Boss Katana 100 Review – Best Solid State Amp

The Katana-100 is a 100-watt electric guitar amplifier with a custom 12-inch speaker. Its innovative design and Power control will enable you to have a sense of control over the amp’s volume, making it an ideal amp for home practice and gigging. What’s more – the Katana-100 will give you access to hundreds of BOSS effects, which, in turn, can be customised using the free BOSS Tone Studio editor software. Moreover, the amp’s tone settings allow you to save your favourite effects so that you don’t need to worry about forgetting them!

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Channels – 4 channels with 5 amp voicings which are clean, crunch, lead, brown & acoustic (can be used with an acoustic-electric guitar).

Controls – Gain, Volume, Bass, Middle and Treble. Effects Section: Booster/Mod, Delay/FX, Tap, Reverb (each with a corresponding button to select effects), Presence, Master

Power – 100 watts, but it can easily be switched to 50 watts and 5 watts

Speaker – 12-inch

Additional features – Built-in effects such as distortion and reverb. The FX loop is switchable. Includes aux-in and line out jacks, recording & headphone jack, a USB port and expression pedal control jack, GA-FC foot-controller jack and as well as a tilt-back stand.

Weight –  14.5kg

Shortcomings No MIDI out/thru; the editor needs to be connected via USB and you need to use a Windows or a Mac desktop; the online Tone Central Katana portal needs more content.

New Recently Added features – Katana Version 3 that includes a total of 61 effects, brand new real-time control assignments, as well as stereo effects that can be used when you record via a USB. 



Main Features

When trying out the different channels, we noted that the clean sounds are crisp and dimensional. The Crunch mode is dynamically responsive, making it ideal for solos and heavier playing styles. Furthermore, the Lead and Brown channels will give you a lot of gain. It’s worth noting that the Brown channel is ideal for metal and hard rock due to its heavily distorted tone, which replicates the Boss’ Waza amp. If that’s not enough,  there are more than 20 overdrive and distortion stompbox models that are waiting for you to try ’em out. The built-in reverb sounds decent and its three options – Plate, Spring and Hall, can be selected using a button that’s just above the Level control. This amp is also equipped with even more built-in effects, such as delay (digital, analogue & tap) and chorus, to name but a few.

katana 100 amp

The 4 Tone Setting buttons will allow you to save the knob settings for instant recall. The optional GA-FC foot-controller (which needs to be purchased separately), allows you to save four channels of amp sounds, select effects, bypass the effects loop, as well as tap in delay times. The volume can also be controlled via an optional expression pedal (that, again, needs to be purchased separately).

This amp’s most attractive feature is undoubtedly the fact that it allows you to expand your effects repertoire by connecting the amp’s USB jack to a computer.  As a Katana-100 owner, you’re given instant access to Boss Tone Central’s official website, which is a guitarist’s effect paradise. It allows you to tweak, save and restore sounds and effects, as well as download additional ones. Moreover, you can permanently load and save 55 downloadable digital effects onto the physical The Katana-100. This feature saves you the trouble of buying a tonne of different guitar pedals (which, in our humble opinion, is super handy, especially if you’re a newbie guitarist who’s still experimenting with your sound).

A quick note about Katana Version 3

This version boasts enhanced settings as well as increased performance versatility that we are crazy about. Furthermore, the added effects are considered to be legendary, including greats such as the Roland DC-30, Boss GE-10 Graphic Equalizer, the 95E pedal wah as well as the Analog Chorus-Echo. These added effects are very much compatible with the true essence of the Katana Brown amp.  Another big plus is the fact that the version 3 offers the possibility to capture the authentic Katana sound in-studio, including an upgrade to sound effects such as the modulation, delay and reverb, that allows them to be captured in true form when recording.


Does it measure up to a tube amp?

This Boss amp replicates a tube amp’s sound so well that it can easily fool you (and your audience) in believing that it’s a valve amp. It’s got a punch and a wide dynamic range that is nothing short of admirable. The Katana use of Roland’s Tube Logic technology means that it’s capable of replicating all the nuances and subtlety that are usually associated with a tube amp. Moreover, the editor’s intuitive and simple design allows you to tweak and adjust your sound to the max. 

Our Verdict

This guitar amp is an absolute bargain. Its overall quality and built-in effects are super decent. Despite its wattage, it’s a force to be reckoned with and holds its own in a band, as well as being a great practice amp due to its low noise floor.

Unquestionably, the Katana-100 is an excellent choice if you’re a beginner looking for an amp that allows you to experiment with your sound without breaking the bank. It’s also a great choice if you’re an experienced player who usually opts for a tube amp since this Boss amp is an excellent digital alternative that’s affordable & reliable: best of all, it mimics the analogue sound to a T. 

This gig-worthy product from Boss is very well put together. It’s a Pandora’s box for the well-rounded guitarist who practices on his/her own, records and performs.

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