Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist: Which should you buy?

Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist

Boss offers two 100w combo amps in the Katana range: the Katana 100 and the Katana Artist.

What’s the difference? Is the Artist worth the additional cost? Is there any good reason anyway should buy the 100 aside from the price difference?

We’re going to answer all of those questions here, and more.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist comparison:

  • Tones
  • Speaker
  • Size & Weight
  • Effects
  • Connectivity
  • Cabinet
  • Ergonomics
  • Price & Value For Money
  • Pros & Cons

Ready? Let’s get started…

30-Second Summary: Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist

So when it comes down to Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist, which one should you choose? Here’s a quick overview:

  • Go for Boss Katana 100 if you can’t justify the extra cash to get a bigger cabinet and upgraded speaker.
  • Go for Boss Katana Artist if you’re an audiophile who needs the best of the best when it comes to speaker design, or if you want to be able to control your Katana via MIDI.

1. Tones: Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist

Amp types

The Boss Katana range is a collection of digital modeling amps, meaning they recreate the sounds of famous and highly desirable analog amp models, and pack a bunch of different tones into one.

Both the Katana 100 and the Artist have 5 different built-in amp models:

  • Clean
  • Crunch
  • Lead
  • Acoustic
  • Brown

This essentially translates to one clean channel, one acoustic channel, and three levels of drive, as the brown channel replicates EVH’s famous high-gain ‘brown tone’.

Presets

Both Katana amps allow you to create and store your own presets. That allows to craft and carve out some very specific tones in the bedroom, and then easily switch between them in a live context.

Both models hold up to 8 presets, and you can even download custom patches from the Boss website and sync them to the amp via USB.

Cabinet simulation

Each of the amps mentioned here has onboard cabinet simulation which is available on the line, USB, and phones/recording outputs. One of the cool things about this feature is that you can choose between 3 different cabinet resonance types, allowing you to match the simulated cab response to the amp model and settings you’ve dialed in.

Tones Winner: Tie

2. Speaker: Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist

Speaker: Boss Katana 100

The speaker in the Boss Katana 100 is a 12-inch custom-designed speaker that Boss crafted specifically for this amp model.

To be honest, there’s not really much more said or to be said of this speaker, other than it is designed to faithfully reproduce a bunch of different amp sounds, and does a pretty good job of it.

Speaker: Boss Katana Artist

The speaker is the Katana Artist is a completely different beast.

It’s a 12-inch Waza Craft unit, and it’s designed to reproduce that British speaker stack sound.

To that end, it’s beautifully vintage-sounding (though it pulls some nice modern tones out of the hat as well), and has a wide dynamic range.

Speaker: Bottom Line

If you had the Katana 100, you’d hardly say that it was lacking in the speaker department.

However, side by side, with the same amp settings dialed up, you can definitely hear that the Artist has a more refined and intricate tonal palette, owing to the hours of work put into designed that Waza speaker.

So, the Katana Artists wins here.

Speaker Winner: Boss Katana Artist

3. Size & Weight: Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist

Width

630 mm

24-13/16 inches

530 mm

20-7/8 inches

Depth

248 mm

9-13/16 inches

248 mm

9-13/16 inches

Height

515 mm

20-5/16 inches

484 mm

17-1/2 inches

Weight

19 kg

41 lbs 15 oz

14.8 kg

32 lbs 11 oz

Size & Weight: Boss Katana 100

Neither amp is a particularly large or heavy beast.

The Katana 100 is definitely the smaller of the two, weighing in at just under 33lbs and listing dimensions of:

  • Width: 530 mm
  • Depth: 248 mm
  • Height: 484 mm

Size & Weight: Boss Katana Artist

The Artist is a slightly larger amp, owing in part to the Waza speaker, but mostly due to the fact that the cabinet itself is larger, and has a semi-open-back design (compared to the 100 which is an open-back amp).

It weighs a little under 42lbs and measures:

  • Width: 630 mm
  • Depth: 248 mm
  • Height: 515 mm

For a bit of context, most combo 1×12 combo amps weigh quite a bit more, especially if they are tube amps.

For example, a Peavey 6505 1×12 combo is a massive 61lbs.

Size & Weight: Bottom Line

Considering the weight of most other amps in the price range, the Katanas are super light. This makes either amp a great choice for traveling artists or buskers.

If we have to choose a winner in this department, though, the Katana 100 is smaller and lighter, make it a touch more portable.

Size & Weight Winner: Boss Katana 100

4. Effects: Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist

Built-In Effects

Both the Katana 100 and the Artist have an insane amount of digital effects built-in.

The newest models boast 65 different digital effects, including delays, flangers, and octave effects.

Reverb

The whole Katana range has a dedicated reverb section built-in, which is controllable by a knob on the control panel, or via footswitch, if you’re using one.

Effects Loops

Both models also offer an effects loop on the rear panel so you can connect all of your pedals if you’re finding those 65 built-in effects just aren’t enough.

Effects Winner: Tie

5. Connectivity: Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist

Connectivity: Boss Katana 100

The Boss Katana 100 is pretty well-equipped on the connectivity front.

It has a single guitar input, send and return jacks for the effects loops, an aux-in port, a USB port for software updates and downloading new patches, a line out jack, a phones/recording output jack, and two footswitch inputs: one for the GA-FC foot controller, and one for channel selection/expression pedal control.

Connectivity: Boss Katana Artist

The Katana Artist has all of the same I/O, but with a few extra tricks up its sleeve.

The first is a MIDI input port so you can connect a MIDI device to control changes to the Katana Artist.

The second is a set of speaker outputs so you can use the amp with an external cabinet.

Connectivity: Bottom Line

Both amps do a great job on the connectivity front, but the Katana Artist does offer a couple of things over and above the 100, so it wins this round.

Connectivity Winner: Boss Katana Artist

6. Cabinet: Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist

Cabinet: Boss Katana 100

The Katana 100 is a solidly-built amp with a strong cabinet that offers a nice resonance and is well-tuned to match the speaker.

It’s an open-back design, meaning the amp really breathes with clean and crunch tones, though it can be a little lacking in the low-end with heavily distorted tones, simply due to the nature of the cabinet design.

Cabinet: Boss Katana Artist

The Artist has a bigger cabinet than the 100, giving it a slightly meatier tone and a bigger bass response.

It doesn’t go all the way to an open-back design, either, opting instead for a semi-open design that still allows the speaker to breathe, but improves the low-end resonance.

This makes the Artist a better choice for modern metal players who will be using the amp to create high-gain tones.

Cabinet: Bottom Line

In my opinion, the Katana Artist has the better cabinet design overall, though it’s fair to say that there is an element of personal taste to be considered here.

Cabinet Winner: Boss Katana Artist

7. Ergonomics: Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist

Ergonomics: Boss Katana 100

One thing you’ll notice about the Katana 100 is that the amp controls are on the top of the cabinet, like a Vox amp.

This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, it’s really a preference, but it’s something worth considering. It makes it easier to access when the amp is on the ground, but harder when it’s on top of something else.

Ergonomics: Boss Katana Artist

The Artist, on the other hand, has its controls on the front panel, like a Marshall.

These tend to be difficult to access when the amp is on the floor, but much more ergonomic when the amp is stacked up on another speaker cabinet as it often will be in a live context.

Ergonomics: Bottom Line

This one is a tie, as it really comes down to a point of preference.

Both amps also have a built-in kickstand, which allows you to angle the speaker up when it’s on the ground, which is great for buskers or bedroom performers.

Ergonomics Winner: Tie

8. Price & Value For Money: Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist

Price & Value For Money: Boss Katana 100

You’ll pay around $370 for the Katana 100, which is about half the price of a tube Marshall combo, despite the Katana gifting you 5 different amp models.

So yeah, pretty great value for money if you ask me.

Price & Value For Money: Boss Katana Artist

The Artist is the flagship model of the Katana range, and packs in a few extra features (plus that Waza speaker), so it’s unsurprising that this model costs a little more, coming in at closer to $600.

Price & Value For Money: Bottom Line

Considering the price difference between these two models, I’d suggest that the Katana 100 represents better value for money, as it’s not too far off the Artist in terms of sound and functionality but is nearly half the price.

Price & Value For Money Winner: Boss Katana 100

9. Pros & Cons: Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist

Boss Katana 100 Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • An insane number of built-in effects
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • No MIDI input

Boss Katana Artist Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Waza speaker
  • MIDI input
  • An insane number of built-in effects
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons:

  • A bit on the expensive side compared to the other Katana amps

Conclusion & Takeaway

To summarize our findings in this Boss Katana 100 vs Boss Katana Artist comparison, here are the winners for each category:

  • Tones – Tie
  • Speaker – Boss Katana Artist
  • Size & Weight – Boss Katana 100
  • Effects – Tie
  • Connectivity – Boss Katana Artist
  • Cabinet – Boss Katana Artist
  • Ergonomics – Tie
  • Price & Value For Money – Boss Katana 100

Overall: Boss Katana Artist

Side by side, the Katana Artist is definitely the ‘better’ amp.

It does everything that the 100 does, but has a better speaker, larger, more responsive cabinet, and a few extras in the connectivity department.

If money is no object, then get the Boss Katana Artist.

If, however, you’re looking to maximize the value you get for your dollar, then I’d say the Boss Katana 100 is a better value proposition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5GnxgaBxZA 

Product Links:

Boss Katana 100

https://www.amazon.com/BOSS-Katana-Guitar-Amplifier-Black/dp/B01M0SRCNC 

Boss Katana Artist

https://www.amazon.com/Boss-Katana-Artist-100-watt-Combo/dp/B085392J48 

Products Comparison Table:

Spec / Feature

Boss Katana Artist

Boss Katana 100

Rated Power Output

100 W

100w

Nominal Input Level

INPUT: -10 dBu (1 M ohm)

AUX IN: -10 dBu (20 k ohms)

RETURN IN: -10 dBu (100 k ohm)

INPUT: -10 dBu (1 M ohm)

AUX IN: -10 dBu (20 k ohms)

RETURN IN: -10 dBu (100 k ohm)

Speaker

30 cm (12 inches) x 1

30 cm (12 inches) x 1

Controls

POWER switch

MASTER knob

PRESENCE knob

POWER CONTROL switch (STANDBY, 0.5 W, 50 W, 100 W)

CABINET RESONANCE switch (VINTAGE, MODERN, DEEP)

LINE OUT AIR FEEL switch (REC, LIVE, BLEND)

[AMPLIFIER]

AMP TYPE knob (ACOUSTIC, CLEAN, CRUNCH, LEAD, BROWN)

GAIN knob

VOLUME knob

[EQUALIZER]

BASS knob

MIDDLE knob

TREBLE knob

[MULTI EFFECT]

BOOSTER/MOD button

DELAY/FX button

REVERB button

TAP button

BOOSTER/MOD knob

DELAY/FX knob

REVERB knob

[TONE SETTING]

BANK button

CH1 button

CH2 button

CH3 button

CH4 button

PANEL button

POWER switch

MASTER knob

PRESENCE knob

POWER CONTROL switch (STANDBY, 0.5 W, 50 W, 100 W)

[AMPLIFIER]

AMP TYPE knob (ACOUSTIC, CLEAN, CRUNCH, LEAD, BROWN)

GAIN knob

VOLUME knob

[EQUALIZER]

BASS knob

MIDDLE knob

TREBLE knob

[MULTI EFFECT]

BOOSTER/MOD button

DELAY/FX button

REVERB button

TAP button

BOOSTER/MOD knob

DELAY/FX knob

REVERB knob

[TONE SETTING]

CH1 button

CH2 button

CH3 button

CH4 button

PANEL button

Indicators

ACOUSTIC

CLEAN

CRUNCH

LEAD

BROWN

BOOSTER/MOD

DELAY/FX

REVERB

TAP

CH1

CH2

CH3

CH4

PANEL

ACOUSTIC

CLEAN

CRUNCH

LEAD

BROWN

BOOSTER/MOD

DELAY/FX

REVERB

TAP

CH1

CH2

CH3

CH4

PANEL

Connectors

INPUT jack: 1/4-inch phone type

AUX IN jack: Stereo miniature phone type

REC OUT/PHONES jack: Stereo 1/4-inch phone type

SEND jack: 1/4-inch phone type

RETURN jack: 1/4-inch phone type

LINE OUT jack: 1/4-inch phone type

SPEAKER OUT 16 ohms A jack: 1/4-inch phone type

SPEAKER OUT 16 ohms B jack: 1/4-inch phone type

SPEAKER OUT 8 ohms jack: 1/4-inch phone type

EXP PEDAL/CTL CH1/CH2 jack: 1/4-inch TRS phone type

GA-FC jack: 1/4-inch TRS phone type

MIDI IN connector

USB port: USB B type

AC IN jack

INPUT jack: 1/4-inch phone type

AUX IN jack: Stereo miniature phone type

REC OUT/PHONES jack: Stereo 1/4-inch phone type

SEND jack: 1/4-inch phone type

RETURN jack: 1/4-inch phone type

LINE OUT jack: 1/4-inch phone type

EXP PEDAL/CTL CH1/CH2 jack: 1/4-inch TRS phone type

GA-FC jack: 1/4-inch TRS phone type

USB port: USB B type

AC IN jack

Power Consumption

77w

77w

Accessories

Owner’s manual

Power cord

GA-FC sticker

Owner’s manual

Power cord

GA-FC sticker

Options (sold separately)

Footswitch: BOSS FS-5L, BOSS FS-6, BOSS FS-7

Expression pedal: Roland EV-5, BOSS EV-30, FV-500L, BOSS FV-500H

GA FOOT CONTROLLER (GA-FC)

Footswitch: BOSS FS-5L

Expression pedal: Roland EV-5, BOSS FV-500L, BOSS FV-500H

GA FOOT CONTROLLER (GA-FC)

Width

630 mm

24-13/16 inches

530 mm

20-7/8 inches

Depth

248 mm

9-13/16 inches

248 mm

9-13/16 inches

Height

515 mm

20-5/16 inches

484 mm

17-1/2 inches

Weight

19 kg

41 lbs 15 oz

14.8 kg

32 lbs 11 oz