Boss Katana Review

artist guitars reviewI posted a little while back about the Boss Katana and my initial impressions about it and after spending some time with it, thought that I would make some more comments on how I see this amp.

Overall, this is a great amp (I bought the 50w version, but also hearing a lot of good things about the 100w) and I would highly recommend it to any home player. I don’t play live, but I have heard that the the 50 is enough to cut through in a small venue, and that the 100 is very able as well. The .25W setting is awesome for playing quietly at night, with the 25 and 50w settings being more of a ‘daytime’ setting as far as I am concerned – especially in suburbia.

Tone Studio

When I picked up my Katana I already knew that the Tone Studio software was down. Something had happened since the release and the software had essentially been pulled, which was frustrating. There were a few other options to get around this, like FX Floorboard and a Katana app – but both of these were unauthorised and I wanted to do it the legit way. Luckily, after just a few days the software was updated and re-released for the amp. You must have a Mac or Windows computer (no Chromebook) and also you must make sure that you have a USB-A to USB-B which was super frustrating – it’s a standard lead, why don’t they come in the box.

Anyway, installing and plugging in was super simple and the range of tones that you can get on the amp is fantastic. You can assign effects to the slots easily and then fiddle around with the parameters. Some of my favourites are the Rat simulation, the Octave fuzz and the Slicer. I find it really easy to work with and as simple as plugging in, changing parameters and hitting Update – a matter of just 2-3 minutes to change things around.

Playing the Katana

I play primarily at the .25w level in the home environment, so pretty low levels although that’s not to say that the amp doesn’t still have some kick. At full volume on the guitar and half way on the Master it is still easily heard on the street. I have played with both single coils and humbuckers and it sounds great with both, however I have had a few issues dialling in distorted/fuzz tones with the humbuckers as they tend to push a lot into the amp straight up.

Overall, I have really enjoyed playing with this amp and the various effects, but even without the effects it is a genuinely great amp to play around with. I would recommend it for a range of people, but particularly for people who are starting out and want to look at a variety of sounds to utilise and see what they like. In addition to that, Boss have also released a mini version of this amp, which lacks a lot of the effects, but apparently sounds great, so this range is showing more and more versatility for a wide market.

Have you used the Katana series of amplifiers? What are your thoughts on it?

I bought my amp from the great guys at Guitar Brothers in Brisbane – check them out for a range of awesome gear. 

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6 Responses

  1. Salman says:

    I have a Boss Katana 100 and find it to be simply the best amp for its price and in fact under at least $1500. In fact I would argue that given its range of talents and abilities there are not many amps even way above this price range that can touch it. The clean, crunch, lead and brown channels are all very useable and all can be made to sound truly amazing and every bit as good as any amp I have ever owned. It is very versatile and completely not temperamental like a tube amp.

    The thing is this amp is every bit as good as any tube amp costing even $2000 or $3000. On top of it you have the effects and the fact that it is super reliable, rugged and not very heavy.
    Seriously if you strip away the emotion and the myth surrounding expensive tube amps there is no reason any more to buy a tube amp when you can buy this Katana for a ridiculously small amount of money.

    • AGREditor says:

      I totally agree Salman – the Katana have really changed the perception of what is a good solid state amp and even more so under $500. It is a fantastic amp at the price, it bothers me that I see people calling it a ‘practice’ amp and maintaining that all-tube snobbery.

  2. Les Newberry says:

    Just bought a Katana 50 and am absolutely blown away. The extent to which you can change the parameters of effects and eq is beyond belief. I have owned many amps but this is by far the best. I have a 57 re-issue strat and an Epiphone Dot. By spending a bit of time setting up the pre-sets the sound for both jazz and R&R is stunning.

    • AGREditor says:

      It really is a fantastic amp for the price. I have been thinking about picking up a different amp, but I really can’t justify anything else that suits my needs.

  3. Steve says:

    as a home only user I have been quite happy with my “clean” amp (Blues Junior 3). But when my friend next door lent me his Katana 100 (which he was selling because he had just bought the two speaker version) I was soon captivated by the range of tones, effects and possibilities.
    I am still learning how to get the most of this amp but find myself constantly using it. It seems to kindle daily interest.

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