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 Blade
The cheapest Panther, the Blade is no more shabby for that. The 14"x5 1/2", 1mm steel shell has a just-visible internal vertical join and turned-over traditional 45 degree bearing edges.
The shell and all the hardware are finished in a brushed metallic grey, giving the drum a more expensive image. It was also exactly round by our measurements.
Steel may be the low-cost option but it is a splendid material for snare drum shells. At medium tension you get a dry, dark, thick and parchment-like tone in the centre, but when you catch the rim it rings out like a - well, like a steel drum.
The timbre is not as varied or complex as maple, say, but crunchier, so your double strokes are distinct and keen.
The shell matches perfectly with the new Sonic Saver hoops and rim shots and cross-sticks are a joy, cutting through with ease. That distinctive steel ping is what you need to power just about any band.