Discussion in 'Amps & Cabs' started by DFLCC, Jul 3, 2017.
Which is something I truly wish was an option on the 50, but you can't always get what you want.
I hear you brother. The effect loop of the 100s is also nice for a looper.
If I had a say on improving the Katana; I would make the 50s options the same as the 100s with the obvious exception of the power settings. I would also add a built in tuner and looper. That would have an impact on the price tag and possibly affects the amp popularity.
But we got what we need.
So, after the failure of my VHT amp left a bad taste in my mouth, MF cut me a deal on an exchange for the Katana 100. Should get here early next week. Looking forward to it.
If I had to make a change to the 50 to improve it, I'd change the wattage settings to 0.5w, 5w, and 50w. That translates more to a true 25%, 50%, and 100% volume selection. 0.5w, 25w, and 50w is more like 25%, 90%, and 100%. I think the 100 watt models have the same issue, but since they're more geared for live use, I think it's less of a problem. I think the 50 is aimed more at home use with the ability to go live if need be, so a more linear power curve would be helpful for that use.
I agree with the theory, but since you can't explain that 5% = half volume to some folks (usually mimes) I'd just make it "0.5w, 5w, 25w, and 50w. That way some folks can turn it to "half power" at 25w and be happy.
Having had the 50 and now owning the 100w head, I’d have to say the head is better for home practice AND live - but only because of the the built in speaker for low volume stuff.
Boss recommends having the channel vol and master vol turned up full and using the power selector and guitar vol for your level.
This gives you a very passable ‘valve amp’ response to guitar volume, cleans up when backed off, but gives nice break up when you let rip - even at the lowest setting. Obviously depends on which amp model your set to, but even the Brown amp cleans up with the volume control on the guitar!
And at the 0.5w setting, the head and it’s dinky speaker still give the great Katana tones, but at practice levels. (Think it’s a max of 30w from the internal speaker? But 0.5w is plenty for a small room)
And of course, you can plug it in to your favourite cab for a gig or to make more noise when needed
It certainly ticks all my boxes too (YMMV), with the footswitch, midi capability / usb connection and effects loop - have a feeling it might be with me for a while... unless Boss brings out an even better one!
IMHO the 100 head is the ultimate practice amp.
Officially joined the Katana club last night! The 100 1x12 combo shipped in as a replacement to the VHT Special 6 Ultra that was slowly dying the moment I turned it on. I should have done this earlier, as I was able to dial in a crunch that was extremely similar to that VHT in the room almost immediately - you'd be hard pressed to tell this isn't a tube amp from the sounds I get in-room.
Tonight I updated the amp and installed the Tone Studio. Used the Acoustic channel, the Acoustic Simulator, and the Acoustic Processor, along with a touch of reverb, to dial in a viable acoustic sound for my SG. Whaddya know, it sounds just like a piezo-equipped acoustic guitar now - I may just use my electric all the time at church now. This was all at very quiet volumes, so it will be interesting to see how it sounds at live volumes.
Excited to really dig into this thing... It will take me a while to find the time and place to properly open it up and good around with all the options, but I'm already impressed.
It looks great next to the Christmas tree, too!
I might join the club pretty soon ... I just tried one today, and wanted to hear how heavy it can be, with the single coil bridge pup of a G&L ASAT. I maxed the gain on the Brown setting, and maxed out the boost too. It has sustain for centuries!.
Agreed. I think many other modelers have gotten the initial attack and gain structure absolutely right when it comes to high gain stuff, but the Boss is the first one I've heard that's really figured out note decay... It doesn't fizzle out as a note sustains. That said, I'm not as huge a fan of the Brown voice with the gain dimed; it has a slightly Orange-ish fuzz I'm not particularly fond of. I prefer the gain around noon with a boost/OD tightening up the mid-highs. YMMV, of course.
It’s great in medium gain settings too. Of course, the G&L used for the test was a Tele type of guitar, and I love a Tele through an overdriven amp (low to medium gain settings). They kind of lose definition on higher gain settings, but Teles were not designed for that.
I agree with you as well. That combination will work with any good tube amp. Most heavy metal tones recorded until the early eighties were achieved by using Plexis pushed with treble boosters or OD pedals. I recently saw a demo of the Plexi’s 50 watt brother, the 1987, pushed with a Digitech Green Monkey, and you can get some very tight metal sounds with that chain!.
That said, I'm not as huge a fan of the Brown voice with the gain dimed; it has a slightly Orange-ish fuzz I'm not particularly fond of. I prefer the gain around noon with a boost/OD tightening up the mid-highs. YMMV, of course.[/QUOTE]
I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but you nailed it with this description...
Found this on YT - it’s really about the v2 update, but... the first few minutes are a great summary of what Boss has done that makes the Katanas such great amps
I don't trust these videos. That guy could play on a Peavey 10W amp and probably sound as good.
Tom Quayle could scribble the word "AMP" in crayon on a piece of construction paper, crumple it up, and stuff it into his input jack, and it would sound like a 100w stack in a stadium.
Well, today, I'm stuck in the service department of my local Mazda dealership with my 7 month old son for the next three hours, so I figure now is as good a time as ever to give my thoughts on the Katana.
Firstly, I really haven't been able to crank it much since I got it, due to having the aforementioned 7 month old, but it sounds pretty good even at the half-watt setting. When turning up at church, I've been primarily using the acoustic channel and the acoustic simulator with my SG, along with a touch of reverb. Not only does it sound pretty authentic, but it's actually better than the cheap Artec magnetic pickup in my Takamine. No more hauling two guitars around, I'm just going to use the SG, even for acoustic-only sets! Thought this might be useful information for anyone curious about this somewhat off-label use for the Katana.
As far as guitar tones, I'm a big fan of the crunch and brown channels. I prefer the gain and mids really turned up on the crunch channel; it has a really nice bark to it without losing too much definition. I still think my Blackstar ID Core is better for bedroom volumes, but at live-gig volumes, the crunch channel simply sounds incredible.
The Brown channel is really versatile, too. I've found that with the EQ flat at noon, gain at noon, and a Blues Driver pushing it just a hair, I can really get everything from a brutal chug and nigh-endless sustain to a light crunch using just my volume knobs - all without the volume dropping too sharply or the tone darkening. It's impressive how well the Katana handles input gain and volume, something my Mustang didn't do so we'll (pickup volume on 10, or else the models would sound a little off).
Effects are great, as well, although I doubt I'll be using many of them that often. The reverbs, in their stock configuration, are a little disappointing, with an oddly short trail (at least, for those singing, stadium style reverbs). Of course, that can be fixed with the Tone Studio, but it would have been nice to have the trails increase as the reverb level increased.
If I have a single complaint, it's just that, despite how well it nails gain structure and characteristics of a tube amp, I find that Boss has not quite worked out how to have the raw presence of actual tube breakup. It's something that something like the Vox VT40X does so we'll, despite the fact that the Boss is a better amp all-around. I'd love to see them work on that in the future, although a tube preamp is wishful thinking for a company like Roland, who probably stays away from old tech like that just on principle. Oh well, one can wish!
I feel like the Katana 100 is a lightweight, compact, powerful, versatile, and great sounding modeling amplifier, as well suited to British rock tones as the Fender Mustang is suited to American cleans. It's probably one of the best options - solid state or otherwise - for under a thousand bucks, if it's overall darker, thicker tone is something that appeals to you. I think if cleans are important to you, the Mustang is a better choice, and only the Vox modelers will come close to the sound of a Vox - although, if that's your thing, I suggest saving up for the AC10. But I think it's a keeper, and a massive upgrade from the Roland Cube amps of old.
Just a quick update: got the DOD Gunslinger in, and I'm now using the Fulltone OCD to push the front of the Gunslinger for all my heavy drive tones. Wife and kid were out today, so naturally, I gave them a real workout in their absence. Take a listen:
You'd have to be in the room to realize just how friggin' loud I had this thing. The Katana clean channel is clearly built with a massive amount of headroom for pedals... While it can get uncomfortably loud on its own, the clean channel can be pushed into "disturbing the peace" territory with pedals.
Off camera, I took the volume up a notch and strummed a D chord in drop-D in 100-watt mode today with the master at half, the channel gain at half, and the channel volume at 3 o'clock. The pedals were set to roughly give a small boost to the Katana's volume. The sounds coming out of this puppy are not only large-stage loud, but they were also absolutely glorious, with zero cabinet rattle or speaker breakup. The noise at this volume was also quite modest, given the SPL's I was surely annoying the neighbors with. It really felt like I was in a room with a half-stack instead of a relatively tiny combo.
I don't know what kind of solid-state circuit wizardry Boss cooked up in this thing, but drive pedals take it a whole different level, as if it was the expectation that the player would use them rather than the built-in drive channels. If you own a Katana, do yourself a favor and try some drive pedals with it. If you are a player who gets a lot of his tone from pedals, do yourself a favor and try a Katana. It's a good amp on it's own. It's an absolutely monster when hit hard with more drive and output.
Your description sounds real convincing Clif. Sorry to say, but the video puts a huge doubt in my mind.
I see you talk about the Valvetronix, but you don't own any. You should. I have an old AD30VT that is used solely at the cottage in summer, and I don't miss my tube amps at all during the season there.
Camera mic? That'd explain a lot too.
Of course, but it wasn't worth breaking out the USB interface, a mic, a stand, then recording, syncing the audio, etc. for a one-minute demo. Haha.
EDIT: Not one to disappoint, though, I actually did break out the recording equipment and noodle some riffs. I'll post later.
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