Boss is a company best known for their guitar effects pedals. As a matter of fact, not many people even know that they make amps at all. The one we are going to take a look at today goes under the name of Katana and represents a head version of their popular KTN-50. Bang for the buck, this is one of the hottest heads you can grab for less than $500. The type of performance it brings to the table is well worth checking out, which is exactly what we are going to do today.
In terms of controls, there is a lot going on with Katana. Boss has divided the interface into separate clusters in order to make things a bit easier to handle. The first group of knobs you see will be your amplifier controls. From left to right, we have an amp select knob, gain, and finally volume. Up next comes the three-band EQ, which is followed by the FX cluster. They’ve divided the effects into three groups, each one having a corresponding knob. Lastly, there is the tone section where you will find the attenuation knob, presence, and master knob. These are followed by four buttons for each of the channels you can setup at any given time. While it might sound a bit overwhelming, it is fairly easy to figure out what every knob or button does.
Among the most prominent features worth starting with, there is the 100 Watt output. This Katana head is twice as powerful as the combo that bears the same name. In other words, you can easily hook this thing up to a 4×12 stack and have enough juice to run it. The amp features a single 5 Inch monitor speaker as well. In terms channels available, we are looking at five different modes of operation. There is your clean channel, followed by a crunch, lead, and brown. Before all of those, there is an acoustic mode. When in said mode, Katana will act as an acoustic guitar amplifier, which only expands its already impressive versatility. Since it was designed as a flexible platform, you can attenuate the power of the Katana all the way down to 0.5 Watts.
Boss isn’t the overall best guitar effects manufacturer for no reason. As such, we have expected them to really squeeze in some decent amps emulations into the Katana series, and they definitely did. The clean channel sounds surprisingly organic compared to other solid state and modeling choices out there, while every next layer of crunch builds upon it perfectly. The acoustic setting is pretty interesting as well. When selected, the amplifier completely changes the way it sounds. There is just enough gain to properly render the tone of an acoustic guitar, without smothering it or making it too bright. Is it a better choice than a dedicated acoustic guitar amp? Probably not, but it exponentially increases its versatility.
What Boss has done with their Katana series is show us all that they can make rather decent amps as well. Many guitar players are generally skeptical about getting an amp from a brand that isn’t specialized in them, but this is one obvious exception that is more than worth your time. Pure power, solid core performance, great price. What else could we ask for?