Hands-On Review:Orion Classic and Saturn Pro series drums

The drum. The oldest known instrument and arguably the earliest form of long-distance communication. Technological innovations have revolutionized communications as well as drum design. But you can bet that the first drummers to stretch an animal hide around a carefully hollowed log had keen eyes on their craftsmanship. They knew it was necessary to assure the right sound and get their own clear "voice." Mapex Orion Classic series and Saturn Pro series drum sets exemplify that lasting marriage of hand-craftsmanship and technological innovation.

Material and workmanship
The inherent warmth, projection, and tuning range of these custom-made Mapex sets are a testament to the beautiful, handcrafted, ultra-thin maple shells. The marvelous top-line Orion Classic model is available in six-ply, 5.1mm traditional North American maple or with a birdseye maple outer veneer. The Saturn Pro Series sets feature an attractive 6.1mm shell with seven alternating plies of North American maple and basswood. The Saturn Pro's rugged, yet refined construction makes it the ideal set for the touring or studio player who demands exceptionally balanced sound and stable, strong shells. Both models feature finish-matching and timbre-tuned all-maple bass drum hoops.

Truer sound through technology
Mapex's exclusive I.T.S (Isolated Tom System) design allows minimal metal-to-shell contact to keep the handcrafted shell sound pure. The I.T.S. design works throughout the entire suspension system. The rack toms are supported at the lugs for true shell resonance, while keeping the drums stable under even the most powerful performances. The patented, isolated-style double-tom holder allows plenty of up/down and back/front adjustment for hours of comfortable drumming, regardless of the player's stature. The floor tom features spring-loaded legs with shell-isolated brackets. The lug-mounted bass drum's spur mount lets the shell freely resonate while providing exceptional stability. The low-mass tuning lugs are part of the integral "minimal metal contact" design and have easy-to-access key rods. The Orion Classic series adds handsome 24k gold-plated lugs.

All Orion Classic and Saturn Pro toms feature Mapex 2.3mm Powerhoop hoops. These rigid chromed steel hoops assure consistent head contact with the carefully crafted bearing edges. And of course, the toms and bass drums all feature the legendary Remo® Weatherking® heads.

Hardware and handiwork
Mapex's dedication to detail is also apparent in their outstanding Performing Artist Series hardware.The sturdy cymbal, boom, and hi-hat stands feature Mapex's exclusive OS Cymbal Accentuators cymbal washers. They are specially designed to offer minimal cymbal contact for maximum resonance. The Orion Classic comes with the advanced-design P950 chain-drive bass pedal with three-surface beater, while the Saturn Pro series features the responsive, sleek P750 pedal with adjustable tri-tonal beater.

All Orion Classic Sets and most of the Saturn Pro sets come with the world-renowned Mapex Black Panther traditional maple snare drum for that distinctive and powerful "woody" sound. The Black Panther snare drums feature the popular Remo Renaissance heads.

A fine line of drums
Spend some time on the throne behind a Mapex set and you'll see why the international list of drum artists who prefer them is ever growing. From Nashville to New Zealand. From the studio to the stadium. From rock to Rachmaninoff. No matter what the venue or program, you're going to find discriminating drummers who demand the pure sound and impeccable construction of Mapex Orion Classic and Saturn Pro custom-made drums. Plus, the same quality and craftsmanship can be found in more affordable Mapex M-Series and V-Series sets. These also feature non-shell-penetrating tom mounts and top-quality Performing Arts Series hardware. Find them at your Friend's place

Musician's Friend has the full line of Mapex drums, plus fast delivery and friendly service. Order today toll-free or online. And there's always Musician's Friend Platinum Card financing to make owning a Mapex set even easier.

Features & Specs


  • Handcrafted, ultra-thin maple shells
  • Hand-rubbed lacquer finis
  • Mapex exclusive I.T.S. (Isolated Tom System) isolation style double tom holder
  • Mapex Performing Arts Series hardware
  • OS Cymbal Accentuators
  • Mapex Powerhoop 2.3mm chromed steel tom hoops
  • All-maple bass drum hoops
  • Floor tom I.T.S. with spring-loaded tom legs
  • Anti-resonance- robbing I.T.S. Bass Drum Spur Mount
  • REMO® Weatherking® Drumheads