BOSS Katana GO Review: The Best Practice Tool?

BOSS Katana GO Review: The Best Practice Tool?
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The BOSS Katana GO just hit the market, and we have a lot to talk about. Can a portable version of the best-selling guitar amp meet our standards?

ELECTRIKJAM’s #1 Pick for Headphone Amps

The Katana GO

The epic best-selling amp is now available in a portable headphone amp, where you can upload all of your favorite Katana Tones. Practice quietly along with backing tracks, using your favorite BOSS tones and effects!

chris horton

I love my BOSS Katana amplifier, and I use it daily. This smaller, portable version is perfect for nighttime jams, and it is the perfect practice tool.

— Chris Horton, ELECTRIKJAM

BOSS Katana GO Review

Quality & Feel






Best For

Guitar/Bass Practice



The Katana GO: A Rich Legacy

The BOSS Katana is one of the best-selling guitar amps of all time. Everyone from beginners to seasoned pros have become fans of the Katana, and it is easy to see why!

The most common mistake I see when it comes to describing the Katana, is that it is a modeling amp. This could not be further from the truth, but I can see why people would think that. The Katana is not a modeler at all.

The BOSS Katana is clever, since it is a solid state amp with a class A/B power section. The effects are all digital, but the amp itself is a tried and true solid state design. It was modeled after the famous Roland CUBE amps, which BOSS also makes.

This is why you see so many Katana amps on stages everywhere. The class A/B power section pushes the midrange in a mix, making this a perfect amp for a band setting. This is where other amps of this ilk usually fail, on stage in a band situation.

But the Katana has also proven useful in the studio! You can record guitar via USB, the line out jack, or by using a mic to capture the sound. Personally, I use all three of these options and I have never heard better feedback from my listeners.

However, practicing guitar with my Katana is usually a loud affair. This is not a problem when I am in the studio where you see me film videos. But it is definitely a problem at home, since it is an amp made for the stage and studio.

But what if I could shrink down my favorite amp, without losing any of the features that I need? What if I could just put it in my pocket, without compromising my favorite preset tones?

While the new Katana GO would not be a good idea for the stage, it tackles a totally different audience of guitarists. The Katana GO is not trying to be like its bigger brothers at all.

This is a headphone amp, made for guitarists that are already familiar with the Katana series and the BOSS ecosystem. With all of the features of the amplifier range in a tiny package, this might be the best practice tool you can buy.

Today we are going to look at all of the details that make the Katana GO my new favorite device for practicing guitar, as well as take a look at the features.

Features & Specs

Katana GO

The Katana GO could not be easier to set up out of the box, and the Tone Studio App will be very familiar to anyone that owns a Katana. This may be a stripped-down version, but the layout is all the same. The app can be used with tablets, computers, or smartphones.

In fact, if you already have some tones saved in Tone Studio for your Katana amp, you can just download them to the GO device. You can access these with the app, by the physical buttons on the unit, or the optional footswitch (more on that later).

BOSS really thought of everything, and the quality of the unit is solid for such a budget-friendly price. Let’s look at all of the features that BOSS offers with the new Katana GO:

  • Personal headphone amp with premium guitar and bass tones from the stage-class Katana amplifiers series
  • LED Screen shows preset information and tuning modules
  • Guitar mode with 10 amp types and over 60 effects
  • Bass mode with three amp types and over 60 effects
  • Stage Feel function provides an immersive headphone experience with advanced BOSS spatial technology
  • 30 user memories in each mode filled with ready-to-play sounds
  • View memory names and the onboard tuner with the OLED display
  • Wirelessly edit sounds and play along with music from your mobile device via Bluetooth
  • Companion BOSS Tone Studio app with powerful tools for sound editing, memory organization, and YouTube practice
  • Download and share Live Sets at BOSS Tone Exchange
  • Supports import of Tone Setting data from Katana guitar and bass amplifiers
  • Rechargeable battery with up to five hours of continuous runtime
  • Record/playback tracks in music production software on a computer or mobile devices via USB-C
  • Wireless external foot control via the optional EV-1-WL Wireless MIDI Expression Pedal and FS-1-WL Wireless Footswitch
  • Optional CB-KTNGO carrying pouch for Katana GO, charging cable, and other accessories

While there are some interesting accessories available at launch, all you need to get started is the GO unit and a good pair of headphones. The presets offer a wealth of tonal options without even using the app!

Detailed Review

Katana Go

First and foremost, I have used my Katana 100w amp for the last two years every single day for either practice, or recording. So I know the Tone Studio and amp sounds very well, and it seems that the Katana GO sounds is directly lifted from the amp itself.

I played around with the settings without loading my personal presets, to get the same experience that a customer would experience. The presets really show off what this unit is capable of, with every guitar tone you could imagine.

You have the same amp choices that the Katana MKII Series offers. Each of the five different amps has the “variation” switch just like the big amps. I love the “Brown” channel with the variation switch, and it is all here in the Katana GO.

The same goes for the effects, and I could not find anything missing from the effects list between the two devices. The GO seems to have all of the same effects, with similar parameters to edit.

So if you love the tones that you get out of your Katana, they are all here in the GO. If that was all this device did, I would be happy with it. But it does so much more!

This might be the best practice tool I have ever used, so let’s just get the praise out of the way. The Katana GO blows away EVERY headphone amp I have tried. Seriously, the rest can all go kick rocks.

The top of the Katana GO has a small LED screen on the top for scrolling through your presets, as well as accessing the tuner. The screen is very bright, and easy to read from any angle when playing your guitar.

I spend a lot of time jamming along to backing tracks, as this is one of the best ways to practice guitar. You choose a key, and a rhythm to play along with, and that’s how I like to practice. Whenever I learn a new scale pattern or lick, I immediately try out that guitar lick with a backing track.

I also like to jam along with some of my favorite songs by other bands. But using a loud amplifier and my studio monitors is currently the only way I can practice with tracks. The Katana GO can be used anywhere in my house, no studio needed!

Warm up by jamming along with songs from your personal music library. Then tap into the “Session” feature in BOSS Tone Studio to hone your chops with YouTube learning content. You can build looped sections, or set up focused lessons. 

The Katana GO has three preset buttons on the side of the unit that you can program. The side buttons also feature a tuner, on/off, Bluetooth function, and “Stage Feel”.

The Stage Feel function is VERY cool, and you need a good pair of headphones to really hear the difference. This feature is meant to be used with backing tracks, and it adds different types of ambience. I honestly felt like I was jamming on stage with the 3D sound!

The Stage Feel feature can be customized as well, changing the position of the guitar on the virtual stage. You can also change the ambient feel of the “band” with backing tracks playing along. Want to feel like you are on stage with a band behind you? You can!

Once I played around with the presets that come along with the unit, I decided to load up my own presets. I was surprised that this worked seamlessly, and all of my personal tones were there.

Bass Functions

The Katana GO is clearly made for guitarists, but it also works with Katana Bass presets. I took up playing bass about 15 years ago, and I have yet to really buy a bass amp that I like.

You will need to reboot the Katana GO to put it into bass mode, but I am happy that I explored this option! There are some really cool sounds here that I have never used.

You have 3 different amp types to choose from, and they are all very good. There is a whole suite of bass-specific effects as well, and it sounds great. The tuner, and preset buttons work the same as with the guitar setting.

I played along with quite a few of my favorite songs, streaming from Bluetooth to the Katana GO. You have the same “Stage Feel” options for bass, just like guitar.

The effects are surprising as well, and there is a lot to unpack if you are a bassist. You have all kinds of effects like reverb, fuzz, octave, and even some cool synth sounds.

Recording & Accessories

The USB-C connection is not just for charging the Katana GO. Surprisingly, this also acts as an interface for recording. This is a wild feature that I did not expect to see on such a small product.

I tried this out, and while it works just as you would expect, you will need a pretty long USB cord. The sound quality is amazing, and it sounds almost exactly the same as my Katana amplifier when recording via USB.

This might be the only gripe I really have with the Katana GO. It just feels a little weird, and the USB cable can easily slip out. However, this would be a great way to record yourself practicing!

The accessories are also a minor gripe. Why do I need a foot switch for a headphone amp? Or an expression pedal that costs almost the same as the GO unit itself?

I like the carrying case option, but I really don’t get the pedals for the Katana GO. This is not meant to replace my actual amplifier, this is just as practice tool, and the peripherals seems superfluous to me. But maybe you will like them?

Battery Life & Wrapping Up…

Katana GO

At full charge the Katana GO worked for me for 4 hours or so, and that was using the app and Bluetooth features heavily. It took about 3 hours to charge it back to 100% charge. That is pretty impressive!

So what are my final thoughts? I think the Katana GO is the absolute best headphone amp you can buy for a reasonable price. The BOSS WAZA headphone amp is the crown jewel, but it costs much more than the GO, and actually shares a lot of the same features.

BOSS has really carved a new niche for guitarists that want tonal options on a budget with the Katana. People often scoff at my Katana amp and budget pedalboard, but they change their minds once I start playing.

I am very excited for what BOSS has in store for the future. The Katana GO was carefully made and designed, and it took some time to make it perfect. BOSS apparently worked on the GO for years, and it shows!

Look, I cannot think of another product like the Katana GO. There are plenty of headphone amps out there, with similar features. But none of those come close to The GO.

This little headphone amp is going to completely restructure my practice routine, in a very positive way. I love the idea of being able to practice and jam wherever I want, without bothering anyone else in my house. I am no longer limited to my studio.

While the recording function seems a little limited to me, maybe it is exactly what you are looking for to record your practice sessions to your computer. Listening to yourself play is the best way to become a better player.

I rarely dish out 5 star reviews to products, as there is almost always one or two aspects that turns me off. The GO is close to being perfect, and it solves the issues I had with the Mustang Micro and other headphone amps.

The Katana GO is going to sell like hotcakes, so if you want one, get it! I imagine retailers are just now getting these in stock, and they are going to go FAST at this price. If you want one, now is the time to get it!

BOSS Katana GO

The Boss KATANA:GO personal headphone guitar amplifier puts studio-quality guitar tones in your pocket. Designed for developing and professional players alike, this ultra-portable amplifier delivers authentic sounds from BOSS’s best-selling Katana series through your headphones. With advanced spatial technology, it provides an immersive 3D playing experience so you’ll feel like you’re on stage.


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