Games

Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 Gaming Soundbar Review

Inventive’s Sound Blaster Katana V2 has been a very long time coming, nevertheless it’s been well worth the wait. The V1, launched in late 2016, has lengthy been thought to be among the best soundbars avid gamers can purchase.  The V2 cranks the dial with 68% extra energy, improved sound high quality, and a bevy of high quality of life enhancements that push the Katana into the following technology, even should you’re a console gamer. At $329, it’s not simply among the best soundbars for gaming, it’s among the best soundbars for the value, interval. 

Specs

Inventive Sound Blaster Katana V2 – Overview and Key Options (What’s New?)

Through the years, I’ve made no secret about my fondness for the unique Katana. Like many readers at the moment, I had by no means used a soundbar with my PC and was blown away. The sound was huge, detailed, virtually vertical at occasions; it was higher than it had any proper to be with its compact dimension and worth level. Since that point, I’ve reviewed a number of audio gear, together with gaming speaker units, however nothing was ever capable of dethrone the Katana. 

Till now, with the Katana V2.

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In some ways, the Katana V2 is strictly what you’d hope from a second-generation product. Inventive has made significant modifications however has taken nothing from the unique design that made it nice. As an alternative, the V2 is a refinement that components in 4 years of person suggestions. It incorporates the developments the model has made in spatial audio with its SXFI tech, and improves the extent of element and determination in complete. What’s extra, Inventive has added options to make this a greater soundbar for console avid gamers, and given the options and efficiency it presents, it’s frankly an excellent worth for a compact TV soundbar too.

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Like final time, the Katana V2 is a compact soundbar designed to take a seat beneath a monitor. It options the identical 23.6-inch size and a pair of.4-inch width, however is barely taller at 3.7-inches versus last-gen’s 3.1. That is to accommodate the up to date driver system and acoustic objectives of the soundbar however may make it more durable to slip below some screens. To deal with this, Inventive designed the Katana V2 to angle backward so it’s tallest on the entrance. Relying on the peak of your monitor, it could nonetheless stick out considerably, however I used to be capable of slide it again far sufficient to look good and never take up pointless additional area.

The Katana V2 contains a six-driver array and a strong subwoofer. Just like the V1, it’s powered by Inventive’s tri-amplified design, permitting a fancy sign processor to individually energy every driver to supply the absolute best sound at any given time. The motive force system has been up to date with new drivers to reinforce readability and element, nevertheless. The tweeters, particularly, have obtained an improve and now use aluminum domes for improved rigidity. This improves their pace and reduces the chance of distortion, significantly in busy sections of video games, films, or music.

The subwoofer has additionally been given an improve. It’s now, greater, louder, and extra constant. One of many items of suggestions that Inventive obtained on the V1 was that the subwoofer didn’t scale right down to decrease volumes properly. That has been addressed on this model whereas concurrently making it bigger. The subwoofer can get reasonably louder however extra necessary is the consistency of its efficiency from low to excessive volumes. The efficiency increase is instantly noticeable in a side-by-side comparability and even outperforms some bigger TV subwoofers I’ve examined. 

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In comparison with final technology, your complete system is extra highly effective. The V1 featured 75 watts of RMS energy whereas the V2 ups that to 126 watts. In observe, this isn’t a dramatic quantity increase however lends the system sufficient headroom that it might ship improved punch and slam, which is particularly necessary for gunshots and explosions. It’s most evident within the peaks the place that additional energy is required most. 

One other set of updates is available in with connectivity. Like final time, the Katana helps optical, USB, and auxiliary audio connections, however Bluetooth has been up to date to the newest 5.2 codec for improved stability and diminished latency. This model additionally helps HDMI ARC, so can join on to a TV and be managed by your current distant (although the one included right here is far larger high quality than final time). 

This characteristic alone makes it a compelling possibility for console avid gamers. Although it’s nonetheless a “PC first” gadget, I examined it with each current-gen consoles and had a beautiful expertise. Don’t let the compact dimension idiot you, this soundbar is ready to ship a robust wall of sound that’s greater than you’d anticipate from a tool this small. 

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Although it’d seem to be a small factor, probably the most iconic features of the unique Katana was its RGB underglow. The sunshine present makes its return and is simply as customizable as ever, however as a substitute of being based mostly round reflection this time (the unique LEDs fired down towards the desk), the V2 makes use of a diffusion strip. In talking with Inventive, they discovered that customers with dark-hued or black desks couldn’t see the RGB lighting properly on the unique. This answer nonetheless permits for reflection on surfaces that permit it however is extra vibrant, seen, and properly blended than earlier than whereas additionally utilizing much less energy. 

The V2 additionally packs two different cool options. Should you wish to recreation at evening, you possibly can simply plug in a headset. The place the V1 required you to plug the headset into the rear IO panel, the V2 has a jack proper on the faceplate — simply watch out to not miss and scratch its shiny floor. Utilizing the headset additionally means that you can allow SXFI, Inventive’s in-house spatial audio answer, so you do not have to sacrifice on atmospheric audio simply since you swap to headphones.

It additionally helps contains a built-in mic, which I believed was unusual at first. A mic on a speaker that’s actively placing out audio? Surprisingly, it’s not horrible. Inventive has applied echo cancellation which helps remove suggestions. I wouldn’t use it whereas really gaming (a separate mic is leagues higher) however for informal chatting or taking a Zoom assembly, it’s not half unhealthy! That is whereas on a desk, nevertheless. Should you’re sitting again on a sofa, the vocal high quality is expectedly a lot much less. 

Inventive Sound Blaster Katana V2 – Customization and Efficiency

One of many highlights of the Katana V2 is simply how customizable it’s. It contains a number of preset modes for several types of content material, from music, to films, and video games. Every of those applies its personal EQ tuning to emphasise what’s most necessary and expertise a bit little bit of Inventive’s in-house tuning. It’s doable to arrange the soundbar, select a preset and go. The tunings are good, if a bit on the bassy aspect. Doing so could be lacking out on the massive customization potential of the soundbar, nevertheless.

Like most of Inventive’s Sound Blaster gaming merchandise, you possibly can obtain a software program suite that actually means that you can dial within the Katana V2’s sound with customized EQ curves after which save these as a customized preset. You may as well apply results to reinforce the general sound to precisely your style. This does imply that the software program, whereas not required, is extremely, extremely, really useful.

However, how does it sound? I’ve stated it earlier than and I’ll say it once more: it is a rattling good soundbar. The sound it delivers is larger and extra spacious than it has any proper to be. It genuinely enhances the gaming expertise and can go away you questioning how a single soundbar can handle to sound so huge and, sure, directional. That is room-filling sound, a lot in order that I doubt anybody will really must push it to its limits in need of a home social gathering.

One of many coolest options it presents is its two gaming-based sound modes: Scout Mode and Battle Mode. For aggressive shooters, Scout Mode can supply a real benefit, tweaking the sound profile to deliver out components like footsteps or teammate callouts. Battle Mode, alternatively, is all about spaciousness, directionality, and distance. It’s a little bit of a mind-twist how the Katana V2 can handle to challenge left, proper, entrance, and again whereas sending all of that sound from a 23-inch area below your monitor, nevertheless it does, and it’s correct. Mixed with 5.1 channel encompass sound, that is essentially the most atmospheric sound I’ve heard from something aside from an open-back gaming headset.

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Because the soundbar helps HDMI, I additionally took it for a spin for some console gaming and my common Netflix routine with my spouse earlier than mattress. Should you’re apprehensive in regards to the quantity of sound when sitting at a distance, don’t be. The Katana V2 crammed out my lounge with ease. 

The enhancements to the subwoofer and bass presentation are very evident. The V2 doesn’t lower or bounce the identical means the V1 did when scaling up and down. It’s a clean gradient within the bass. Should you’re a guardian like I’m, that is necessary within the night hours after the youngsters have gone to mattress. That’s core recreation and adult-TV (get your thoughts out of the gutter!) time, however booming bass can simply wake the youngsters. The Katana scales exceptionally properly, making it doable to maintain the subwoofer energetic at evening. 

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Remaining Ideas

The Sound Blaster Katana V2 is implausible. At $329, it’s not only a nice gaming soundbar, it’s an excellent possibility for soundbars typically at this worth. The options and customization it presents are properly past most of the rivals at this worth level, even should you by no means plan on taking part in a recreation with it. You’re not going to get the verticality of a Dolby Atmos soundbar, however there is a degree of verticality to the sound, that was pleasantly shocking at this worth. Merely put: that is the gaming sound system to purchase if you need a compact answer that doesn’t skimp on soundstage, environment, and that all-important positionality. The most effective gaming soundbar simply bought higher.

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The product described on this article was supplied by the producer for analysis functions.
 

https://www.mmo.com/hardware-reviews/creative-sound-blaster-katana-v2-gaming-soundbar-review-2000123485 | Inventive Sound Blaster Katana V2 Gaming Soundbar Evaluate

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