Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

What Do You Think of the New Boss Katana Amps?

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by Grandy, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. hs0504

    hs0504 TDPRI Member

    26
    Mar 24, 2011
    Holland
    I had one (ktn100) for a week and sold it again. It is what it is: a 300$ amp. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing magical about this amp. I don't understand the hype.
     

  2. crumjack

    crumjack TDPRI Member

    Age:
    41
    72
    May 8, 2016
    Indiana
    I have had the K100 for about two months and enjoy it. The speaker has definitely mellowed out and I'm able to boost the highs if desired. That said, I'm not sure why it matters if you set your treble is set at 9 o clock or 11.

    Things I like about it are it's responsiveness. You have good dynamic control with your pick and can clean or dirty up with the volume knob. Sustain is also very good. I also like the setup. It can be a basic pedal platform or you can dig into the modeling side of things with the tone studio which is easy to use. I also like that it doesn't have several useless presets to delete.

    Things I don't like. Tones don't always translate from the 50 watt to 1/2 watt setting the the way I'd like. The reverb effects are just ok to me. And no iOS integration but that's a nitpick because I didn't buy it for that.

    It is a $300 amp but that's the price range I was shopping. A $1000 budget likely would have produced something else. At the end of the day, it's an amp so nothing to overthink. You don't like it, play what you like. You like it, have fun with it.
     
    soulman969 likes this.

  3. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2011
    los angeles
    I don't know if that was prompted by my post, but i don't have a problem with that either. I do however have a problem in that with mids and treble on zero i found the amp too bright/thin. Theres nowhere to go from there. That alone would keep me from having any desire to own one, but i also disliked it in general for feel and tone. But i messed with it for a while trying to find a way to soften the high end and couldn't. If it were the typical modeler like the mustang with deep editing i would have written it off as lack of time spent with it. But theres not a lot to it being set up like a traditional amp tho with 5 or 6 different amp tones. So it didn't take long to exhaust all the possibilities i could find.
     

  4. crumjack

    crumjack TDPRI Member

    Age:
    41
    72
    May 8, 2016
    Indiana
    Several have mentioned the need for a low initial treble setting. Sorry, didn't mean to single you out. There are EQ options in the tone central to edit as well and I have found tweaking the settings on the other effects can help or hurt.

    It's definitely met my needs but no worries if someone doesn't like it. That damn GAFC footswitch was hard enough to track down!
     

  5. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    I think much of that depends on how Fender approaches the new Mustang. Will the sacrifice some of it's predecessors more complex digital features to focus on a simpler approach more like BOSS and Roland have done or will they simply offer a newer version of what they already have?

    In the world of amps the Fender name and their popularity stands head and shoulders above Roland and it always has but that never meant that they produced superior SS amps. Only more popular ones. JMHO
     

  6. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    One more thing I've learned from my research of the amp is that much like a tube amp with a master volume the Katana was designed to have the master run as hot as possible making volume adjustments with the channel volume and the power attenuator and/or the gain settings if you're looking for some dirt. I have a feeling some who have very quickly auditioned the amp for a few minutes in a GC have not been aware of this which makes some sense if you aren't up to blowing everyone out of the place.

    One thing we hear posted about consistently is how many tube amp simply don't sound good at low volume. The have to be opened up to hit their "sweet spot" and in many cases doing so makes them too loud to be practical in certain settings and even on certain gigs. Eventually we saw more tube amps being designed with master volume controls and separate channel volume and some with gain controls to help deal with this.

    It's important to know that the Tube Logic amps offered by Roland/BOSS are designed to work in much the same way. Just as you want to "lean into" the power tubes on a tube amp the same is true of these SS amp. Run the master volume as high as you can and use the channel volume and attenuator to reach a comfortable volume level. At home that may be no more than .5w for some and no more than 25w or 50w on a gig or at a rehearsal.

    I don't know how those who try out or even own the amp are setting it but according to BOSS themselves this is the correct way to maximize the performance of these amps. It's entirely possible that some of what I've read people describe I term of their dissatisfaction is coming from not fully understanding how to get the best performance from the amp to begin with. Just as breaking the speaker in will improve it's performance operating the preamp and power amp sections is equally important and I'm not certain that has been covered here yet.
     
    middy likes this.

  7. crumjack

    crumjack TDPRI Member

    Age:
    41
    72
    May 8, 2016
    Indiana
    I've seen this referenced on TGP but haven't tried it. I'll have to check it out.
     
    soulman969 likes this.

  8. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO

    For playing clean it will definitely open the amp up and make the tone stack appear more effective and for overdrive and distortion it's pretty much a necessity since it's the last tube stage that will break up earliest. IMHO it's actually that full throated power tube distortion we all want. Since the Tube Logic circuits are emulating a full blown EL34 tube amp it wants that power coming from the master just as a tube amp would.

    So when some have reported that it sound thin or trashy I often suspect they aren't operating the amp properly. My BC 60 runs much better as I run the master higher and on my Tweaker which is a tube amp the amp really blooms at 2 o'clock on the master and above and I usually run the gain anywhere from 9 o'clock to noon depending on just how much drive I want to add along with more volume.
     
    crumjack likes this.

  9. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    And that's one of the big issues which sets the Mustang apart from other modeling amps in its price range......that you have the ability to edit essential components which is at the very heart of the tone and how the amp feels under your fingers. For some people, they want to keep it simple.......what you hear is what you get. Once you start talking about the benefits of deep editing, such as tube sag and bias for example, it's "too complicated" which might also suggest it's over their heads or learning something new is too much hassle. Amp Forum Translation: So it it's too complicated for me.....it must be too complicated for everybody o_O

    If the Mustang amps were a " what you hear is what you get" based on the factory presets, I would have passed on it too. With the Mustangs, that's not the case at all...they have serious editing capabilities which probably will take some time to invest....you learn how the amp is integrated and you apply it....so if getting that great tone you like is possible, that $300 or so is worth it......unless you have a thousand bucks more to jump up to the next level of modeling.

    When Fender4Life shared his experience of not being able to get the sterile harshness out of his tone, EVEN when he's got the treble bottomed out, he's right......"where do you go from there ?" I've had that experience with some amps I've tried out before and know where he's coming from. Of course different people are going to have good and bad experiences with the Roland / Boss amps, Mustangs and others.
    IMHO,the likeability / total sales has very little to do with the Fender or Roland name.....that's a stale type argument I remember kids getting steamed up over from highschool :)..... Fender vs Gibson..and Music Man..Marshall vs Hiwatt, Ampeg vs Music Man, Led Zeppelin vs Black Sabbath. Roland vs Yamaha... Boss vs MXR..etc. Is Roland really that unknown of a name ? The Roland Jazz Chorus amps became a nightclub staple back in the 70's. I started seeing them more on stages than Twin Reverbs for a few years. I don't recall them killing Roland's reputation. The Cubes caught on pretty well, didn't they?

    Notice in the Mustang threads, other modeling amps rarely get mentioned..there's a reason for that...but not so with the other modeling amp threads ......using this thread as just one example. Why so ? Well ,maybe one reason is that about 3 or 4 years ago, according to the local GC and owner of Spotlight Music which sells all major brands, Fender Mustangs outsold all other modeling amps in its price range....combined. Is it the Fender name....? There's a bunch of major brands that involved with modeling amps..OR... maybe it's that the other modelers in the price range do not have the deep editing capabilities. Maybe the Mustangs can really sound that good. That makes a little more sense to me.

    However, when the discussion turns to "deep editing" and all the editable parameters, apparently it does scare a few away. The bottom line for me, is that IF the Mustangs lose that ability with the upcoming version(s) and dumb them down, now they become the same as the Fender Champion amps series, or countless others that may not sound as good as the Mustangs or Champions out of the box (forgetting about the deep editing for the moment). AFAIC, once any modeling amp loses the deep editing features, that kills the desire for me to want a modeling amp.
    So, now when we separate the amp from the brand name, you know the Mustangs must be pretty good when they are used as the benchmark of quality when every other modeling amp that blows in and out gets compared to one.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
    Georox likes this.

  10. Allan 65

    Allan 65 TDPRI Member

    58
    Oct 28, 2012
    Liverpool
    I had a Katana 50 for about a month and sold it, not to my liking, I prefer the Mustang 111 v2.
     

  11. David Barnett

    David Barnett Poster Extraordinaire

    I'm completely indifferent.
     

  12. ole6string

    ole6string Tele-Meister

    374
    Jan 25, 2007
    Williamsport, PA
    I play in several bands. In the past week I played a rock gig and a jazz gig and the Katana 100 worked amazingly well for each. Very impressed. It is a very fun amp to play. Very inspiring tone.
     
    GrantR, Bobbyoso and Unadan like this.

  13. baileyboy1

    baileyboy1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    7
    Apr 23, 2017
    Indiana
    I'll share a few thoughts on it. I bout the Katana 100 1x12 with a very specific thought: if I can get some good cleans, light breakup, crunch, and Marshall-esque tones for practice use, it would allow me to downsize some equipment (have a Fender SS60, Marshall DSL40C, Blues Jr, and Peavey Classic 30 - that's way too much gear for me, but it's hard to let go once they come in).

    Thoughts so far:
    The 4 stock amp tones (clean, crunch, lead, brown) are actually all very usable to my ears.The clean and crunch channels actually sound very good with light to moderate OD tones. In the Boss Tone editor, I tried every OD and distortion in there - several are very good to my ears, including the Rat and the Gov'ner. I also uploaded the "sneaky amps" and tried each one. I really enjoy the bright twin, bright tweed, Marshall 1958 I+II, and the Rectifier Modern, all of which are now saved to the 4 presets.

    I like the ability to switch power settings. Many of the effects sound pretty good, including a Univibe in the software.

    I feel like there is PLENTY of low end to dial in. In A/B'ing against my DSL40C, I could dial in some pretty nice Marshall tones that I can actually play at house volumes (DSL40 sounds fantastic when cranked, but just average at room volumes).

    The note decay on the clean channels is actually more realistic than I expected.

    I've only owned a couple of digital practice amps before, but the spent a lot of time fiddling with knobs and menus. I think the Katana interface does not lend itself to endless fiddling, which is one thing I like about it. Also, I have yet to test a reasonably priced digital amp that does mild break-up and crunch tones very well. I think the Katana does well with these tones.

    Long story short: the amp is serving the intended purpose for me. The crunch sounds are good enough for me at room volumes that I feel okay about moving on the DSL. Either the Blues Jr or the Peavey Classic 30 is next...I like them both, but am committed to downsizing. That will leave me with the SS60 (my favorite pedal platform of all time...and I've been through a bunch over the past 25 years), the Katana for daily practice, and either the Blues Jr or Classic 30. At some point, I would love to get down to 2 amps (will always keep a tube amp on hand). The acoustic amp sound in the Katana is okay, but not great. If it improves after speaker break-in, I'll probably sell my acoustic amp as well.

    As others have said, it's a $300 amp. I did not set my expectations higher than what is appropriate at this price range. I definitely feel it will suit its intended use for me.
     
    soulman969 and GrantR like this.

  14. baileyboy1

    baileyboy1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    7
    Apr 23, 2017
    Indiana
    One other thing I forgot to mention: the Katana appears to take pedals very well. I have not run all my pedals through it yet, got excellent results from a Friedman BE-OD or Collossus Fuzz into the clean amp channel, and the Neunaber Immerse and Source Audio Nemesis in the effects loop. I was not expecting that, particularly the distortion and fuzz.
     
    soulman969 likes this.

  15. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 11, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    Yesterday I saw a friend play a blues set in a trio backing a female vocalist. It was an outdoor venue; the PA was just for the singer. They played at a reasonable volume; the drummer and the bass player were very self-disciplined, so there were no complaints from the mostly older crowd assembled.

    The guitar player was using a Katana 50. I talked with him before the set, and took a look at his settings. He was on the crunch mode, 50W, master volume near max, gain at about 10 o'clock. I asked him about the common reviews that this amp can be painfully bright; he showed me that he had the treble at about 8 or 9 o'clock, and the bass at about 1 o'clock. He uses a standard Tele with vintage-style single-coils (I don't know the make and models, but it was a classic tone). He said that the clean mode has far more low-end than the crunch mode.

    Keep in mind that this particular player is one of the finest (for my money, the best) blues/jazz/R&B players in this part of NC, and that he could sound fabulous through just about any amp, but I have to say that I was more than impressed with his tone. He used no pedals; just guitar into amp, with a beautiful clean tone that just went into a bit of grit when he bears down. He uses his amps in that very old-school manner of which he is a young master.

    He said he bought the amp because he needed a portable amp with a built-in delay to use for church, but here he was using it for an outdoor festival. His name is Duane Simpson, of Asheville, NC. If you ever get a chance to hear this guy play, you must make a point of doing so. As for the amp, he proved to me that it is capable of beautiful classic tones at gig volumes.
     

  16. mfromb

    mfromb TDPRI Member

    35
    Apr 27, 2017
    Boston, MA
    Regarding any notion that deep editing and advanced amplifier/circuit behavior concepts might be over someone's head or otherwise scare someone away from a more 'complicated to operate' amp, there is of course a far more simpler and likely more prevalent reason for people to shy from this: Not everyone wants or feels a need to be a 'gear head'.

    It's not very different from photography, where most people would shy away from shooting in RAW and advanced editing for the very best possible results; or cars, where most people keep everything 'stock' and pass over the tweaks they could do to wring the best possible performance from it. They might get the most satisfaction from buying a good, solid performing equipment and spend most of their time using it, not tweaking, modding, or fine tuning it for the best possible result. In this not-so-different space of guitars and amps, at the end of the day I bet a lot of people just want good tones and don't want or feel the need to roll up their sleeves and get beyond elbow-deep to find them, or to wring every last ounce of possible improvement from their gear to get them.

    Sometimes, when things feel 'too much like work', they become work and I suspect a good number of people prefer to play and keep the 'work' necessary to do so at a reasonable minimum. There's room for everybody in today's marketplace and the buyers can gravitate to where they find the best overall value for their dollars.
     
    soulman969 likes this.

  17. richey88

    richey88 Friend of Leo's

    Jul 28, 2009
    philly suburbs
    So. Did an outdoor show this afternoon. Just the clean channel and my pedals....Kat 100 1x12. Had a Soul Food for a solo boost, cheapo Kokko TS clone (love it) and TC Rusty Fuzz (not bad, good velcro tones), and DAMN! While I like the lower volume sounds, with the master at about 3/4, and channel volume at 9:30 it rocked. Was a multi-band affair with some bands with Fender and Mesa tube gear, and the Katana really shined. Had a good time at a bar gig on the 50w mode last night too. We have a winner here.
     
    Bobbyoso, soulman969 and cbh5150 like this.

  18. richey88

    richey88 Friend of Leo's

    Jul 28, 2009
    philly suburbs
    ^used Kat delay and reverb, just a smidge. Love this amp!^
     
    soulman969 and GrantR like this.

  19. Merglet

    Merglet TDPRI Member

    9
    Mar 13, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    I have a Katana 2x12, and I love it. I haven't even brooched the 100 watt mode yet, the 0.5 watt setting on clean is warm, responsive, and deep. And it can get plenty loud for my apartment just on that half watt setting. I will eventually drag it out to a venue where I can punch it up and try the 50 and 100 watt modes. But so far I absolutely love it. Best money I've spent in years.
     
    soulman969, GrantR and richey88 like this.

  20. richey88

    richey88 Friend of Leo's

    Jul 28, 2009
    philly suburbs

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.