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Katana vs Mustang... Is it worth upgrading?

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by privatesalt, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. privatesalt

    privatesalt Tele-Meister

    Jan 31, 2014
    I didn't want to hijack the Katana vs Code thread so... Does anyone own a Mustang 3v2 AND a Katana 50 or 100? or played them side by side? I sure do love my Mustang, but I'm really curious about the Katana, after seeing comments in Katana vs Code.
    Is the tone and feel way better than the Mustang? Would you sell your Mustang for a Katana? I tend to play both.. Fender cleans/edge breakup , and Marshall overdrive tones. Old school tones...clean to cranked. A comment on the other thread made me think Katana is a big leap in tone quality. Is it true? Will Katana smoke a Mustang?!.. Is it time to move on to next evolution? Not looking to start a war...just looking for honest opinions. Doubt I'll ever sell my Mustang, as I have several great patches. Hard to imagine better tone unless tube...which I have saved one tube amp for reference (a Peavey DB 15"). I play more single coil than single with the 15". Is Katana somewhere in between a Mustang and real tube? Didn't know there was that much more tone land between Mustang and tube. My old ears aren't the greatest though.
    GrantR and Cliffyg62 like this.

  2. beagle

    beagle Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 20, 2010
    The Katana is more like a normal amp with a few built in pedals than a modeller. It doesn't try to be other amps, you have to twiddle knobs to get the sound you want. It does have a very tube amp sound to it though, in my opinion. If anywhere actually has on in stock (very rare here, as they're selling before shops can get one on the floor) try one, it's worth it.
    Kladen, soulman969 and privatesalt like this.

  3. Georox

    Georox Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 30, 2014
    The tan house in AZ
    Upgrade? No just different.

  4. Michel347

    Michel347 Tele-Meister

    Nov 9, 2011
    Agree, I like my Katana very much, very tubey in feel and tone, but to each their own, we have different ears, guitars, needs, etc...
    soulman969 and privatesalt like this.

  5. Big-Tele

    Big-Tele Tele-Meister

    Nov 4, 2015
    Melbourne Australia
    I've got a Mustang2 v1 and have never quite gelled with it for some reason. I've just got a Katana 50 and so far I think it is great. As someone else said, it seams more like a straight forward amp with a few effects rather than the Mustang which is a real modeller. I have only had time to play the Katana a couple of times so time will tell. ( and the speaker needs to be run in )
    privatesalt likes this.

  6. Ambience

    Ambience Tele-Meister

    Aug 23, 2016
    I've played a Katana. I own a mustang III v2. After putting in time with Fuse, I prefer the Mustang. I like the Katana as well though.
    privatesalt likes this.

  7. VaughnC

    VaughnC TDPRI Member

    Oct 19, 2008
    While tone is subjective, one of the things I really like about my 1x12 100w Katana is its feel under the feels like a tube amp. With the Mustang and the other modelers I tried, many sounded very good for the target amp, but they just didn't feel right. However, while the Katana isn't targeting any particular amp, with it 3 band EQ, presence control, power scaling, and parametric & graphic equalizers (in the software), IMO it has enough range, to dial in practically any amp & room out there. But, its also a great plug & play amp right out of the box if that's all the further you want to go. I unboxed mine, set the tone controls to noon and had a decent tubey sound from the get-go. Now, after a month of fooling with it, my tube amps, oscilloscope, signal generator, and bias meter are for sale.

  8. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Meister

    Mar 16, 2013
    What amps did it replace?

  9. tery

    tery Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Sep 21, 2012
    I have a Roland 40GX and a Katana 50 on order . I am very impressed with Roland / Boss and will be converting to all SS amplification .

  10. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    I think these two statements nail the differences very well.

    The Mustangs are digital modeling amps designed to emulate other amps as closely as their digital technology allows. In some cases the amp will even set EQ and other parameters for that model for you.

    The Katana is designed be it's own amp with it's own unique tonal characteristics based on the voicings of EL34 and EL84 powered tube amps. Play it as you would any other non modeling amp or as you would a tube amp set to taste.

    Boss and Roland are one of the same and the Roland Blues Cube amps have long been thought of as one of the most tube like sounding SS amps. Their voicing is based more on 6v6 or 6L6 circuit designs that typically have powered many Fender amps.

    That Katana follow a similar design concept. The same yet somewhat different in voicing.
    privatesalt and tery like this.

  11. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    When a Mustang models an amp it also models whatever tubes and circuits were part of the original design. Since most people would understand that, it doesn't need to put it in bold print as part of a marketing strategy.

  12. TheOneFatGuy

    TheOneFatGuy Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 28, 2012
    I tried a Mustang III and a Boss Katana Head side by side this week, and the Katana won out. It was £340, which was £80 more expensive than the Mustang (which equates to my food bill for six weeks, so that's a big deal as a student), but definitely worth it. It just felt so much easier to use, I was able to get tones I liked really easily, and I just love how small it is. At home, I have a Marshall JCM900, and while I love how it responds to every touch, it was just too loud for university - the Katana felt much more like a valve amp and much more responsive than the Mustang.

    (DISCLAIMER: All personal opinion, YMMV, etc.)

  13. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    Granted, it takes time to set up a Mustang properly and that's not everybody's cup of tea.

  14. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    What is generally missing is a comparison of both models set up properly not just comparing the store presets of one amp to the other amp after being optimized at home. I'd like to hear both at their best.
    privatesalt likes this.

  15. beagle

    beagle Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 20, 2010
    There are no stored presets on the Katana when you get it. You have to find your own tones and store them. You can't just punch a button or use a scroll wheel to get (close to) somebody else's. ;)
    soulman969 and tery like this.

  16. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    Mustang owners, after having the amps for a little while, don't generally use the factory presets, we make our own to best suit our tastes and what works best with our guitars, pickups and playing styles, whether it be picks, fingers, thumbs, teeth and toes.
    If someone doesn't like amps that "try to sound like other amps", then it's probably best to wander back out of this "Modeling Amp" section of the forums, because, not to sound like a wise guy, or sugar coat this......that's what modeling amps do....they emulate other amps, however you can adjust these models to your liking.....which is why we love them. :)
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
    GrantR and privatesalt like this.

  17. Moosewatcher

    Moosewatcher TDPRI Member

    Feb 13, 2016
    I have had a Mustang 3 for about two years and recently bought a 65 twin reverb reissue. I love them both. I tend to like clean sounds and the Twin does that best. If I don't want clean I have to turn the Twin up past 5 to get it to distort. That's too much volume. The Mustang can produce those tones without the volume, plus there is a menu of 99 tones to get me started. I don't think there will ever be one amp that can give you everything.
    GrantR, privatesalt and Jim Dep like this.

  18. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    Very nice choice of amps you have.

    The Mustang III gets a very convincing Twin sound when adding more speakers to it, via the FX loop out to the power amp IN jack on an additional combo amp with 12" speaker(s).
    In your case, it would be ideal to get a spliter switch, so you could run rhythm off of your Twin and use the Mustang for leads, if doing a large room or outside gig.
    I love the sound of a cranked Twin, but there's not to many places to play anymore where you can do're right that the Mustang is the next best choice to get you close to that tone at a low volume.
    dobrojoe and privatesalt like this.

  19. PCollen

    PCollen Tele-Afflicted

    May 7, 2010
    Man of the World

    I'd say the same for the Mustang III V2. Unbox it, select one of the 18 amp models, add effects internally or externally if desired, and play it. I'm not sold on all the Mustang III pre-sets, but that seems true with just about every FX unit I've owned...they always need some tweaking.

    You really need to investigate exactly what each amp offers in the way of amp simulation vs. "personalities", effects availability, preset storage and selection, and all other factors. My impression was that the Mustang was focused on being an AMP modeler with a lot of effects that can be added before and after the amp model, while the Katana was focused on being an EFFECTS modeler, with a few amp "personalities" to work with (only one of them being "CLEAN".) Anyway, do your homework and decide which one is for you. Either way, you will have to use on-line modeling software provided for both to get the best out of them. Or you can just manipulate them manually.

    I bought the Mustang III V2 and one of the reasons for this is that I already have a Boss ME-70 effects unit that I can now run into the FX return of the 'stang, using only the 'stang power amp and speaker, if I want Boss Amp Models and FX. It seemed that the ME-70 can give me everything the Katana can, except a power amp and speaker. And now I have that with the Mustang, plus all the Mustang has to offer.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
    privatesalt likes this.

  20. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    That's true. I have an internet friend " MusicMatty" , one who gigs regularly, explain to me before I bought the Mustang III, that I should start out by going to the end of the preset menu, where I will find the basic amp models, uncolored with no effects. He, along with a couple other good people gave me an education on the amp before I considered buying one, all which made sense. This familiarity with the amp was an advantage, being that I knew before hand whether or not an amp like this would fill the void of losing two more expensive amps that I had to sell to pay off some bills.

    I'm speculating that most people who go to a music store to try out a Mustang, won't scroll through 80 or so factory presets on the menu before they come to the basic amp models which are at the very end of the preset menu.
    I would advise anyone interested to go directly to the basic amp models, bypass the factory presets ( which, for most of them, over kill the effects / sounding over processed, IMHO). Choose one of the basic amps you might be already familiar with, adjust the tone controls as you would on any amp..turn the gain down and gradually increase it to a level you like...add an effect or two if you want and then decide. That's where you'll especially hear the difference between a modeled circuit for a 6L6 tube amp vs an EL34, for example, if you want to frame it that way. I think it's pretty cool to hear a Champ tone or a vintage Princeton with a 100 watts behind it, to give it some serious headroom and volume before it breaks up, 150 watts for the Mustang 2 x 12 / 4 x 12 :)

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