Creative Katana V2

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Forget The MacBook Pro, Apple Has Something Better. Earlier this month, I reviewed the excellent Monoprice SB-300 2.1 channel Virtual Dolby Atmos soundbar. I was really impressed with the sound quality on offer for such a low price.

Today I’ve got news of another affordable soundbar, this time from Creative. The company has just announced a new soundbar that offers a lot of bang for your buck. Soundbars are massively popular because they boost the sound of flatscreen TVs without taking up too much space or needing other speakers around the room and with wires connecting them to get 5.1 sound for watching movies or playing games.

Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2: What's not good

  • Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2: Competition

    The new Sound Blaster Katana V2 is Creative’s latest flagship soundbar for gamers and includes Super X-Fi headphone holography. This new model is the successor to Creative’s original Sound BlasterX Katana which won a reputation for being a superb gaming Soundbar.

    This version has been completely redesigned and has a sleeker form factor and pumps out 68% more power than its predecessor. It has improved audio dynamics and the technology to transform the listener’s headphone experience thanks to Super X-Fi headphone holography.

  • The Sound Blaster Katana V2 is the culmination of Creative’s most advanced audio technologies and brings games and movies to life with 5.1 channel playback. Delivering the same sound signature as Creative’s high-end Sound Blaster, the Katana V2 uses the same tri-amplified design of its predecessor, with each of its five speakers being powered individually by proprietary and multi-core DSP controllers.

    The upper frequencies have been enhanced by fitting new fabric dome tweeters which can produce cleaner and more refined highs.

    The soundbar also comes with a larger and more-imposing subwoofer with a bass performance that’s both deep and impactful. For gamers who enjoy playing late into the night without disturbing others in the house, the Sound Blaster Katana V2 supports Super X-Fi headphone holography, an award-winning technology that recreates the spatial soundstage of a high-end multi-speaker system but through headphones.

    The soundstage created by Super X-Fi headphone holography is positively eerie and the sound appears to float around you. Built into the soundbar is an integrated Super X-Fi UltraDSP chip that enables listeners to experience holographic audio that is specifically tailored to the user’s hearing.

  • The upshot is sound with a level of realism that makes the gaming or movie soundtracks completely immersive. Creative claims that enemy-spotting gets even easier with SXFI BATTLE Mode engaged. This sound mode is specifically designed to give FPS gamers the edge with enhanced audio cues for direction and distance. There’s also a Scout Mode, a feature that focuses on sound detection so gaming opponents are heard before they are even seen or moving on screen.

    With an integrated Dolby Audio decoder, users can also enjoy a cinematic experience when binge-watching streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime.

    The audio of the Sound Blaster Katana V2 can be customized just the way the user likes it. When connected to the Creative app (both desktop and mobile) there’s a choice of EQ settings and the sound can be tuned using the Acoustic Engine suite.

    A redesigned RGB lighting strip on the soundbar offers various illumination modes with 16.8 million colors that intuitively react to the sound being played. These settings can also be saved as customized profiles on the app or by pressing programmable buttons on the remote control.

    When it comes out to connectivity, the Sound Blaster Katana V2 has HDMI ARC and optical ports. There’s wireless Bluetooth 5.0 and a USB-C port for USB audio support.

    Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 price comparison

    Analog devices can be connected using the 3.5mm AUX-in, plus there’s an SXFI-out port for connecting certified Super X-Fi products. The soundbar is compatible with computers, TVs and gaming consoles including PCs, Mac, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Pricing & Availability: Creative’sSound Blaster Katana V2 is available now and priced at £299.99 / $329.99.

    More info:www.creative.com/KatanaV2. Dimensions: Soundbar: 600 x 95 x 62 mm (23.6 x 3.74 x 2.44 inches), Subwoofer: 150 x 367 x 367 mm (5.9 x 14.4 x 14.4 inches). Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, HDMI ARC, Optical-in, AUX-in, USB-C, SXFI-out.

    Drivers: 2 x 63 mm (2.5") mid-range drivers, 2 x 19 mm (¾") tweeters, 1 x 165 mm (6.5") subwoofer driver. Power output: Up to 126W RMS (252W Peak). Frequency range: 50—20,000 Hz. Accessories: Remote control, power adapter, optical cable, USB-C to USB-A cable, wall-mount brackets. The original Creative Sound Blaster Katana was well received by us and the wider gaming community. It became one of the go-to soundbars for the TV in the big room or gaming setup in the office.

    It wasn't a perfect device and had a few minor issues that have largely been rectified by Creative with the new Sound Blaster Katana V2. In this refresh, Creative promises more than 60% additional power than the previous model, a brand-new remote controller, a larger subwoofer, and some additional connection support.

    Whether this helps retain a spot on our best PC speakers list for the Katana remains to be seen, so let's dive in and see what's new with Creative's latest gaming soundbar. Bottom line: The Katana V2 from Creative offers immersive sound with considerably more power output than its predecessor.

    The sound

    The revamped remote also makes one of the best gaming soundbars less of a chore to live with. 250W of peak output power. Great audio for movies and gaming.

    Sleek design with RGB lighting. Vastly improved remote control. Not great for larger rooms. Need to be positioned correctly for best sound. The Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 is an expensive piece of kit. If you're just going to be using this device for gaming on a PC or console, it's far more expensive than simple 2.1 speakers, but the difference is night and day.

    If you want one of the best audio soundbar experiences for gaming, you'll need to spend more and the Katana V2 commands a $330 price tag. It's not overpriced, which makes it a good option for gaming on the larger screen too.

    Thanks to the 250W peak power output, improved sound with Super X-Fi support, there's plenty to love about the Katana V2, and the high price is well worth it.

    I really liked the original Sound Blaster Katana and thought Creative did a fine job. There were a few things I didn't like, namely the remote control, but other than that it was an excellent speaker system and one you'd find hard to replace for a console or PC.

    The Good

    When the company came out with version 2, I was interested to learn what had changed.

    For starters, there's a substantial increase in power output, allowing for the advanced sound tech to be added and improve the audio experience.

    I'm talking full support for Creative Super X-Fi.

    • Then there's the improved remote control with programmable buttons and a slightly redesigned soundbar with new connectivity ports.
    • All this makes the best gaming soundbar even better.
    • Looking for the best gaming soundbar?
    • Even though Creative managed to cram in yet more functionality inside the Katana V2, it's almost identical to its predecessor in terms of dimensions aside from a slight bump in height.
    • The new Katana V2 comes with six drivers in total, alongside an external subwoofer unit.
    • Compared to version one, we're looking at some considerable improvement here, including the use of aluminum domes.
    • The subwoofer has also seen an upgrade to help it perform well even at lower sound levels.

    I've been talking about a 250W peak power output, but the V2 is rated at 126W of consistent root mean square (RMS) power.

    • This is a step up from the 75W (and 150W peak) found on the original Katana.
    • Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central.
    • Whether you're smashing Covenant in Halo Infinite and want impressive-sounding explosions or are hiding behind the blanket to The Conjuring, you'll enjoy what this compact soundbar has to offer.