With great power comes extreme riffage!
For many a year the argument “Solid State vs Tube” has raged on, with tonal purists fighting the corner for valve amps despite huge advances in technology. Well, it appears that BOSS may have bridged the divide with their Katana amps, as many non-believers let go the old ways and say, “Woah, nice”.
We’ve all seen what their pedals are capable of, and when the Waza Amp Head came out jaws were on the floor instantly. The principal behind BOSS’ Katana series is to deliver epic tones that even the most discerning of rockers would be envious of. By adopting the name of the traditional samurai sword – a symbol of honour, precision and artistry in Japanese culture -, BOSS adhere to their roots with great pride. However, by utilising bleeding edge technology they greatly exceed expectations.
Since its inception the BOSS Katana amp range has expanded to cover every conceivable scenario a guitarist could encounter from bedroom practise to studio recording to wowing on the festival stage. The best part is that you don’t even need to shell out excessive amounts of money to get one either. Modestly priced, gig-ready and with enough features to please any pro – what are you waiting for?!
Switchable amp characters
OK, we get that there are other amps that allow you to switch character, so what’s so special about this? As well as there being 5 original amp characters that are custom-designed by the tone wizards at BOSS, it’s the quality of the tones that mesmerize us. At your disposal there is Clean, Crunch, Lead, Brown, and Acoustic.
Clean offer that classic “glassy” response that remains natural and transparent, allowing the richness of your guitar’s tone to shine through in all its glory.
Crunch delivers a delightfully satisfying grittiness with an audacious bite. Where you’re chopping through some blues inspired licks or knocking them back with gnarly garage rock grunt, Crunch allows you to get where dust doesn’t.
Lead is exactly what is says on the tin yet far more flexible that you may imagine. So much more. It isn’t a ‘switch on, crank up and hope for the best’ lead character. Instead it offers an expansive gain range to suit many styles from saturated bluesy solos to lightning fast legato.
Brown takes its DNA directly from the Waza amp to produce a masterpiece in high-gain tone. For those who want a tone that errs on the right side of filthy to produce fat – oh so fat! – riffs with and deliver crushing sonic assaults. Metalheads roll up please.
Acoustic offers something that may come as a surprise, an acoustic option for those who want an option to plug in their electro acoustic guitar too. For that matter, there’s no reason that you couldn’t plug in another electro-acoustic instrument if you fancy (anyone who fancies sending us a link to you laying down some sweet electro-mandolin licks with your Katana, don’t be shy).
Before you even touch upon anything else you can look on this as having five amps in one that are ready and waiting to be taken anywhere the music takes you.
So many customisable effects!
With BOSS’ Tone Studio Editor software at the ready you have access to a whopping 61 effects, with the ability to save 15 custom effects in the amp itself. You can effectively build your dream gig rig by meticulously crafting your effects signal chain within the Tone Studio software. You can even integrate pro setups from the BOSS Tone Central website with song specific patches across classic rock, hard rock, blues and metal.
The range of effects available include anything and everything that you could imagine with customisation to the hilt with pitch shifting, ring modulation, slicer and so much more. Thanks to the recent Katana Version 3 software update the effects selection has expanded to include the Roland DC-30 Analog Chorus-Echo, BOSS GE-10 Graphic Equalizer, and 95E pedal wah.
Again, borrowing from the Waza team BOSS endow the combos and cabs with custom speakers that are meticulously calibrated to perform superbly at any level. From hushed tones when honing your skills into the wee hours at home to crushing it on the grandest of stages, the speakers respond dutifully to any demand put upon them.
Power you can control
Versatility is also key to the Katana series combos (50, 100, 100/212). Not only do you have max outputs of 50-Watts and 100-Watts to play with, but the power control switch allows the output to be attenuated to suit more intimate setting and stripped-back requirements.
Which one shall you choose?
Katana-50, 100, 100/212 Combos
The initial trio of Katana 50, 100, and 100/212 led the way for others to follow. Boasting a similar feature set that includes custom designed speakers, five unique amp characters to choose from, customisable effects and access to even more via the BOSS Tone Studio Editor software, you can start to see the potential at your fingertips.
The Katana 50 offers a selection of connectivity options that include instrument input, Aux In, Recording/Headphone output with mic’d cabinet simulation, Expression pedal and Channel selection jacks, USB connectivity for software updates and customary AC In jack.
The Katana 100 models go a step further and enable an optional external footswitch to be connected for hands-free control when you’re gigging.
By incorporating Line, USB, and cab emulated outputs, you can send mix-ready amp tones to the front of house PA, your DAW of choice, or even headphones. BOSS Tone Studio gives access to a trio of Air Feel settings that gives you the ability to shape the tonal character of the direct sound, guaranteeing that you’ll sound awesome wherever you play. Another nod to the Version 3 update means that true stereo sound across modulation, EQ, delay, and reverb is now achievable.
Go Wireless with Katana Air
A world first with the Katana Air – totally wireless guitar amp combo with up to 12 hours of playing time from a single charge! Boasting five amp models and customisable effects, the Air gives you 20-Watts of power when playing using batteries and 30-Watts when playing via the included AC adaptor.
Featuring a wireless transmitter that connects to your guitar, you don’t even have to carry out the tedious task of switching the amp on and off. When not in use, the transmitter and amp will automatically switch to standby to save energy. When you’re good to go again, you can simply pick up the guitar and unique motion sensor technology activates the amp and you’re ready to rock!
BOSS Tone Studio App
As the Katana Air has Bluetooth connectivity, BOSS offer an iOS and Android friendly BOSS Tone Studio App to allow your smart device to connect to and control amp features. You can adjust the amp’s panel controls, access effect types and routing, as well as unlocking a host of app exclusive features and settings along with free patch collections.
Katana Mini – compact dynamo
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, we love a compact amp that kicks out tones like a champ. Sitting at home, jamming with mates, warming up before a gig, or hanging out in the park, the Katana Mini can do it all. All-analogue circuitry produces a dense tonal offering with four amp models to choose from, three-band tone stack, onboard tape-style delay and a custom-designed speaker.
Belting out 7-Watts of power is a breeze, but for times when you want to keep it low-key there’s a built-in headphone jack. It also doubles up as a recording output complete with cab voicing, which allows you to connect directly to your DAW of choice via audio interface and lay down your ideas effortlessly. As well as all that the Aux input allows you to connect an external sound source to jam along to track or simply kick back and listen to your favourite tunes.
Robust design meets elegant style
Across the Katana amp family, BOSS employ a uniform understated style: black with white trim across the face and BOSS brand name set above the Katana logo. Simply yet undeniably cool. From the flagship Artist to the baby of the family, the Katana Mini, the controls offer superb tactile control, the handles are robust, and though remarkably lightweight all models feel solid and resilient, capable of handling anything thrown their way.
Get one of these beauties in your life
Do we really need to sell it to you? BOSS Katana amps offer everything you could want at every rung on the ladder of your playing career. At home, at band practise, on the tour bus, back stage, on stage, in the studio, in the park, on top of a mountain, on a boat in the middle of the ocean (do I need to go on?) there is a Katana for every situation. If you want an amplifier that can sing sweetly or growl like a lion, won’t break your back when loading in/out for a gig, is recording-friendly, and boasts greater versatility than a Swiss Army Knife, then the BOSS Katana amps need to be top of your list.
If you need any help or advice, then our Customer Service Team are more than happy to help over the phone on 01925 582420. Our in-store specialists will guide you through the wonderful world of Guitar Amps, just pop into your nearest Dawsons store.
Jon is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for inspiring others to get involved in making music. After spending many years playing venues here, there and – pretty much – everywhere, he joined the Dawsons’ Music Web Team before progressing into his current role managing the Dawsons Blog.