BOSS Katana Bass Amp Review –> This is a genuinely new bass amp from BOSS released in March of 2022. And when we say new – it’s not an update, reboot, or refresh – but totally new. Katana guitar amps are incredibly popular, so we were excited to learn BOSS was making a Katana amp for bass!
The amp is manufactured in 2 models:
- The 110 Model features a 10 inch speaker with 60 watts of power
- The 210 Model features two 10 inch speakers with 160 watts of power. This model also includes a horn speaker.
BOSS Katana Bass Amp Review – Major Features
Class AB Design
First off these amps are Class A/B designed. A/B means the right frequencies are sent to the right places. For example – high frequencies and low frequencies are separated and sent to the corresponding parts of the speakers. This allows for a very pure, balanced sound much like you would find in a tube amp. AB amps are also more responsive – the sounds they produce are more of a direct reaction to how you are playing. These amps also pack a punch and can produce a lot of volume. So while 160 watts for a bass amp doesn’t sound like much, you get a volume or “girth” with an A/B amp that may not get from amps with different designs. These amps will hold their own with other amps that may have higher wattage but are designed differently (such as Class D designed amps).
These amps are featured packed. The stuff you can do with them is absolutely crazy. But one of the things we liked is that they are simple to use. The control panel is located on the top of the amp. Let’s examine each part and feature of the Control Panel:
The INPUT EFX includes controls for both a Compressor and Drive. The amp allows you to dial in 3 different compressor settings and 3 different drives settings (and any combination of the three). This allows you to dial in a variety of distinct voices using these effects. You can get the precise volume control from the compressor while dialing in a “growl” using the drive effect.
The AMPLIFIER control is one of the best features of these amps that allows you to toggle between 3 distinct amp sounds or voices. This is where BOSS has utilized Tube Logic technology which makes the amp responsive to your playing.
The Vintage voicing provides a classic tube voice with a well-rounded tone and natural drive. Play softer, and the amp will chill out; play harder, and the amp will start to growl.
The Flat voicing gives a smooth, clear, and dynamic tone with rich harmonics and a balanced, natural sound.
The Modern amp produces contemporary, progressive bass tones. This voice offers a dynamic response for heavy rock riffs and extended-range instruments, like five and six-string basses.
The BLEND control works in conjunction with the EFFECTS control. Use it to control the level of effects that are blended in to your sound. Having the effects blended in at 100% maximizes the sound of the effects. Blending to 0% removes the effects for playing “dry”.
EQUALIZER – The amps include a four band EQ – Bass, Low Mid, High Mid, Treble. You can also dial in 3 different frequencies on both mids – so, there’s a lot here in the EQ that allows you to really shape your sound.
One of the best features of this amp are the legendary BOSS effects. The EFFECTS control has 2 effects sends:
- FX1 dials in Octaver, Envelope Filter, and Synth
- FX2 dials in Chorus, Phaser/Flanger, and Delay
You can can use any of the FX1 or FX2 alone by themselves, or you can blend these together at different levels. There is also a TAP button which allows you to dial in and set the tempo of delay.
While the effects on this amp are killer, we also have to say that they are incredibly easy to use.
TONE SETTING and POWER
The TONE SETTING controls allow you to create your own custom effects settings and then save them as presets. There are 3 preset buttons you can be tweak for any effect. 2 for each with a total of 6 user presets stored as memories for instant tonal recall.
The MASTER VOLUME of course controls the overall volume of the amp. The volume on this A/B designed amp helps determines the level that your sound is responsive to how you’re playing your bass. The amp growls when a player digs in. Play harder or softer and the amp responds by preserving the dynamics.
The POWER CONTROL – Let’s you adjust which mode you want to play in. You can set it to MAX to for the full 160 watts (or 60 watts on the 110), 1W is a quiet mode for a practicing volume, and STANDBY mutes the amp – for example if you were playing using headphones.
The Back Panel
Let’s now take a look at the features on the back panel of the amp:
You can connect an external speaker here – for example you could connect an external 15inch speaker cabinet here which would affect overall tone and sound of the amp.
The BALANCED OUT provides an XLR output. You can decide whether you want the output to be direct from your bass (DIRECT), if you want only the preamp sound (PRE), or if you want to output all sounds including the effects (POST). Again this amp can do a lot but it’s simple to figure out and use.
The amp includes an effect loop which allows you to insert an effect after the preamp circuit, but before the power amp section of the amplifier. This can provide a more clear and pronounced sound of any external effects that you want to use – there is less likelihood of any signal loss due to interference with existing effects in the amp.
POWER AMP IN
This jack directly inputs a signal to the power amp without passing it through the preamp. Use it to shape your sound by an external preamp, or by a multi-effect unit equipped with an amp simulator. Sounds input through this jack can be controlled by the MASTER knob, POWER CONTROL switch, and the TWEETER button.
Bluetooth ADAPTOR Connector
Connect the Bluetooth Audio MIDI Dual Adaptor (BT-DUAL, sold separately) to wirelessly play back music from your mobile device or computer. You can also wirelessly connect the BOSS Tone Control software installed on an external device to edit effects and record your bass on a computer.
You can use this port to connect to a computer to record your bass. You can also use the USB to connect the BOSS Tone Control software to edit effects and to record your bass on an external device.
Here you can connect a mobile device, audio player, or electronic musical instrument, and listen to it while you play your bass.
You can connect the separately sold GA-FC to switch channels and turn effects on/off.
Connect headphones here. You can obtain powerful bass sounds just as if you were playing through the speaker. If you plug in to this jack, no sound will be output from the KATANA BASS’s own speaker. This is convenient if you don’t want loud sound to be produced from the speaker, such as when you’re practicing at night.
BOSS KATANA TONE STUDIO BASS
You can also use the BOSS TONE CENTRAL application with Katana bass amps. Using the Tone Studio editor you can shape your sound even further by doing things such as adjusting the preamp, EQ, and Blend settings. Dial in and tweak over 60 BOSS effects, and organize sounds in Live Sets for different gigs. Shape the overall amp response with powerful global EQs and fine-tune system settings like Air Feel, USB, and more. The Bluetooth adapter can connect with the application using a mobile device.
BOSS Katana Bass Amp Review – The Bottom Line
This is a great amp with a high level of quality that can be expected from BOSS. It’s built with BOSS equipment. They didn’t just take cheap parts and put them in the amp – they built this with quality BOSS parts and you can tell in the sound.
This amp is packed with features and gives you access to many of the legendary BOSS effects. The people that designed this amp included all of the features that a bassist would need without unnecessary frills that could get in the way. And while it’s feature packed, it’s also very simple to figure out and use.
This is A/B designed amp uses the BOSS Tube Logic technology. You can get tube amp sound with features found in more modern solid-state or digital amps. Be aware that this amp is a little heavier than some of the newer Class D type amps. The 210 weighs 48 lbs.
Some bassists may be turned off by the lower wattage of these amps (60 watts for 110, and 160 watts for the 210). But this bass holds it’s own with amps that have many more watts. It’s not going to replace a giant 800+ watts amp – but how much do you need? In today’s gigging situations, bassists are simply plugged in through PA’s and powered monitors when needing more volume at larger gigs.
The price of the amp is a little on the higher side when compared with similar types of amps. But this is a high quality amp that includes top-notch parts, technology, and support – you get what you pay for.
Here’s a simple breakdown:
- High quality amp manufactured with quality BOSS parts and technology
- A/B technology creates a sound that packs a punch, and is responsive to your playing
- Versatile amp for use in most playing situations
- Lot’s of BOSS features that are simple to use
- Heavier for a newer combination amp
- More expensive than comparable amps
- BOSS Katana is one of the most popular guitar amps that is now available for bassists
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BOSS Katana Bass Amp Review