Creative's Sound Blaster range has a well-earned pedigree as the leader in PC-based audio, and while other sound card providers have entered the market, Creative has been no slouch bringing its audio expertise to a range of peripherals such as earbuds, headphones, and this soundbar, which uses the Sound Blaster chip itself.
The very name katana evokes thoughts of precision, craftsmanship, and skill - the famous sword used by Japanese Samurai, and this is these qualities Creative has brought to the Katana V2 soundbar. It builds on the already impressive Sound Blaster Kanata (version 1), a worthy contender in its own right.
If you've experienced the first-gen Katana you’ll find this new generation now sports an all-new sleek matte black build, increased connectivity, 68% more power, and Super X-Fi.
Specifically, the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 is a tri-amplified soundbar specially designed for gaming. That said, with support for HDMI, USB-C, optical in, auxiliary in, and Bluetooth you can use it with your television or phone or tablet, or other devices too - laptops, desktops, the Sony PlayStation 4 or 5, Microsoft Xbox Series X and S, and the Nintendo Switch.
In fact, the soundbar isn't one-way; it includes dual built-in beamforming microphones so you can take and make calls using the soundbar. Heck, you could even use it for all your work-from-home Teams and Zoom calls.
However, it's tuned for gaming. Ultimately it will beat your TV speakers, hands down, but it’s in gaming where the soundbar shines. It brings clear, powerful, sound and strong bass. It has flashy RGB lighting that you can turn on and off. It includes pre-configured gaming modes, Super X-Fi battle mode and scout mode, and an EQ that is preset for games. You even receive specific EQ settings dedicated to particular gaming titles.
The Katana V2's amplifiers are controlled by Creative’s multicore digital sound processing (DSP) units to drive each of the mid-range drivers, tweeters, and subwoofer drivers individually. The tweeters are fitted with 3/4” fabric domes to produce cleaner and more refined highs, and the subwoofer brings deep and sonorous bass. All of this combines to give impactful sound reproduction at every frequency.
The soundbar includes Creative's Super X-Fi technology which provides virtualised surround sound and truly helps pinpoint exactly where your attackers are. No more will you find yourself dominated by unknown assailants, with Super X-Fi alerting you to their precise direction through Super X-Fi battle mode. The Super X-Fi experience mandates headphones and, of course, to connect headphones into the soundbar means you need to be sitting right at it, which is best suited to a gaming session than watching movies on the couch.
Scout mode also exists, available with or without headphones, but optimised for headphones. In this mode, you receive enhanced audio clues for minute details like grass ruffling or gun reloading. You can be alerted to the presence of enemies well before seeing them.
It’s a snap to set up the soundbar; connect the bar and subwoofer, plug it into power, then plug it into your devices - using whichever of the many connection options you need. The soundbar’s connectivity is a huge plus. Within minutes you’ll be hearing deep, booming explosions as well as the whisper-quiet stealth of an attacker behind you. Whatever noises your game makes, the Katana V2 handles it with ease, producing highly comfortable, clear, immersive audio.
While the soundbar includes physical buttons, and a remote control is provided, Creative provides a great amount of control via its free companion app for iOS and Android, and for Windows and macOS. The app connects via Bluetooth and puts fine-tune EQ controls, lighting, and decoding at your fingers.
It’s an impressive piece of kit, and a great gaming soundbar at a great price. It produces rich audio and deep bass while enjoying a slim and elegant profile.
The soundbar comes in at 600 x 95 x 62mm, and the subwoofer at 150 x 367 x 367mm. It handles frequencies from 50 to 20,000Hz and can deliver up to 126W RMS (252W peak). It includes two 63mm mid-range drivers, two 19mm tweeters, and a 165mm subwoofer driver.
It’s a cinch to set up, it'll connect to pretty much anything, and it can revolutionise your gaming through the power and enjoyment of audio. You can buy it online through Creative for $499.95.
See it in action here: