Mapex continues to move forward with the drums it offers and the kit up for review this time around is a Mars series five piece rock shell pack. This is a kit aimed at the budget end of the market.
The review Mars kit featured 10×7 and 12×8 mounted toms, a 16×14 floor tom, a 22×18 bass drum and a 14×6.5 snare. This was the configuration I was given to try, although for the video I didn’t use the 12×8 tom due to space constraints.
The Mars series features 100% birch shells that come in shallow depths and Mapex’s SONIClear bearing edge. The company says this produces a fast, clear tone with a quick rebound.
The Mars series “rock” shell pack features sizes that can span a wide range of playing styles. Overall though, the Mars range expands to the following options:
Bass drums: 20″x16″, 22″x18″, 22″x20″, 24″x16″
Mounted toms: 8″x7″, 10″x7″, 10″x8″, 12″x8″, 13″x9″
Floor toms: 14″x12″, 14″x14″, 16″x14″, 16″x16″, 18″x16″
This particular kit had been used before it came to me for review and so had Remo clear Emperors on the batter side of the toms and a coated Ambassador on the snare side. I left these batter heads on to give an idea of what the kit can sound like with better heads on. The bass drum had both stock heads on it and also a Kicker damping pad inside (http://sonitusacoustics.eu/kicker.html) with no hole in the front head.
The kit does also come with black stands but I didn’t use this for the review.
The finishing of the kit was pretty good from what I could see and I had no problems with anything.
When considering the value to price aspect, costing has to be taken into account – you’re not going to get blemish-free baby skin soft insides of shells – but, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get rough, half-finished drums either. Having run my hand through the insides of several of these drums, they weren’t the smoothest shells I’ve come across but I couldn’t find anything wrong with them either.
Sound-wise, as you’ll hear (and do listen with either headphones or decent speakers), the drums sound good.
I didn’t get to gig with them and so only played them in the studio a few times before the review. However, you can also see and hear them played here in a different context – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFUgw2Q1XaM at about the 15.40 mark.
In terms of playing the kit, I had no issues at all and found them to be easy enough to tune and work with.
As they are a budget line, and are therefore made of some more cost effective materials, I’m not convinced the top hoop on the snare (for example) would last very long at a gig level for me, but that’s me. However, the important thing to remember here is that if you’re buying this kit then you’ll either be starting out or upgrading from your first kit and so probably won’t be laying down loud rimshots for up to two and a half hours at a time.
Personally, I think the given the pricing of these drums, the options you get, in terms of sizes particularly, is fantastic. If it is value you are looking for – and who isn’t really – it seems to me these drums give you that. It wasn’t all that long ago that kits of this level were really limited to 12/13/16/22 or 10/12/14/20 configurations and that was it. The hardware with it was all quite functional as well.
For what it is, I did quite like this kit. It’s a given that with kits of this level, the heads are likely to be the weakest link. The stock heads are going to need replacing at some point – probably fairly quickly if you hit them too hard and that’s a reflection of the heads themselves and not Mapex or the drums. But, once they are replaced you should end up with a kit that will be able to grow as your playing and ability grows, and has the potential to look and sound good throughout.
More over at – http://mapexdrums.com/us/products/drum-sets/mars/