Boss Katana MKII 50W Review & Demo (With Video)

For guitar players on the lookout for affordable yet quality amps, the Boss Katana MKII is a great option that rivals high-value amps. It’s aesthetically pleasing, has loads of effects and amp voicings, and the overall quality is on point.

I got my hands on the 50W 1×12 version and spent some time exploring its features and performance. This amp also has a 1×12 100W version, a 2×12 100W version, and a 100W head. In this review, I’ll share my thoughts on everything from the controls to the connectivity of the 50W version.

If you want to hear this amp in action, you can check out our video review on it through the link below:

8.2

Value for money

9.0/10

Features

8.5/10

Sound quality

8.0/10

Build quality

8.0/10

Ease of use

7.5/10

Verdict

Overall, the Boss Katana MKII 50W is an excellent amplifier with exceptional tone and features at an affordable price. It's a versatile amplifier suitable for a range of styles and is also easy to use. The Boss Tone Studio software adds more customization options, and the built-in effects section is a nice touch. The amplifier's compact size makes it easy to transport, and it’s built to last. However, I was disappointed by the lack of an FX loop and onboard tuner, which might be deal breakers for some guitar players. If these features are essential to you, you might want to consider alternative amplifiers or other versions of the Boss Katana.

Pros

  • Affordable with great value for money
  • Wide range of effects and amp models
  • Versatile, catering to multiple genres
  • Compact and portable design
  • Boss Tone Studio software for added customization

Cons

  • No onboard tuner
  • Requires tweaking for optimal sound
  • No FX loop in the 50W version

First Impressions

As first impressions go, I gotta say that this amp has a wide range of effects and amp models. It’s a great option if you want to experiment with different sounds. However, I quickly noticed the absence of an onboard tuner, which means you have to buy one separately. Additionally, you have to spend some time tweaking the settings to achieve the sound you want, but this is a common thing among many amps.

Controls

In terms of controls, this amp comes with five different amp types (Acoustic, Clean, Crunch, Lead, and Brown) and a variation switch. You have plenty to play around with and fine-shape your sound.

The EQ section features Bass, Mid, and Treble dials, which is pretty standard. What really caught my attention, though, was the effects section. I find the five different effects (booster, mod, FX, delay, and reverb) exciting, and I like the user-friendly knob design that controls the left and right effects.

On the far right, you have the Master volume control, power control dial (with 0.5, 25, and 50-watt options), and the power switch. There’s also a channel strip with two channels to save your presets, however, the other versions come with four channels.

Boss Tone Studio

The dedicated Boss Tone Studio software allows you to connect your Boss Katana to your computer. I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of customization options, such as adjusting amp settings, downloading new effects, and backing up custom settings. The software is easy to use, and I enjoyed being able to download patches from other users or share my own.

Connectivity

The Boss Katana MKII 50W offers various connectivity options, including a headphone out for quiet practice, which also serves as a recording out. A footswitch is not included which is always disappointing but you can always buy one separately if you want to.

Other options like an auxiliary input and a USB type B jack are available, as well as a Power Amp input on top. However, compared to the other version, the 50W version doesn’t have an FX loop, which is something you might enjoy using if you’re into looping.

Amp Types and Sound Quality

As you play around with the different amp types on the Boss Katana MKII 50W, you’ll see that the variation switch only provides subtle differences in sound. Despite this, I found the amp types themselves to offer great sound quality, covering a wide range of genres. With some tweaking and the onboard effects, you can achieve tones suitable for anything from melodic and mellow to hard and heavy.

I particularly liked the Acoustic amp type, because it accommodates acoustic-electric guitars, which is not common in other amplifiers.

Price and Value

In my opinion, the Boss Katana MKII 50W is an excellent choice for guitar players on a budget, given its feature-packed design, sound quality, and affordability. Despite the low price tag, the build quality didn’t seem compromised. Overall, if you’re after a value-for-money amp, this option is worth considering.

Alternatives

While exploring the Boss Katana MKII 50W, you could also consider other amps within the same price range, such as the Fender Mustang GTX 50, the Marshall Code 50, and the Line 6 Catalyst 60. Each of these amps has its own unique strengths and features, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference. For example, the Line 6 Catalyst 60 offers similar features to the MKII, and I would recommend checking it out for comparison.

Verdict

Overall, the Boss Katana MKII 50W is an excellent amplifier with exceptional tone and features at an affordable price. It’s a versatile amplifier suitable for a range of styles and is also easy to use. The Boss Tone Studio software adds more customization options, and the built-in effects section is a nice touch. The amplifier’s compact size makes it easy to transport, and it’s built to last.

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj is a touring and recording bass guitarist who loves to share his passion for all things music.

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