All guitarists have the desire to be at least a touch louder than necessary. So no wonder an amp like the Boss Katana 50, which gives you huge sound at reasonable volumes, would be radically popular.
But is it too loud for an apartment?
Due to the clever and well thought out design of the Boss Katana 50, it can absolutely be used in an apartment. This amp keeps a consistent quality of tone from low to high volumes and offers a variable wattage selector (50 watts, 25 watts & 0.5 watts); not to mention a headphone out for silent practice.
So, without further ado, let’s see if we can get stadium sound in our studio apartments.
How loud is the Boss Katana 50?
To answer how loud an amp is, we first need to refine the question.
What do we mean by “loud”?
In terms of sheer decibels, the 50 watts of power at the Boss Katana’s disposal is more than enough to warrant a turf war with your neighbors.
Curious online audio astronauts have dug out their decibel meters and clocked the Boss Katana 50 as reaching 115 dB.
One Reddit user (u/bobyknish), apparently conducted an extravagantly ear-splitting experiment on his university grounds. Blasting the Boss combo, he reached 85 decibels at 100 feet on the 25-watt mode and near 100 decibels on the 50-watt mode from the same distance.
Perhaps not the most scientific test ever, but relevant nevertheless.
That is, scientifically speaking, LOUD!
Thank the brilliantly brained beasts at Boss for giving the Katana a 0.5-watt mode. That’s radically manageable, even if you live in an apartment.
This leads us seamlessly to our next question.
Can you use the Boss Katana 50 at low volumes?
The short answer is: Yes.
The long answer is: Hell yes.
Due to the clever design of the Katana, namely the 0.5-watt function, you can use it from the bedroom through to the stage. This variable watt selection puts a roof on your max volume, allowing you to crank the preamp and power amp without shattering the foundations of your apartment building.
The other main factor at work is the Katana’s power amp. Its solid-state design works in favor of smaller volumes, as opposed to tube-powered.
A traditional tube amp will have a major jump in volume from 0 to 1, as the tubes soak with power and engage. Conversely, a solid-state amp does not require the same blunt force power as tubes to reach a full tone.
Will the Boss Katana 50 sound good at low volumes?
First and foremost the Boss Katana sounds great for the price (there is a reason it was the highest-selling amp of 2020, according to Reverb.com).
But how well does it deal with low volumes? Does it keep its tone?
Low volume is the Katana’s home ground, this is what sonic scientists at Boss designed this amp to do. It holds a thick, full, and dynamic tone at low volumes.
Engaging the 0.5-watt mode allows you to push the power amp into a rich tonal territory by cranking the master volume. Amps crave to be driven into a sweet spot, feeding the power amp enough juice to hit the wattage roof.
This yields a warm and dynamic tone that embodies all that a guitarist desires to hear. It is also the antithesis of all we despise, it avoids having a thin and anemic sound.
This affects tube amps more so, but this still applies to solid states like the Boss Katana.
Can you use the Boss Katana 50 with headphones?
As with all elements of this amp, it’s well thought out. It is designed to answer the prayers that home guitarists have screamed into the void for eons.
The Boss Katana 50 has a ¼ inch (6.35 MM) “Phones/Rec out” that lets you use your headphones for late-night shred sessions (or to learn forbidden tunes that you must keep secret).
The “Phones/Rec out” even has the very user-friendly feature of automatically cutting off the signal to the speaker, Ensuring you are not blissfully shredding in the insular land of headphones whilst your housemates are re-enacting the first scene from Back to the Future.
To top off the convenience of this clever combo, there is an “AUX IN”. This allows you to plug in an audio device, blasting whatever song or backing track you needed. All without neighboring apartments ever suspecting a thing.
How to practice guitar without bothering your neighbors?
The Boss Katana 50 is an elegant and simple solution for this, all whilst still letting you hit titanic volumes when you need to. With a headphone out and a USB out that lets you record or play straight to your computer, this amp has a myriad of ways to ‘silently’ practice.
However, if you feel the overwhelming urge to break free and fill your room with sound waves there are some simple tricks you can employ.
1. Move your amp: Place the amp on your bed or a chair, this lessens the bass carrying through the floor.
2. Soundproofing/Insulation: This ranges from cheap and simple to in-depth and expensive. Most simply you can sew together two thick curtains filled with solid foam. This stops some sound from escaping through your windows.
For a deeper dive into this subject, check out this Gear Aficionado article:
Is the Boss Katana 50 amp loud enough to gig with?
When the Katana 50 took hold of its corner of the market, the question on everyone’s mind was; “Can I use it for gigs?’
With a full 50 watts, the answer is a resounding yes. Even running 25 watts of power you will most likely be able to be heard (especially if your amp is mic’d up).
For a full, in-depth answer to this question, make sure you read our dedicated article on using the Boss Katana 50 for gigs:
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.