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 Machete
This is basically the same drum as the Blade but one inch deeper at 14"x6 1/2". A word here about the new throw-off and strainer. It has tension adjustment at both ends so you can even up the wires. The tension knobs are calibrated to click, although the click is tactile and silent, and the take-up is slow. So you have a lot of adjustment, which means the snares are sensitive.
We found it easy to get the snares on all the drums to work with barely a hint of unwanted sympathetic buzzing.
The Machete has a similar vibe to the Blade - it's a workhorse, no nonsense all-round steel snare that will stay with you from the softest to the loudest passages. If your rock is more mid-tempo and heavy this will carry the beat superbly.
It has that familiar, almost hollow clonk, characteristic of deep metal snares, that hammers out the message. But as with the Blade, there's a sensitive side when needed. Although steel may have the reputation for a rather one-dimensional, forceful sound, that is selling it short.