Beginner looking for a bedroom practice amp - Monoprice 15 or Katana 50?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by stingray7, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. stingray7

    stingray7 TDPRI Member

    Oct 6, 2018
    I was a bass player, and had a cheap used squier strat before (beginner that can play easy songs). I want to pick up a guitar again, so I need to buy the whole thing. I love old rocks. No metals. No high gains.

    I am thinking about picking up a Fender Mexico new player tele for around $650. Anyway, after a lot of research, I narrowed down to two amps for bedroom practice:
    - Monoprice 15W ($170)
    - Katana 50 ($210)

    I have no pedals, but I am not thinking about getting them except for Joyo overdrives. It is not that I have a tight budget, but for a starter, these are all I need now.

    I will not play it with a real drummer, so the loudness is not my concern at all. I am not picky at guitar sounds (at least now), but at the same time, I want the best, both clean and overdriven, sounding amp for practice at low volume. Again for practice. Which one do you recommend, or both!?

    What I've read was that even 0.75W mode Monoprice is pretty loud, so you don't get the best sound (yes it has a master volume). I just have it as my option because it is a super cheap tube amp.

  2. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

    May 17, 2003
    Great Pacific NW
    As one who own and loves a Monoprice 15 watt tube amp. I'd opt for the Katana. I'll admit, I love and have used solid state amps for many years. I've also used and loved tube amps n that same time frame.

    I have yet to try the Katana, but from your requirements. what I've read here and my experience with other Roland amps, I believe it's an amp that would serve you well.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
    twotone60 likes this.
  3. rxtech

    rxtech Tele-Meister

    Nov 8, 2004
    central california
    Katana, you won’t regret it.
    twotone60 likes this.
  4. IronSchef

    IronSchef Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

    As someone who has both the Mono 15 and the Katana 50 - I would say the Katana, hands down, for you.

    Both are really nice sounding at low volume - but the Mono has only reverb, while the Katana is like having a dozen different amps, and a ton of pedals, all at the twist of a few knobs. The Katana sounds great just working with the front panel options -- but you can also get deep editing and tone shaping when you connect it to your computer.
    Nubs and twotone60 like this.
  5. RockinforJesus

    RockinforJesus TDPRI Member

    Oct 23, 2016
    Upstate NY
    My vote is for the Yamaha THR10
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  6. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

    May 17, 2003
    Great Pacific NW
    I rest my case.
    Zepfan likes this.
  7. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    The Katana is great for the money and it can be attenuated down in wattage for small rooms. They also make some smaller amps in that same line, but I'd stick with the 50watt for the bigger speaker - don't care much for small speakers that have farty distortion.
    twotone60 likes this.
  8. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2009
    I'd go for the Katana it sounds good at both high and low levels and the built in effects sound good. Having the effects is a nice touch and can be fun to use when you get bored.
    twotone60 likes this.
  9. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Tele-Meister

    Sep 26, 2010
    Another vote for Katana.
    twotone60 likes this.
  10. ninethirty

    ninethirty TDPRI Member

    Jun 4, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I have the Monoprice 15, and like it, but I won't disagree with the other votes here . There Katana is likely to fit the bill. But if you find yourself wondering if you're missing something without tubes...the Monoprice amp will probably make you happy. Not nearly as much variety, but it's a Marshall-flavored amp, so classic rock is right in is wheelhouse.
    The Monoprice does get pretty quiet, but when I need very low volume, I tend to use a modeler, so I guess that says something. But I also lear toward BF Fenders more often these days anyway .
  11. 2blue2

    2blue2 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jul 20, 2013
    Island of Oahu
    The Vox Mini5 is Decent for the money but out of the two choices go Katana
    twotone60 likes this.
  12. brokenbones

    brokenbones Tele-Meister

    Mar 15, 2012
    Used Katana 50 = $150-$175
    Used Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster = $250-$300

    I saved you almost $400.
    Lef T, twotone60 and King Fan like this.
  13. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    Salt Lake City
    Whoa, cool. You don't see too many threads here with 100% agreement on an "A or B" choice. I love tubes and all, but I too say Katana.
    twotone60 likes this.
  14. twotone60

    twotone60 Tele-Meister

    Sep 14, 2011
    Charlottesville, va
    Katana. The .5 watt setting is great for keeping it down. I use the clean voice with a pedalboard, but not often use the built in effects at rehearsal and they are great, including a Blues driver voiced overdrive.
  15. twotone60

    twotone60 Tele-Meister

    Sep 14, 2011
    Charlottesville, va
  16. stingray7

    stingray7 TDPRI Member

    Oct 6, 2018
    Thank you everyone! This is so interesting. No one suggested monoprice 15w over katana50. So that is the answer.
    I just hope that katana takes separate overdrive pedals well. It's usually not the case with a digital amp, right?
  17. Knowcaster

    Knowcaster Tele-Holic

    Jun 30, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My vote is for the Katana as well. I currently own the Katana 100, as well as a 22 watt tube amp (DRRI), and have also owned smaller tube amps such as a Blues Jr. and Peavey Classic 30 in the past. For playing at home without having to invest in a bunch of pedals, you can't beat the Katana. Great tones, uber flexible, and can scale down to .5 watts without losing too much. Also reliable - no questionable Chinese tubes to worry about. I run my regular pedal board though it and handles them just fine. They are not really much better (if at all) than the built in effects in the Katana though. If I do a thorough A/B against the DRRI I admit I can get a tone I slightly prefer to the Katana, but it is pretty subtle to my ears.
  18. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2006
    Near Athens GA USA
    The Monoprice isn't what I'd call a "bedroom" amp. It's more like a "here's your eviction notice" or "we don't want to have to come back to your house again" amp (depending on your neighbors and neighborhood). Even in low power mode it probably isn't apartment or spouse friendly.

    Like most modelers, the Katana will scale down well. When I was looking for an inexpensive, battery powered, amp I narrowed down the choice between the Katana and the Vox Mini. I picked the Vox due to better features but they were even tone-wise. In the price/feature range you're looking at I'd give the Katana 50 the edge over similar Vox products, mainly due to the 12" speaker.
  19. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 24, 2012
    Southern California
    I would suggest a Fender Super Champ X2 combo or head. I have the head and this amp is a really versatile modeling and WITH tubes. Sounds excellent with pedals.
  20. stingray7

    stingray7 TDPRI Member

    Oct 6, 2018
    Thanks again for more comments. Researched a little and found katana doesn't take pedals well. It's like any other modeling amp but it's the best for me right now. Much better than monoprice. Got that. So thanks for saving me $170.
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