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StationGrey

Mk2 vs Katana

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I've been looking to buy a new modelling amp for home use. I have a valve amp and pedalboard of analog affects, but want something simple and easy with as few cables as possible. I want to be able to get as close as possible to my usual sound (valve amp, distortion, compressor, boost, delay, reverb, wah, tremolo) at home volumes, ideally with just one thing plugged into the wall and a single cable running out to a footswitch.

 

I first started reading about the Katana and was all but ready to buy a 100 with the foot switch. Then saw related videos about the Spider V. Now, I've read up a lot now and realise that the V has not had the best reception and, without having played either yet, would imagine that most people would favour the Katana in terms of tone/effects quality.

 

But... I'm curious to know how much the Mk2 software has improved things. There's no substitute for trying them both and I intend to, but if anyone has any experience in the meantime I'd love to hear. For me, the Spider has features I'd like - the better footswitch with integrated expression pedal (for wah), the wireless functionality, the looper. Drums and metronome less so, but still bonuses. All good for home practice.

 

To add the wah and looper to the Katana is just more cables and I'm trying to reduce them. So I want to like the Spider...

 

So, with the MK2 upgrade, has it closed the gap on the Katana? Or do you think it was only ever an issue with presets and it was always as good when edited properly? If anyone's done a direct comparison, which I'm yet to find anywhere in internetland, then that would be aces.

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From "my opinion" the perspective of the new MKII 2.00 firmware, which can be added to the older Spider V models as a free upgrade that makes the new amp release a cosmetic change, it's a pretty big change.    

 

Yes, the presets were the problem with the Spider V through versions of 1.05 of the firmware.   You were always stuck with the full FRFR configuration and one had to use the parametric EQ (PEQ) to try and adjust for it and it had to be tweeked at every venue.  This is part of the reason it wasn't well received, not as consistent in tonal response from venue to venue or from practice to gig.   Those that became expert in handling the changes from one location to the next always had excellent results.    Playing the precanned presets however resulted in frustration for many in gigging if not adjusted in any way.   

 

The greatest change with the firmware upgrade is the new "classic" speaker mode, meaning the high frequency horn is not used for a full FRFR and makes it just the primary driver (12" on my 120) and gives you the traditional tone players may prefer.  It's easy enough for the player to change a preset or create their own that also uses the FRFR configuration which is fantastic when one want's to use an acoustic guitar with all of it's range of tone.   Classic mode also means that the primary driver, which isn't as narrowly focused as the horn, has greater flexibility in consistent tone from venue to venue without having to tweek it much before hand.

 

That right there is one of the different factors between a Katana and a Spider V with the 2.00 firmware or a MKII amp.    The Katana is permanently "stuck" in classic mode as there is no FRFR configuration.   From that perspective, the ability to now use "classic", the Spider V with 2.00 firmware or MKII is also able to provide a "like" tone in that you are not stuck with FRFR.    A Spider V 120 or Spider V 120 MKII with it's 12" driver (besides the FRFR horn) is a close match to the Katana 100 with it's 12" driver in my opinion.

 

Chad Garber had several head to head video's that showed the Spider V favorably, and this is before the 2.00 firmware and MKII release.    It's only much better since.    It would be interesting if Chad goes back and does a repeat with the 2.00 firmware.   https://www.youtube.com/user/chadgarber

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Trying not to speak from my Line 6 fanboy perspective, lol, but I personally never understood the appeal of the Katana. I spent a while playing one at GC (which I know isn't always the best measure), and it seemed to be nothing special to me. I disliked the fact that they use hidden "sneaky" amps that can only be accessed by the editor, and I thought it was weird that there was no way to no which exact type of effects was saved in the effects slots. For example, there's no visual cues to tell you if you have a tremolo or a chorus assigned to the modulation knob.

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Just to state, perhaps I was considering myself as one of the "experts" in adjustments as I've had fantastic results and always been very happy.   The rest of those gigging with me have also agreed.   Do have to say that the excellent video tutorials that were created on PEQ made a significant improvement to my understanding on how to adjust those for best results.

 

Line 6's update to the Spider V with the 2.00 firmware cannot be understated, it's quite amazing!   The fact that the earlier V's can be upgraded for the same feature set as the new MKII has turned me into a serious long term Line 6 customer.    Way to go! 

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Great, thank you. 

 

I guess I should try them but this does give me hope that the V might be the way to go. 

 

The Mk1 models are now well discounted so it's a good time to buy and do the upgrade. 

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The Kanata seems limited and lacking diversity. I have my 240HC stereo head running through my 1960AV and it sounds amazing. The cleans and acoustics with the 240HC far exceed what the Kanata can bring to the table. 

 

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I looked long and hard at the Katana and really wanted to like it but every time I played one I just didn't get it.  Now, I play at home for me so maybe that makes a difference but I thought the Spider was more capable of sounding like I wanted it to.  And I love it.  And I haven't upgraded to the new version yet.  A lot of people love those Katanas and maybe they make more sense as a live amp.  They always sounded thin or at least missing that thick bass presence but that may be a good thing for playing live and sitting in a mix.  For home use the Spider is far better to me. 

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12 hours ago, StationGrey said:

I've been looking to buy a new modelling amp for home use. I have a valve amp and pedalboard of analog affects, but want something simple and easy with as few cables as possible. I want to be able to get as close as possible to my usual sound (valve amp, distortion, compressor, boost, delay, reverb, wah, tremolo) at home volumes, ideally with just one thing plugged into the wall and a single cable running out to a footswitch.

 

To me the only advantage of the Katana (100 and up) over Spider V is the FX Loop present in the Boss, other than that I was not impressed with the Katana Series sound, specially distortions and high gain approaches. In the Spider V MKV1 (firmware 1.05), high gain and distortions are not so great but they a more customizable (Change Cabs, mics, post-amp EQ), and there are more possibilities for getting a good usable tone. It takes more time, but to my ears, Spider V sounds better than Katana (I prefer the SpiderV Delays over the Katana ones for instance).

However, to be honest, the best high gain sound I've heard in a practice amp is the Yamaha THR10x, every model sounds really great and is easy and quick to dial a good tone. I have one of those green boxes since 2014 and still sounds great when I record metal covers.

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16 hours ago, StationGrey said:

Great, thank you. 

 

I guess I should try them but this does give me hope that the V might be the way to go. 

 

The Mk1 models are now well discounted so it's a good time to buy and do the upgrade. 

 

Exactly! It's a great time to buy a Mk I. 

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I found the Katana 100 to sound bass light and shut in on the standard amp settings, had to use the "Sneaky" amps and the app to get a more open deep sound from it and even then it sounded "Taped", I can`t believe how highly overrated this amp is .  ...... I`d rate the SP-V 120 a lot higher , but of course only with your own patches,  not the awful presets 

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11 hours ago, Adam_T said:

I found the Katana 100 to sound bass light and shut in on the standard amp settings, had to use the "Sneaky" amps and the app to get a more open deep sound from it and even then it sounded "Taped", I can`t believe how highly overrated this amp is .  ...... I`d rate the SP-V 120 a lot higher , but of course only with your own patches,  not the awful presets 

Thanks.

 

Could be a question for another post, but is there any benefit of the 120 over the 60, aside from volume?

 

I'm looking for something purely for home use I think, so looking towards something that'll sound good at low volumes. I'd have looked at the 20 even but want all the features that only start with the 60 so that's what I've been aiming for. From what I know, the only additional 'feature' of the 120 is XLR outputs, but assuming the bigger speaker and wattage makes it better for gigging.

 

Is it worth looking at instead of a 60 for home use? I'd be paying more and taking up more room...

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the 120 has a decent sized speaker in (12")  , there isnt an open back like the old spiders and the likes of the Katana so you need all the speaker real estate you can get ... EG:- the diffrence between the 120 and the 2X12 equipped 240 is far more again , more than you`d expect and sounds about 3X the size  .. 

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6 hours ago, StationGrey said:

Thanks.

 

Could be a question for another post, but is there any benefit of the 120 over the 60, aside from volume?

 

I'm looking for something purely for home use I think, so looking towards something that'll sound good at low volumes. I'd have looked at the 20 even but want all the features that only start with the 60 so that's what I've been aiming for. From what I know, the only additional 'feature' of the 120 is XLR outputs, but assuming the bigger speaker and wattage makes it better for gigging.

 

Is it worth looking at instead of a 60 for home use? I'd be paying more and taking up more room...

I've got both of them the 60 at my working desk and yje 120 in my living room both with the fbv 3 pedal. I'm very happy with both of them sound simular but 120 more power. Like the master volume to play with all the settings at lower volume. Nice to crank it up sometimes. 

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19 hours ago, Bert_Peters said:

I've got both of them the 60 at my working desk and yje 120 in my living room both with the fbv 3 pedal. I'm very happy with both of them sound simular but 120 more power. Like the master volume to play with all the settings at lower volume. Nice to crank it up sometimes. 

Cool, cheers!

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On 8/1/2019 at 8:39 AM, Bert_Peters said:

I've got both of them the 60 at my working desk and yje 120 in my living room both with the fbv 3 pedal. I'm very happy with both of them sound simular but 120 more power. Like the master volume to play with all the settings at lower volume. Nice to crank it up sometimes. 

As mentioned earlier, the big advantage of the 120 over the 60 is the XLR outputs. No matter how/good bad the sound from the speaker is, it always sounds good when you run it directly into the PA system. I use the 60 for home use and rehearsals (mainly because it's lighter) but only use the 120 when performing live. If I was only playing at home, I'd stick with the 60.  

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Well, my brand new V 60w Mk1 arrived!

 

Had a quick play through the presets then did the update to v2. That went completely smoothly, took about 5 minutes, it restarted and now successfully on v2 and sounding better.

 

BUT... assume there's some bug with 2.0.0 as it freezes whenever I try to change the effect settings on the amp. As soon I touch any of the knobs on FX setting, the correct settings show up and then lock. None of the buttons have any effect and although it continues to play, I can't change anything, even master volume. Only way round it is to switch off/on, and make sure I don't touch the FX settings.

 

I did realise that it's not affected by the app, so I have been able to mess around a bit and save some presets to my liking, but it's clearly a bit screwed. Didn't see any other threads about this, am I the only one?

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my 240 was getting "stuck" in Classic speaker mode , even patches which didn`t have it and the display was set to Full range were sounding off in Classic mode and switching back and forth only altered the display, the amp sounded the same .. it was random whether it did it and after a while it cleared itself .. tried a hard reset and reinstalling my patches and even reinstalling V2 to no avail ............ in the end I reinstalled 1.05 , did a hard reset and my patches back in  all is well (with no classic speaker mode though) ....... classic speaker mode was good but i`d got adept at programming the Post EQ for excellent tone , I`ll re-do V2 when they fix it 

 

I didn`t try altering any FX 

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