Mapex Drums

Mapex Drums Logo

Mapex Drums is a top 10 drum brand that is owned by parent corporation and musical instrument manufacturing conglomerate, KHS Musical Instruments Co., Ltd.  With technical sponsor drummers including Moe Carlson from Protest The Hero, Mike Novak of Every Time I Die and Matt Halpern of Periphery; Mapex has established itself as a cutting edge brand in the marketplace.  Currently Mapex manufactures more than eight (8) different drum lines, with accompanying and independent snares.  Mapex also makes hardware and marching percussion.


Mapex Drum SetMapex Drums History

Mapex is owned and operated by KHS instruments who also owns and manages Jupiter Band Instruments, Walden Guitars, Hercules Stands, Ross Mallet Instruments and Majestic Concert Percussion.  KHS was founded in 1930 in Kaohsiung Taiwan by Chien-Chung Hsieh and his brothers.  KHS stands for Kong Hseu Sheh which derived from Chinese translates to Contribution School Society.  As stated by KHS the idea is to “contribute to schools and society” and expresses their commitment to enhancing quality of life and culture.  With musical production volumes of $295 million and over 4,000 employees, KHS is one of the larger players in the musical instrument manufacturing industry.

Mapex was founded in 1991 with early popular endorsers including Mike Portnoy and Billy Cobham.  In 1996 Mapex USA Inc was launched to further the brand name in America.  Mapex is made and distrbuted out of KHS America and their factory located in Nashville Texas.  This is a 100,000 square foot facility that also makes Jupiter wind instruments, Majestic concert percussion, Altus flutes and Walden Guitars.


Mapex Drum Lines

Black Panther Series ($2,300-$2,800)

The Black Panther drum series are the top of the line shells and snares made by Mapex and consist of the Retrosonic, Velvetone and Blaster kits.

  • Retrosonic: The Retrosonic is made from walnut and equipped with custom full-length tube lugs and Sonic Saver hoops.  A Walnut Burl veneer finish rounds out the vintage look and available in a 3 piece shell pack, the Retrosonic is perfect for jazz drumming.  The 3pc shell pack is priced at roughly $2,300 new, with accompanying snare at around $500.
  • Velvetone: Velvetone drum shells are made from a combination of maple and walnut with a specially selected 1:9 bearing edge.  Velvetone drums are finished with a high gloss, Italian burl maple veneer and a Butter Burst lacquer.  This kit is available in a 4pc configuration with a 22×18 bass, 10×8 and 12×9 toms and a 16×16 floor tom for roughly $2,500.  A 5pc shell pack with an added 14×14 floor tom costs around $2,800.
  • Blaster: Mapex launched the Black Panther drum collection with The Blaster, which consists of a traditional thin American maple shell.  Like the Velvetone, The Blaster is available in matching 4 and 5 piece shell packs, price similarly.
Mapex Black Panther BlasterMapex Black Panther (The Blaster)


Saturn Series ($1,200 – $1,900)

Saturn series drums by Mapex include the standard kit made from maple/walnut and the special edition (SE) made from birch/walnut.

  • Saturn: This professional line of drums is designed for all musical applications.  Available in 14 different finishes and 6 different preset configurations, the Saturn gives drummers many options to express their individuality.  Featuring 8ply bass drums and 6ply toms, Saturn drum kits range between $1,200 and $1,700 depending on the shell pack selected.
  • Saturn SE:  Saturn Special Edition drums feature 7ply shells with black nickel chrome hardware.  This 5 piece setup is available in four finishes and runs about $1,900.

Meridian Series ($600-$900)

Meridian series drums include the black line with the limited edition Obsidian and Raven along with the Meridian Maple line.

  • Meridian Black:  The black line includes the limited edition Obsidian with a unique Volcanic Glass Sparkle covering.  The three piece kit comes with a 24×14 kick, 12×8 rack tom and 16×16 floor tom and optional 14×7 snare.  Drum shells are made from birch on the exterior and maple on the interior.  The shell pack is roughly $700 with the snare at $230.  The Raven line features a black wood grain wrapped finish.  The 5 piece configuration includes a 22×20 bass, 12×8 tom, and 14×12 and 16×14 floor toms.  A 14×6 snare is includes with an optional 10×7 add on tom available.  Shell packs are roughly $830 with the add on tom at $220.
  • Meridian Maple: Featuring 7ply maple shells with 5 finishes and 4 preset configurations, the Meridian Maple offers many options for an intermediate drum set.  Shell packs range from $600 to $900.

Horizon Series ($500-$770)

Mapex Horizon drums are highly regarded entry level drum kits that include the Horizon Birch and Big City.

  • Horizon Birch: Shells are made from a combination of 6ply birch and popular wood.  Included with the birch drum shells is the Mapex exclusive Isolated Tom Mounting System (ITS), a steel-hammered snare, Remo drum heads and educational DVD.  Available in five finishes with a 7pc, two 6pc and a 5pc shell configurations, the Horizon Birch provides many options.  Horizon Birch shell packs are priced at $600 to $770.
  • Horizon Big City:  Available in a specialized 5pc configuration designed for playing in compact spaces, the Big City is perfect for gigging or practice.  Priced at $500, it competes with other compact drum kits from major competitors in the market.

Voyager Series ($400-$700) w/ Double Bass Drum ~$1K

Despite being an entry level drum kit, the Voyager series provides the beginning drummer with many “fully loaded” configurations including a double bass add-on pack.  The plethora of drum options and 7 available finishes give the new drumming student the opportunity to experiment with varying configurations and sizes while learning technique without spending a lot of money.  Made from 7.2mm popular with included 330 double braced hardware, the Voyager set is heavy duty enough to endure the beating of a drummer without the developed finesse of a pro.  Included with the kit is a drum throne, Remo UX heads, a self muffling bass drum head and instructional setup DVD.


Mapex Snares, Hardware and Pedals

Mapex Snares

Mapex top of the line snare drums include fourteen models of the Black Panther series.  This includes the Black Widow, Blade, Blaster, Brass Cat, Cherry Bomb, Fastback, Machete, Panther, Phantom, Phat Bob, Retrosonic, Sledgehammer, Stinger and Velvetone.  Mapex also makes several different MPX snares including hammered steel, steel, maple and birch.  These come in the following sizes, 10×5.5, 12×5, 13×3.5, 13×6, 14×5.5, 14.6.5 and the monster 14×8.  Additional Mapex snares include the popular and 1.0mm steel.

Mapex Pedals

Mapex makes the popular Raptor Direct Drive pedal in both single and double bass configurations.  Mapex also makes both single (500 series) and double (710 series) chain drive pedals in both single and double bass configurations.

Mapex Stands, Thrones and Accessories

Mapex Multi ClampWhile not necessarily known for its hardware, Mapex makes a variety of stands including applications for the high hat, snare, cymbals and toms.  Mapex also sells these in preset hardware packs for a complete kit setup.  Concert stands are also available.  Mapex also offers four different  4-point thrones as well as 200, 500 and 700 series thrones.  Mapex makes typical accessories including tom holders, boom arms, tension remotes, multi-clamps and replacement parts.

Mapex Drums Review

Mapex is one of the most sought after brand names in the drum marketplace today.  With a concise line of kits at the beginner, intermediate and professional level, drummers have an adequate range of drums to pick from.  Accompanied with performance snares, pedals and quality hardware, Mapex provides the total package for musicians at all levels.

For more information on Mapex Drums be sure to check out

Do you own a Mapex drum set?  Have we missed anything in our review?

Please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.

One Response to “Mapex Drums”

  1. William Clark on July 18th, 2014 at 8:07 am

    why where the Orion’s discontinued??? Awesome drums….. trying to buy a set now!!! I guess they will be worth some thing one day!!! Have a good day!!

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