Mapex Really Hits the Spot

Black Panther Versatus Russ Miller Snare

Black Panther Versatus Russ Miller Snare

You might think a Taiwanese company that's been in the drum manufacturing business for a relatively short 28 years would be the sort of brand that produces cheaper, low-end instruments but that's not what Mapex are about.

The Versatus snare features a robust blended mahogany / maple shell, gunmetal brushed chrome hardware and a reinforced batter head with 45° bearing edge. It's a deceptively heavy snare given its shorter frame to the point where I nearly dropped it when I first picked it up by the hoop.

The sound is, quite simply, amazing. The dry acoustic of the mahogany makes the response snappy and projection strong. This snare would pierce through any noisy live gig effortlessly. There's a sharp attack when you strike the head and little sustained resonance. The tone is higher (assuming a standard, tight tuning) and might almost reach the higher register of some piccolo snares in a pinch.

For the $800 price tag, it definitely makes this instrument a solid performer and very good value for the money.