Mapex Design Lab Equinox snare review

The Black Panther just got an upgrade

  • £599
  • €579
  • $599

MusicRadar Verdict

The Equinox mixes tradition with modernity in terms of both looks and sound.


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    A stunning drum.


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Launched alongside the Black Panther Heartbreaker and Cherry Bomb models, the Equinox completes a family of ‘Ultra Premium’ Design Lab snare drums from Mapex.


Each Design Lab snare drum uses a Concept Hybrid approach to shell design, shell composition and drum construction. This is Mapex’s way of saying that it has applied a great deal of knowledge and experience into everything from shell material selection and bearing edges, to snare beds and counter-hoops. 

In the case of the Equinox, the Concept Hybrid profile is described as classic, bright  and articulate. The 6mm, 14"x5" shell is 6-ply North American Maple with 4-ply maple reinforcement rings and features 45° edges on the batter side and 35° edges on the snare-side (both with rounded back cuts). The single-flanged hoops are copper with a chrome coating, using claw-hooks both top and bottom. 

The 20 chrome Black Panther lugs are staggered, which allows for an extended  tuning range. The Equinox’s ebony stain uses the new Soniclear Attenuation System (SAS), which is a low-mass finish designed not to impede the sustain of the shell in the way a standard lacquer might. The snare comes complete with 16-strand custom Puresound wires and a Remo Diplomat Fiberskyn batter head/Ambassador snare-side reso.  

Hands on

As advertised, all of the above attributes add up to a very responsive and articulate drum. The thin maple shell delivers a warm, open tone and offers an enormous dynamic range. Pre-tuned to a medium pitch, the drum springs to life with even the tiniest of ghost notes and the snare wires offer amazing response through the shallow 5" shell. 

The copper hoops add further warmth to the drum and allow the Fiberskyn head to resonate freely on the bearing edge. Not only do the hoops really look the part but they also enhance the cross-stick tone beautifully. 

Cranked up tight the drum gives a snappy backbeat whilst still retaining some of the drum’s complex overtones. Rimshots effortlessly pull an abundance of tone from the shell and produce a noticeably different note from the head.

Tom Bradley

Tom is a professional drummer with a long history of performing live anywhere from local venues to 200,000 capacity festivals. Tom is a private drum tutor, in addition to teaching at the BIMM Institute in Birmingham. He is also a regular feature writer and reviewer for MusicRadar, with a particular passion for all things electronic and hybrid drumming.