Mapex Drums

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Mapex Drums
Industry musical instruments
Founded Taipei, Taiwan
1989; 26 years ago (1989)
Founder KHS Musical Instruments
Headquarters Taipei, Taiwan
Products drums, drum hardware

Mapex Drums is a Taiwanese drum brand manufactured by KHS Musical Instruments Company of Taiwan. Mapex has been in the drum making industry for over 18 years.


Mapex produces seven different lines of drums: the introductory Voyager and Horizon series, the intermediate Meridian Birch and Meridian Maple, and the professional level Saturn and Orion. In years past the V and Pro M series were called the Venus and Mars series, in keeping with the tradition of naming the kits after planets. However, the quality of these series have changed since they dropped the old names. For a short time Mapex also offered the "Deep Forest" line of drums, built entirely out of Walnut or Cherry plies, as well as the Aquiles Priester signature drum kit.[1]

Mapex is also associated with Falcon pedals, Black Panther snare drums and kits, and Tornado starter kits.

Drum kits[edit]

Voyager and Horizon[edit]

As of January 2010, the Q and QR series are no longer made, having been replaced by the new Voyager series, while Horizon series has replaced the VX series (VXB for Britain). These entry-level, yet highly regarded kits have improved their lugs, mounts, badges and bass drum claws. The Horizon HZ kit offers a newly mixed birch/basswood drum shell. A newly available Mapex cymbal pack is optional with any of these kits.[2][3]

Meridian Maple, Meridian Birch[edit]

As of early 2009, Mapex has replaced the very popular M Birch and Pro-M drums series, with the Meridian Birch and Meridian Maple series respectively. These are considered to be intermediate/semi-pro lines of drums. The Meridian Maple series feature 7-ply, 5.8mm, all maple shells (7.2mm bass drum). They also feature Mapex 2.3mm Steel Powerhoops and Remo UT Pinstripe batter heads along with Spring Loaded Floor Tom Legs (from the higher end Saturn & Orion lines). The Meridian Birch features 6-ply, 7.2mm, all birch shells, and also feature Remo UT heads, but not the 2.3mm Powerhoops nor the Spring Cushioned Floor Tom Legs. The hoops on the Birch line (1.6mm) and the floor tom legs are considerably thinner. It is a common misconception among customers (even among some Mapex retailers) that these two lines of drums are similar and share the same features. The Maple line has several higher end features taken from the previous Pro-M line and the Birch line carries forward the M-Birch features. These two lines sharing the same first name of "Meridian" is probably the cause of this misconception. These two series are Mapex's most popular series of drums.


Following the popularity of the Meridian line, Mapex launched - only for the USA market as of 2013 - the MyDentity line of custom ordered intermediate/semi-pro drums. This level of customization is usually only found in high-end drum lines.


Saturn floating floor tom legs
Saturn non-penetrating bass drum spur
Saturn I.T.S. isolated tom mount system

The Saturn line is constructed of Maple and Walnut (the oldest lines were made of Basswood instead of Walnut). The kit is constructed of 6 plies of wood for a shell thickness of 5.1 millimeters. It shares a number of options with both the Mars and Orion line, but is not available with birdseye maple plies. Saturn kits come in a variety of lacquer and wrap finishes (including bursts, sparkles and fades) and come with the option of black or chrome hardware. The Saturn has become very popular, as the thinner hybrid shells provide a lower/warmer/darker fundamental tone than similar all-maple shells. Although they are priced as midrange drums, they are considered a fully professional kit and used by recording artists such as Chris Adler from Lamb of God, who recently switch over to the new Black Panther line of drums. Many drummers actually consider the Saturn line their favorite Mapex drums.[citation needed]


The Orion Series is an all maple 6.1 millimeter 7 ply setup with an outer layer of Birdseye maple as an option. It is Mapex's flagship series and is also the most versatile kit available from Mapex as each kit can only be ordered by components. No preconfigured kits are available. It is available with Chrome, Black Nickel and 24kt. Gold plated hardware.

For the duration of 2005 the Orion's inner "plies" were identical to the all maple pro M's inner ply's the difference being the outer "finish" ply. The Orion received Mapex's figured birds eye maple or other such exotic wood finishes, while the pro M received regular North American maple finish ply. With the exception of the 15th Anniversary edition Pro M. with a production run of 300 worldwide this set was given the figured Birdseye Maple finish of the Orion in Autumn or Jade Fade.

The overall shell thicknesses for both the Orion and the early Pro-M's of 2005 - 2006 were identical at 6.1 mm. This was the case only till early 2006 when production changed at the factory in Tianjin. All pro Ms received a changed ply configuration and thickness resulting in an overall shell thickness of 5.8mm, and the Orion kept its 6.1 mm shell thickness. The Orions are actually priced lower than most of their high end market competition. The exotic burl finish is not common with other high end drum companies at the same price point.

Black Panther[edit]

Building on the foundations of the very successful Black Panther line of snares, Mapex introduced limited editions of drum kits based on those snares. As of April 2013, four models were produced: The Blaster, The Velvetone, The Retrosonic and The Black Widow.

Drum heads[edit]

Mapex kits also come with Remo drumheads. All of the drums below Saturn come with the UT series, which are made in the Remo factory in China. They were made using the same Dupont Mylar film as is used on the Remo USA WeatherKing head. The difference is in the construction of the head. Whereas the US heads were made using a poured channel technique, the China heads were crimped. The aluminum hoop was folded over a steel ring that is inserted in the U-channel to hold the film in place. Starting in 2007, Saturns and Orions came with Remo Emperor heads on the toms and clear ambassadors for the resonant heads. This was put in place to showcase the full sonic capabilities of the drums right when they are in stores.

Current endorsers[edit]

Chris Adler - Lamb of God[4]
Elias Andra - Julien-K, Dead by Sunrise
Bluestars Drum And Bugle Corps
John Boecklin - DevilDriver[4]
Boston Crusaders Drum And Bugle Corps
Joe Butterworth - Talanas[4]
David Calarco- Jazz drumming great [4]
Will Calhoun - Living Colour[4]
Ben Carter - Evile[4]
Nicky Caulfield - Independent UK[4]
Tony Coleman - B.B. King
Nathan Cooper - Idiots 'r' Us
Anibal De Leon - Panamanian drummer
Nick D'Virgilio - Spock's Beard, Tears for Fears[4]
Dom Famularo
Matt Halpern - Periphery
Scott Hunter - Seven Days Fighting[4]
Paul Judge - Jazz Drummer
Steve Michael Massie - Indonesian drummer
Russ Miller - session drummer [4]
Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps
Juanita Parra - Los Jaivas[4]
Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps
Aquiles Priester - Angra, Hangar[4]
Herlin Riley - Wynton Marsalis[4]
Christopher Saldarriaga - The Mellows
Scott Speidel -Snaphammer
Teal Sound Drum and Bugle Corps
Timber Creek Independent
Jake Yanko - Ugly Sweater Party[4]

Past endorsers[edit]

Carmine Appice early 1990s
Mike Portnoy - Dream Theater early 1990s
Billy Cobham early 1990s
Gregg Bissonette - until 2014
Igor Cavalera - Sepultura
Paul Geary - Extreme
Terry Bozzio
Shannon Larkin - Ugly Kid Joe, Godsmack
Mike Terrana - Yngwie Malmsteen, Tony McAlpine, Axel Rudi Pell, Rage, Masterplan
Eddie Bayers - Garth Brooks
Hal Blaine
Jim Brock - Joe Walsh
David Lauser - Sammy Hagar
Scott Mercado - Candlebox
Bobby Schayer - Bad Religion
Danny Schuler - Biohazard
Grady Tate
Eloy Polito Sanchez - Aquaria, Aethra, Alejandra Guzman, CODA
Randy Black - Primal Fear
Moe Carlson - Protest The Hero

See also[edit]

KHS Musical Instruments

External links[edit]