How To Get The Most Out Of Your Katana Amp Using BOSS Tone Studio & Footswitches
We love the BOSS Katana amps and there are three pretty solid reasons we recommend them:
- Unlike with many electric guitar amps, the Katanas' acoustic preamp setting allows them to sound great with violins, violas and cellos
- They are extremely affordable for their wattage, huge speaker size and expansive feature sets
- They include a powerful suite of editable digital effects!
The first two are pretty self explanatory. If you're in the market for a gig-worthy amp under $200 then the Katana 50 is simply unbeatable; if you need 100 watts of power for larger venues or to compete with your bandmates and cut through the mix, then the Katana 100 is just a ridiculous value at well under $400!
While it's clear the Katanas would be winners even without them, the onboard effects push these amps over the top, allowing you to perform with a full palette of effects using only your instrument and amp--no expensive pedal board required.
The free BOSS Tone Studio software lets you edit effects and load them into your Katana amp. And although you can switch between effects by turning knobs and clicking channel buttons on the amp panel, you don't want to have to set your bow down and tweak settings in the middle of a song! That's where BOSS's FS-5L and GA-FC foot controls come in to turn the Katana amps into viable live effects processors. Read on to learn how it works and which one you need with your Katana 50 or Katana 100 amp.
BOSS Tone Studio software
Tone Studio is a free download from the BOSS website. Connecting the Katana amp to BOSS Tone Studio via USB provides access to 55 effects that are fully customizable for your needs. Going beyond standard distortion, delay, and reverb, the selection also includes powerful tone shapers like pitch shifting, ring modulation, slicer, and more.
You can load 15 different effects in the amp at one time and use up to three simultaneously. Two tone settings let you store custom amp and effects setups for instant recall, and you can always jump to the current panel settings at the touch of a button. It's also possible to connect optional foot switches and expression pedals for hands-free control on the gig (more on this below).
Optional Footswitches and Expression Pedals
To be able to access your preloaded effects channels during a performance you're going to need a handsfree way to change amps settings. Enter external foot controls...
The FS-5L is a latching style foot switch that is compatible with either the Katana 50 or Katana 100 amp. It is the smallest and most cost-effective way to make either Katana amp switch between effects channels during performance. Simply connect the FS-5L to the 'SEL CH1/CH2' input on the back of the amp and you will be able to cycle through the channels (two channels on the Katana 50 or four channels on the Katana 100), which contain your pre-loaded effects settings.
Full disclosure: using the FS-5L in to switch Katana effects channels doesn't really replace the experience and flexibility of using a pro-level multi-effects processor fully customized pedal board, but it does make the Katana a viable effects machine for performers who rely on only a few tones in their performance and don't want or need the bulk, hassle and expense of more elaborate effects solutions.
Now, if you're really serious about creating a more pedal board-like effects interface for your Katana without investing in expensive multi-effects processors or individual stomp box effects, then combine the Katana 100 with the powerful BOSS GA-FC.*
(*The GA-FC is compatible only with the Katana 100-series amps, and not the Katana 50.)
The GA-FC is BOSS's pre-existing multi-function foot controller, but its design predates the release of the Katana 100. Therefore, BOSS includes a decal label with the Katana 100, which you can stick onto the GA-FC so that its buttons are labelled with the functions they perform when used with the Katana 100.
The GA-FC can be used in two modes: Channel or Effects.
In Channel mode, each button is assigned to a corresponding effects channel on the amplifier. For instance, press Channel 2 to select whichever tone you have loaded into Channel 2 on the amp. Pretty simple, right?
Effects mode changes the function of the GA-FC buttons to individual effects on/off controls. This means that you have dedicated foot switches for turning the Booster/Mod, Delay/FX, Reverb, and Looper functions on or off. Off course, this means you can also combine any two or three effects at once. Play with delay on, play with distortion on, or play with delay AND distortion on together! You also have a dedicated tap tempo button for setting the delay tempo.
The following BOSS/Roland expression pedals are compatible with both the Katana 50 and 100 amps: Roland EV-5, BOSS FV-500L, BOSS FV-500H
Adding an expression pedal allows you to control volume, Wah or other effects parameters, depending on how you set up your effects in the Tone Studio software. Note that while an expression pedal can be used with the FS-5L on the Katana 50 (separate inputs) it can only be used in conjunction with the GA-FC on the Katana 100, as the expression pedal/FS-5L share an input on the back of the amp.
As you can see, with the right accessories and a willingness to experiment in the Tone Studio software the Katanas are more than just affordable, great sounding, powerful combo amps--they can function as a player's entire performance rig! We find this very exciting, as it brings a higher level of performance to musicians on tighter budgets without demanding a sacrifice in quality.
Look for Katana amps and foot controllers as options in our instrument packages and be sure to add a compatible BOSS foot controller to your Katana amp purchase.