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 Brass Cat
With its 14"x5 1//2" 1.2mm brass shell, the Brass Cat is somewhat heavier than its 1mm steel equivalent, the Blade. Otherwise the construction is essentially the same except that the 45-degree turned-over bearing edges are slightly less sharp.
There are 20 single-ended lug boxes which are positioned close to the hoops. This is the case with several of the Panthers, making it almost impossible to do the tension bolts up to finger-tight - you have to use a key, which we think is a pity.
Playing the Brass Cat side by side with the Blade you really notice the way the brass has a darker timbre. It's broader and lower, warmer and more complex than steel, which for us is drier toned. We always feel brass takes up more space in the sound spectrum than steel.
The brass shell also makes cross-sticks and rim shots sound more woody. This is not to say the drum doesn't rock - indeed it can be as aggressive as you want it, but it will always be more sonorous than merely raucous.