Exploring The Hidden Powers Of The Katana Guitar Amp

With ultra-responsive feel, gig-ready tones, and versatile onboard effects, BOSS Katana-MKII amps are taking the guitar amplifier world by storm. By design, all BOSS Katana-MKII amps feature an instantly familiar interface that makes it easy to dial in and save great sounds on the fly. But there’s even more power under the hood, and it’s all accessible via the free BOSS Tone Studio editor.

Read on as we check out all the cool things you can do with this powerful editor for the BOSS Katana-MKII amp series. 

First Things First

If you already have a Katana amp and want to get started with BOSS Tone Studio, you’ll need to download and install the following items:

  • The latest firmware for your Katana amp model (if needed).
  • The Katana driver for your computer’s operating system.
  • BOSS Tone Studio for Katana.

IMPORTANT – Make sure to download MKII links for the current KTN-MKII models.

To find all these files, go to the product page for your BOSS Katana-MKII model and click on the Downloads tab. Before installing them, carefully read the step-by-step instructions provided with the downloads. To get a PDF instruction manual for using BOSS Tone Studio with the Katana amps, click on the Support tab on your amp’s product page.

If you don’t yet own a Katana amp, you can still download the BOSS Tone Studio editor and use it in offline mode to explore all the things it can do.

Boss Katana and BOSS Tone Studio on a laptop

Katana head MKII – Hooked up to Tone Studio

Overview: BOSS Tone Studio for Katana-MKII

Once your Katana amplifier is connected to BOSS Tone Studio, you’ll see an intuitive graphic interface for adjusting nearly everything in the amp. You can tweak amp tones, load and customize different effects, save and recall Tone Settings, and more. The software directly interacts with the amp, allowing you to easily create sounds as you play. Any editor adjustments you make are immediately reflected in the amp, and vice versa.

Editing Amp Tones

At the top of the main Editor screen, all the amplifier controls are accessible. With fine control of each parameter from 0-100, you’re able to make microscopic tweaks and dial in sounds to perfection.

Boss Tone Studio settingsKatana Artist version of Boss Tone Studio

BOSS Tone Studio for the Katana amp series: main Editor screen. Top image 50/100/100-212/HEAD models. Bottom image ARTIST model.

Editing Effects

Along with its fantastic amp tones, each Katana amp also includes access to over 60 different BOSS effects. With BOSS Tone Studio, you can audition and edit these effects, and then load them up in the Katana’s 15 available onboard storage locations.

Boss tone studio showing different audio channels

BOSS Tone Studio for Katana provides access to over 60 different BOSS effects.

Effects Categories

The Katana’s effects are organized into five different categories:

  • Booster
  • Mod
  • Delay
  • FX
  • Reverb

In the Booster and Delay categories, you can only load effects from those specific groups. The Mod and FX categories can load effects from the combined Mod/FX group, allowing you to have the same effect assigned to both categories if you wish. You might find this desirable when setting up the effects chain, which we’ll discuss coming up. The Reverb category allows you to assign Reverb, Delay or a combination of both at the same time.

Each category has three available slot locations, and you can load a different effect in each.

Effects Chain

Seasoned players know that some effects work best before the amplifier, while others work best after the amplifier’s preamp section. As a general rule, you’ll want to use wahs, compressors, overdrives, distortions, and boosters in front of the amp, and reverb after the preamp. With mod and delay effects, it depends – you might want to use them in either location, depending on the sound you are after.

The BOSS engineers have taken this into account, giving you the ability to adjust the effects order with BOSS Tone Studio. Four different chains are available, as shown in the following image:

Boss Tone Studio Effects Chains

Effects can be arranged in four different chains.

Fine-Tune Effects Parameters

Once you load effects into the slots, you’re able to tweak them in fine detail. Each effect type has a full set of parameters to adjust, similar to what’s available in the BOSS GT-100 multi-effects unit.

Adjusting effects parameters on the Boss Tone Studio

BOSS Tone Studio for Katana provides deep editing of effects parameters.

Noise Suppressor

In addition to its five effects categories, the Katana also has a built-in noise suppressor. This can be helpful to tame background noise with high-gain sounds. It can only be adjusted with BOSS Tone Studio; there are no controls available from the amp’s panel. Unlike a simple noise gate, the Katana’s noise suppressor intelligently follows the sound’s natural decay, so it will not affect the character of your tone.

Katana Noise Suppressor settings

From BOSS Tone Studio, the Katana noise suppressor can be adjusted as needed for every Tone Setting.

Saving Tone Settings

After you adjust the various parameters to your liking, you can save them as a Tone Setting in the Katana. Just click the WRITE button in the upper right corner of the Editor page, give the setting a name, and save it to the desired destination (CH1, CH2 on KTN-50MKII models or CH1, CH2, CH3, or CH4 on KTN-100MKII models). Both models offer two banks, Bank A and B meaning 4 memories for 50MKII or 8 memories for 100MKII amps in total.

Saving a tone on Boss Tone Studio

Librarian and Live Sets

BOSS Tone Studio also includes a librarian that allows you to back up the current settings in the amp, work with Live Sets, and more. Basically, Live Sets provide a way to store and organize Tone Settings into groups for different gigs, songs, recording sessions, or whatever you want. When you want to load them into the Katana, just drag them to the desired locations on the left side of the screen.

Using the library screen on Boss Tone Studio

Librarian screen in BOSS Tone Studio populated with different Live Sets.

Download Pro Live Sets at BOSS Tone Central

When your computer is connected to the web, BOSS Tone Studio provides direct access to BOSS Tone Central. Simply click on the TONE CENTRAL button to browse the many Katana Live Set collections created by top pro players. You’re able to audition audio demos of the sounds, save directly to your amp, and add them to your local Katana library.

Downloading Katana live set collections

BOSS Tone Studio gives you direct access to Katana Live Set collections at BOSS Tone Central. Simply highlight LIVESET and click ADD and all patches will form a liveset in your Librarian.

System Settings

Clicking on the SYSTEM button will take you to some master settings for the amp and software. Here, you can adjust MIDI, USB, and device settings, download the latest Katana owner’s manual, and more.

Boss Tone Central system settings

Parameters available in the system screen

The KTN-100MKII, KTN-100/212MKII, KTN-ARTISTMKII and Katana-Head MKII models are all equipped with a rear-panel effects loop for patching in external effects devices.

From the SEND/RETURN tab in the editor, you can adjust send/return levels for the loop, set position pre or post amp and for either series or parallel operation.

Boss Tone Studio effects loop settings

Effects loop parameters in the system screen.

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Go and Try It Yourself

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more, find out where you can go and check this product out for yourself.

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