The New Mapex Saturn Evolution Maple - A short review

jtpaistegeist

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Hey all,

Recently, I was in the market for a new kit. I knew something different was in order, brand, sizes, wood type, etc.. After weighing many options like Gretsch Brooklyn, or another DW or Yamaha kit, I decided on the new Mapex Saturn Evolution Maple/Walnut kit. Have to say, I am very glad that I did. It's very hard to find any info on these online, much less many videos.

The drums arrived well packed from the factory, all assembled besides the bass drum (came with coated ambassadors USA heads, PS3 clear bass). Immediately noticed the high quality finish, hardware, edges and overall construction. The Evo series are definitely a different drum from the standard Saturn.. The shell insides are all maple and look great, with obvious wood quality.

The shell looks to be a maple/walnut/maple/walnut/maple/walnut/maple, its quite interesting. The edges are superb. Smooth and slightly rounded over, with a slightly undersized shell. The shell thickness changes from smaller to larger drums, as well as the bearing edge round-over style. The rack toms have the "Sonor style" dials for resonance control (well both are KHS and share tech). All toms have the Sonic Saver 3mm S-style hoops which are awesome btw. I really like the feel and sound/focus these provide. Also has the standard 90 degree floor tom legs and sonic saver feet. The Halo-mount seems to be borrowed from Sonor as well in a way, its also awesome, and very sturdy/adjustable. Finish is flawless satin lacquer, seems durable, we shall see!

The sound is where it counts, and these are every bit the quality of sound and build as my DW, Yamaha, Gretsch, etc.. They actually remind me of two kits I have played in the same sizes.. Gretsch Broadcaster and DW Collectors (just a close comparison). They are VERY warm, and touch sensitive due to the edges. They are about an octave lower in pitch than the same sizes in my Ludwig Classic Maple, at the same tuning. The bass drum is about 35lbs and packs a wallop, yet also is very sensitive. The toms show a strong fundamental tone, and great tuning range. I have tried ambassadors, UV2, and emperor clear so far and all work well. Tuscan Red finish here BTW.

Would I recommend this kit?? Absolutely yes!

8x10, 9x12, 14x14, 16x16, 18x22 (snare pictured is Gretsch USA COB 5x14)


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T_Weaves

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Really nice kit! I've owned both the Saturn IV and V exotics. I haven't played your version but if you really want them to bark put a set of Remo clear Emperors on them.
 

Rhyma Hop

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Hey all,


Would I recommend this kit?? Absolutely yes!
I noticed these recently .. and I think what jtpaistegeist is saying is these are not the mapex drums of past.. even though some of those were ok drums.. These things are on another level sound wise as well as the build quality .. at least that is what I am getting.... because I noticed these drums whereas in the past.. I was not overly impressed with the Saturn or most of the Mapex products....... This is a major improvement product IMO ..

Only thing for me is that badge placement.. I cannot believe they went ahead with that ..
 

jtpaistegeist

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I noticed these recently .. and I think what jtpaistegeist is saying is these are not the mapex drums of past.. even though some of those were ok drums.. These things are on another level sound wise as well as the build quality .. at least that is what I am getting.... because I noticed these drums whereas in the past.. I was not overly impressed with the Saturn or most of the Mapex products....... This is a major improvement product IMO ..

Only thing for me is that badge placement.. I cannot believe they went ahead with that ..

I agree. Was skeptical about that placement as well. In person it looks fine, and the lines fall together visually.
 

ppfd

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Mapex has always been on my short list
Great sizes as well
 

T_Weaves

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I noticed these recently .. and I think what jtpaistegeist is saying is these are not the mapex drums of past.. even though some of those were ok drums.. These things are on another level sound wise as well as the build quality .. at least that is what I am getting.... because I noticed these drums whereas in the past.. I was not overly impressed with the Saturn or most of the Mapex products....... This is a major improvement product IMO ..

Only thing for me is that badge placement.. I cannot believe they went ahead with that ..
I couldn't care less about badges etc. Noble and Cooley does the same placement on their kits with the nodal mounting. What's different about the shells from the Saturn to the Evo's?
 

Bandit

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I noticed these recently .. and I think what jtpaistegeist is saying is these are not the mapex drums of past.. even though some of those were ok drums.. These things are on another level sound wise as well as the build quality .. at least that is what I am getting.... because I noticed these drums whereas in the past.. I was not overly impressed with the Saturn or most of the Mapex products....... This is a major improvement product IMO ..

Only thing for me is that badge placement.. I cannot believe they went ahead with that ..
This post is funny in so many ways.
 

Bandit

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Hey all,

Recently, I was in the market for a new kit. I knew something different was in order, brand, sizes, wood type, etc.. After weighing many options like Gretsch Brooklyn, or another DW or Yamaha kit, I decided on the new Mapex Saturn Evolution Maple/Walnut kit. Have to say, I am very glad that I did. It's very hard to find any info on these online, much less many videos.

The drums arrived well packed from the factory, all assembled besides the bass drum (came with coated ambassadors USA heads, PS3 clear bass). Immediately noticed the high quality finish, hardware, edges and overall construction. The Evo series are definitely a different drum from the standard Saturn.. The shell insides are all maple and look great, with obvious wood quality.

The shell looks to be a maple/walnut/maple/walnut/maple/walnut/maple, its quite interesting. The edges are superb. Smooth and slightly rounded over, with a slightly undersized shell. The shell thickness changes from smaller to larger drums, as well as the bearing edge round-over style. The rack toms have the "Sonor style" dials for resonance control (well both are KHS and share tech). All toms have the Sonic Saver 3mm S-style hoops which are awesome btw. I really like the feel and sound/focus these provide. Also has the standard 90 degree floor tom legs and sonic saver feet. The Halo-mount seems to be borrowed from Sonor as well in a way, its also awesome, and very sturdy/adjustable. Finish is flawless satin lacquer, seems durable, we shall see!

The sound is where it counts, and these are every bit the quality of sound and build as my DW, Yamaha, Gretsch, etc.. They actually remind me of two kits I have played in the same sizes.. Gretsch Broadcaster and DW Collectors (just a close comparison). They are VERY warm, and touch sensitive due to the edges. They are about an octave lower in pitch than the same sizes in my Ludwig Classic Maple, at the same tuning. The bass drum is about 35lbs and packs a wallop, yet also is very sensitive. The toms show a strong fundamental tone, and great tuning range. I have tried ambassadors, UV2, and emperor clear so far and all work well. Tuscan Red finish here BTW.

Would I recommend this kit?? Absolutely yes!

8x10, 9x12, 14x14, 16x16, 18x22 (snare pictured is Gretsch USA COB 5x14)


View attachment 511162
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The shells are Maple outers over Walnut inners, or Birch outers over Walnut inners. Pretty sure the shells don't get thicker as the drums get bigger. That is a Mapex Design element kit feature. The only thicker shell is the bass drum. Nice drums, just not a fan of the new mount, or badge placement. Mapex has made top notch drums for many years now. Enjoy!
 

Houndog

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Nice kit , one of the best Kits I ever heard was a Mapex ….
I wish I could get a set of bare shells and build them out like I’d want ….
 

jtpaistegeist

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The shells are Maple outers over Walnut inners, or Birch outers over Walnut inners. Pretty sure the shells don't get thicker as the drums get bigger. That is a Mapex Design element kit feature. The only thicker shell is the bass drum. Nice drums, just not a fan of the new mount, or badge placement. Mapex has made top notch drums for many years now. Enjoy!

The Evo Saturns are different. The insides are definitely maple, with varying thickness on the shells, as well as staggered plies of maple and walnut. These are quite different than the regular Saturn series, they do not use the previous shell layout. These drums bowwow about every element of the design lab drums, except the re-rings. Not a knock against the standard Saturn, just a fact.
 

Tommy D

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It looks like the shells may be Maple, Walnut/Walnut, Maple, Walnut/Walnut, Maple based off this DCP video:

Saturn Evolution Shell.jpg


Its hard to tell what the exact shell make up is as vertical grain maple can look very dark on a bearing edge. Those 2 plys right after the inner most ply of maple are a bit too red in color to look like Walnut to me. That could be vertical grain maple as maple has a slight red hue to it (especially when compared to birch which has a yellow hue).

I don't have all day to look at videos trying to hunt down the exact ply layup of the shells, but there is definitely a different shell make up from the regular Saturn series.

I would also think that there is a different tambre to these drums vs the Saturn series since the walnut is sandwiched in the middle of the shell vs right at the interior of the drum like it is in the regular Saturn series:

 
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Bandit

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The Evo Saturns are different. The insides are definitely maple, with varying thickness on the shells, as well as staggered plies of maple and walnut. These are quite different than the regular Saturn series, they do not use the previous shell layout. These drums bowwow about every element of the design lab drums, except the re-rings. Not a knock against the standard Saturn, just a fact.
It is very hard to tell by their brochure. You are right about the shells getting more plies with bigger sizes. They do mention a few times in the brochure that the shells are the Maple/Walnut, Birch/Walnut like the other Saturns. What isn't clear is how the plies are arranged. Usually the the first wood is the outer, and the second the inner. Like most things Mapex makes they aren't very clear about their product. One thing for sure is that they will sound great. :)https://issuu.com/brooklync/docs/mpx_saturnevo_brochure_2020_issuu
 

jtpaistegeist

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If it is a Walnut sandwiched between Maple it is more like a Velvetone.
Right on Bandit. That is what these look to be, the inside ply looks just like the insides of my Ludwig CM's. I can see the alternating very light maple/dark walnut plies looking at the edges.
 

Tommy D

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Sounds like Mapex has really stepped up its game.
Mapex's game has been at a high level for over a decade. My Saturn III's from 2010 are the best constructed set of drums I have ever come across. Better than DW Collectors, Pearl Reference Pure and Yamaha Recording Customs. The Meridian line back in the day may have lagged a bit behind relative to its competition, but Saturn and Orion have been amazing from pretty much the mid-2000's .
 

notINtheband

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I fell so hard for my 2012 Saturn 3’s that I didn’t want to gig out with them. So I bought a used set to gig out with!! Yep, a used Saturn kit! Why? I honestly didn’t find another set I liked as much as what I already had. LOL
Here they are, the lacquer studio kit on the right, and my gigging kit on the left. Couldn’t be happier.
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