The Black Panther series of snare drums has been a staple in the Mapex world for a very long time. While the series has grown and expanded throughout the years, there are a few things that have stayed the same: high quality hardware, interesting wood selections and beautifully crafted drums. This month we got a chance to sit down with two of the newer models in the Black Panther series, the Cherry Bomb and Versatus.
This snare was literally the bomb. Terrible puns aside, I was very impressed with the tone and response of this drum. I took it to an outdoor gig with a funky setlist and it excelled. My drum featured an Evans G2 instead of the factory Ambassador X, which suited the drum well in producing a well-rounded tone with the assistance of a Snareweight for muffling. The Mapex blurb says that the drum “boasts a cherry wood shell for warm, focused projection with an edgy, distinctly rock ‘n’ roll sound.” Honestly, I think they’ve undersold the versatility of this drum and the drum’s projection was absolutely perfect for an outdoor gig setting.
Regardless, I was rapt with the Cherry Bomb. It’s great value for the price (considering it comes with Remo USA heads and PureSound wires, it’s even better value) and a unique yet versatile snare to add to your arsenal.
VERSATUS RUSS MILLER SIGNATURE
Russ Miller is a phenomenal drummer and drum product innovator (he’s been involved with creating the sub-kick and groove wedge) so I was stoked to get my hands on his new signature “Versatus” (Latin for flexibility) snare. I took this one out to the same gig I took the Cherry Bomb to and whilst it sounded nice, it didn’t suit the loud outdoor style of the gig. I forgot to read the fine print on the drum; it’s a do-it-all snare for the studio. Whoops. I popped it on the kit in my studio and it came to life. The tuning range on this little 14x4-5/8 drum was huge, but I loved it at the medium-low and medium-high tunings where it really sang tonally and responded perfectly at all dynamics. The combination of mahogany and maple in the shell supports the low end range of the drum and the maple gives it the crack at higher tunings.
This snare does everything the blurb on the Mapex site says it will perfectly and for the price, you’ll struggle to find something that competes. If you’re looking for a studio workhorse that won’t break your budget nor let you down, check this drum out.
Hits and Misses
Great build quality
Remo USA heads and PureSound wires