Since pedal masters Boss introduced their first amp line in 2016, their Katana collection has taken the gear world by storm. This is largely thanks to impressive feature sets and tones that consistently turn heads. With the KTN-100, Boss has produced a powerful yet affordable combo amp that may just be your new number one for both live settings and home use. Sounds worthy of a closer look…
The KTN-100 is a solid-state 100-watt combo amp that can be switched to as low as 0.5-watts (because your neighbors don’t always need to hear you practice). For an amp under $500, Boss packs a ton of features as well as a single 12” speaker into its 20.9” x 9.8” x 17.5” cabinet. This gives you more than enough oomph to gig with, while – at only 32lbs – it’s not too heavy to haul from venue to venue.
The KTN-100 has five different ‘channels’ for overall tones (ranging from Acoustic to Brown), while it offers access to a huge selection of legendary Boss effects. There’s room to store up to eight overall amp/effect settings as well.
One nifty little feature is the built-in tilt stand. It may be a minor detail, but this really helps to project your sound better than when your amp is just sitting on the floor. Not having to purchase an additional stand for this is a bonus.
Admittedly, it would have been nice to have a footswitch included too. The KTN-100 is great for live application, and any gigging player will need that functionality (especially with the range of tones available).
Rounding it off are a headphone jack and USB support, which are important for both practicing and recording.
For an amp with this much flexibility, the top panel controls are relatively simple. A single knob allows you to change between the five channels, along with a gain and volume adjustment. The 3-band EQ section is also fairly basic with a single knob each for bass, middle, and treble adjustments. Additionally, there is a Presence control for overall tone control shaping.
There are three knobs sitting in the effects section, but don’t be misled by this simplicity. Using the Boss Tone Studio editing software (connected to the amp via USB), you have access to over 60 incredible Boss effects. Doing the math, you can get the entire KTN-100 package for a lot less than even a handful of Boss stomp boxes!
The Power Control knob lets you easily dial in one of four power settings – standby, 0.5W, 50W, or full-throttle 100W. This allows you to easily tailor your overall output for a range of different playing scenarios.
Each of the five channels on the KTN-100 are tailored to fit a specific purpose. They aren’t ‘amp models’ in the sense that they are trying to duplicate specific amps or manufacturers, yet they sound great, are very touch responsive, and they certainly get the job done.
You have a well-defined, silky-smooth Clean setting, as well as a Crunch setting which offers the perfect amount of grit for blues. The Lead channel provides rich saturation for impressive soloing, while the Brown channel is over the top (in a good way!) – think EVH and you are close. Finally, there’s also an Acoustic channel, which is great for giving your electric a surprisingly natural acoustic guitar sound.
All of this is made even sweeter thanks to the myriad of legendary onboard Boss effects. Boss has a long-standing reputation for excellent sound shapers, and the results are nothing short of amazing when combined with the well-executed channel selections.
No matter what your playing style, coaxing some absolutely awe-inducing sounds from the KTN-100 is an easy feat.
Looking at everything that the Katana KTN-100 offers, we are floored by the level of value in this midrange price category. It’s perfect for stage performers and recording musicians, although equally useful for practice and jamming at home. With the selection of solid amp models – plus the addition of so many iconic Boss effects – the competition should be shaking in their boots at the sight of the KTN-100.