About a year and a half ago I had a drummer come in to record some drum tracks. After checking out the cymbals he brought in which were basically trashed and a pedal that looked like it had lived most of its life outdoors, I had little hope that anything else he brought in would be worth a darn. He took his snare out and I really wasn't paying attention to brand/type, I just continued setting up mics. After he was setup, I sat down to start tuning the kit. Took a whack at the snare and HOLY CRAP DID IT SOUND AWESOME!!! Looked at the badge and was really surprised it was a Mapex Black Panther.
I'm a drummer, so I'm very familiar with all the major brands/models, but hadn't heard many glowing reviews of Mapex kits, so I never really tried them out. I own numerous snares. Current arsenal includes a 70's Ludwig supraphonic, pork pie brass, acrolite, 5 or 6 different wood snares but yet this Black Panther just blew me away. About a week later I went down to my local drum shop and picked one up. Since then it's made its way onto every record I've done and I can't see that changing.
Sound wise it kind of reminds me of a mix of a metal and wood snare. Has the crack of a metal snare but the warmth of a wood snare if that makes any sense. Also has dual strainer sensitivity so you can really dial in the bottom head. I see these now and then fairly cheap secondhand. Do yourself a favor and check it out if you're in the market for a snare. Love it!!
Specs are as follows:
BP 14x6.5 SD Phosphor Bronze
Shell Thickness: 1.2mm
Shell Finish: Natural Polished Bronze
Hoops: 2.3mm Powerhoops
Hoop Finish: Black Chrome
Snare: 20-strand snappy