Love/hate relationship with my Katana 100

Discussion in 'Amps & Cabs' started by DrBGood, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes I love this thing, sometimes I want to sell it.

    I had found decent settings that I saved on the amp's presets. I'm not using Tone Studio to pick the amp's brain. I like turning solid knobs. They all worked great with humbuckers and P90. Happy camper I was.

    My understanding (turned out that's what I wanted) was that you crank the master to get the amp cooking and adjust volume to taste. That's how I've used it up to a few days ago. Whenever I switched to panel controls, volume was similar. Everything fine, unitl ...

    Yeah ... until I read on the Katana Facebook page, that it's supposed to be the other way around. Crank volume, adjust master to taste. So I readjusted those accordingly on my presets. I hated it.

    I am now trying to come back to where I started before reading that stupid post and I can't find a decent tone anymore.

    I think I'll play my SCXD for now and let the Katana sit on the back burner for a while. Maybe my ears don't want to cooperate or something.

    I hate that !

    No I'm not going to use Tone Studio ... and I'm leaving that stupid Facebook group.
     
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  2. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    That's what you get for reading, where did that ever get anyone. :D

    I have heard of people using both methods with good results, on both Katanas and the Nextones. It strange that you can't get back to a sound you like though.

    On my Nextone I've found that the amp sounds best when the master is somewhere past noon. I set the clean volume to where I'm getting that right on the edge of breakup sound. Then on the lead channel I set the volume to match and use the gain knob to get the breakup I want. I usually have the master a bit past noon and use the power switch to change the actual volume level. Works well for me.
    I know the Nextone doesn't have much in common with the Katana, so none of that may be useful to you. But maybe it might. :cheers:
     
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  3. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    This is interesting... I don't own a Katana, but I do own a Vox VT-30
    (that's now about ten years old).

    It took me a long time to figure this amp out... I had to read the manual over and over. (Figure the guys who wrote the instructions didn't speak
    English as their native language). But this Vox modeling amp has a LOT
    to offer. They sell these worldwide to players of all types, and in many
    nations. Once I figured out how everything works, I found a few sounds that I really like, and saved those, and a happy camper am I.

    The preset functions are a real handy thing for me, after I figured things out.
    It's a fun amp to play with, and I can always find new sounds. But it's
    also great to be able to return to my favorites with a stomp or two.

    VT-30 controls@100.jpg
    You can see that I've got the master at about 10 o'clock, with the pre-tone stack volume dimed, and the gain at about 11 o'clock. This works
    for me. But now I'll try it your way, next time I'm feeling adventurous.

    I don't think there are any absolutes, on an amp like this.
    (no "native tone..." IMHO). To me, it's all relative, and all subjective.
    It perplexed me that I could not understand the workings of this amp right away. For example, my Black Heart Little Giant has no secrets,
    you just turn it on, and twist a few knobs, and play. Very straightforward.
    I like that. It's dependable.

    And so's this modeling amp, now that I've got my tone saved.
    Now it's easy to use, and at 30W it's plenty powerful for what I need to
    do. I modded it with a few extra outputs and a good quality input jack,
    and that gave me about everything I need. My fave models are the
    JC Clean and the Fender Deluxe.
     
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  4. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    I knew you'd chip in with that amp.

    I had found a way to bypass the amp and cab sims on my Tonelab EX, so I could only use the effects. It was great. It didn't color the native tone of my Handsome Devil at the time. If you think that VT30 has a steep learning curve, try a Tonelab EX. There's about twice (if not more) the amount of tweaking you have on your amp. But there's not much you can't dial on it.

    Let me see if I can find out what I did with that info and I'll come back to you. Maybe the same can be done on the Vox amps.
     
  5. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    My experience with the Katana 100 is that it's a brilliant gigging amplifier, at gigging volumes. The problem is, it tends to have that "come on, open me up a little!" very at low volumes. My best experience with it was at hard-rock band volumes with a couple of dirt pedals pushing the front end. At home it felt a little artificial and wheezy. I planned on keeping it for home use when I bought my Marshall DSL40C, but as it turns out... The Marshall really kills it even at near-silent volumes. At this point, there really wasn't any reason to keep the Katana around, so I sold it.

    If you've got the space and the opportunity to turn it up, the Katana is by far the best amplifier option under 500 bucks, IMO, tube or not. But at bedroom/living room volumes... Eh, it's fine. I think my Blackstar ID Core 10 is just as good if not better at those volumes.
     
  6. fos1

    fos1 Member

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    I am going to subscribe to this thread to see how things turn out. I have a Kat that I am still on the upside of the learning curve. Mine is upgraded to Level 3 and I experiment with the VERY complicated Boss Tone Studio. One thing I have considered doing is taking a picture of the controls when I have a sound that I like so I can find my way back when I lose it.

    I have been out of town on business the whole month and living out of a motel room. :( All I was able to bring was my beautiful red no name SG and an Orange Micro Dark and a pair of headphones. At least it can be loud enough for me to hear and I get to practice.

    I can't wait to get back home to my Katana for some real sound.

    fos
     
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  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Well ... couldn't find the exact procedure to bypass all but the effects on the Tonelab, but I seem to remember I'd have to either press two switches at the same time or one for ±2 seconds. It might not be applicable to the Valvetronix.
     
  8. chicagoslim

    chicagoslim Active Member

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    I've had my Katana 50 for almost two years. I never hooked it up to my computer, I just turn the knobs. Or I should say that I set it next to my Vox TB18C1, VXII or SCXD and dialed in similar sounds. I tend to set the Gain around 2 O'clock and use the Clean and Crunch channels. It might not sound as good as my TB18C1 with pedals, but It sounds better at home volumes and also works great as a Grab & Go amp. I'm a front man who hauls a PA, speaker and monitors. So, not having to haul a pedal board is a plus.

    Well I liked it enough that I bought a Katana 100, last Week. I got to try it along side a Vox AV30 at the local shop, and the Katana smoked the Vox. I put an Eminence Basslite speaker in the KTN100, and the 100 speaker in the KTN50.


     
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  9. 83 Blazer

    83 Blazer Well-Known Member

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    I’ve owned a Katana 50 for around 18 months and since I bought it I haven’t powered up my Vox ac15. Not because I believe it’s better or anything, it’s just that it’s lighter to take to rehearsal and gigs and the AC doesn’t have a headphone socket for me to play at home. It’s all a convenience thing.

    I’ve plugged the Katana into the tone studio 3 times early on and haven’t done so for a long time since. I just play it like a ‘normal’ amp and use my pedal board for effects.

    There are a couple of Vox VT-30s at the place we rehearse and the other guitarist plugs into one and proceeds to sound like crap each time we rehearse because he has no idea how to use it. Just turns it on and expects it to be a normal amp; invariably it will have buzz saw distortion, massive delay and some other effect from the previous user regardless of what amp it is modelling so it sounds like . It’s a shame because I have heard them sound fantastic but I just don’t have the time when we are rehearsing to understand what the signal path doing is so I can try to help fix it.
     
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  10. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, I found the best sounds on the Katana to be clean (gain noon) and crunch (gain 3 o'clock), with the stock Blues Driver setting to about 8 o'clock on the dial. Really fattens and sweetens the cleans without really adding any dirt... And on crunch I could get almost pristine cleans to metal chugging with just the volume knob on my guitar. I'd start there and see how you do. :thumb:

    Amen. The more you mess with the amp in tone studio, the more it's weaknesses become apparent. The effects settings are particularly infuriating... Although you're given 3 of each type of effect (Stompbox / FX, Mods / Delays, and Reverbs) for each "channel" (preset) of the amp, all three of those effects share the same exact settings. That's crippling, especially with so few presets available for us (4 for the 50w, 8 for all the others). But the core sound is great, and man, it sure takes pedals well.
     
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  11. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Well-Known Member

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    I do this with my Tweaker as well. It's a good idea, to my mind, for any amp with a complex layout or control-set, though it doesn't do much for pull-knobs.

    Beats all hell out of the old-school writing-it-down-in-your-notebook thing, which I used to do as well.
     
  12. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Clean (gain noon) - OK, I get that

    Crunch (gain 3 o'clock) + Blues Driver setting to about 8 o'clock on the dial
    - you get cleans with that ?
     
  13. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    It's not sparkly, but more of an "off-clean" at 2 on my neck pickup's volume knob. The added compression from the BD makes the volume discrepancy a bit less noticeable between 2 and 10. At 10, it was very, very hairy. I was surprised with just how much dynamic range I could muster from it, though.

    That said, it's been roughly 9 months since I owned the thing, so I could be wrong and had the gain more between noon and 1 or something. I feel sure I posted about this in the past when I discovered these settings, so I might dig up my original post about it.
     
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  14. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

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    You read both version (crank master vs crank volume for best tone) on the net. I just watched this very good demo of the amp. At 2:00 they say Boss recommends to keep the Volume knob up and do adjustments to the Master to get the volume you currently need:


    This is what I do, too. Just makes sense to me, especially because Volume is saved to the presets whereas Master is not.
    Also having the Master at max and Volume at minimum on the 0.5W setting its already to loud for late night practice. While the other way around allows me to perfectly adjust the overall volume.
     
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  15. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    THAT'S where I saw it, and that's what I went back to. You explained it much better than I, thanks.
    I'm still on the fence though. It's the cleans that has me going back to it.
     
  16. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Got it ! By pressing the cab sim button for 2 seconds, it gives you direct access to all the effects and pedals.
     
  17. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Now ... I finally got to update the firmware and Tone Studio and got to go pick its brain. Nice stuff in there. I always find ODs and such way to trebly and ear piercing. There's a Warm OD and a Natural OD that are nice.

    I was letting go of the idea that I could like a fuzz. Then I find there's a Big Muff in there... for free !

    I might keep the amp, but I'll leave my local ad on, asking for a trade for a Blue Vox VT60. Fat chance that this one will come up.
     
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  18. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    Those blue VTs in good working order and rare beasts indeed. I've always been curious to hear one, though. Those are the really early days of modeling and clearly Vox thought they were onto something for the pros before moving down market like pretty much all modelers did at the time.
     
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  19. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Well what do you know ...I found the elusive Vox amp ! NAD to come in a week or so.
     
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  20. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    Pics when it comes in or it didn't happen!!
     
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