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I love this drum. Mapex has done something extraordinary with the shell composition. The Velvetone line sounds so full and has such a great tone. The walnut adds just the right amount of darkness and the maple provides the projection - the result is the perfect snare in my opinion. The black panther strainer is adjustable from either end and has clickable increments, which is a really nice feature. The throw-off is a piston type and is smooth as silk. In my opinion it is the best throw-off out there - not too bulky and works great! I have owned a lot of high end snare drums of all makes and models and this one is definitely at the top!
Now if they would just make a 6.5" or 7" depth model I would be in heaven. The finish is really nice but is very limited. I think it would be a good idea for Mapex to make the entire Velvetone line with multiple finish choices.
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This is a great all-around snare drum. It works well for many styles of music and at many tuning ranges. Tuned up, it gives a great crack - tuned low, it has a great fat sound. This drum looks beautiful - pictures do not do it justice. The quality appears be be very good, as well. Very nice overall.