The name Black Panther, conjuring up speed and power allied to velvety sleekness, has been a winner for Mapex over the past decade. Now Mapex has given the entire range an overhaul with 14 brand new models. You can read every Black Panther snare drum review here.
Each drum has either single-ended shield-design cast lugs, or elegantly sculpted twin-point mounted tube lugs. The patented 'Sonic Saver' hoops lie between flanged and die-cast hoops. Recalling the classic Slingerland 'Stick Saver' concept, the top lip of each pressed stainless steel hoop bends over and in, not out as on standard hoops.
The handsome throw-off is a smoothly operating pull-away lever with adjustable strainers at both ends. Micro lock knobs click silently as you turn them for sensitive adjustment of the stainless steel wires. There are several new bearing edge profiles, and capping it all a new die-cast, chrome-plated Black Panther badge.
You can watch a video overview of the new range with Craig Blundell and Steve White below. Scroll down for the full review.
Black Panther Black Widow
The 14"x5" Black Widow has a thin ply shell, just 5.1mm of maple, finished on the outside in glossy black lacquer through which you can just see the grain. It has matching black chrome hardware.
The shell has one of Mapex's new bearing edge profiles, dubbed '5:5', which is a 45 degree slope to a sharp edge with a round-over to the outside.
14"x5" is a neglected size, being 1/2" under the standard 5 1/2". That half an inch less, though, gives the drum a noticeable alacrity. This drum is mighty sharp, you get that lovely sensation of crispness when you tap it - it's super-sensitive all over the batter head. And the SonicSaver hoops accentuate the pin-sharp cross-stick response.
The maple bestows brightness and warmth, a fine tone, tempered by the fact the shell is thin, meaning it's resonant and relatively dark. The rounded-over bearing edges warm the tone a fraction.