There’s a reason why every post asking for sub-$500 amp suggestions consists of folks repeating Boss Katana amp over and over. With five separate modes and Boss’ full pedal range built in, the Katana series not only sounded better than any of its competitors when it was first released in 2016, but it also provided a broad selection of sounds. We’ll go over everything you need to know about the Boss Katana-50 MKII with you.
Who should buy Boss Katana Amp?
The Boss Katana is designed for guitarists on a budget who want superb, stage-ready tone. People that wish to minimize their bulky tube setup while still getting fantastic tones love this amp.
Due to the option to vary the wattage, the Katana boss also sounds terrific at bedroom settings, making it ideal for home usage – but, as we discovered while reviewing the best soundproof curtains, you may still irritate your neighbors with this amp.
Finally, because the Katana amp outputs audio through USB, it’s a terrific amp for home recording, sounding better than many of the most popular amp simulations.
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||18 x 15 x 12 inches|
The Boss Katana amps is distinguished by its sleek design. The amp has a very simple design, which means you could easily pass right past it in a music store – but it’s so popular that the chances of that occurring are slim.
The cabinet is constructed from high-quality MDF wood. It’s both strong and light. The primary cab is encased in a plastic covering that looks like tolex but is more tougher and smoother.
The amp’s face is constructed of a tough, black material that can take a beating. At the top of the fabric is a metal ‘Boss’ emblem, with the ‘Mark 2′ logo below it.
The knobs are somewhat recessed into the cabinet near the top of the amp. The majority of the knobs are circular, with one chicken-head type knob.
At the top of the amp, there’s also a useful carrying handle. The rubber handle is strong and long-lasting.
Overall, it’s not overpowering. Fortunately, what matters is how it works and sounds…
The Boss Katana mk2 ‘s vast range of characteristics is something that is commonly emphasized while discussing it. Boss moreover includes Tone Studio software, which allows you to tweak the amp’s settings. Acoustic, clean, crunch, lead, and brown are among the amp’s five models.
Pursuit that is a ‘gain’ and ‘volume’ knob. The Katana 50 can be switched between 0.5, 25, and 50 watts, permitting you to play at any volume. The Katana 50 has four presets and a panel setting that may be saved. The volume knob is a stand-alone volume control, permitting you to match volume levels between presets.
In the Tone Studio software, you may assign effects to unrepealable colors, permitting you to hand yo-yo effects right on the amp’s face. An ‘amp type’ knob allows you to select between the five amp types. You may shirk the preamp stage and use your Katana as a speaker for your effects processor this way.
The presets, presence, master volume, cab resonance, and power settings are all found in the pursuit section. The ‘power-amp in’ input on the rear of the amp is moreover new in the boss katana MKII. The amp moreover comes with a slew of effects, including chorus, flanger, auto-wah, and harmonizers. All of the other versions have a power output of 100 watts, which may be reduced to 50 or 0.5 watts for lesser volume. This is for multi-effects units and effects processors. The FX are effects, same goes with the mod knob.
‘Booster’ (overdrive/distortion) and ‘mod’ are the two buttons (modulation effects like chorus and flanger). The effects are all modeled without genuine Boss pedals. The reverb tank is the last sawed-off in the effects section. More effects, such as compressors and a second EQ section, are included.
The ‘clean’ channel is precisely what it claims to be. It has a tube amp-like tone, especially on the clean channel. High-gain sounds, on the other hand, are more difficult to master. The sound effects are excellent.
The digital effects are excellent, and the analog effects sound quite realistic. The ‘brown sound,’ which is an extremely thick, high gain sound, is played through the ‘brown’ channel. Boss Katana amp sounds really warm when it’s clean. At low gain, it’s quite clean, and at greater gain, it’s lovely and thick. The ‘acoustic’ channel is designed for acoustic guitar, and it’s a mix of the clean channel and the guitar’s direct sound.
The ‘crunch’ channel has a somewhat thinner sound than the clean and, in my view, is the least good sounding. At low intensity, this channel is wonderful for gritty tones, and at high gain, it’s a genuine shredder. From twangy country tones to glassy, funky John Frusciante tones, this channel has it all. This isn’t to say it’s horrible, but it’s not as good as the other channels.
The ‘lead’ channel is similar to the crunch channel, but thicker and with far greater gain. I wouldn’t advocate using the booster for traditional low-gain overdrive because it compresses and tightens the tone a lot. This channel has a little higher gain and is a little boomier than the lead channel. Both sound great, however using the USB will result in a very quiet signal, which might be a concern.
Some claim this channel is better for electric guitar with pedals, while others argue it destroys the tone. Because it’s easy to make it sound bubbly with too much of anything, the EQ is a bit more crucial here.
In general, the Katana amp sounds fantastic. This is the most crucial component of an amplifier, and Boss hit it out of the park with it.
There’s just one problem… The Katana is made by Boss in a number of various versions, each of which is unique. It makes you wonder, “Which should I get?”
Which model of Boss Katana amp should you choose?
Currently, Boss offers five distinct models:
- Boss Katana 50
- Boss Katana 100
- Boss Katana 100/212
- Boss Katana Artist
- Boss Katana Head
We’ve been focused on the Katana 50 thus far, but the other models are also impressive.
The Katana 100 is nearly identical to the Katana 50, with the exception that it has a hundred watts instead of fifty and an FX-loop. It also includes four more channels split across two banks.
The Katana 100/212 is identical to the 100, except it now features a second 12 inch speaker, as the name implies.
The Katana Artist is the series’ flagship. It has a better 12 inch speaker, 100 watts of power, and the controls are located on the front of the amp.
The Katana Head is identical to the 100, but in the shape of a head. This allows you to connect the Head to the cabinet of your choice. This allows you to play the Katana’s sound through several speakers or multiple speakers at the same time. The Head also comes with a small speaker that may be utilized for practice, allowing you to leave your taxi at the rehearsal location while continuing practicing at home, for example.
Fender Mustang GTX100
Positive feedback has been pouring in for Fender’s flagship modeling amp. This workhorse of an amp is the apex of Fender’s Mustang series. This amp has the same characteristics as the Katana, with the exception that everything is controlled via the LCD screen on the front of the amp.
This amplifier comes with a ton of features and fantastic tones, yet it costs less than $500 in most vendors.
Blackstar ID:CORE 100
Blackstar is a legendary brand that has produced some of the most underappreciated amplifiers in history, and their take on the current modeling combination is one of them.
The ID:CORE series’ ‘gimmick’ is their stereo capabilities. Even the teeny-tiny ID:CORE 10 has two speakers for strong stereo effects.
The ID:CORE 100 uses two of Blackstar’s best 10-inch speakers to deliver three distinct configurable channels. The stereo sounds truly fill the space and draw you right in, and the full strength of this amp is difficult to experience without experiencing it.
This amp is a great alternative to the Katana, which costs less than $350 in most stores.
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Marshall Code 50
Even Marshall has been churning out some fantastic modeling combinations. Another fantastic example of iconic companies broadening their market is the Code 50. Following the success of the MG series, Marshall decided to see what they could do with solid-state technology, and the Code series was the result.
The Code series is meant to be a replica of old Marshall amplifiers like the JTM, JVM, JCM800, and Plexi Superlead. It achieves this admirably well, and everything sounds fantastic via the 12-inch speaker.
Marshall sells unique Code 2×12 and 4×12 cabs made exclusively for the head, as well as a 100 watt version of the Code.
These amplifiers are, once again, quite inexpensive. Most stores sell the Code 50 for roughly $250, and the head for around $300 new.
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Here are a few key points:
- Excellent sound quality.
- Panel with simple controls
- A large preset library is available.
There are a variety of models to meet everyone’s needs, and they are all quite reasonable.
It’s easy to forget it’s so inexpensive, as it is with a lot of new modeling amps. Most sites sell the Boss Katana Amp 50 for roughly $250 new, and $150-200 secondhand.
Overall, we don’t see anything wrong with this pairing. It’s cheap, it sounds great, and it has a lot of features. Whenever someone asks what the best budget guitar amplifier is, I usually recommend the Boss Katana amp 50 MKII.
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