Boss has launched the latest evolution of the Katana range – and it’s more versatile than ever

boss has launched the latest evolution of the katana range – and it’s more versatile than ever

Boss has launched the latest evolution of the Katana range – and it’s more versatile than ever

Boss has finally lifted the curtain on the third generation of its Katana guitar amp family, introducing a few choice features that look to make the solid-state combos and amp heads better than ever.

Specifically, the Gen 3 amps look to build upon the wild successes of Boss’ hugely popular Katana catalog with updated tones, improved usability, all-new specs and some sought-after appointments.

It’s a systematic, top-to-bottom overhaul, so first, some housekeeping: Boss has debuted seven new amps that cover all the bases from one and two speaker combos to amp heads.

That list includes the entry level 50-watt Katana-50 Gen 3 1x12 combo; its slightly souped-up sibling, the Katana-50 EX Gen 3; the 100-watt Katana-100 Gen 3 1x12” combo and a 2x12” variant; and the Katana Head Gen 3.

There are also two “Artist” models on the roster – a combo and a head – which offer exclusive extra features and some sleek aesthetics.

These are the amps into which Boss has loaded the third generation of its Katana tech, so… what’s new?

Well, where tone is concerned, the chief feature is the all-new Pushed amp model, which is said to focus on the “touch-responsive gain of a clean combo driven into harmonic saturation”, ie, “edge-of-breakup”.

Across the board, Boss has also built upon the core platform by way of Tube Logic enhancements that provide even greater sound, feel and response. That means, at least on paper, the five existing amps will perform even better than before.

All six amps have a selectable variation, resulting in 12 distinct amp voices, with some also offering the recently innovated Bloom circuit, which further shakes up the amp’s feel and response.

Tonal improvements are matched with software upgrades to the Boss Tone Studio, which is where Katana players can tweak deep-editing parameters that aren’t available on the amp panel and customize onboard effects.

Speaking of effects, it’s worth noting that 3rd Gen Katana amps offer five onboard effect categories – Booster, Mod, FX, Delay and Reverb – with three variations per slot resulting in a generous 15 effects to utilize.

And, thanks to the returning Tone Setting memory slots, players can again craft amp/effects setups – using any of the updated tones – and recall them at will.

As well as sounding better than ever, Boss has sought to make its Katana amps more usable than ever, too, namely by updating the connectivity options.

For example, the old standard headphones output from previous models has now been upgraded to a stereo headphones out, which will no doubt make for a more immersive listening and playing experience during silent practice.

Bluetooth is also a biggie when it comes to Katana, and for some time players have been asking for Bluetooth connectivity between amp model and smartphone, to enable them to stream music and access the in-depth tone-tweaking controls mentioned above from the Tone Studio.

That has kind of been addressed for the 3rd Gen amps: Bluetooth is technically available – but you’ll need to get hold of and install the optional Bluetooth Audio MIDI Dual Adaptor.

Boss is clearly pleased with its upgrades, commenting of its new amp family: “Katana Gen 3 elevates the lineup with even more range and versatility, providing a playing experience that goes where no other amps can.”

There's good reason for Boss' optimism, too. Guitar World got its hands on the Boss Katana Gen 3 for an early review, and commended the new lineup for its wholesale tonal upgrades and connectivity improvements.

“It’s immediately obvious that Boss has gone to great lengths to improve the overall sound quality of the Katana MKIII,” notes GW writer Daryl Robertson, “resulting in an amplifier that sounds more alive with sweetened highs, richer harmonics in the mid-range, and a tighter, more defined low-end.”

As for prices, the Katana-50 Gen 3, Katana-100 Gen 3, and Katana-100/212 Gen 3 are available now starting at $299. The rest of the lineup is available to pre-order.

That means there really isn't too much difference between these new amps and the older MkII models. The most expensive, top-of-the-line Artist Gen 3 combo, for example, lists for $599, while its predecessor went for $529.

When the sweeping tonal upgrades, new amp mode, and connectivity improvements are taken into account, that's a very nice price point indeed.

The full Katana Gen 3 lineup will be available later this year.

To find out more, head over to Boss.

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