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Boss Katana-50 Mk2 EX review

If you thought Boss couldn’t improve on the existing Katana-50 Mk2 model, you could not be more wrong. The Katana-50 Mk2 EX (expandable) is an incredibly versatile guitar amp that comes within a neat package that can be used in all different scenarios!

About the author

I’m a guitarist, composer, and music producer. Over the years, I garnered a lot of studio experience, as well as impressive touring mileage. My theoretical and practical knowledge of guitar gear and audio design is what I rely upon delivering my take on different pieces of gear that I review.

testing the Boss Katana-50 Mk2 EX combo amp
Image: Higher Hz

Final verdict on the Katana-50 Mk2 EX 4.5

The Boss Katana-50 Mk2 EX is a solid-state combo amp that features a large quantity of different sonic possibilities within a reasonably sized package.

The expandable nature of the amp allows for five different amps available to turn into 10 different amps, just by using the fantastic footswitch it features.

The multi-faceted nature of the amp can also be seen in the fact that it is loud enough to use on stage, and can be quiet enough to be used in your bedroom.

Finally, the main superstar is the silent recording mode which can be great for tracking in both professional and home studios.

What I like

  • The amp possesses an incredible tonal scope.
  • Great for bedroom, studio, and live situations. Both in terms of effects, as well as portability.

What I don’t like

  • The silent recording mode is limited by the fact that the speaker always colors the sound to an extent.
Buy Boss Katana-50 Mk2 EX at: SweetwaterAmazon

Effects 4.0

There are 15 effects slots available onboard. You can access 65 different effects from the Boss Tone Studio software and put them into given slots. Let me just say that the effects sound amazing and that the plethora of the effects available is beyond my wildest dreams!

The Tone Studio Software comes in quite handy, since you can create your own effects and also use the stock ones. Better yet, the software can be used to create different effect chains in order to achieve the performance of a full rig. You can use it to create your own live setup but also download stock live setups.

Now, on to the effects commands on the amp: namely, the displayed LEDs are clickable and can be used to tweak and change between your available effects.

As far as the accompanying footswitch goes, you can access the tap function and press the switches to set your desired effect BPM. You can also select the function switch to access the effects switching mode.

Lastly, you can press and hold the switches to engage a booster effect. The differences in the boosted levels are yours to define and customize. Talk about customization, huh?

Features 4.5

This is a 50-watt solid-state amp that is sure to be equally good at quiet bedroom jamming, as well as the earth-shattering loudness levels needed for the stage.

The variation control is the exact feature that turns your five available amps into 10 different ones. It affects the sound, character, and the response of each amp.

One of the main improvements over the standard Katana-50 model is the added footswitch. The footswitch itself holds a moniker that is a bit of a mouthful – GA-FC EX. Besides the unmemorable name, this stompbox is highly functional and user-friendly.

Boss Katana-50 Mk2 EX amp with footswitch
Image: Higher Hz

The GA-FC EX footswitch functions in two layers. Namely, the four channel switches with the help of the click panel can engage another four presets. In simple terms, you are capable of dialing in eight different preset sounds.

As far as the amp models available, you are getting five different ones that can operate in five different modes:

  • The Acoustic amp is a real amp, not a simulation.
  • The Clean amp allows for some pristine chiming sounds.
  • The Crunch amp is your go-to setting if you are a fan of Plexi amps.
  • The Lead amp is your high-gain section of the amp that can deliver some extreme metal sounds.
  • Finally, the Brown amp allows for some Yngwie-esque dark plexi overdriven tones.

The EQ section is comprised of your usual suspects. The Bass, Mid, and Treble knobs do exactly what it says on the tin. The general controls feature your standard gain, volume, and power knobs.

Connectivity 5.0

One of the coolest things in terms of the connectivity of this amp is the access to the Boss Tone Studio software. It gives you the opportunity to endlessly customize your effects and presets.

The line-out jack is a cool feature that ensures the connection between the amp and the PA, the mixer, or your DAW. In the line-out mode, you can use your Tone Studio software to change the position of the available mics in 2D space.

Better yet, the line-out mode allows for three different modes – Rec, Live, and Blend. The Rec mode ensures that you can record the carbon copy of your speakers’ sound. The Live mode gives you some airy quality and the tweakability of micing positions. Finally, the Blend mode creates a unique mixture of the aforementioned two modes.

Boss Katana-50 Mk2 EX rear panel
Image: Higher Hz

The footswitch is also highly connectible. You can patch in three different expression pedals to further control your sound. You can also use it to connect it to another Katana for some stereo effects. Now, how cool is that?!

Build and design 4.5

This a sleek package that looks quite compact and sturdy. Better yet, it’s not just the looks! It really is stable, reliable, and looks as if it’s made to be highly durable.

The size of the amp allows for some high portability, without sacrificing the tonal options, or the build quality.

Who is the Katana-50 Mk2 EX guitar amp best suited for?

The Boss Katana-50 Mk2 EX is an almost impeccable amp! The versatility, the incredible amount of connection options, and the level of control you have over your sound are almost immeasurable!

If you are looking for a great guitar amp designed to serve you in all possible scenarios, look no further!

Buy Boss Katana-50 Mk2 EX at: SweetwaterAmazon

Video demo

Watch this video by my colleague Fabio, where he puts the Boss Katana-50 Mk2 EX combo amplifier to the test.