The new Mapex Saturn V Tour Edition kit was launched at the beginning of 2017. The review kit we were sent was a fairly standard three piece set up in black strata pearl finish.

The sizes were a 22/16 kick, 12 by 8 rack tom and a 16 by 16 floor tom, and you can get these as a shell pack. The snare in the video is not part of the kit and will be covered in a future review with several other new models.

All of the shells are a hybrid of maple and walnut. They feature 7ply 7.5mm bass drum shells with 7ply 6.15mm tom shells. These all have Mapex’s SONIClear bearing edges.

Other features include the SONIClear tom suspension system, SONIClear floor tom feet, low contact bass drum claws, Memory Mark bass drum spurs and 2.3mm Power Hoops.

Head-wise, the toms come with a coated/clear Remo Ambassador head combination while the kick has two coated pre muffled Powerstroke heads.

In terms of construction and build quality, I couldn’t find fault with these drums. The darker inner ply of the shells really makes a visual difference compared to the lighter more normal birch or maple. I think it makes the drums just look more classy and expensive, aside from any sonic qualities that construction may offer.

The hardware with the kit comes across as being very functional and sturdy.

The floor tom legs were nice and long, which was nice. In fact, they were so long that the ends were level with the top hoop when I had the kit set up to play. The lug and claw designs stand out too.

I was also very happy with all of the drums sound-wise.

The toms were easy to tune and I liked the sounds I got from them. Both seemed to have quite a wide tuning range.

The kick came with a Sonitus Kicker inside it and already had a hole cut in the front head.

When I gigged the kit, I had no issues with the punch I got. When it came to recording it, I liked the Kicker in there a bit less as I felt it deadened the drum just a little too much. I think this was simply a matter of personal taste more than anything else though. I own numerous Kickers and have found they don’t always work for me in my room.

Ok, so plus points from me; first of all, quality heads all round.

I know that may not be a big thing for a kit of this price point – it not being either too expensive or cheap – but the fact is the kit is absolutely ready to go straight out of the box.

Second, the finishes are visually really good and stand out. Even my usually indifferent wife commented on how good the review kit looked. One word I would use to describe the finish on the kit would be ‘vibrant’. The other three finishes are also really cool.

All in all, while my personal experience of the Saturn series as a whole is a little limited, I had a nice time with this kit and taking the price into account as well, I would say it’s excellent value.

More info at www.mapexdrums.com

David Bateman