The Katana amp series by Boss has a fantastic price-to-features ratio, making it one of the go-to choices for beginners as well as experienced players in need of a solid practice amp. The lineup is extensive, and today we’ll be checking out the Boss Katana Air wireless guitar amplifier in this review. And feel free to check out our review of the Boss IR-200 when you have a chance as well!
The Boss Katana Air Sets You Free
Wireless guitar systems are nothing new, but most guitarists save the big guns for the rehearsal studio or stage, and rely on smaller traditional setups at home. In what’s a world-first, Boss created a completely wireless amplifier — a transmitter connects to your guitar, a receiver docks in the amp, and the whole thing runs on batteries. No instrument cables, no power cables. True wireless.
There is the option to power the amp via AC adapter, though, so you don’t necessarily have to keep dozens of AAs on hand. Amp power itself scales from 20W on batteries to 30W using an adapter.
By leaving the transmitter plugged into your guitar while you’re not playing, the amp will go into idle mode to conserve energy. Then a motion detection feature will “wake” the amp from sleep. There’s no need to power on/off — just pick up the guitar and set it down. This is a nifty feature, but no one would judge you for questioning whether the Katana Air is all gimmick and no substance. Let’s get into that.
Boss Katana Air Wireless Guitar Amplifier Review
Across the board, the Katana series is known for impressive modeling ability for the price. The Katana Air has five amp settings: Acoustic, Clean, Crunch, Lead, and Brown (high-gain). It includes onboard reverb, delay, boost, and modulation, in additional to a standard 3-band EQ and gain.
Tones get even better still since the Katana Air comes with a stereo speaker arrangement. You can actually dial in pretty spacious stereo effects for really huge sound from a tiny amp.
We say this a lot, but Katana amp modeling is good for the price. It certainly isn’t giving higher-end modelers a run for their money, and it isn’t meant to replace a nice tube amp. But for something as convenient as this, the tone is more than adequate for a fun practice amp.
Latency is extremely low — in most circumstances it should be virtually imperceptible.
By using the Tone Studio mobile app, you’ll have additional access to 50 additional effects. The app lets you create and organize sounds wirelessly, which again, is pretty nifty. You can store six presets straight to the amp, though you can create and organize sound libraries on the app and even download community presets to try out.
In terms of size, the Boss Tone Studio arguably rivals some of the high-end modelers out there.
The cost obviously comes from wireless-ness and portability, so you’ll have to decide whether cables are really that troublesome, or whether you need to be able to plop your amp on a desktop, dining room table, coffee table, and nightstand all in the same day.
Boss COSM amp and effect modeling found in the Katana line makes for some really versatile beginner/practice amps. The Katana Air is pricey considering the other amps in the series, though, and doesn’t provide the same room for growth that a more powerful Katana — like the Artist MkII — does. Still, if mobility is important to you and your practice rig, you’d be hard pressed to find anything quite the same as the Katana Air.
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