For the intermediate drummer, they offer the Mapex Meridian Birch and Maple lines. For the professionals, they have the Saturn and Orion kits.
HISTORY Mapex started in 1989 under the KHS Musical Instrument Company in Taiwan. Mapex is
headquartered out of Taipai.
Mapex used to name their lines after planets such as Venus or Mars, but due to changing quality levels, that concept was discontinued. Mapex also experimented with new wood types such as walnut and cherry.
Today, Mapex drums are one of the biggest names in drums manufacturing.
You can also use the Mapex "Mydentity" Custom drum builder to custom order your kit to your own personal specifications. You can build any 4 piece kit of any size, finish, hardware for $999.00. You can also add on to your kit from there.
Keep in mind that the prices listed here are just a general ball park. Each retailer's price may vary to some degree due to promotions, or sales, or whatever. Today it's also a common practice to sell "Shell packs", meaning that hardware is not included. These, obviously, can be found for less than an entire kit with hardware and goodies included.
Please Note that drums-guru.com is not affiliated with Mapex drums or any other drum manufacturer. Most photos on this page are courtesy of mapexdrums.com (USA). I do not own them.
Mapex drums introduces the Saturn IV series. This series is split into 2 selections. The MH and the MH Exotic.
Both are constructed with 6 plies of North American Maple and Walnut hybrid shells and 8 plies in the bass drums. The new Saturn IV series features the new SoniClear tom suspension mounts and legs to maximize tom resonance. The bass drum has low contact bass drum claws and memory locks. The shells are finished off with new badges and lugs. The MH Exotic series features an extra wood veneer and black chrome lugs.
A typical 5 piece Saturn MH series set costs around $1,400.00
The Mapex Saturn MH series comes in 6 finishes:
- Merlot Burst
- Granite Sparkle
- Red Strata Pearl Wrap
- Transparent Espresso Walnut
- Red & Blue Hybrid Sparkle
- Marine Spiral Wrap
A typical 5 piece Saturn MH Exotic series costs around $1,700.00
The Mapex Saturn MH Exotic series comes in 5 finishes:
- Marine Spiral
- Satin Black Maple Burl
- Cherry Mist Rose Burl (pictured below)
- Natural Ash Burl
- Deep Water Ash Burl
BLACK PANTHER SERIES
The Mapex drums Black Panther Series currently comes in 3 different lines: The older Velvetone and Blaster lines, and the newer Retrosonic Walnut SE Which is being phased out. to replace it, Mapex Introduces the Black Panther Black Widow!
Black Panther Retrosonic Walnut SE
The Mapex Black Panther series Retrosonic Walnut Limited Edition is a limited edition series joining old and new. Only 20 are available in the U.S.A.
The Mapex Retrosonic is made with all hand selected walnut shells and outfitted with power lugs spanning the length of each shell.
The Mapex Retrosonic comes in a 3 piece shell pack consists of a 12" x 8" rack tom, a 16" x 16" floor tom, and a 22" x 16" bass drum.
The 3 piece Mapex Black Panther Retrosonic Walnut Limited Edition shell pack (no hardware included) costs around $ 2,350.00
The Retrosonic comes only in the Walnut veneer finish (pictured below)
The Black Panther Retrosonic series has been deleted from the manufacturers website. Collectors items ?
Mapex Black Panther Retrosonic Walnut Review
The bass drum has a nice little punch to it with some deep low end. The snare has a pretty nice tone with a lot of resonance to it. The toms have a really great tone as well but with a quicker decay. The floor tom has a hint of boom to it but is mostly a controlled tone. I could see this kit working in both a rock or jazz style atmosphere.
Black Panther Velvetone & Blaster
In addition to the newer the Retrosonic, Mapex drums has had the Black Panther line for awhile containing the Velvetone and Blaster models. These are the best from Mapex drums using Maple and Walnut wood. The floating tom holders are linked to the tightening lug hardware so the drum shell remains undisturbed. The Velvetine finish is pictured below.
Both four piece Velvetone and Blaster shell packs (no hardware included) cost around $ 2,300.00
The Velvetone Pre-configured kit comes with a 22" x 18" bass drum, 10" x 8" and 12" x 9" rack toms, and 14" x 14" and 16" x 16" floor toms. (pictured below)
Mapex Black Panther Velvetone Review
The bass drum has an amazing punch and just the right amount of low end when it resonates. The snare gives you an immaculate tone with a bright, crisp attack. The tones from the toms are simply incredible. Even the floor toms have a very controlled tone and sustain. I wouldn't be surprised if they sampled this kit for drum machines or trigger devices. It is just an incredible sounding kit!
Mapex Black Panther Blaster Review
The Blaster bass drum gives you a really nice punch and lots of low end. The toms have an amazing tone and resonance. The snare has very crisp attack with a beautiful tone. It resonates big.
Mapex Black Panther Black Widow
The Mapex drums Black Panther Black Widow is the clean, sleek new drum set on the market. Made thin with 6 plies of American Maple shells, a center bearing edge for more contact with the drum head, and the combination of transparent black lacquer finish finished off with brushed nickel hardware and Remo suede drum heads, this set is really something to look at.
The Black Widow also comes with the new SoniClear tom mounts. The low profile drum hoops also minimize stick damage and increase playability.
The 5 piece shell pack comes with a 22" x 18" bass drum, 10" x7 and 12" x 8" rack toms, and 14" x 12" and 16" x 14" floor toms.
The 5 piece shell pack costs around $2,750.00 with an additional $300 for the matching snare.
The Mapex drums Meridian series comes 3 lines: The Meridian Maple, the Meridian Birch, and the Meridian Black which currently is made up of lines called "The Raven" and "Obsidian". The Meridian Birch seems to be phasing out in 2013 though. But The new Meridian Black - Viper has arrived!
Meridian Black - The Raven
Mapex drums is introducing a 2012 Limited Edition model: The Meridian Black - The Raven.
The shells are constructed from a Birch/Maple blended shell with the birch on the exterior. The maple interiors of the shells are finished in black to maximize projection.
The Meridian Black Raven is finished off with a black wood grain Raven wrap finish and satin black hardware.
If you're in a live goth or black metal band, this just may be the kit for you based on its looks alone, but they sound amazing too!
The Meridian Black Raven comes with a 12" x 8" rack tom, a 14" x 12" and 16" x 14" floor tom, a 22" x 20 bass drum, and a 14" x 6" snare. A 10" x 7" add on rack tom is also available.
The 5 piece Mapex Meridian Black Raven costs around $830.00
Mapex Meridian Black - The Raven Review
The bass drum gives you a nice clean punch with plenty of low end. The toms have an amazing tone and resonance and project very well. The floor tom even has a bit of punch to it as well. The snare has a real nice crisp attack and rings out a bit. All in all a very nice kit. For a limited edition kit in this price range that looks and sounds like this, they will go pretty quick.
Mapex Meridian Black - Obsidian
For 2012, Mapex drums introduces the limited Edition Meridian Black Obsidian 3 piece shell pack. The exterior is a volcanic glass sparkle finish pictured below. Obsidian is a volcanic rock.
Like the Meridian Black - The Raven, the shells are constructed with a birch exterior blended with a maple interior. The insides of the shells are given a black finish as well but this time with chrome hardware.
The 3 piece configuration comes with a 24" x 14" bass drum, a 12" x 8" rack tom and a 16" x 16" floor tom.
This 3 piece shell pack costs around $700.00 - $750.00 depending on the retailer. The matching snare costs around $230.
Mapex Meridian Black Obsidian Review
The bass drum has a good amount of punch given its larger diameter. The snare is very crisp with a bit of resonance. The toms have an amazing tone and resonance as well. The floor tom has a great tone but is a bit boomy in the bottom end. Overall, it's an amazing sounding kit with a unique look.
Mapex Meridian Black - Viper
The limited Edition Meridian Black - Viper is a new Limited Edition set with a birch Exterior shell and a black coated Maple interior with a special custom snakeskin wrap made to impress.
The player set up consists of a 22" x 20" bass drum, a 12" x 8" rack tom, a 14" x 12" and 16" x 14" floor toms, and a 14" x 6" snare.
The hardware is the iso-suspension tom mounts. The rack tom mounts from a cymbal stand or rack as the bass drum has no tom holder mount. The floor toms have spring loaded legs.
The Mapex Meridian Black Viper 5 piece set costs around $950.00
Meridian Maple & Meridian Birch
The Mapex drums Meridian Series comes in 7 plies of both Maple or Birch. The toms are mounted using Mapex's "Isolated Tom Mounting System" (ITS). This preserves the drums resonance. Again, shell packs are typically sold while hardware sets are available separately. The Meridian series drums are polished out in lacquer finishes that bring out the woods natural grains.
a typical Meridian Maple four piece shell pack without hardware costs around $700.00
a typical five piece Meridian Maple including hardware costs around $1,150.00
a typical Meridian Birch five piece shell pack without hardware costs around $600.00
a typical five piece Meridian Birch including hardware costs around $880.00
The Meridian Birch series has been removed from the manufacturers website. This could soon become a collectors item.
The Mapex Meridian series comes in 7 finishes:
- Transparent Cherry Red
- Transparent Midnight Black
- Gloss Natural
- Midnight Steel
- Candy Apple Burst
- Chestnut Burst (pictured below in Maple)
- Cobalt Burst
The Meridian Birch series has been deleted from the manufacturers website. Collectors items ?
Mapex Meridian Maple Review
The bass drum gives you a really nice punch and that low end you need. The snare gives you more of a mid/low tone and resonates very big. The toms have an amazing tone to them and resonate warmly. Even the floor tom tone is very controlled and not boomy.
Get your Mapex Meridian Maple 5 piece shell pack in Transparent Cherry Red or Midnight Steel Burst from Musician's Friend here for $699.99:
Mapex Meridian Maple Standard 5-Piece Shell Pack Cherry Lacquer
Mapex Horizon Series
The Mapex drums Horizon series offers the most choices from Mapex drums. In addition to the Birch and Horizon Big City series, the Horizon series comes in 4 regular models:
1. The Mapex drums Horizon HZB series is made of birch and basswood to help project the drum's tone. This series comes with Mapex's tom holder (ITS) which can also accept a cymbal boom attachment. The HZB series comes with a drum throne, instructional DVD
and comes equipped with Remo drum heads. You can also purchase just the shell pack.
There is also a HZB Limited Edition set available.
a five piece Horizon HZB shell pack costs around $550.00
2. The Mapex drums HZB Big City kit was designed for playing in those infamous clubs with tiny stages. This line is made from birch and basswood. It is typically sold as a 5 piece shell pack. The bass drum head comes in a white vintage style bearing the older Mapex logo.
The five piece HZB Big City shell pack costs around $550.00
3. The Mapex drums Horizon HX series is meant to appeal to entry level drummers or it could be a great second kit for traveling drummers. The Horizon HX also comes with Mapex's (ITS) tom mount so the toms decay is not affected. There are 6 different wraps to cover the all basswood shells with. This kit comes with all Mapex hardware included.
a typical five piece Horizon HX shell pack costs around $500.00
4. The Mapex drums Horizon Fast Pack is perfect for any traveling drummer. This kit uses a combination of basswood and birch to create a unique tone. The Fastpack only comes in Fastpack Black (try saying that 10 times fast). It comes with three durable travel bags. One for the bass & snare, one for the the three 8", 10" toms and 12" floor tom, and a third bag for the hardware.
The Fast Pack five piece kit with hardware costs around $540.00
The Fast Pack five piece kit with travel bags included costs around $750.00
The Mapex Horizon HZB series (including the Big City) comes in 3 finishes:
- Transparent Cherry Red
- Transparent Midnight Black
- Rattan Yellow (pictured below)
The Mapex Horizon HX series comes in 6 finishes:
- Crystal Sparkle
- Gray Steel
- Blue Sparkle
- Gray Sparkle
- Snow White
- Burgundy Steel
The Horizon HX and Horizon HZB series' have been deleted from the manufacturers website. Collectors items ?
Get your Mapex Horizon HZB 7 piece shell pack in Transparent Cherry, Midnight Black or Rattan Yellow from Music 123 here for $689.99:
Mapex Horizon HZB Lacquer 7-Piece Shell Pack Transparent Cherry
The Mapex drums Horizon Birch series is is a wallet friendly series with a lot of features you would only expect to find on very expensive kits.
The shells are constructed with 6 plies of birch and poplar, use single point of contact lugs, and are finished off with a hi gloss lacquer finish in awesome looking colors. Some are off-set with black hardware. The toms are suspended with the isolated mounting system so the tom shells are not compromised.
The Mapex drums Horizon Birch comes outfitted with Remo drum heads and an instructional DVD set up video.
The Horizon Birch comes in 4 pre-configured sets:
The 7 piece shell pack - The bass drum is 22" x 18", the toms are 08" x 07", 08" x 10" and 09" x 12", the floor toms are 14" x 14", 16" x 14", the snare is 14" x 5 1/2".
The 6 piece 2 floor toms shell pack - The bass drum is 22" x 18",the toms are 08" x 10" and 09" x 12", the floor toms are 14" x 14", 16" x 14", the snare is 14" x 5 1/2".
The 6 piece 3 rack toms shell pack - The bass is 22" x 18", the toms are 08" x 07", 08" x 10" and 09" x 12", the floor tom is 16" x 14", the snare 14" x 5 1/2".
The 5 piece SRO shell pack - The bass drum is 22" x 18", the toms are 08" x 10" and 09" x 12", the floor tom is 16" x 14", the snare is 14" x 5 1/2".
A 7 piece Mapex Horizon Birch Shell pack (no hardware included) costs around $770.00
A 5 piece Mapex Horizon Birch "SRO" series set costs around $ 600.00
The Mapex Horizon Birch comes in 5 finishes:
- Transparent Sapphire Fade - Black Hardware Only
- Transparent Cherry - Black Hardware Only
- Transparent Walnut - Black Hardware Only (pictured below)
- Transparent Midnight Black - Chrome Hardware Only
- Transparent Rattan Yellow - Chrome Hardware Only
Mapex Horizon Birch Review
The bass drum has a pretty nice punch with plenty of low end. The snare is very bright with a crisp attack and resonates very well. The tone on the toms is amazing. Even on the floor tom it is very controlled. They do ring out quite a bit. That may be good or bad depending on your style. You can also put an O-ring on them too if you wanted.
Get your Mapex Horizon Birch SRO 5 piece shell pack here from zZounds for $599.00:
Mapex HZB529SJ Horizon Birch SRO Drum Shell Kit, 5-Piece
Horizon Big City
The Mapex drums Horizon Big City series is designed to be a somewhat compact, quick to set up, kit for the gigging or traveling drummer who doesn't want to compromise their sound quality. The shells are made with 6 plies of birch and poplar, and are are a bit more shallow for when travel space is limited. The bass drum measures 18" x 14", the upper toms are 10" x 8" and 12" x 8", a 14" x 14" floor tom, and a matching 14" x 5 1/2" snare.
The Horizon Big City comes with chrome hardware, the Mapex Iso- Suspension tom mount system to not compromise the tom shells, single point of contact lugs, Remo UX drum heads, and an instructional DVD on how to set it up.
A 5 piece Mapex Horizon Big City series shell pack (no hardware included) costs around $ 550.00
The Mapex Horizon Big City comes in 3 lacquer finishes:
- Transparent Cherry Red (pictured below)
- Transparent Midnight Black
- Transparent Walnut
The Horizon Big City series has been removed from the manufacturers website. Collectors item ?
Mapex Horizon Big City Review
The bass drum offers a bit of a punch and low end despite its size. The snare has a really nice overall tone and resonance. The toms and floor tom have an amazing tone and resonate nicely. I could easily see this kit being used in a jazz setting but one could easily use it for rock as well.
Get your Mapex Horizon Big City 5 piece shell pack in Black from Musician's Friend here for $549.99:
Mapex Horizon Hzb Big City 5-Piece Shell Pack Midnight Black
Or if you prefer it in Transparent Cherry Red for $549.00, click here:
Mapex Horizon Hzb Big City 5-Piece Shell Pack Transparent Cherry
The Mapex drums Saturn SE (Special Edition) Birch/Walnut series is an expansion of the Saturn Series using a unique birch and walnut blend. The goal is to optimize clarity and projection.
The Saturn SE Birch/Walnut series is constructed with 7 plies of birch and walnut for each shell. The series is also outfitted with black nickel chrome hardware using the Iso-Mounting System for the upper toms, and spring loaded legs in all the floor toms, and single point of contact lugs. The drums come equipped with clear Remo Emperor heads and Remo P3 series heads on the bass drums.
The Saturn SE Birch/Walnut comes in a pre-configured 5 piece "Studioease" shell pack consisting of a 22" x 18" bass drum, 10" x 8" and 12" x 9" upper toms, 14" x 14" and 16" x 16" floor toms.
The 5 piece Saturn SE Birch/Walnut series shell pack (no hardware included) costs around $ 1,900.00
The Saturn SE Birch/Walnut comes in 4 lacquer finishes:
- Ocean Wave Fade over Figured Maple (pictured below)
- Wine Burst over Figured Maple
- Moss Green over Figured Maple
- Walnut Fade over figured Maple
The Saturn SE Birch/Walnut series has been deleted from the manufacturer's website. These could soon become a collectors item.
Mapex Saturn SE Review
The Birch and Walnut mix gives the toms a really great tone that only seems to improve towards the larger toms. The bass drum gives a nice little punch with a bit of low end resonance. The snare has a real crisp attack and nice decay. Very sharp. I love the black nickel chrome hardware, and the finishes on this set look amazing as well.
The Mapex drums Orion series look as great as they sound. The maple wood's natural grain shines through with a polished lacquer finish. The Orion series does not come in pre-made sets. You custom order each drum to your own specifications.
A typical 5 piece set costs around $1,700.00
Mapex's Orion series comes in 10 finishes:
- Cinnamon Fade
- Glossy Natural
- Cosmic Cloud Burst
- Ebony Burst (pictured below)
- Imperial Burst
- Coffee Burst
- Transparent Red
- Teal Burst
- Wine Burl Burst
- Butter Burst
The Orion series has been removed from the manufacturers website. They could soon become collectors items.
The Mapex drums Saturn Maple/ Walnut series are mainly designed for professionals. Years of tried and true methods and performance have made this series what it is today. The Saturn drums features a thinner shell made from walnut and maple. This delivers a nice deep tone that can be tuned over a wider range than most drums and still maintain a quality sound.
Shell packs are typically available but you can also buy the hardware packs separately. The Saturn series is available with both black and chrome hardware.
There is also a limited edition set available with 2 floor toms.
The Saturn five piece shell pack (and Limited Edition shell pack) cost around $1,850.00
The Mapex Saturn series comes in 14 finishes:
- Transparent Cherry Red
- Sterling Sparkle
- Gloss Natural
- Ocean Blue Sparkle
- Arctic White
- Saturn Cherry Sparkle (pictured below)
- Transparent Cherry Burst
- Supernova Red Burst
- Transparent Black
- Galaxy Burst
- Green Apple Burst
- Blue Galaxy Sparkle Burst
- Root Beer Burst
- Transparent Walnut
The Saturn Maple/Walnut series has been deleted from the manufacturer's website. These could soon become a collectors item.
Mapex Saturn Maple Walnut Review
The snare has a real crisp attack with bright tones and resonates nicely. The toms have a really good tone to them and project very well. Even down to the floor toms, the tone is very controlled. The bass drum delivers a really nice punch and a good amount of low end tones.
The Mapex drums Voyager series is a starter drum package for the beginning drummer. The shells are made of basswood. It comes with either Mapex cymbals, or an all inclusive set containing hardware, Mapex cymbals, a drum throne, a cymbal boom arm (for mounting on the double tom holder), and Remo drum heads with a muffled bass drum head.
The starter kit also includes an instructional DVD with Dom Famularo featuring tracks to play along with. The basswood shells are covered in your choice of 5 glossy wraps.
The starter five piece kit with cymbals costs around $600
The Mapex Voyager comes in 5 wrap finishes:
- Crystal Sparkle with Black Hardware (pictured below)
- Voyager Black
- Voyager Burgundy
- Dark Indigo
- Snow White
Mapex Voyager Review
The snare has a nice attack, tone and resonates really well. The bass drum has a nice punch to it with plenty of low end. The toms have great tone with controlled resonance. It's a pretty nice sounding kit.
Famous drummers who use Mapex drums include: (just to name 1 or 2...)
- Chris Adler of Lamb of God
- Gregg Bissonette (formerly of David Lee Roth)
- John Boecklin of DevilDriver
- Nick D'Virgilio of Spock's Beard and Tears For Fears
- Chris Pennie of Coheed and Cambria
COMPANY REVIEW Mapex drums have really established its place in the drum making industry. Their products not only look good but sound good too. They have a reputation of quality in everything they do.
I have been playing on a Mapex drums Meridian Maple for a few years now in the church and they do a great job. Even with a double bass pedal... muhahaha...
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