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Thread: Boss KATANA Love?

  1. #1
    Mojo's Minions masta' c's Avatar
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    Default Boss KATANA Love?

    These amps recently caught my attention. The number of positive reviews out there is staggering!

    As a previous Roland Cube 80XL & Yamaha THR-10X fan, I'm very interested in the Katana series, which seems to combine the better elements of both of those great little amps.

    I know one or two users spoke up about their experiences with the Katana amps a few months ago, but they've been out for nearly 6 mos at this point and I was curious if anyone else has given them a try?

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    Tone Member atf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    Quote Originally Posted by masta' c View Post
    These amps recently caught my attention. The number of positive reviews out there is staggering!

    As a previous Roland Cube 80XL & Yamaha THR-10X fan, I'm very interested in the Katana series, which seems to combine the better elements of both of those great little amps.

    I know one or two users spoke up about their experiences with the Katana amps a few months ago, but they've been out for nearly 6 mos at this point and I was curious if anyone else has given them a try?
    Yeah I have one , and quite honestly I learned a lot from blending all those pedals in one sitting lol.

    But seriously they sound really good( very amp like and responsive), and they take external pedals as well, and they are freaking loud.

    I don't think they were meant to sound like any specific make and model amp but if you fiddle around a bit you can get a decent tone. I can get a vox nightrain, tiny terror, vox clean/slightly broken, evh 1984, bassman, and marshall crunch in there.So it does the job for me. For me it was either these or the blackstar ID and I picked these(no disrespect to ID).Just found it having a different vibe.you won't regret buying it.

    Sent from my SCV33 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    I poop in my KISS diapers Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    Links
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad City
    He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...

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    Tone Member atf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
    Links
    Top of my head: andertons did a two part on it.It's on YouTube.

    Sent from my SCV33 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    I have the 50 watt combo. It may be the best $200 I've ever spent.

    Is it going to compete with a pro-level $2K amp? Absolutely not. You don't get the richness and presence that pushing real valves offers.

    But I am astounded at the *tube-like* feel it offers. I can dig in with the pick and get grind and back off and get cleans. I don't get the feeling that I'm playing a good solid state/digital/modeling/whatever amp. I'm just playing a good amp.

    I'm not the typical Katana user in that I have basically no desire to explore any of the digital aspects of the amp. I turn off the entire effects section and just treat the amp as an amp.

    The amp has 4 main settings - Clean, Crunch, Lead, and Brown. I find Lead and Brown to be pretty bad in their stock forms. Lead is like a hot-rodded Marshall, and Brown is like the modern VH sound. In their stock forms, both are, to my ears, pretty harsh and messy. I could probably tweak those settings with effects and EQ and whatnot via software editor, but I play guitar to get away from, not get into computers.

    Clean is a very usable, if not especially exciting clean. I also have the Roland Blues Cube Hot, and that clean is better, to my ears. Both amps are based on the same technology; they're just voiced differently. The current generation Blues Cubes are Fender-voiced, while the Katanas are British-voiced. As pedal platforms go, I prefer the Blues Cube Hot.

    But, man, the Crunch channel is awesome. It's not a copy of anything, but it's definitely British-voiced. It's probably closest to a Vox, but the high end is more rounded than a Vox. The mids aren't thick/aggressive enough to be Marshall, but you could probably get there with pickups that emphasize the high mids, like the JB or 498T or 81. I am classic rocking on the Crunch channel all day with a PAF-equipped LP-type of axe.

    The Crunch channel takes overdrive pedals well. My Tubescreamer clone and EHX Soul Food (Klone) do great here. With these ODs, I feel like I'm getting meaningfully organic variations of the core tone. Kick in one OD for choruses, kick in another for solos. It's so fun to play with this setup.

    I like how the amp is set up with both master volume and NMV mentalities in mind. So I always have the "Volume" knob maxed. This would be like the volume on a NMV amp. Then adjust "Gain" to taste. With low-ish gain, I can approximate Malcolm Young enough to make me happy. But then there's the master volume and the attenuation settings to more or less preserve the tone, just at different sound levels. The attenuation is very necessary and very effective. This sucker can get very loud. I have no reason to use the 50W setting at home. 0.5W setting is perfect for bedroom. 25W setting can actually work for bedroom by adjusting "Volume" and "Master" accordingly; it's a more open feel (to be expected) than the 0.5W setting. But I prefer the 0.5W setting for bedroom because the dynamics just work better at low sound levels. For reference, at home on the 0.5W setting, I never need to get past 9 o clock on the Master volume. 9 o clock fills my practice room with a healthy, rocking-for-home volume.

    The 50-Watt combo is very light for a 12" combo - 25 lbs. It is now my grab-and-go amp. If I want to go jam with someone, I just grab this and a guitar (with tuner and cord, of course). I don't have to worry about babying a tube amp, nor do I have to worry about property loss given the extremely low price point.

    For gigging, I will probably still get a real tube amp. But for home practice/casual jam purposes, this definitely does the job for me. I like it better in almost every way than the Tech 21 Trademarks that I've owned and the Quilters that I've tried.
    Last edited by stratguy23; 03-15-2017 at 05:30 PM.

  6. #6
    Super Toneologist Drunken Bowling's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    From what I hear, they're a gem of an amp, especially for the price. Extra points for not having those digital LCD screens.

  7. #7
    Mojo's Minions masta' c's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    There's like 300+ pages on some forums dedicated to these amps...crazy! The Cube series never seemed to get that sort of front-row attention, despite being so popular!

    I'm curious if the head is worth the extra cost? Does it really add much feature/function/flexibility-wise? I'm also curious about the hidden 5" speaker on the head...is it as nice as the speakers in the little THR? I'd be running it through a cab most of the time, but it would be cool to drag the head along on road trips, etc. and use the built-in speaker for practice.

    Some have said the 50 watt's .5/25/50W settings are more versatile than the 100 & Head versions' .5/50/100W options, but plenty of people are satisfied with the 100W offerings. Thoughts on that?

    For the 50-watt users, how different is the .5W setting from the 25W setting tonally/dynamically?

  8. #8
    Tone Member atf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    Quote Originally Posted by masta' c View Post
    There's like 300+ pages on some forums dedicated to these amps...crazy! The Cube series never seemed to get that sort of front-row attention, despite being so popular!

    I'm curious if the head is worth the extra cost? Does it really add much feature/function/flexibility-wise? I'm also curious about the hidden 5" speaker on the head...is it as nice as the speakers in the little THR? I'd be running it through a cab most of the time, but it would be cool to drag the head along on road trips, etc. and use the built-in speaker for practice.

    Some have said the 50 watt's .5/25/50W settings are more versatile than the 100 & Head versions' .5/50/100W options, but plenty of people are satisfied with the 100W offerings. Thoughts on that?

    For the 50-watt users, how different is the .5W setting from the 25W setting tonally/dynamically?
    Boss says its just a volume change, all the dynamics etc are preserved at the lower setting. I haven't been able to really open it up on the 25 watt setting cause it's so damn loud. Maybe someone can chime in on that more

    Sent from my SCV33 using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    The TGP monster thread is driven mostly by a super user who is very helpful and responsive to the thread. He is probably the single greatest source of Katana sales.

    On the 50 watt combo, the difference between 0.5W and 25W settings isn't that great. The dynamics are different, but not in a way where one is better and one is worse. Actually, it's cool to have an amp where you can select how it responds, more compressed or more open. I totally expected 0.5W to suck and to spend most of my time on 25W, but I have spent 99% of my time on 0.5W. 0.5W is slightly more compressed than 25W, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I prefer it, because to me it's closer to the compression one gets from cranking a tube amp. At a given volume level, Master setting at 25W is going to be lower than at 0.5W, so the amp won't be "working" as hard. This isn't a tube amp, but it is designed to respond darn well like one.

    Choice of pedals may matter. I found that different pedals interact differently with the amp at 0.5 and 25 settings. I quickly found sweet spots with my pedals at 0.5, so I've just left things there.

    This is that rare amp where attenuation isn't necessarily a compromise. If you dimed the Master on 0.5, you'd get the cops called on you. So on 0.5, you aren't giving up volume. I've gone through a whole mess of bedroom amps - solid state, low wattage tube, mid-wattage tube with attenuation, etc. The Katana 50 has stopped my search for the time being. I'm eyeing a Marshall JVM1, but that's only to get a true-blue Marshall sound, which as I said, can be approximated with the Katana.

    As far as I can tell, the main advantage of the 100 over the 50 is that the 100 accepts the Roland GA-FC footswitch, which is potentially powerful if you go into the software editor b/c it allows you to save 4 separate sounds, i.e., you have a 4-channel amp with your favorite tones on instant recall. The 100 combo speaker is supposedly "better" than the 50, but I haven't felt let down by whatever cheapo speaker is in the 50.

    And, yeah, the 100 head also has the built-in speaker. There is a YouTube video of it *keeping up with a drummer*. I can't imagine that being a pleasant sound, being pushed that hard, but as a practice rig, it definitely has potential. In the TGP thread, the Boss rep said that he'd travel with the 100 head and just use the built-in speaker for hotel room practice.

  10. #10
    Mojo's Minions masta' c's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    Wow, great reply!

    Interesting about the GA-FC foot controller and the 100W.

    So, what footswitch options are there for the 50W then?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    The 50 has one jack in the back for footswitch or expression pedal. Any latching pedal will work for switching between 2 channels, which are 2 tones that you save. You save each one by holding down the channel button, like a car radio preset. That is the extent of my usage of the amp's digital capabilities :P

    The 100 combo has that jack but adds another one for the GA-FC footswitch, as well as jacks for line out and effects send and return.

    The 100 head has all the jacks of the 100 combo and adds jacks for speaker out (of course) and MIDI In.

    It's a good time for cheap amps now. The other "very good tone at ultra-cheap price" option I'm eyeing at the moment is the Vox MV50 series. I was super impressed playing through them at NAMM. You don't get the grab-and-go convenience of a combo, but when the head weighs 1 pound, you're not giving up much, heh. The MV50 wattage isn't as high as the Katanas, but I may end up preferring the all-analog interface. At 200 bones, the MV50 isn't high risk to try.

  12. #12
    Ultimate Tone Slacker
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    I've had my K50 for a couple of months now. I bought it because I wanted a light weight carry-around amp for home practice and jams with friends. I did not buy it as a main gigging amp. It replaced a Blackstar TVP15 which I detested - just horrible with not even one usable tone inside it. The K50 sounds great. It has a very tube-like feel under the fingers and is very responsive to touch and guitar volume. I'm mainly using the Brown pre-amp on about half gain. It's very articulate and backing off the guitar volume a tad gives me some great 60's type cranked Marshall tones. The crunch setting is very good and adding one of the three boosts yields some awesome sounds.

    BUT - it has WAY too much top end which can make it sound incredibly harsh. Fans of the amp on TGP say that this disappears after speaker break-in but I'm not convinced - yet. I can get great sounds if I keep all the EQ at around 9 o'clock. It has started to soften a little and I have to say that I haven't played it a lot at high volume.

    For home playing it is wonderful. I play it every day and it's a very rewarding experience. I imagine it will acquit itself very well at small, not so loud gigs. I've heard a few Mustangs at close range and they sounded nowhere near as good as the Katana.

    I don't use effects so I can't comment on their quality or usability.

    It's loud but it's not tube loud. I've maxed the volume and I know it couldn't keep up with my drummer - I play in a loud, un-miked pub band.

    For a small amp I don't think I could get anything better. I've never had much luck with smaller tube amps and playing big tube amps turned down doesn't work for me.

    The price is ridiculous. There are plenty of O/D pedals that cost a lot more. It's an absolute bargain.

  13. #13
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    I've been looking for a small amp, too. Great. Now I have to add this to the list.
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    Mincer, I'm curious what you think about the Katana, since I know you like your Trademarks.

    My Trademark 60 did me fine, too, until I got my Katana for a fraction of the price. I immediately recognized the Katana as a step forward in tube amp emulation. Playing the Trademark afterwards felt like a step backwards.

    I wonder if Tech 21 would update the Trademark line to keep up with the times. I would still prefer all-analog solid state to anything digital. The Fly Rigs, to my ears, are more tube amp-like than the Trademarks, and I bet people would like it if those sounds/feels came baked into amps.

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    Mojo's Minions masta' c's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    Quote Originally Posted by richard parker View Post
    BUT - it has WAY too much top end which can make it sound incredibly harsh. Fans of the amp on TGP say that this disappears after speaker break-in but I'm not convinced - yet. I can get great sounds if I keep all the EQ at around 9 o'clock. It has started to soften a little and I have to say that I haven't played it a lot at high volume.
    I know every model above the K50 has a presence control

    Also, found out something really cool...you can add a jack inline to the internal speaker on the head, allowing you to access a 15W output setting to an external cab! Pretty sure it would void the warranty, but you could add a 15W setting to the .5W/50W/100W mix, making it that much more versatile!

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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    As much as I like my Katana it's still way behind my Yamaha THR100 in terms of tube-like tone. The FEEL is great, the tone is good but it has a definite solid state quality though it sounds way better than any other small s/s amp I've used. The Yamaha (with cab) cost me seven times what I paid for the Katana. The Yamaha is my gigging amp, the Katana is my home amp. I have no complaints.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Van Noord's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    If you're into high gain, check out the Katana thread at Rigtalk...




  18. #18
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    Quote Originally Posted by stratguy23 View Post
    Mincer, I'm curious what you think about the Katana, since I know you like your Trademarks.

    My Trademark 60 did me fine, too, until I got my Katana for a fraction of the price. I immediately recognized the Katana as a step forward in tube amp emulation. Playing the Trademark afterwards felt like a step backwards.

    I wonder if Tech 21 would update the Trademark line to keep up with the times. I would still prefer all-analog solid state to anything digital. The Fly Rigs, to my ears, are more tube amp-like than the Trademarks, and I bet people would like it if those sounds/feels came baked into amps.
    Yeah, I would be interested to compare them. I've talked to the guys at Tech21 before, and they are not interested in updating the TM60. I also have a FlyRig5, and it sounds great too- that would be great in an amp. The TM60 is still expensive (that really hurt its popularity).
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    High Voltologist Wattage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    Played it twice and ended up buying the Mustang III.
    I found the Katana 1x12 50wt very bright and very stiff. I really wanted to like it, I imagine if I had some more time with it I could've got something I liked out of it.
    It seemed well built and I generally like Boss stuff.

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    Toneologist Godin15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boss KATANA Love?

    It just goes to show you when buying an amp or anything else, musical equipment is personal preference. I did not like the 50 Katana myself. I suggest that anyone buying equipment to go and try it out for themselves. Don't just rely on here say and reviews they are a good basis to start from but when it comes down to reality it just isn't enough to make that final decision.
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