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What Do You Think of the New Boss Katana Amps?

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

  1. eichaan

    eichaan Tele-Meister

    Age:
    47
    482
    Dec 12, 2006
    Richmond, VA
    Last week I sold my Mustang III v2 to a bandmate and got a Katana 50; after hurting my back again a couple of months ago, the Fender was too heavy to carry to and from band practice.

    I like the Katana a lot--I took it to band practice for the first time last night and found I could basically just use one tone with my Tele (most playing at about half volume on the guitar, then dimed for solos). The band is a rotating cast, but yesterday was me on electric, 2 acoustics and a bassist.

    I'd spent some time trying to dial in some progressively louder and dirtier tones, but found that I could do everything I need with just one sound. I really like how long the amp sustains notes. Oh, and I used the octave setting on one song to play "faux" bass.

    For what it's worth, I stayed on the 25 watt setting all night (the drummer wasn't there), and felt that there was definitely volume to spare if I needed it.

    Love the light weight, for sure!
     
    ebb soul likes this.

  2. dswo

    dswo Tele-Meister

    Age:
    48
    218
    May 1, 2016
    East Carolina
    This fall I bought the 15W Monoprice tube amp (= Laney Cub 12r). It sounds good with pedals -- my favorite is an Xotic SL Drive pushed by a Centaur clone -- but to get a nice clean tone I need to crank up the volume to around 11 o'clock. That sounds pretty nice, but it means the whole house has to hear what I'm playing.

    A modeler like the Katana or Mustang seems like the solution. The Katana is getting more consistently good reviews than the new Mustang. Next month I'll drive to Raleigh and see if one of the big stores -- Sam Ash or Guitar Center -- has both amps to try. Even so, there's a question that I'm not sure time at the store will answer. Namely: can the Katana 100 play pleasingly at bedroom levels? There's no way I'll ever need 100 of anything amp-related. But the 100 has some features I want that the 50 lacks. My main concern is whether the 100 will do what I really want, which is sound nice at bedroom levels.
     

  3. beagle

    beagle Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 20, 2010
    Yorkshire
    Yes it will.
     
    soulman969 and dswo like this.

  4. kyljoy

    kyljoy TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    11
    Jun 12, 2017
    US
    I got the head for bedroom volume, and that little speaker is freaking perfect for that. Great amp.
     
    7171551 likes this.

  5. GLvourot

    GLvourot NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    47
    2
    May 13, 2017
    Canada
    I was able to rent a used Katana 100W combo for a month. Had to try it due to all the good reviews. I spent the first day A/B ing it with my SCXD. It's going to be a tough decision. I think I have had the Fender for 8 years or so and I have upgraded it with a Celestion G10 vintage and tung sol tubes. I kind of rediscovered how good the SCXD sounds in the process. Part of that could be that I a have ton of great settings for the super champ and am still looking for that sweet spot on the Katana. I have loaded the "sneaky amps " and found a great lead tone this morning. I'm still on the fence. I also have a THR 10 which sounds great and that is the amp I use the most as it is just so easy to grab and setup anywhere. There is a great library of " filter mods " that makes it sound even better but it negates the use of the onboard delay. I suppose the same procedure could be used with the Katana but it would take a lot of tweaking. The only all tube amp I have owned was a Fender pro junior that only sounded great really loud. I traded it for the THR10. My main guitar is an 86 G&L ASAT and it gets noisy on the bridge with high gain settings. I had to haul out my SG and I need to keep the guitar volume down between three and four or it's noisy too on the bridge. It does sound really good through the Katana though. Anyway, I have a month to decide. Lots of exploring yet to do.
     

  6. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    65
    Oct 19, 2005
    Bowling Green, KY
    I bought a Katana 50 to use for the Bass and Drum feed, from my Digitech Trio pedal. The past wo months, I have been using it for guitar. Should a couple of my tube amps fail, I would probably replace them with another Katana.
     

  7. StormJH1

    StormJH1 Tele-Holic

    About the power settings - the 0.5w is basically a term of art. It behaves more like the volume of a 10 to 30-watt solid state combo at that setting. It is NOT comparable to what a 1/2 watt or 1 watt setting on a tube amp would do, which would be to overdrive very easily. The gain structure behaves the same it does on the 50w or 100w setting, only the power is scaled down to a fraction - just not 1/200 of the 100w setting, as the name would suggest.

    Unless the price difference is a hugely prohibitive factor for you, I do strongly recommend the Katana 100. I end up using the 0.5w setting quite a bit (50w sometimes, but volumes set pretty low), and it sounds quite good at those volumes. It's a great pedal platform, and the FX loop and line out are nice options to have as well.
     
    dswo likes this.

  8. outbreak

    outbreak Tele-Holic

    Age:
    30
    902
    Dec 28, 2007
    Australia
    I ended up with a katana 100, really loving this amp. The sneaky amps were a must though for me and made it sound but that could be because i mainly used the prebuilt channels before the speaker was fully broken in and have been using the sneakys with the speaker broken in. This thing is loud too and seems to manage to still sound good at higher volume levels. It may not sound and respond exactly like a tube amp but it's not a tube amp and it sure sounds good to me.
     

  9. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

    here's a question, can you re-assign the effects to be something other than what is designated on the amp? for example, the first effect in the chain is distortion/od or whatever. can that instead be a modulation effect like delay? or can the 2nd effect, which is delay, can that be designated as a reverb ?
     

  10. Michel347

    Michel347 Tele-Meister

    201
    Nov 9, 2011
    Montreal
    You can do some of it with the Boss Tone Studio, but there is another editor you can use that is able to do this, you can place everything is the order you want.

    [​IMG]

    With the latest Boss software revision there is still some bugs with this editor, but all will be fixed pretty soon.
     
    Tonewolf and Staypuft1652 like this.

  11. dswo

    dswo Tele-Meister

    Age:
    48
    218
    May 1, 2016
    East Carolina
    Some of this is pasted from the Mustang GT thread, so skip it if you're already reading that:

    A week and a half ago I bought a used Boss Katana 50 on Craigslist for $125. That seemed the right price for a year-old amp. I'd played it a few times in stores, so I had a pretty good notion of what I was getting. But even in the parking lot where we met to do the deal, it sounded glorious. This summer, when I was shopping for a practice amp, I looked at the Katana, the Mustang GT, and the Vox VT20X. I didn't have a chance to compare them directly, but when I tried them separately I liked all three and figured I would be happy with any of them. I chose the Mustnag GT on the basis of features, but kept my interest in the Katana. One thing I notice now: the Boss amp is more ruggedly built. It's also louder: I would be confident taking the Katana to a bar, which I would be with the GT 40. The Katana's bigger speaker (1x12" vs. GT 40's 2x6") gives the bass more kick. It has a "mid" frequency knob (which the GT 100 has but the GT 40 lacks). And, I think it's safe to say, finding good sounds is faster with the Katana.

    Going the other way: the GT 40 has less bass than the Katana 50, but it also fits comfortably on a shelf, close to ear level when I'm sitting down. I don't move it around, but it's lighter and more compact. The biggest difference, which was very apparent when I was trying to get that Vox tone, is editing. Boss has a nice laptop/desktop editor, but nothing for iPad or Android. (There is a third-party Android app, but the guy developing it has disappeared. Nothing wrong with that: he wasn't asking for money.) Wireless connections, with the Boss amp, are non-existent. The Boss editor is better, in some ways, than the Fender editor, but you must have a computer, whereas the Mustang GT has everything you need on the amp itself. At some point, the external software for editing both of these machines is going to stop being supported, but the GT will still have its onboard editor and screen. I'm still learning my way around the Katana -- in addition to the five amps that you can select from the panel, there are about 20 so-called "sneaky amps" that you can unlock through software, set up as you like, and save to the Katana's preset channels. (A recent firmware update doubles these channels from 2 to 4 on the Katana 50 and 4 to 8 on the Katana 100.) But tweaking the effects, beyond setting an overall effect level, has to be done on a computer.

    Which sounds better? I still haven't played them in the same room. When I first got the Katana set up in the guest room, I played the clean channel and thought, "This is what I should have bought this summer." But a few days later I went back and played the GT 40 with my slightly-tweaked Basic Princeton patch. That's a pretty nice sound too. I'm not sure yet which I prefer.

    If I knew a young person who didn't have any other gear, I would probably recommend the Katana, because it's easy to find good sounds right away and it's built for performance as well as practice. But for practice and recording? I think the editing can be improved on the GT 40 -- the knobs and app both need to be tuned for acceleration -- but editing the GT is something you can do without a computer. Also, I like having 200 preset slots instead of 4.

    I haven't tested enough to see which is better with pedals. The consensus seems to be that the GTs do it better than the previous generation of Mustang, but the Katana is widely acknowledged to take all manner of pedals well. (When I was in Sam Ash this summer, Boss had a display where you could test about 30 pedals, and they were all plugged into a Katana.)

    Mustang GT has a looper and tuner...

    One more thing: Boss's parent company, Roland, seems to be more responsive to customers than in the past. That's not something I associated with Roland, but I'm seeing it in various areas (synths too).
     

  12. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    54
    459
    Jun 7, 2009
    donegal ireland
    A valve amp which has both gain and volume (master) controls operates on the basis of preamp vs power valves.You can either turn up the gain or volume to get to your desired sound.With modeling amps they try to simulate that but as we know it's just eq and a digital reflection of a perceived valve sound.This might be more or less succesful but it's not the same.I'd say it's kinda pointless copying this.You already have the sound you're aiming for and all you need is a control to operate the volume.The ss digital realm w b interesting to me if they can implement proper equal loudness features, something a standard valve amp with tone controls can't really do.
    The less a digital/ss amp tries to be valve amp the better imo but it's usually its point of reference.
    I think my perfect digital and/ or ss amp w be a module with downloadable sound options going into a proper simple valve power output section, attached or separate.
    On the floor if separate..quilter comes to mind.b those are high end ie expensive.nice jfet driven etc..
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017

  13. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    Agreed. IME it's only how it sounds using one or the other that differs and that's a matter or personal preference. The power section can't function without some form or degree of preamp gain anyway.

    I'm neither a qualified amp tech or an amp designer bally so much of how an amp operates specifically is unknown to me. I understand the basics of how vacuum tubes in tube amps work far better than how chips, circuits, and analog components combine to emulate tube amps. Some far more accurately than others. In the instance of a Katana it's more the feel and/or response of a tube amp than it's tonality that I perceive anyway. My Blues Cube 60 is much the same in that regard.

    Much of what I've learned has come from personal experience and the rest from what those who did design them tell us.

    My Egnater Tweaker is a single channel amp therefore no channel volume pot. It sounds good at lower volume but it's at it's best when I hit into it's "sweet spot" with the master volume at roughly 2-3 o'clock envisioning the control as a clock face. Beyond that volume increases far more gradually and more gain must be added to get a much greater volume. It will get quite loud and yet remain clean until the increased gain or attack finally causes break up. I've found that for me it's the most efficient way to operate that amp.

    BOSS suggests operating the Katana much the same way and I do. The only difference is having multiple channels it also has a channel volume pot so overall volume can be balanced when moving between channels as also suggested. Running the master "hot" tends to fill out the sound to a greater degree than running the channel volume "hot" and IME it's remains cleaner or less distorted in most settings that way.

    But there's also no reason why someone could boost the channel volume to get what they're after as well. The two British gents who did their Tone Lounge demo did exactly that when they seemed to misunderstand which volume pot was which. To me the amp still sounded fine but in most cases they were more often shooting for break up than max cleans. I tend to do the opposite keeping the amp clean and using pedals for break up and distortion.

    Different strokes I guess but it's what I'm used to doing and it saves time over working with the amp in an attempt to replicate the pedals. Unless I decide to go without my board I don't need many of the internal effects so I tend to use it much the same as I would any tube amp without them.

    I'm no expert but wouldn't your perfect amp be obtainable via the use of a digital effects unit which also had very accurate amp and cab emulations and running into a simple power amp and speaker or direct to a FOH PA with full range speaker and monitors? I have no experience with this so I'm simply guessing when I suggest it.
     

  14. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia

    Yes, but the great advantage of an amp like Katana is getting either gain sounds or volume sounds or what I would call pre and power tube sounds, at any volume.
    Anyone know what a Kat 50 weighs?
     

  15. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    Specs say 25lbs 10ozs.
     

  16. dswo

    dswo Tele-Meister

    Age:
    48
    218
    May 1, 2016
    East Carolina
    I like my Katana 50 a lot. Sounds good, feels sturdy.

    Do we want to distinguish between solid state and digital? I have a bunch of pedals that have no tubes, but don't use digital signal processing (DSP). I would describe them as analogue, solid state. Joyo amp boxes, like the American Sound pedal beloved by many on this forum, are in this category. Not so the Katana: it might have some solid state modules, but when you switch from Clean to Brown, you're activating a different software model, not another circuit.

    There's a parallel phenomenon in synthesizers. Most people want an analogue sound, but that sound, historically, has meant diodes and transistors, not tubes. Digital models of those -- I have a bunch on my iPad -- are harder and harder to distinguish from the real thing which, in the case of synthesizers, has always been solid state.
     
    soulman969 likes this.

  17. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    I presume a Katana would work okay for acoustic?
    At its heart is a full frequency speaker, right, so, it could do double duty?
     

  18. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Friend of Leo's

    Nov 28, 2006
    USA
    Isn't one of the amp models on the 100 'acoustic'? Or on it and the 50?
     

  19. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    54
    459
    Jun 7, 2009
    donegal ireland
    pre and power tube sounds, what does that mean?
    To me it means the classic clipping sound with gain/volume pushed.That's where the valve's harmonics are and the trouble lies for ss amps.This can be simulated by using jFets and such and digital technology. It's the feel/dynamics of the amp that matters most.That and the highest clean volume possible.This before clipping.
    Hard to do with a low cost amp like a Katana..though i admit that the sim tech is getting better, overriding the ss clipping issue with cosm tech.
    Is it as good as a valve amp? Im not going there and it's up to the individual to decide.
    Personally i love my little Fender Champion modeler for practise and if it's a choice between a higher watt modeler and a valve amp i take my pick. If the budget lies around 500 euro/$ there are a lot of nice valve heads out there.But if you need all those different amp sounds in a package then a modeling amp will do nicely.but all this is a different discussion and done to death already.
    I remain that dynamics are part and parcel of a good amp and whether it holds up in a band setting.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017

  20. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    I have not used mine that way yet but a good friend of mine who just bought a 50w says it sound fine. The acoustic channel is a true acoustic amp and the speaker can certainly handle an acoustics output and harmonics. I plan to use it that way when needed.
     

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