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 Phantom
The Phantom is the only Panther which includes birch in its shell makeup. It's a thin 5.1mm shell again, but this time the exterior two-thirds is birch and the interior one-third is walnut. The shell is finished on the outside with a deep reddish brown stain and gloss lacquer, offset by eight chrome plated tube lugs. Inside is the natural brown walnut, left lightly sealed.
Bearing edges are Mapex's new 5:5 configuration which is a 45-degree slope up to a medium sharp edge.
Birch is generally considered to have a more controlled sound than maple - less open, more studio friendly. Combined with walnut, which has a dark flavour, the result is a compact, razor-sharp and highly sensitive little drum.
Because of its small size, at 12"x5", the fundamental pitch is inevitably high, which suggests clean and fast jungle and electro beats. We guess it's as a second snare the Phantom is most likely to find favour, providing contrasting grooves and vibes to your main snare.
But don't overlook it, the Phantom's a seriously tasty drum in its own right.