In this review, I’ll be doing an in-depth comparison between the Boss Katana 50 vs the Boss Katana 100. Before getting started, it’s worth mentioning that both of these amps sound great, and make.
You are probably thinking, should I get the Boss Katana 50 or the 100? And what are the differences?
So let’s have a look at the differences. At the end of the review, I’ll explain which one you should choose based on your needs.
Also read: The 6 Best Headphone Amp
Table of Contents
- The Boss Katana Series
- Who Can Use Katana Series?
- Boss Katana 50
- Boss Katana 100
- Boss Katana 50 vs 100: Common Features
- Boss Katana 50 vs 100: Key Differences
- What are the Key Factors to Look For In A Guitar Amp?
The Boss Katana Series
You probably already recognize the term ‘katana’ as the sword used by samurai warriors. These amps are inspired by the symbolic meaning of the katana in Japanese culture – artistry, honor, and precision. These are the underpinning principles of the design of this amp series.
This series of amps provide artists with expressive, dynamic volume with a clear, high-quality sound. The crisp tonal characteristics are paired with a deep and customizable processing circuit, which can be controlled with the cutting-edge Boss Tonestudio software. These amps are enriched by the power of digital technology, giving you access to a near-infinite range of guitar tones.
These amps have a broad range of tonal options thanks to digital wizardry. They can emulate classic vintage tones, or shred out some modern crunch and fuzz. Released in 2016, the Boss Katana amplifier series has been a mainstay of the modern guitar industry and is used across the board for guitar performances and practice.
Who Can Use Katana Series?
Amps in the Katana series are suitable for a wide range of players. Because there is such a broad range of amps, most players will fit in here. Boss has covered all the bases and offers amps of all shapes and sizes in the Katana series. Ranging from the Mini to the large 2×12 cabinet, there is a model in the Katana range for any guitarist’s needs.
As for skill level, these amps are decent for pretty much any level. I think they are great for beginners because they can be relatively simple, but they also offer a deeper level of customization, which helps new musicians to dive deeper into the theory of audio engineering.
At the same time, they are equally as suited for intermediate, and even professional guitarists. Because of the tone shaping software, you can get these set up nicely for gigs and recording sessions. They may not be suitable for more advanced professionals, who are looking for something with a bit more character and unique charm. But this range is great for most situations, and are workhorse amplifiers that work well in the studio or on stage.
- A stage-worthy 50-watt combo amp with high quality 12” speaker
- Four amp simulation models (Lead, Clean, Crunch, Brown, Acoustic)
- 3-Band EQ circuit with controls for Bass, Mid, and Treble.
- Three amp resonance models (Deep, Modern, and vintage) for tweaking the tone to your preferences. Includes various cabinet emulations.
- USB Connection for editing the processing and recording your performance.
- Headphone connection for late-night practice.
- Multiple independent effects with variations and dedicated controls. Effects include boost, modulation, reverb, chorus, and delay.
- Save up to four custom preset patches to instantly recall your unique tone settings.
- Can be powered by batteries for mobile performances.
- Compatible with basic Boss footswitches for choosing between presets mid-performance.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent value for money.
- Great versatility, can create a broad range of guitar tones.
- Built-in effects with USB control for maximum creativity.
- Presets to recall your favorite tones.
- Rugged and portable.
- Lower maximum volume compared to the 100.
- Lacks some connectivity (no FX loop, limited pedals)
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- A larger combo amp, good for the stage or studio thanks to the custom 12” speaker cone
- Tube Logic technology to create a modern sound with surprising power, presence, and bite.
- Five amplifier simulation models to cover all types of music (same 5 as 50).
- Built-in effects with independent controls. Boost/Modulation/Reverb/Delay/MultiFX. Each effect has 3 variations, so you essentially get 15 virtual effects.
- Expansive backplate with stereo amp connection, headphones, aux input, and footswitches.
- Save up to 8 presets for instant recall.
- Custom GA-FK Footpedal for maximum expressivity and efficiency.
Pros and Cons
- Significantly louder than the 50 with more punch.
- Huge amount of tonal variation.
- Can be connected to a second amplifier and used in a wide, stereo mode.
- Prepared for a whole concert with 8 recall presets.
- Custom foot pedal provides a deeper level of control over the 50’s standard interactions.
- Larger and heavier than the 50.
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Boss Katana 50 vs 100: Common Features
The first difference is the wattage. The Katana 100 goes all the way up to 100 watts of power, which is pretty loud. The Katana 50 only cranks to 50 watts, but still offers plenty of volume and power that is still enough to jam with a full band at a live concert.
Both amps use a 12” speaker cone, although the 100 uses a larger cabinet and has a bigger all-round footprint. The 100 also has a slightly larger driver magnet which increases the punch even more.
Multiple wattage settings
Both amplifiers have controls for changing the power output level. On the 50 you can switch between 0.5, 25, and 50 watts. On the Katana 100, you can choose between 0.5, 50, and 100 watts. Having this range of wattages is super useful because it allows you to bring the volume of the amp down for quieter situations like practicing at home. The 0.5-watt setting is still loud enough to work for practice sessions.
Tone and effects
The engine design behind both these amps is the same, so you can achieve similar tones and raw amp sounds. This means you get the same controls and options in the 50 and 100 models, which is nice if you are on a budget. They haven’t limited the 50. You will find a difference in the number of saved presets. On the 50 you can save 4 presets, on the 100 you can save 8 patches for instant recall.
Having access to the software on both amps is a nice touch. This is what makes the Katana range stand out to us. Using the software opens up a huge range of tones. This amp is an amp and a multi-effects processing system all in one.
Boss Katana 50 vs 100: Key Differences
You’ll find a few differences between these amps, mostly relating to connectivity and control. The primary difference is the wattage and the volume, with the 100 having a noticeably higher max output.
On the 100 you have to 8 custom patch presets, whereas the Katana 50 only offers 4.
Another difference is the 100 has a physical presence knob, where the Presence value of the 50 can only be changed through the Tonestudio software. Besides this, all the other controls are identical between the two amplifier models.
When you start to look at the back panel is when you will start to see more differences between these two amps.
The first difference is the stereo expansion feature of the 100. This lets you connect two amps to create separate left and right channels. This gives you a wider sound and lets you experiment more with stereo effects like delays and reverbs, This might not be something that everyone needs, but it’s a lot of fun to experiment with.
Another feature that’s only present on the 100 is the FX loop connection. If you’re somebody who likes to mess around with a lot of effects pedals, particularly loop pedals, this could be a dealbreaker depending on how you work your setup. Without using an FX loop you have to work with a different signal chain.
The final difference on the back of the amp is that the Katana 100 features a control input for the GA-FC Footpedal. This pedal is pretty useful and increases the expressivity of your performance with this amp. It also makes it a bit easier to use and works fairly intuitively whilst unlocking the full potential. It lets you switch between the effects and patches, but is unfortunately not compatible with the 50.
The GA-FC pedal costs around $120, but if you like experimenting with foot pedals this is a lot of fun to use, it lets you switch between banks, and bypass up to 5 effects at once. This lets you control the individual effects of each patch, which is powerful and make the amp a lot more creative. It even has two expression pedal inputs in the back for connecting more.
The 50 does have a standard footswitch input, so you can connect an expression pedal or basic switcher for changing between the 4 presets, although it doesn’t have the deeper interaction of the GA-FC. The FS 6 switch
With the expression pedal, you can use the boss tone studio to set what the expression pedal controls. This can be anything from distortion, reverb, wah, or any of the other effects in the studio. You cant use both foot pedals at the same time, and the foot pedal is around an extra $60.
What are the Key Factors to Look For In A Guitar Amp?
You should consider several elements before buying a guitar amp. Because the range of guitar amps is so large, there are thousands of models to choose from. Not everyone will suit every kind of guitar player. Most amps are designed to be more suitable for certain styles of music.
A good amp has a broad amount of tonal variation. You want an amp to have a good level of control over its sound. Some amps have no controls, whereas others have a huge array of knobs. You don’t always need loads of controls but some people like them. The Katana range is great because it has all the standard controls you need on the top plate, but also includes the boss Tonestudio software for changing the effects and amp simulations digitally from a computer.
You need to pick an amp that has the suitable volume for your use cases. You don’t need a massive amplifier unless you’re playing at a big venue. Both these amps are pretty loud and are good enough for most mid-sized venues. Although you might want something larger for a stadium.
Many guitar amps are designed in a way to be more suited to a particular genre of music. Some amps have a sound that is more suited to older music like jazz and blues, whereas other amps have a harsher tone that is better for punk and metal. The best choice is a matter of tastes. The Katana series is a good all-rounder. It’s a versatile amplifier that sounds as good dirty as it does clean.
The best guitar amplifiers offer a range of connections, both inputs, and outputs. All guitars have an input, but you’ll also often see extra connections, like headphones, aux inputs for connecting phones and backing tracks, and sometimes even output splitters to connect amps to other speakers and amps.
The Katana series features a decent amount of connectivity, although the Katana 100 features a little more as it has stereo splitting functionality.
Some amps even include USB software for computer processing, which thankfully the Katana series does.
Size, appearance, and style
It’s not all about sound! The visual and spatial aspects of an amp are important too. Smaller amps are great for tight studios and transportation but often lack volume. Appearance is important to some people. Some amps have their styles, from mellow vintage old-school models to aggressive modern designs.
Is Boss Katana 50 Loud enough?
The Katana 50 is loud enough for live settings with a full band. It goes up to 50 watts which is pretty loud and will do the job for most medium-sized gigs. It also has a power setting switch so you can step it down if needed.
Does boss Katana 100 sound better than 50?
It does sound slightly better and has a wider range and more volume. Although both amps use the same circuit for processing, so are capable of producing the same tone before going out of the speaker. They can achieve relatively similar tones, although the Katana 100 is a lot louder than the 50.
Is Boss Katana 100 too loud for home use?
At full volume, it probably is, although this amp has a fantastic amount of dynamic range. Because of the power switch control, you can lower the wattage to 0.5 or 50. The 0.5 settings will be fine for most homes, even apartments. The volume control provides a good level of control too. These amps also have headphone outputs so you can practice silently late into the night.
Overall, both of these are great amplifiers that will be useful to all kinds of guitarists. The Katana 50 is a great place to start, but choose the Katana 100 if you need the extra volume!
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