Mapex Drums - Quality Ranking

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Friends,

There is some good information in this threat, and lively discussion, but respectfully, I need to observe there is also a bit of misinformation. There's a tendency to lump together Meridian Maple and Meridian Birch, and there was a statement that the hardware is identical with the Meridian Maple and Meridian Birch, which is not true. Besides the shell composition and thickness, there are substantial hardware differences, as Meridian Maple are outfitted with 2.3 mm hoops, and Meridian Birch with the lighter 1.6 mm. Also, Meridian Maple are outfitted with Spring Cushioned Floor Tom Legs, which I've been told Meridian Birch do not have.

Similarly, there was a statement in the Forum about Armory having better hardware than Meridian, but I believe this is inaccurate with regard to Meridian Maple. I invite anyone to examine Armory hoops at your local music shop. Like me, you may get the impression the company has cut corners on the hoops? Look at Mapex's website. . . notice they no longer seem to be forthcoming on the specs on Armory hoops. Armory hoops are much lighter than the 2.3mm Powerhoops on the Meridian Maple and Saturn drums.

Personally, I believe Meridian Maple are in a class above Meridian Birch, and would rate them higher than the new Armory (full disclosure - this year I purchased a Meridian Maple Studioease kit in a clearance sale instead of the Armory). Armory do sound nice, but I believe this is because Mapex has got a good thing going on now with their vintage sounding Soniclear bearing edges (what is old is new!).
 

Paradiddle

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Here is what I've learned form this thread. Mapex has a LOT of drum lines - and they all have rather interesting names.
 

xsabers

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Mydentity is closest to Meridian Maple. The Armory is a blended shell (birch, Maple, birch) and would be considered slightly lower in their hierarchy. I do believe they have lighter hoops than Mydentity.
 

tnsquint

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DrummerCT,
Thanks for putting this together. Very helpful in understanding the various offerings from Mapex.
 
M

Matt Middleton

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philosopherdrummer said:
... substantial hardware differences, as Meridian Maple are outfitted with 2.3 mm hoops, and Meridian Birch with the lighter 1.6 mm....

...notice they no longer seem to be forthcoming on the specs on Armory hoops. Armory hoops are much lighter than the 2.3mm Powerhoops on the Meridian Maple and Saturn drums.
The implication being that 2.3 is a superior hoop than a 1.6, which is complete horses**t. Lots of high end drums either come with 1.6 hoops (Yamaha Rec Cust, Pearl Ref Pure, Ludwig Supraphonic, etc) or have them as an option (DW Collectors). Hoops are about preference. You want to argue chroming, metallurgy, etc. fine... but millimeters? Yeah no, sorry.


philosopherdrummer said:
Also, Meridian Maple are outfitted with Spring Cushioned Floor Tom Legs, which I've been told Meridian Birch do not have.
Neither does a DW Collectors series, and neither does any drum kit produced before the last decade or two, including such revered instruments as the Slingerland Radio King, Mid 60's Ludwigs, etc. Many high end kits still don't... But for $10 at your local drum shop, problem solved.


philosopherdrummer said:
Personally, I believe* Meridian Maple are in a class above Meridian Birch, and would rate them* higher than the new Armory (full disclosure - this year I purchased a Meridian Maple Studioease kit in a clearance sale instead of the Armory).
*emphasis mine

And here, we arrive at the core issue of so many gear related comparisons, subjectivity. Year after year, drum companies look for some way to differentiate their gear from their competitors, so they find some spec like hoop millimeters, give it a cool trademarked name (Power Hoop, Mighty Hoop, Super Hoop) and whip up some ad copy and a few tasteful photos to convince potential customers that this aspect of their drums makes them superior. Why? because they're trying to sell you something and after being bred for a life of consumerism and so many drummers seem to buy into these marketing ploys and take them as gospel. It's the same crap with double braced hardware, maple vs birch, blended shell vs. single wood type and on... and on...

Also.. please don't take this personally, I'm not in the habit of attacking new forum members (welcome, btw) but you've hit on a particular pet peeve of mine. I'd have written the same response to anyone.

And with that, I will now dismount my soapbox with an inward two and a half with a full twist in the layout position. Wish me luck.
 

singleordoubleheads

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I hate to sound like a broken record, but I've had my Pro M kit for 9(!) years already (hard to believe) and they still look and sound brand new. They always deliver for me--a ton of punch and presence in the mix, and they just look so beautiful in all of their natural maple finish glory! I'd love to someday have a Luddy CM kit in the same sizes, but really can't justify it, since these babies satisfy me every time I take 'em out the door.
 
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wayne

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I have a US Maples kit built in Nashville in 1993. Very little known about these or this brief period in Mapex history, but they are the ultimate professional kit....Hope you find a slot for them on the chart
 
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wayne

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There is also a drum line made in Taiwan called "Tribal drums". Hardly anything about them but there is an interesting chat at Drumworld a few yrs back. Google it and tell me what you think, but they sure look like Mapex to me?
 

LimaPop

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I had a set of a ProM years ago.... Excellent sounding drums, decent but not great hardware, great price. I always thought of them as a Honda Civic of drum kits.
 

singleordoubleheads

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LimaPop said:
I had a set of a ProM years ago.... Excellent sounding drums, decent but not great hardware, great price. I always thought of them as a Honda Civic of drum kits.
Agree with you about the drums, but the only piece of Mapex hardware I own/use is the TS 960 tom-cymbal stand. Easily the heaviest piece of hardware I own, but rock solid! All of my other hardware & pedals is seemingly everything BUT Mapex by default, not planned that way...
 

beef

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I've been searching the end of the internet for info on a Mapex kit I just bought.
There's no series name on the badge, however I managed to find a review from Modern drummer
on the EXACT same kit.
I thought for sure it was just missing the 16"...but I guess not.
The review says it's an Orion custom. Thoughts?
 

singleordoubleheads

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beef said:
I've been searching the end of the internet for info on a Mapex kit I just bought.
There's no series name on the badge, however I managed to find a review from Modern drummer
on the EXACT same kit.
I thought for sure it was just missing the 16"...but I guess not.
The review says it's an Orion custom. Thoughts?
Well, Orion is the top-of-the-line flagship for Mapex, so it looks like you got yourself a really nice set. Not exactly sure what the "custom" aspect is, but they should be all maple shells for sure.
 

NoBuddyRich

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http://newyork.craigslist.org/lgi/msg/5083451679.html

Six piece Meridian Maple for $550 NY CL
 

mlucas123

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"Custom" signifies maple shell.
"Studio" for birch

singleordoubleheads said:
I've been searching the end of the internet for info on a Mapex kit I just bought.
There's no series name on the badge, however I managed to find a review from Modern drummer
on the EXACT same kit.
I thought for sure it was just missing the 16"...but I guess not.
The review says it's an Orion custom. Thoughts?
Well, Orion is the top-of-the-line flagship for Mapex, so it looks like you got yourself a really nice set. Not exactly sure what the "custom" aspect is, but they should be all maple shells for sure.
 

audiochurch

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Pro-M kits are incredible! helped a student buy a brand new one literally 18 years ago. He still has them and gigs them every winter for his local middle school play. I played them and would gig them anytime, especially for how cheap they can be had now.

I also flipped a few M-series kits. For the money, they are great for beginners not looking to spend a lot. Today, you can get them for very little coin. I experimented with loads of polyurethane/sanding/more polyurethane/etc on this kit. After about 8 coats with sanding in between, they sounded and felt so smoothe!

Either kit is great for gigging and keeping in your car year-round. Mapex is incredibly underated.
 

singleordoubleheads

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If it came down to it, and I HAD to just keep one kit out of my stable, it would almost certainly be my Pro M. Quality is top-notch, all-maple shells, beautiful finish, can't go wrong with Mapex in my opinion.
 

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