Most of us are familiar with BOSS pedals, known for their high-quality effects and robust compact builds. Can the same clever Japanese engineering produce great amplifiers? This question is what prompted my BOSS KATANA amplifier reviews.

The core concept is a solid-state amplifier that promises the sound of not just one but several renowned tube amps. It’s not a modeling amp, but they aim to produce something very close to some of the most popular amps out there.

They all have some unusual features, many have additional outputs, and their capabilities can even be extended via dedicated computer software. It all seems quite futuristic, but how do they perform? Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

BOSS KATANA-100 MkII

The KATANA-100 is the well-balanced "standard" BOSS KATANA amplifier. This new version comes with a range of quite impressive upgrades.

It boasts 5 classic effects, but also allows to sync with the BOSS Tone Studio for a total of 60 effects.

KATANA-100 MkII Specs

  • Rated output: 100W
  • Nominal input: -10dB
  • Power consumption: 77W
  • Width: 530mm (20-7/8in)
  • Depth: 248mm (9-13/16in)
  • Height: 484mm (17-1/2in)
  • Weight: 32lbs 11 oz
  • Speaker size: 30cm (12in)
  • Accessories: Power cord, Owner’s manual, GA-FC sticker

Connectors:

  • 1/4in INPUT
  • 1/4in POWER AMP IN
  • 1/4in SEND
  • 1/4in RETURN
  • 1/4in EXPRESSION
  • 1/4in GA-FC
  • 1/4in LINE OUT
  • 1/4in REC/PHONES OUT
  • 1/4in SPEAKER OUT 16ohm A
  • 1/4in SPEAKER OUT 16ohm B
  • 1/4in SPEAKER OUT 8ohm
  • 3.5mm AUX IN
  • MIDI IN
  • USB B slot

Features

The general design is the same as before. It’s got a custom 12-inch speaker, lots of creative controls, and that nifty BOSS Tube Logic power control.

Now, the most impressive quality of the BOSS KATANA Amps is the variety of amp characters. There are five to choose from, but the KATANA-100 MkII has two modes for each, effectively giving you ten different amp variations.

With the built-in equalizer and effects section, it offers a vast tonal palette for guitarists. Plus, you can store eight custom settings and recall them as you play for instant transitions without having to stomp a bunch of pedals in rapid succession.

Another MkII upgrade is an extended the effects section. There are now five effects instead of three. There’s a booster, a chorus/mod, a delay, a reverb, and a serial/parallel FX loop. That last one lets you keep effect tails from pedals unaltered when you switch between channels.

Connecting a BOSS KATANA amplifier to the BOSS Tone Studio software unlocks a few more effects. Namely, there’s an octaver, a wah, and something called pedal bend, which is the same thing as a whammy pedal. But there’s a total of 60 effects.

The BOSS KATANA-100 accommodates a series/parallel FX loop, and it can handle two footswitches or an expression pedal. With the Roland GA-FC footswitch, you get tons of control.

Also, it supports external speakers and offers mic emulation for recording. It also takes a MIDI input and USB B port. Plus, there’s a power amp input, which lets you connect your favorite preamp or modeler and bypass the built-in one, to use the Boss KATANA-100 MkII just for its cabinet and Tube Logic.

Plus, BOSS has designed a very powerful stereo linking function. Connecting two amps gives you a lot of creative options. The Stereo Expand setting makes the second amplifier follow the first one. Whatever settings you dial in on the master amp, it copies. It also adds a lush stereo depth to the reverb and chorus and enables alternating ping pong delays. In Dual Link mode, each amplifier works independently, and you can dial in two completely different sounds.

Controls

A BOSS KATANA-100 has all the usual controls you’d find on decent amplifiers, plus a few more. First, there’s the usual gain, volume, and master knobs. Then, there’s a knob each for bass, midrange, and treble. And it has a presence dial, which affects the treble very nicely.

This is where things get interesting. On the far left, there’s the AMP TYPE knob, which selects the core tone of the amplifier, which lets you choose between the five different amp models. The adjacent VARIATION button toggles between the two modes of each amp type.

Perhaps the most interesting feature here is the POWER control. The problem with classic tube amps is that you need to play at a high volume to get that sweet tube sound. However, the KATANA-Artist’s POWER switch can add 0.5W, 50W, or 100W of extra drive without increasing the output volume. So, you can enjoy that tube tone without upsetting neighbors or scaring away the audience at a small gig.

In the effect section, you’ll find a bunch of buttons and knobs. There’s a button to toggle each of the effects, and a single knob for each of them, plus a tap button to set the delay tempo.

Another cool thing about the BOSS KATANA amplifiers is that they let you assign other effects to these knobs if you use the BOSS Tone Studio software. So, this already generous effects section is only the tip of the iceberg.

Sound

In one word: Wow!

Some might assume that such a feature-packed amplifier wouldn’t be possible without noticeable sacrifices in the sound department, but that’s not the case with the BOSS KATANA line.

The CLEAN amp style has a very rich tone with warm mids and a lot of clarity. It breaks up nicely when you crank it, and it’s reminiscent of classic Fender or Marshall amps depending on the tone-shaping settings. The variation adds some twang.

Next, there’s the CRUNCH amp style, which has that revered, sweet and dirty British-style distortion. It’s excellent for rock, blues, and country riffing. It can go from mild to full-on crunch depending on the volume and power settings. The variation gives it more bite and sizzle.

Moving on to the LEAD amp style increases the distortion and fullness a bit more. Despite the name, it’s not only for leads, as it works well for hard rock and metal riffs. Getting that shred-friendly tone without a high-quality distortion pedal is something that very few amps can offer. Its variation has fatter mids and more crunch.

If you’re still not satisfied with the distortion, turn the AMP STYLE knob to BROWN, and it pushes the amp deeper into metal territory. It’s aggressive and full in both variations with a sharp bite that can knock out those heavy chugs that get people headbanging.

The last amp style is ACOUSTIC. As the name implies, it’s designed for acoustic guitars. And it’s not some gimmick or afterthought but a genuine acoustic preamp configuration. All the effects and other features still work the same. So, it’s perfect for those who want to play an acoustic ballad in the middle of a set without hassle.

As for the effects, they sound just like the ever-popular BOSS pedals.

Pricing

You can get a KATANA-100 MkII for around $360. Now, that’s a pretty typical price for a good combo amp. But this one offers a lot more tonal diversity, kind of like buying a handful of those other ones. So, I’ve got to say, this is an impressive bang for the buck. It’s easy to see why they’re gaining so much popularity.

BOSS KATANA-100/212 MkII

The BOSS KATANA-100/212 is a more powerful option. It has two 12-inch speakers instead of one. Other than that, it's the same amplifier as the KATANA-100.

KATANA-100/212 MkII Specs

  • Rated output: 100W
  • Nominal input: -10dB
  • Power consumption: 77W
  • Width: 670 mm (26-7/16in)
  • Depth: 248mm (9-13/16in)
  • Height: 484mm (17-1/2in)
  • Weight: 43 lbs 11 oz
  • Speaker size: 30cm (12in)
  • Accessories: Power cord, Owner’s manual, GA-FC sticker

Connectors:

  • 1/4in INPUT
  • 1/4in POWER AMP IN
  • 1/4in SEND
  • 1/4in RETURN
  • 1/4in EXPRESSION
  • 1/4in GA-FC
  • 1/4in LINE OUT
  • 1/4in REC/PHONES OUT
  • 1/4in SPEAKER OUT 16ohm A
  • 1/4in SPEAKER OUT 16ohm B
  • 1/4in SPEAKER OUT 8ohm
  • 3.5mm AUX IN
  • MIDI IN
  • USB B slot

Features

Other than the additional speaker, the features are the same as those of the regular KATANA-100. Of course, this also means that it’s a bit wider and heavier. But the powerful dual-speaker design really brings out the power of the BOSS KATANA amplifier and makes the most of the sound.

Sound

This thing gets LOUD. It’s overkill for those who only need an amp for small gigs or rehearsing. But for bigger shows and events, this thing won’t disappoint.

It’s got the same warm tones and variations as the regular KATANA-100, and all the same effects. So, it’s a great choice if you need lots of volume.

Pricing

Buying a KATANA-100/212 MkII costs around $470. There’s a lot more power, and the stereo sound is a nice addition. For a touring musician, it’s well worth the 100 extra bucks. But if you only want something to play with, it’s maybe a bit overpriced.

BOSS KATANA-Artist MkII

The BOSS KATANA-Artist is the flagship of the KATANA line of amplifiers. And the MkII takes it to new levels. Its next-generation features include twice as many tone choices as the predecessor, plus additional effects. It's got everything the KATANA-100 MkII has, plus a number of additional features.

KATANA-Artist MkII Specs

  • Rated output: 100W
  • Nominal input: -10dB
  • Power consumption: 77W
  • Width: 630mm (24-13/16in)
  • Depth: 248mm (9-13/16in)
  • Height: 515mm (20-5/15in)
  • Weight: 41lbs 15 oz
  • Speaker size: 30cm (12in)
  • Accessories: Power cord, Owner’s manual, GA-FC sticker

Connectors:

  • 1/4in INPUT
  • 1/4in POWER AMP IN
  • 1/4in SEND
  • 1/4in RETURN
  • 1/4in EXPRESSION
  • 1/4in GA-FC
  • 1/4in LINE OUT
  • 1/4in REC/PHONES OUT
  • 1/4in SPEAKER OUT 16ohm A
  • 1/4in SPEAKER OUT 16ohm B
  • 1/4in SPEAKER OUT 8ohm
  • 3.5mm AUX IN
  • MIDI IN
  • USB B slot

Features

It’s a powerful 100-watt combo amplifier with a custom Waza 12-inch speaker. At the foundation, it has that revered British amp stack tone, but it has improved power handling that makes it less volume-dependent. This is due to the BOSS KATANA Tube Logic design.

If you’re impressed by the various amplifier styles in these BOSS KATANA amplifiers, this one will be extra interesting. In addition to the ten amp varieties, it has a few more tone-shaping features. Namely, there are three different contour settings and three different cabinet resonance configurations.

Controls

In addition to the usual master volume and three-band EQ knobs, the BOSS KATANA-Artist MkII has a lot of controls to play with and dial in that perfect sound. Let’s go over the interesting ones.

There’s a CONTOUR switch with three different positions. Contour alters the frequency response curve, especially in the midrange. So, it’s almost like three different amps in a sense.

To the right, you find a CABINET RESONANCE knob with three different settings: Vintage, Modern, and Deep. These settings affect the character of the sound, letting you adjust it for the vibe you prefer. It’s worth noting that some of the other models can also access these settings through the Tone Studio software, but only the KATANA-Artist MkII has controls on the amp.

The SOLO knob sets the volume increase for the solo boost. This extra volume only kicks in when you toggle it. While you can do this with a small button on the amp, it’s much more convenient to use a GA-FC foot control.

In the effect section, you’ll also find some differences. The Booster/Mod knob and FX/Delay knob now each have a smaller knob on top. Instead of toggling between two effects that share the same volume, you can now set the two independently. That’s a very convenient feature that allows for more creativity.

Making full use of the BOSS KATANA-Artist MkII calls for a GA-FC foot control. It lets you select channels and toggle effects individually with ease. Plus, it can accommodate two additional expression pedals, which you can set to affect specific effects.

Sound

The additional settings add new dimensions of tone-shaping. They’re pretty subtle on the clean settings, but they make a bigger difference when there’s distortion and effects in the mix.

The contour settings are similar to what you’d find on a classic Marshall amplifier. They mostly affect the midrange, letting you choose between that scooped-out sound or a fuller, warmer one.

The cabinet resonance settings can really fine-tune the sound and give you a specific feel. The VINTAGE setting is warm and a bit muffled like the tube amps of decades past. It can add a bit of warmth and soul to any guitar sound, but it’s especially good for more "mature" genres.

MODERN has more bite and presence. It’s airy with a bit more clarity. DEEP provides an even fuller, clearer sound with more zing.

With all these settings, the BOSS KATANA-ARTIST MkII is like a whole arsenal of mighty amplifiers.

Pricing

The listed price for the KATANA-Artist MkII is $599. It’s not cheap, but it’s a lot of amp for the money. Since many of the tube amp types that the KATANA-Artist MkII mimics cost as much or more on their own, it’s still a great price. And that’s before we factor in the KATANA-Artist’s effects, superior tone-shaping, and extensive connectivity. All in all, this is great value.

BOSS KATANA-50 MkII

Not every guitarist wants a 100-watt powerhouse. So, a smaller amp with the same general features like the BOSS KATANA-50 is a more suitable option for many musicians. However, it's not exactly the same, so it's worth making a closer comparison before picking a favorite.

KATANA-50 MkII Specs

  • Rated output: 50W
  • Nominal input: -10dB
  • Power consumption: 47W
  • Width: 470mm (18-9/16in)
  • Depth: 238mm (9-3/8in)
  • Height: 398mm (15-11/16in)
  • Weight: 25 lbs 10 oz
  • Speaker size: 30cm (12in)
  • Accessories: Power cord, Owner’s manual

Connectors:

  • 1/4in INPUT
  • 1/4in POWER AMP IN
  • 1/4in LINE OUT
  • 1/4in REC/PHONES OUT
  • 3.5mm AUX IN
  • USB B slot

Features

The first thing to note is that the speaker is a bit different. It’s a 12-inch speaker like the others, but it’s got a smaller magnet and a lower output.

Next, there’s no FX loop. So, if you’re playing with loop pedals and such, you won’t be able to change the settings without changing the existing loops or tails. Also, there are only four channels on this one, instead of eight like the others.

Furthermore, the KATANA-50 doesn’t support the GA-FC footswitch. So, operation isn’t quite as convenient, which limits the usefulness of the vast sound options somewhat. It can take two footswitches or an expression pedal, though.

Controls

Most of the controls from the KATANA-100 are still there. VOLUME, GAIN, MASTER, BASS, MID, TREBLE, and POWER CONTROL are still around. But the PRESENCE knob is gone.

You still get five AMP TYPE settings and a VARIATION toggle. All the effects and corresponding controls are present as well.

So, it’s not drastically different from the KATANA-100 in this regard. But comparing it to the KATANA-Artist MkII shows a very big difference.

Sound

The general sound is the same as the others. It just doesn’t get as loud. You can still use the mic emulation for the line output, but there’s no support for external speakers.

The lower output combined with the power control makes this a great option for bedroom practice. Sure, all models also come with that power control and headphone support, but even with the KATANA line’s cabinet-emulation phone circuit, headphones never sound as good as a real amp cabinet. So, there’s definitely an argument to be made for the KATANA-50.

Pricing

You can get a KATANA-50 MkII for around $230. This is comparable to typical combo amps in the same class from brands like Peavey and Laney. But the KATANA-50 does a fair bit more for that money. However, due to the reduced features, it might be worth considering a KATANA-HEAD instead. It’s a little more, but it also offers more. I’d say the KATANA-50 is the least impressive model in the line, but it’s also more affordable than others.

BOSS KATANA-HEAD MkII

As the name implies, the KATANA-HEAD MkII is an amp head. Well, kind of. Because it does have its own speaker, it works even without an external cabinet. This makes it a very flexible, portable, and space-efficient solution.

KATANA-HEAD MkII Specs

  • Rated output: 30W
  • Nominal input: -10dB
  • Power consumption: 77W
  • Width: 470mm (18-9/16in)
  • Depth: 228mm (9in)
  • Height: 398mm (15-11/16in)
  • Weight: 19 lbs 7 oz
  • Speaker size: 12cm (5in)
  • Accessories: Power cord, Owner’s manual, GA-FC sticker

Connectors:

  • 1/4in INPUT
  • 1/4in POWER AMP IN
  • 1/4in SEND
  • 1/4in RETURN
  • 1/4in EXPRESSION
  • 1/4in GA-FC
  • 1/4in LINE OUT
  • 1/4in REC/PHONES OUT
  • 1/4in SPEAKER OUT (Minimum 8ohm)
  • 3.5mm AUX IN
  • MIDI IN
  • USB B slot

Features

At first glance, I expected the BOSS KATANA-Head MkII to be even more slimmed down in terms of features than the BOSS KATANA-50. However, that’s not the case. On the contrary, it’s got the same general setup as the 100-Watt models.

The coolest thing about the KATANA-Head MkII, I’ve got to say is the fact that it’s an amp head that doubles as a standalone combo amp. And due to this fact, it can knock out those powerful tones in a much smaller format and at bedroom-friendly volume levels.

I can definitely see this being very useful to someone who has a small apartment and needs a small amp for home use that can still be the main amp at a gig with a separate cabinet. Also, it still has a power amp function so that you can use it with your favorite modeler.

Guitarists who like to have some custom presets on hand will be glad to hear that the KATANA-Head MkII also has eight sound memory slots just like the KATANA-Artist MkII and KATANA-100 MkII.

Controls

The cab resonance switch from the Katana-Artist MkII is present on the KATANA-Head MkII as well. The double nested effect knobs are there too, letting you set all five effects independently and simultaneously. And there’s still a tap tempo button for the delay.

It’s got the five-way AMP STYLE selector with its variation button, three EQ band knobs, and power control. You still get VOLUME, GAIN, and MASTER volume controls.

The only thing that’s missing compared to the 100-watt models is the PRESENCE knob. But that’s not a big difference with all the other tone-shaping controls on board. Other than the CONTOUR switch and SOLO dial, it’s got the same controls as the KATANA-Artist MkII.

Unlike the KATANA-50 MkII, It’s also compatible with the GA-FC foot controller. And, like the rest of the BOSS KATANA amplifier line, the knobs can be assigned to other effects via BOSS Tone Studio.

Sound

This little thing surprised me with its full sound. It doesn’t sound very different from its bigger cousins, just smaller. The tone is still very powerful, especially with the power control activated. So, using it on its own for practice definitely works.

From Clean through Crunch and Brown, it sounds just like the bigger models in terms of tone character. The smaller speaker element doesn’t have quite the same punch and fatness, but it’s definitely not bad by any means.

Despite the small size, it can sound a lot like those Marshall mods they probably had in mind when they crafted the sound. And there’s still a clear hint of that Roland character in the cleaner sounds. It makes sense since Roland amps are part of the BOSS empire these days.

Pricing

You can get a KATANA-HEAD MkII for around $350. The unique design makes it well worth the money. An ultra-versatile amp head that doubles as a portable standalone combo with extensive features and controls is a rare and fine piece of technology that could easily sell at a higher price.

BOSS KATANA CABINET212

This is the specially designed speaker cabinet for the KATANA-Head. It's a big and powerful amp cab with a few special tricks up its sleeve that make a combination of the two a top choice for serious guitarists.

KATANA CABINET212 Specs

  • Rated output: 150W
  • Nominal impedance: -8dB
  • Power consumption: 77W
  • Width: 670mm (26-7/16in)
  • Depth: 300mm (11-13/16in)
  • Height: 505mm (19-15/16in)
  • Weight: 48 lbs 9 oz
  • Speaker size: 30cm (12in)
  • Connectors: 1/4-inch INPUT jack
  • Accessories: Owner’s manual

Features

The BOSS KATANA CABINET212 has two custom 12-inch speakers with a beefy, punchy sound. It’s more powerful than the rest of the KATANA line, and the bottom end is quite massive. From the cleanest signals to the crunchiest tones, this thing packs a real punch.

What makes it even more versatile is that the back panel is detachable. Opening the back of the cabinet produces a more open sound like that of a typical combo amplifier, while keeping it closed makes the sound tighter and fatter.

Despite the size and tough construction, BOSS did a good job of keeping it fairly light and portable. The same qualities that made their pedals so popular. Also, the CABINET212 comes with additional rubber feet in case you prefer a vertical setup.

Sound

The tight, rigid construction gives the KATANA CABINET212 a very punchy, bassy, meaty sound. But it’s not too boomy, and there’s still plenty of clarity. This makes it especially good for heavier and dirtier guitar sounds.

Running a hot active humbucker through the LEAD or BROWN configuration leads to a really thick sound. At the same time, the ACOUSTIC amp mode sounds bright and clean without getting muddy.

With the extensive tone-shaping capabilities of the KATANA-Head MkII and the detachable back panel of the CABINET212, there are so many available sound profiles. If you want a really versatile amp, this duo might be your best option.

Pricing

Getting a KATANA CABINET212 costs around $360. This makes the HEAD-CABINET212 combination the priciest option. It’s possibly a bit overpriced, so it’s only for serious guitarists.

BOSS KATANA Air

This isn't just another small amplifier with a big sound and lots of features – it's the first completely wireless guitar amplifier model that the world has seen. And it looks like a lot more than a futuristic gimmick.

KATANA Air Specs

  • Rated output: 30W with AC adapter, 20W with batteries
  • Nominal input: -10dB
  • Current draw: 680mA
  • Width: 350mm (13-13/16in)
  • Depth: 144mm (5-11/16in)
  • Height: 181mm (7-1/8in)
  • Weight: 4 lbs 14 oz
  • Speaker size: 7.5cm (3in)
  • Accessories: Power cord, AC adapter, Transmitter, Owner’s manual, Safety leaflet

Connectors:

  • 1/4in INPUT
  • 3.5mm Stereo AUX in
  • 3.5mm Stereo PHONES/REC OUT
  • 1/4in TRANSMITTER IN
  • USB B slot
  • DC IN jack

Features

Wireless operation is the main selling point, so let’s begin there. Not having to deal with cables or troublesome aftermarket wireless adapters makes jamming so much nicer.

Plus, it’s great to be able to bring the amp anywhere and start playing on a whim. That’s why the lightweight build and battery powering option are such useful features. And it only takes eight AA-size batteries to operate it without a cord.

The included low-latency transmitter holds a charge for about 10 hours, toggles into standby automatically to save power, and charges when you dock it in the amp. So, there’s no hassle with batteries. The amp itself also goes into standby mode, and it wakes up when it detects motion.

Taking it further, BOSS decided to design an app that lets guitarists change the KATANA-Air’s settings remotely, while also providing additional options. Yeah, this is truly a wireless and portable amp that still offers a lot.

While the BOSS KATANA-Air is certainly small, it doesn’t sacrifice much in terms of sound. It’s got two speaker elements and still sounds like a real amplifier, and it’s got the amp types from the larger models as well.

However, it doesn’t have the variations. But with access to over 50 effects, that may not matter so much. And you get six onboard tone memories to store your favorite settings for instant access.

Another cool feature is the ability to play music via BlueTooth, which is perfect for learning your favorite songs or practicing scales over jam tracks.

Controls

There’s a lot of controls for such a compact amp. On the left, you’ve got the AMP TYPE, GAIN, and VOLUME knobs as usual. Next, there are three EQ band knobs followed by the three effect knobs. The latter are standard knobs with respective toggle buttons, unlike the nested knobs on the KATANA-Artist and KATANA-Head MkII.

Next, you find a MASTER volume knob and a TAP tempo button for the delay. To the right, there’s a BlueTooth button and a power switch. Next to these are the memory selection buttons.

There isn’t much missing compared to the larger models, although there isn’t much tone-shaping control to play with, and the power control’s gone. But the amp styles and EQ should be enough for most guitarists.

Sound

One of the first things I noticed is that there seems to be no latency. Of course, there’s always a little bit with any wireless system, but it’s not noticeable at all with this one.

It’s got a full, thick stereo sound. And the sound quality is good too. Even cranking up the volume with the CLEAN or ACOUSTIC amp settings produces a loud and clear sound without any unwanted degradation. CRUNCH still offers balanced crunchiness, while LEAD and BROWN are very capable of epic face-melters on the go.

The lack of power control is a bit of a bummer, but it’s not really a problem since you can play at high volumes without it getting too overpowering. There is still a nice tube character to the sound, and it doesn’t seem too volume-sensitive.

The effects are as lush as ever and sound just like a neat collection of BOSS stompboxes. With the free app, you get extensive control over their settings. Having all this stuff in such a space-efficient, portable package is finally possible.

Pricing

Buying a KATANA-Air is like a step into the future. It may fill a pretty unique niche for now, but it does it really well, and I’m sure we’ll see more amps like this in the near future. For around $390, you get a very fun, portable, versatile, powerful, and hassle-free amp with no direct competition.

BOSS KATANA-MINI

Mini amplifiers tend to get very mixed reviews. Some love the convenient format, while others lament their choice because they expected more sound. It's a mixed bag, but there are some good options. And this is one of those.

KATANA-MINI Specs

  • Rated output: 7W
  • Nominal input: -10dB
  • Current draw: 350mA
  • Width: 230mm (9-1/16in)
  • Depth: 116mm (4-5/8in)
  • Height: 181mm (7-1/8in)
  • Weight: 2 lbs 11 oz
  • Speaker size: 10cm (4in)
  • Accessories: Batteries, Owner’s manual

Connectors:

  • 1/4in INPUT
  • 3.5mm AUX IN
  • 3.5mm PHONES/REC OUT
  • DC IN jack

Features

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, this one isn’t wireless. But it’s very portable and easy to use. It runs on six alkaline batteries, but it can also be powered by a PSB-series AC adaptor. However, that’s a separate purchase.

This isn’t one of those typical mini amplifiers that look just like legendary amps and promise that brand’s quality but really sound like cheap toys. The BOSS KATANA-MINI actually sounds good.

Another difference from most mini amplifiers is that the KATANA-MINI actually offers decent controls comparable to many normal-size amps. It’s no KATANA-Artist, but they’ve still been generous with the features.

In addition to a proper EQ, it even has an onboard delay effect. And it’s got three amp models to choose from, which all use proper cascaded gain stages just like the classic amps that inspired it rather than a poor digital emulation.

Controls

Finding three EQ knobs on an amp this size is a pleasant surprise. And they actually have a good range of boost and attenuation. There’s also a three-position selector for the amp styles, a GAIN knob, and a VOLUME knob. Lastly, the delay section has both a TIME knob and a LEVEL knob.

I haven’t seen any other mini amps that offer so much control over the sound. There’s usually just volume, two EQ dials, and sometimes a distortion knob. But the KATANA-MINI is in a different league.

Sound

I’m impressed by the analog tone of this portable mini amp. It doesn’t sound like other mini amps, which tend to have a very thin and digital sound with piercing upper mids.

While there isn’t very much happening in the bass end of the frequency spectrum compared to the other models, that’s an inevitable side-effect of scaling down. For its size, the sound is very full and balanced.

The three amp styles that made it into the KATANA-MINI are CLEAN, CRUNCH, and BROWN. They retain their distinct sound qualities even at this small size, they’re just not as fat. CLEAN retains its shine on all volume settings, while CRUNCH and BROWN give surprisingly powerful tones for the small size. Who would have guessed ten years ago that people would be rocking out on mini amps?

The only effect is a tape-style delay. But it can do more than just produce that sweet echo effect that guitarists love. Delay is actually the foundation of many other effects. So, at the fastest settings, it can also give you a basic reverb with a very subtle chorus. I haven’t seen any other amp in this class that offers so much variety.

Pricing

$99 may sound like a steep price for a mini amp. But the thing to remember is that this is very different from the usual “toaster amps”. With its multiple analog circuits, rich sound, three-band EQ, and onboard tape delay, it merits the price. If you need a super portable amp that actually delivers, get the KATANA-MINI.

Final Thoughts on BOSS KATANA Amplifiers

Without a doubt, BOSS is shaking up the guitar amplifier market with these groundbreaking KATANA models. The sound quality is great, and there’s so much they can do. At the same time, they don’t cost a whole lot.

The feature-rich 100-Watt models are ideal choices for those who like a vast palette of intense electric guitar sounds. If you want something less extravagant and more convenient, a KATANA-50 or KATANA-AIR are better. The KATANA-HEAD is ideal if you want both convenience and extensive features plus the potential for a much bigger sound.

Curious about other options? Keep browsing my amplifier reviews.