Boss Katana

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  • Andy GAndy G Posts: 1,122
    Ok... Just ordered the 100 watt head. I've had my eye on this for a while, but I can hear a lot of potential in some of the demos on YouTube. There's a 60 day return option, so if it doesn't beat the snot out of my current setup, it can go back. As well as the Laney Ironheart has served me, it has a design fault in the channel switching (cheap, shitty relays) that would cost too much money to fix to be worth it. 

    I heard Johan Segeborn (Swedish dude of the many loud Marshall demos) demoing the combo today and I think it has potential. Certainly worth giving it a go.



    The Katana is so cheap and covers so many bases (in theory) I could cover the cost of it by selling the Laney and several pedals that would be rendered surplus to requirements.

    I'll let you guys know how it turns out :)
    "Practice cures most tone issues"
    - John Suhr
  • Tatosh GuitarTatosh Guitar Posts: 2,400
    Andy G said:
    Ok... Just ordered the 100 watt head. I've had my eye on this for a while, but I can hear a lot of potential in some of the demos on YouTube. There's a 60 day return option, so if it doesn't beat the snot out of my current setup, it can go back. As well as the Laney Ironheart has served me, it has a design fault in the channel switching (cheap, shitty relays) that would cost too much money to fix to be worth it. 

    I heard Johan Segeborn (Swedish dude of the many loud Marshall demos) demoing the combo today and I think it has potential. Certainly worth giving it a go.



    The Katana is so cheap and covers so many bases (in theory) I could cover the cost of it by selling the Laney and several pedals that would be rendered surplus to requirements.

    I'll let you guys know how it turns out :)
    I am really looking forward to your review. They just got those in my local store, so I might have give them a try as well.
  • whoopass1whoopass1 Posts: 1,395
    Andy G said:
    Ok... Just ordered the 100 watt head. I've had my eye on this for a while, but I can hear a lot of potential in some of the demos on YouTube. There's a 60 day return option, so if it doesn't beat the snot out of my current setup, it can go back. As well as the Laney Ironheart has served me, it has a design fault in the channel switching (cheap, shitty relays) that would cost too much money to fix to be worth it. 

    I heard Johan Segeborn (Swedish dude of the many loud Marshall demos) demoing the combo today and I think it has potential. Certainly worth giving it a go.



    The Katana is so cheap and covers so many bases (in theory) I could cover the cost of it by selling the Laney and several pedals that would be rendered surplus to requirements.

    I'll let you guys know how it turns out :)
    Andy, I've had The Boss 100 Katana Head for a little while now. I really dig it! The Great thing is, you don't even need a Cab to play thru it. It has it's own Built-In Speaker. The amp sounds Awesome through a Bigger Cab obviously. However, it's nice to be able to plug straight into it without hooking up a cab. It's really portable. In fact, it's portability sort of reminds me of those old GK 250ML's. But THIS Katana Head has the ability to get so MANY more tones. I posted this video a few weeks back of myself playing through The Katana Head (thru its built-in speaker). In this clip, I have The Katana on the (0.5 Watt Setting), using the "Brown" amp model. 


     
    I think you're going to like the amp.
  • Andy GAndy G Posts: 1,122
    whoopass1 said:
    Andy, I've had The Boss 100 Katana Head for a little while now. I really dig it! The Great thing is, you don't even need a Cab to play thru it. It has it's own Built-In Speaker. The amp sounds Awesome through a Bigger Cab obviously. However, it's nice to be able to plug straight into it without hooking up a cab. It's really portable. In fact, it's portability sort of reminds me of those old GK 250ML's. But THIS Katana Head has the ability to get so MANY more tones. I posted this video a few weeks back of myself playing through The Katana Head (thru its built-in speaker). In this clip, I have The Katana on the (0.5 Watt Setting), using the "Brown" amp model. 

    I think you're going to like the amp.
    Thanks Louie! I didn't realise you already had one. The brown and clean channels are the only ones that I'm interested in. Several of the features remind me of the Rockman XP100 head that I had back in 89/90 - such as the built in practice speaker, onboard effects, separately configurable channels, MIDI switching - as well as being light, loud and solid state. It certainly seems like it's versatile and that is very appealing.

    I don't expect it to be a monster tone machine, but I'm not bothered about that - the Laney IRT Studio I usually use is quite ordinary-sounding, but I can get it sounding good in the right circumstances. If the Katana can equal the Laney, I'll take it - I'm fed up with the crappy channel switching relay and having to tap dance pedals on and off... and it buzzes louder than a beehive when recording. 
    "Practice cures most tone issues"
    - John Suhr
  • whoopass1whoopass1 Posts: 1,395
    edited March 2017
    Andy G said:
    whoopass1 said:
    Andy, I've had The Boss 100 Katana Head for a little while now. I really dig it! The Great thing is, you don't even need a Cab to play thru it. It has it's own Built-In Speaker. The amp sounds Awesome through a Bigger Cab obviously. However, it's nice to be able to plug straight into it without hooking up a cab. It's really portable. In fact, it's portability sort of reminds me of those old GK 250ML's. But THIS Katana Head has the ability to get so MANY more tones. I posted this video a few weeks back of myself playing through The Katana Head (thru its built-in speaker). In this clip, I have The Katana on the (0.5 Watt Setting), using the "Brown" amp model. 

    I think you're going to like the amp.
    Thanks Louie! I didn't realise you already had one. The brown and clean channels are the only ones that I'm interested in. Several of the features remind me of the Rockman XP100 head that I had back in 89/90 - such as the built in practice speaker, onboard effects, separately configurable channels, MIDI switching - as well as being light, loud and solid state. It certainly seems like it's versatile and that is very appealing.

    I don't expect it to be a monster tone machine, but I'm not bothered about that - the Laney IRT Studio I usually use is quite ordinary-sounding, but I can get it sounding good in the right circumstances. If the Katana can equal the Laney, I'll take it - I'm fed up with the crappy channel switching relay and having to tap dance pedals on and off... and it buzzes louder than a beehive when recording. 
    I never knew that those Rockman XP100 Heads had a built in speaker in them. Never played through one. A buddy of mine had a Rockman Modular Rig way back then, and he let me play through it one afternoon. I thought it sounded cool. I remember liking the Distortion Generator/Sustainor thingy quite a bit. You could definitely get The BOSTON sound with his set-up. 

    A couple years ago, Boston played at the amphitheater here. Both Tom Scholz and Gary Pihl were playing thru nothing but Rockman gear, (obviously). It looked like they were still playing those XP100 Heads, too. They sounded like the records. I might have to go on Reverb in a bit, and see if I could find an XP100 on the cheap. 

    Anyway, I'm surprised that more companies don't built a portable speaker into their heads. It's a smart idea, and pretty damn convienent when you don't feel like hooking up your 4x12.

    Another thing I forgot to mention about The Katana, it actually takes pedals really well. I was messing with The Crunch Channel, and decided to stick my old MXR Distortion+ in front of it....It actually sounded Good! But with all the built-in effects that the Katana has, you really don't need any additional pedals.
    Post edited by whoopass1 on
  • Andy GAndy G Posts: 1,122
    whoopass1 said:
    I never knew that those Rockman XP100 Heads had a built in speaker in them. Never played through one. A buddy of mine had a Rockman Modular Rig way back then, and he let me play through it one afternoon. I thought it sounded cool. I remember liking the Distortion Generator/Sustainor thingy quite a bit. You could definitely get The BOSTON sound with his set-up. 

    A couple years ago, Boston played at the amphitheater here. Both Tom Scholz and Gary Pihl were playing thru nothing but Rockman gear, (obviously). It looked like they were still playing those XP100 Heads, too. They sounded like the records. I might have to go on Reverb in a bit, and see if I could find an XP100 on the cheap. 

    Anyway, I'm surprised that more companies don't built a portable speaker into their heads. It's a smart idea, and pretty damn convienent when you don't feel like hooking up your 4x12.

    Another thing I forgot to mention about The Katana, it actually takes pedals really well. I was messing with The Crunch Channel, and decided to stick my old MXR Distortion+ in front of it....It actually sounded Good! But with all the built-in effects that the Katana has, you really don't need any additional pedals.
    Yep the Rockman XP100 and the XPR (the rackmount version) were really something else. The compression circuits in them were the best - only the very last of the standard Rockmans had the same technology - they're quite rare. The late ones have the white logo. Most of the Rockmans coming up for sale are the older models with blue logo - the collectors usually snap up the white labels very quickly (which is irritating to think that these guys are hoarding multiple units, when you're just trying to get one to actually use!) the XP series are pretty rare though and they're usually expensive.

    It's good that the Katana likes pedals. Though the only thing I'd use would be my TS9 and wah, I think.

    I'm wondering if you can do re-amping with the Katana head? It has USB input and output I think? That was one of the attractions of the Laney Ironheart Studio when I bought it, and at that time, nothing else in that price range was doing it. The ability to use the amp as a sound interface with the computer, and record only the raw, unprocessed sound of the guitar, which can then be fed back to the amp by your DAW and you can non-destructively change the tone.

    Anyway hopefully I'll have it in a couple of days! :)
    "Practice cures most tone issues"
    - John Suhr
  • Dr NickDr Nick Posts: 3,715
    Looking forward to your review - definitely high on the list of amps for my son. 
  • whoopass1whoopass1 Posts: 1,395
    Dr Nick said:
    Looking forward to your review - definitely high on the list of amps for my son. 
    That's nice that you're thinking about buying one for your son, but don't be surprised if you wind up playing thru it quite a bit YOURSELF.
  • whoopass1whoopass1 Posts: 1,395
    edited March 2017
    Andy G said:
    whoopass1 said:
    I never knew that those Rockman XP100 Heads had a built in speaker in them. Never played through one. A buddy of mine had a Rockman Modular Rig way back then, and he let me play through it one afternoon. I thought it sounded cool. I remember liking the Distortion Generator/Sustainor thingy quite a bit. You could definitely get The BOSTON sound with his set-up. 

    A couple years ago, Boston played at the amphitheater here. Both Tom Scholz and Gary Pihl were playing thru nothing but Rockman gear, (obviously). It looked like they were still playing those XP100 Heads, too. They sounded like the records. I might have to go on Reverb in a bit, and see if I could find an XP100 on the cheap. 

    Anyway, I'm surprised that more companies don't built a portable speaker into their heads. It's a smart idea, and pretty damn convienent when you don't feel like hooking up your 4x12.

    Another thing I forgot to mention about The Katana, it actually takes pedals really well. I was messing with The Crunch Channel, and decided to stick my old MXR Distortion+ in front of it....It actually sounded Good! But with all the built-in effects that the Katana has, you really don't need any additional pedals.
    Yep the Rockman XP100 and the XPR (the rackmount version) were really something else. The compression circuits in them were the best - only the very last of the standard Rockmans had the same technology - they're quite rare. The late ones have the white logo. Most of the Rockmans coming up for sale are the older models with blue logo - the collectors usually snap up the white labels very quickly (which is irritating to think that these guys are hoarding multiple units, when you're just trying to get one to actually use!) the XP series are pretty rare though and they're usually expensive.

    It's good that the Katana likes pedals. Though the only thing I'd use would be my TS9 and wah, I think.

    I'm wondering if you can do re-amping with the Katana head? It has USB input and output I think? That was one of the attractions of the Laney Ironheart Studio when I bought it, and at that time, nothing else in that price range was doing it. The ability to use the amp as a sound interface with the computer, and record only the raw, unprocessed sound of the guitar, which can then be fed back to the amp by your DAW and you can non-destructively change the tone.

    Anyway hopefully I'll have it in a couple of days! :)
    You're correct it does have a USB in/out. I'm not sure about the re-amping part, but you can use it as a recording interface, and use it to exchange patches with other Katana users. You can also load in different effects to try out with the USB and their librarian. I'm just starting to mess with it now, but it's pretty cool. 

    The only thing I'm waiting for now is the Roland Foot Controller, (that you have to buy separately). That way, I can switch between my 5 pre-sets on the floor, and within the presets, I can switch effects in and out of the chain. But until then, using my finger to go back and forth between the presets will have to do. 
    Post edited by whoopass1 on
  • Andy GAndy G Posts: 1,122
    whoopass1 said:
    You're correct it does have a USB in/out. I'm not sure about the re-amping part, but you can use it as a recording interface, and use it to exchange patches with other Katana users. You can also load in different effects to try out with the USB and their librarian. I'm just starting to mess with it now, but it's pretty cool. 

    The only thing I'm waiting for now is the Roland Foot Controller, (that you have to buy separately). That way, I can switch between my 5 pre-sets on the floor, and within the presets, I can switch effects in and out of the chain. But until then, using my finger to go back and forth between the presets will have to do. 
    Ok thanks! I should have it soon, so I'll figure it out. If I decide to keep it, the Roland foot controller will be a must.

    I'm also very interested in the Atomic Amps Amplifire... One of my mates just sent me a demo of it, and it's pretty stunning... 
    "Practice cures most tone issues"
    - John Suhr
  • yngwie666yngwie666 Posts: 6,557
    Andy, I wonder how your head will  works with a "real" cabinet, because modelisation amps tend to use specific (flat response) speakers, maybe the head is slightly different than combos in this case.
    For my part, I just bought a 1979 Marshall JMP head... B)
  • Andy GAndy G Posts: 1,122
    yngwie666 said:
    Andy, I wonder how your head will  works with a "real" cabinet, because modelisation amps tend to use specific (flat response) speakers, maybe the head is slightly different than combos in this case.
    For my part, I just bought a 1979 Marshall JMP head... B)
    Well all the Katana range seem designed to be played through guitar speakers primarily - as most are combos. I'm not sure which way people prefer to use them.

    Hopefully I'll be picking it up later today - I'm looking forward to seeing what it can do.
    "Practice cures most tone issues"
    - John Suhr
  • Andy GAndy G Posts: 1,122
    Well the Katana has landed...

    First impressions are.... Not bad. Not bad at all. I'm playing it through a Marshall 1x12 with Celestion V30, and I'm impressed with the tonal range. Lots more bottom end than my Laney Ironheart Studio. Lower and mid gain tones are crisp, balanced and very respectable. It feels like an amp. A bit anonymous, but not bad.

    High gain tones have been disappointing. There are moments when it just doesn't sound right. I'm a noisy and aggressive player and I had this trouble with the Kemper. If I play nicely and cleanly, it will respond well. But with grit and dirt in the attack with a lot of overtones, harmonics, pinched harmonics... Nope - the chinks in the armour appear. It was the exactly same with the Kemper. To be fair, you do have to tailor your playing when using Rockmans, or Line 6 stuff. You CAN get good tones, but you have to change your playing accordingly. And I can certainly forgive the Katana for it - it's way more amp-like than a Rockman or the Line 6 HD Pro thing I tried a few years ago. In several respects I found the Katana to be more amp-like than the Kemper profiling amp - pick attack, string noise, harmonics, pinched harmonics - the dirt and grit of an aggressive rock player... The Katana doesn't feel quite like a real amp that way, but does a better job than the Kemper did (and is less than a fifth of the price of the KPA head). 

    I can see that a lot of people (maybe most) wouldn't have that problem, as the way most folks seem to play these days is based on a different approach to playing. Shredders and more modern players would probably wonder what the heck I'm talking about and think it's all fine.

    Effects seem decent enough, but I'm not really interested in them. Clean sounds are nice, but that's par for the course with digital stuff in my experience. It's the higher gain stuff that sorts out the men from the boys. I haven't been able to get a lead tone that I like yet.

    Like many things, you could get used to it. I've been playing through it all evening and it's sounding better. Then of course I had to go and plug my Laney back in... And the illusion was gone. There's great versatility with the Katana and just like the Kemper or a Rockman or Pod, if you're prepared to tailor your playing accordingly, you could be happy with it, I'm quite sure.

    This is a good amp. Quite amazing for the money. Seems well made too. If I can get some good lead tones from it, I'll let you guys know, but so far I can't see it being a keeper. Massive respect to Boss though!
    "Practice cures most tone issues"
    - John Suhr
  • yngwie666yngwie666 Posts: 6,557
    Andy G said:
    Like many things, you could get used to it. I've been playing through it all evening and it's sounding better. Then of course I had to go and plug my Laney back in... And the illusion was gone.
    I remember when my brother only had a Vox modeling amp and he was convinced it was good enough for him. Then I had to cure the brainwash by getting him play my tube amp for a bit...Fractal Audio has an alternative strategy: they release a new firmware regularly, so if you haven't been convinced with the previous one, the new one should keep you busy...until the new release ! 
    Joking aside, those modelling unit are getting better and better and I totally understand the use for a guy on budget, who need versatility without carrying a big rack, small footprint, etc..I'm surprised by your comments on the Kemper, because Accept is using them (live) and I think Wolf Hoffmann is playing quite aggressively.
  • Andy GAndy G Posts: 1,122
    edited March 2017
    the modellers are certainly getting better.

    As for Wolf and the Kemper... He *used to* use the Kemper live, but he doesn't any more. I saw him with it at Copenhell a few years back. He sounded like he does on the new Accept albums. Though Herman Frank (who was playing through a Marshall) sounded a lot more like vintage Accept, though he was kept lower in the mix and didn't get to do much on his own.

    However... You need to remember that Wolf had all his own amps profiled with himself playing through them (with Michael Wagener's assistance I believe). And that's one dirty little secret that Kemper would rather not tell anybody. If you want the Kemper to sound like a real amp when you play it, you need to make the profiles yourself, with you playing through it. That's all well and good, if you are profiling your own amps and you also have access to all the pro recording gear you would need (in Wolf's case, Michael Wagener's studio WireWorld - which is about as good as it gets for rock/metal tones).

    If you play through a profile made by somebody else and they didn't play the way you do, it's not going to stand up. I ruffled a lot of feathers on the Kemper forum after my review on DRG (one of my friends posted it there). The review was a positive one, but the fanboys got still got VERY upset, because I went back to my real amps, which sounded better (the horror!). 

    Christophe Kemper himself weighed in, as I had mentioned Wolf Hoffman's use of the Kemper in the review - it was Wolf who inspired me to try it. Mr Kemper said Wolf had his own amps profiled (and that he himself had those profiles), and that I should have made my own profiles and that was the solution. Which, bearing in mind that profiling my own amps was NOT the reason I wanted a Kemper, meant that it rendered it about as useful to me as an ashtray on a motorbike. I wanted something that emulate the sound of a Soldano/Marshall/Friedman etc. and that is how it was pitched. But NOBODY up until that point made any mention that you would really need to get your hands on those amps and profile them yourself if you wanted them to be as "indistinguishable from the real thing" as they claim. Why on earth would I want to spend nearly 2 thousand dollars to profile my OWN amps? I already have them! And can already get good tones from them. It's the amps that I don't have access to that I want.

    The bottom line is that the Kemper is only as good as its profiles. And the art of making profiles is a dark one, which is not well explained (if at all) nor understood by most people, it seems. If the profiler didn't show the KPA what a screaming pinched harmonic on the G string sounds like through that Soldano SLO, it's not going to know. So things like pick attack, guitar harmonics - all kinds of intangibles are involved. And NONE of the Kemper's profiles that came with it (nor any of the ones I bought separately) held up.

    But if I was going on tour and needed a convenient way to bring all my amp tones with me, using a KPA to profile them makes a lot of sense. That's what Rob Chapman did. Though over time, he realised that it wasn't quite there. 

    It's a good unit, but it has a lot of fanboys trying to tell us that it is the answer to everything. It's good, but it's good with some considerable caveats. And not having dropped nearly 1.8-2.5 thousand dollars on one, I don't have a need to justify it by telling everybody it's the Holy Grail.
    Post edited by Andy G on
    "Practice cures most tone issues"
    - John Suhr
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