Boss Katana or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Both Volume and Master Knob

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by sirnobrain, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. sirnobrain

    sirnobrain TDPRI Member

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    Greetings, fellow players!

    It's almost a year since i bought my Katana 100w Head. I read everywhere that volume and master knob on Boss Katana might affect your tone, depending how you set them. Some say that you should maxed out the master for the best tone, some other say that you should peg the master. If i remember correctly, even Boss' own product person said that you should start with volume and master maxed out to get the best tube like sound and then use the power control to attenuate the overall amp volume.

    Last few weeks, i've been re-reading a lot of articles about how to set a good tone on Katana. It drives me crazy. I couldn't wait another day to find out wether the volume or the master will give me better clipping, compression, and harmonics. I never had any time nor proper motivation to do a test before, but today i spent my sunday doing several run to test those arguments and the conclusion i get (tl;dr;) is that both volume and master do not have any effect to the tone. This is what i did:

    I use a MIM Telecaster stock on neck pickup, put a looper in front of Katana running to a Marshall vertical cab with Celestion Seventy 80 speaker, set the amp on clean channel, set gain, volume, and master at 12 o'clock, play short notes and chords (1 or 2 seconds so i could hear the difference better), and loop 'em. I cut the volume to almost 0 hoping to hear some clipping and compression. The result is no, i didn't get any. I dial back the volume to 12 o'clock and this time i cut the master to minimum, still nothing. I leave the master and peg the volume, it sounds louder but still nothing changes (sounds exactly the same, the compression, the overall tone, the harmonics and overtones). I did this several time, using the power control so i could hear the difference better (at minimal volume or master, it's hard to tell the difference if i'm not using the power control).

    Next, i set the channel to crunch, set the gain accordingly until its clean when i play normally and slightly break up when i add a little more power to my attack. I strum a short clean chords and hit several notes, do the same as before, hoping that it will break up when i change the volume or the master knob... still nothing happens... it all still sounds the same (i didn't even move my ear to be able to tell if there's any difference in compression, harmonics and overtones).

    Last, i use the lead and brown channel. Those channel have more range of clipping and compression. i first thought that if a small changes in guitar volume knob will give you a lot of changes in terms of clipping and compression on those channel, a huge swing on amp volume knob and master should at least give me an observable changes. Did the same as before. No... nothing changes.

    After all those test, i conclude that the only knob to change the shape of the signal's wave form on Katana is the gain knob. Volume and master knob only changes the overall volume, and i believe that there's no such thing as pre-amp or power amp volume. If a should guess, the channel volume purpose is to set all of our patches volume on the same level, and the master is for us to be able to fit the overall volume of the amp fast. I don't know why the need to put the power control knob.

    I'm not a professional player, nor an audio engineer. Just an amateur that love playing guitar. So there's a lot of chance i might be wrong (on my method, knowledge, or my ear). I just want to share the result because me myself have been confused by a lot of articles on the internet, and i don't want anyone using Katana spending hours of their free time reading different articles on the internet and still not convinced wether they should maxed out their volume knob, their master knob, or declare a war with their neighboors by pegging both (even on 0.5 watt mode, the brown channel will make you an enemy of the state) like me. So i made an account on this forum, and here's my first post. Hope it could help anyone.
     
  2. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Friend of Leo's

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    Great first post, thanks... and welcome to the forum.
     
  3. sirnobrain

    sirnobrain TDPRI Member

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    Cheers!
     
  4. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Welcome!
     
  5. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a Katana 100W and one thing I could never quite figure out is why, even at 0.5 W settings, is it not possible to get what sounds like harsh solid state clipping? You know, like would happen if you just had a SS amp module on your bench. You'd turn it up and once it got to that clipping point, you'd heard SPLAT---ZZZTT etc. I didn't spend a lot of time trying mind you. So my suspicion is that there's some sort of limiter in there working really hard to prevent that kind of thing from happening. I even got some nice feedback at 0.5W.

    Whether that relates to the OP's point I can't tell you but it's nice to hear someone just do a test and report what they found (esp. taking a contrary perspective to "popular wisdom") and open it up for discussion. I never monkeyed much with these as I'm always playing on 0.5 and I didn't have a problem getting sounds I liked.
     
  6. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    These Katana amps are made to Model Tube Amps, so the SS style clipping that your trying to get isn't going to happen.
    If that's what your looking for, get any SS style amp with a pedalboard.

    So, why doesn't someone make a SS amp with preloaded effects and cab sim? Companies follow the demand of the consumer. There may be some amps like that on the market, I just don't know about them.
     
  7. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Friend of Leo's

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    You are correct, sir!

    From the MANUAL:
    [GAIN] Adjusts the gain (amount of distortion).

    [VOLUME] Adjusts the volume. (of each channel)

    [MASTER] Adjusts the overall volume.

    [POWER CONTROL] Lets you switch the output level of the power amp according to your location or needs.

    The MANUAL is available at the Boss website. Google is your friend.

    Folks claiming you should "max out" this knob or "turn down" that knob are using tube amp criteria to describe solid state amp functions, and obviously don't bother reading manuals, unlike hip folks like us. Right?

    And lots of SS amps are available with cab sims and built-in multi-effects. The Fender Mustangs are an example.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
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  8. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Plug guitar into amp ... Play guitar ...

    Turn knobs ...
    When you are happy with sound ...
    Stop turning knobs ...
     
  9. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This is my approach, and it works with digital amps just as well as tube amps.
     
  10. Seasicksailor

    Seasicksailor Friend of Leo's

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    The manual for a valve amp would be saying pretty much the same thing, but the result would differ.
     
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  11. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    Its a solid state modeling amp, and will never behave just like a tube amp.
     
  12. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a Mustang III V2. I read a bunch of posts talking about the same thing. I did some experiments, like @sirnobrain suggested, and could hear very little - if any - difference.

    Maybe at stage volume there is a difference? I almost never play that loud, so I have no idea.

    I agree though - quit worrying about spending time on some small difference and just enjoy the ride.
     
  13. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Holic

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    Try setting a reasonable bedroom volume with the power set at 100W and you'll find the answer. Turn it down to 0.5W and you've got a lot more control.
     
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  14. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    No, but it will behave (to the ears) a lot more like a tube amp than like a standard solid state amp.
     
  15. oceanblue

    oceanblue Tele-Meister

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    Right. I have the Katana 50 and at 0.5W, you get more control.
    Usually I just max the channel volume and 12 o’clock the master, then just use the volume on my tele for control. If I do that with the master maxed I really can’t play at home with the telecaster volume at more than 1/4 - 1/3 maybe? Gets really loud far too quickly, especially with power at 25W. I never even use 50W at home.
     
  16. guitarsophist

    guitarsophist Tele-Meister

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    I think that the clean sounds on my Katana 50 sound way better at 25W. I was kind of unhappy with the amp until I figured that out.
     
  17. oceanblue

    oceanblue Tele-Meister

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    Just curious, where are your volumes at for clean tones? Any effects/etc added?
     
  18. guitarsophist

    guitarsophist Tele-Meister

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    Right now I have the gain at 12:00, the volume at 10:00, the master about 12:00. That is for my Casino with P-90's, in a bedroom. There is a little reverb from the Katana. The only pedal is a Boss DD-7 that I use as a looper. That is just what sounds good to me, noodling around. If I had it at .5 watts, those setting would all be higher, but to me the tone is duller.
     
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  19. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    Look, parts of the amp are solid state just like my Fender tube amps have sections that arre solid state.

    The "amp simulation" part of the Katana is NOT solid state, it's state of the art digital stuff, all software. And it can be updated to the latest and greatest in a flash.

    Not solid state tone,,, digital tone
     
  20. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    I agree, I hear no difference in various volume settings. I think of the mst volune as the gross volume. And the channel or 1st volume is used as a fine dialer in for the perfect volume.
     
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