I may revise this later as more details and testing continues
I only have access to a Catalyst 200
Purchased open box from Sam Ash
I suspect prior owner felt the rotary Amp select switch was prone to random behavior. specifically at the change between CHIME and CRUNCH amp models
Since I had the Amp Chassis out. A small spritz of Caig DeOxit on the Encoder area where its contacts emerge on the side of the problem Amp Type Rotary Encoder solved that issue
I took the amp apart , and discovered a high reliable Main PCB, With Dual 100 watt @ 4 ohm Mono Class D Power Amps. Good Cirrus CS4272 24 bit codecs using 2 A/D's per signal input (Guitar In, FX Return ) for maximum dynamic range.
Stereo signal fed in into the TRS Aux Input appears in summed Mono to the internal Speakers. While stereo Aux signal can be monitored in Stereo via the TRS Headphone output. I expect Stereo USB Playback Audio to be able to be monitored in Stereo via Headphone Out as well.
The internal Catalyst Guitar processing and FX are Mono only
Using the LFS2 latching footswitch , there is a short gap of silence on Amp A/B channel selection change.
I'm glad I got the 200 , because the amp is voiced on the darker side - sounds of Bill Frizzel. Or Mark Knopfler "Shangri-La" era are easy and apparent- which is a great tone when playing lower volumes in smaller rooms without ice pick treble bleed.
A rookie who A/B tests Catalyst vs Katana may prefer the Katana 100. KATANA has as a higher piercing treble and perhaps is capable of a bit higher decibel output.
But I'm enjoying the polished tones emerging from Catalyst vs the Katana which often becomes a treble spike ear bleed without taming Katanas global EQ.
To be continued
Remember Catalyst has far fewer FX resources, vs Mustang GTX
Catalyst channel switching is sluggish with a noticeable mute
For professional use Catalyst is suited more for owners of Helix, Headrush, Kemper, Fractal, and want a guitar speaker power cab. With emergency fall back mode using Catalyst standalone. And work guitar Vol/Tone controls for Rhythm/Solo-old school
I figure a novice at guitar center may walk out with a Katana
While mature folks with older ears , and no desire for an ice pick in the ear amp experience will prefer a Quilter, then a Catalyst.
The Catalyst tones are nice. And suitable if you are only guitarist on the stage
But may get destroyed if your other guitarist has a genuine tube amp
But at majority of my live gigs , folks under age 45 vehemently hate loud live non master volume tube guitar amps.
While Bass can play at 2000 watts and 120 dB
If I showed up with my Vox AC30 and played it at the decibel levels it sounds best, I'd never get rehired by the venues I play.
Instead the trick is using gear that gets great dynamic sound of a record , but live real time at lower volumes - and that's where Catalyst shines and delivers that experience.
Using Catalyst Editor (iPad)
OK, let's go Surfin
These settings were worth the purchase price for me - I could leave it here and play many surfing hits , just toggle tremolo on off
This is the Tone , and Catalyst gets very close, with more dynamic range than Mustang GTX
Just palm mute on my Jazz Master delivers very close to this with dripping spring reverb
Observe Global Settings panel above.
The FX Loop is unity gain , with a straight patch cable connected from FX Send to FX Return ,
When FX Loop is set to Power amp input and Loop is Engaged in the System settings there is a -6 dB signal loss
Line-6 probably designed the FX Loop / Power Amp Return with a Pad in this manner to accommodate higher output levels from external MFX outputs levels.
FSW2 Footswitch Assignment Options
Today I'm able to open it up and play loud,
Using the editor and adjusting BIAS finding many great tones
One example is with the Boutique Amp and Ducking Delay and a bit of Ganymede Reverb
Catalyst has ability to clean to mean just using guitar Volume control
Very happy with its ability to drip Reverb surf tones too
And any Joe Bonamassa / Zeppelin record tones too just using built in FX
And lower the gain on the High Gain amp I was getting near Sonny Landreth tones.
Catalyst -Internal Views
Catalyst User Reviews