The Boss Katana 50 has been one of the highest-selling amps of the past few years. It has become a go-to recommendation for killer at-home combos, but can it stand up to the rigorous task of gigging?
The Boss Katana 50 can easily summon enough volume to be heard in almost any situation, though you may find it struggles in certain departments. Depending on the drummer in question and the venue’s limitations, you might actually find the Katana 100 to be the right fit.
Put in some earplugs and brace thyself for holy noise!
How loud is the Boss Katana 50?
To answer this question as accurately as possible first, we need to understand, ‘what are decibels?’ We all know that a decibel is a unit of measuring sound but what many don’t know is that the decibel scale is logarithmic, not linear.
For example, an increase of 1 dB is an increase of 26%.
This information is important as it helps us realize that the difference between 100 dB and 110 Db is vast.
Moving on from our mini science lesson.
In terms of pure decibels, the Boss Katana is a 50 watts solid-state amp. Any amp aficionado could mention dozens of gig worth, world-class amps that are 50 watts or under, despite the glorification of 100-watt heads with 4 x 12 cabinets.
However, does the Boss Katana match up to its 50 watts siblings?
Several online sources have put the Katana to the test with a decibel meter, showing it to be capable of reaching 115 dB whilst in 50-watt modes.
To put that in context, the average drummer sits between 90 to 130 decibels. According to Purdue University, 120 dB is equivalent to the volume of a chainsaw.
Needless to say, this amp can get loud!
Will the Boss Katana 50 be loud enough for small gigs?
Since the Boss Katana 50 commands enough power to be as loud as a chainsaw, its volume will absolutely be loud enough for small gigs.
Though, ‘loud enough’ is an easy term to misconstrue, because each venue will present its own challenges.
The number one question you need to be answered is; ‘Will my guitar amp be mic’d?’ If the answer is ‘yes’, there is no doubt you will be heard. You will not need to worry about capping out the maximum volume either.
Whilst you may not have the greatest on-stage sound (depending on the venue in question) your shred-centered sonics will fly free.
To counter a lack of onstage sound, the simplest trick that an eagerly-eared guitarist can do is raise your amp closer to ear level. This age-old hack will even turn a lower-wattage amp into an all-encompassing wall of sound for you and all it takes is an amp stand or milk crates.
Getting back to the question at hand; if the answer is ‘no, your amp is not getting a microphone’… well this is a very different story.
Will the Boss Katana 50 be loud enough to play with drums?
This is a more complicated question with many more variables. This is where understanding decibels is useful.
If your drummer has a gentle touch and sits around 90 to 100 decibels, then the Boss Katana 50 will stand strong and state your place in the mix with headroom to spare (remembering that 120 dB is louder than 100 dB by orders of magnitude).
It’s at 115 decibels where these volumes become troublesome, as you will be pushing your amp just to be heard clearly.
Since an amp’s sound potency is so directional you can always angle the speaker towards your ears, but that is a band-aid fix.
If the features of the Boss Katana 50 excite you but you want just a little extra headroom, then spend the extra cash and purchase the Boss Katana 100. It has an FX loop, more line-out options, and, most importantly, an extra 50 watts to call upon.
Worry not about being overpowering with 100 watts of force. You can still run the Katana 100 in 50-watt mode to get those glorious power amp juices flowing.
Does the Boss Katana 50 have a line out?
The Katana 50 does have a combined headphone/recording out, this port could conceivably be used as a ‘line out’ but in a very troublesome way.
This plug’s purpose is to give you silent practice or silent recording, thus when engaged the speaker emits no signal. Perfect for late-night (or apartment) sessions but not very useful for a live show.
Alternatively, the boss Katana 100 has a dedicated line out, this allows you to plug directly into the P.A whilst still having your speakers blasting your bombastic bangers (highly useful if your speaker is not mic’d up, or if you want to record your gig).
What are some alternatives for gigging with the Boss Katana 50?
If the Katana 50 just is not cutting it for your needs, the Katana 100 will fill the void. Better connectivity features and better wattage range.
Though the big question you need to ask yourself is, “What do I need?”
Are you looking for an affordable amp that suits all your at-home needs and is occasionally used for a live show?
Blackstar ID Core Series: Very similar and comparable to the Katana Series. Complete with multi-FX and saveable tones. If you can’t find a Katana 50 where you live this is 100% worth trying out.
However, if you are interested in a higher quality product with better construction and professional level connectivity.
Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200: In the realm of ‘one-stop shops’ amps this is the highest grade. The applications for this amp are vast and dynamic. From the Redbox Cab Simulated line out to its midi controllability, not to mention its great tone, it is the pinnacle of its class. Unfortunately, the price reflects that.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.