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Review Sound Blaster Katana V2 Soundbar – Better in EVERY Way


five years ago i reviewed one of the best sound bars that you could find for your gaming setup the creative sound blaster katana it literally changed my perception of speakers in general because i was always tied down to a 2.1 setup where there were more cables to manage and honestly i wasn’t really impressed with the audio quality at least for my budget until that thing showed up and it basically just blew my mind and it took over my space and it’s been living under my monitor for the past five years a lot of you guys have asked me about it on twitter and even the youtube comment section basically if anyone was asking me you know eber what’s the best speaker that i can get for 300 or a sound bar this is what i would always recommend well today we have a new kid on the block from creative labs and it’s called the katana v2 now just to be clear this isn’t replacing the original katana in fact creative is planning on selling it alongside the v2 now this new sound system actually brings a bit more notable features that i actually see myself using these days so let me walk you through my experience with the v2 and answer the most obvious question that may pop up into your heads is it any better than the original so let’s get to that but first a quick word from today’s video sponsor the deepcool ak620 cpu cooler is a dual tower

heatsink with six copper heat pipes and an attractive fin array to deliver competitive cooling performance while looking awesome it’s surprisingly quiet at full load installation is hassle free and ram clearance is flexible if you move the fan check out the ak620 down below so the first thing i want to mention is the price because with every iteration of a product that’s the one factor that constantly goes up and in this case it’s actually not that big of a jump it’s three hundred and thirty dollars versus three hundred dollars for the original katana so what does that extra thirty dollars bring to the table well let’s start with the design uh creative has actually minimized the aggressive styling to something that would blend in with any workspace or even a mini home theater setup so it’s more streamlined with the edges being flat versus the ankle sides that you get with the original katana i mean the inspiration behind the katana was the katana so they decided to take a step back and just give it a clean look which i like basically it just looks like another sound bar as for size it’s the same compared to the older models so if you plan on upgrading from the older katana this won’t actually take that much space it’s basically the same footprint and it actually lives easily

under your 24 inch or 27 inch monitor however the dedicated subwoofer is noticeably larger compared to the older one and they’ve increased the size of the driver from five and a quarter inches to six and a half inches build quality is solid the top panel is made out of brushed aluminum while the rest of the body is made out of plastic and it’s put together really well besides this thing is going to be staying stationary anyway so i don’t think build quality matters that much the function buttons are more tactile and satisfying to press there’s actually a little bit more throw to it versus the mushy feeling that i had with the original katana however you can use the upgraded remote control which i’ll talk about shortly to adjust the settings so that’s cool they’ve added an led display at the front versus the integrated matrix screen on the original soundbar it’s actually sharper and easier to read and it shows the basic things like which mode you’re in the volume level the source and you can adjust the brightness level as well interestingly they’ve brought the three and a half inch headphone jack from the back to the front right beside the display and i believe this is a thoughtful change since if you want to quickly plug in your headset if you don’t want to bother your neighbors at night or something like that it’s right there and it’s easy to access instead of fiddling the cable um you know at the back now for those of you who are wondering how good the built-in dac is well it’s freaking incredible guys and i’m really serious it actually puts my apogee duet audio interface that i use to monitor my audio for production to shame i just got my hands on the epos h6 pros and the way

how it drives the bass it just makes you feel more connected to what you’re listening to it’s deep and tight and the trebles are just i mean that’s just for the audio jack just wait until i get to the speakers now taking a look at the i o situation and what we have here is a similar setup compared to the original katana there’s power in a port for the dedicated subwoofer optical and auxiliary jacks usb type-c versus micro usb on the original katana which is always welcome and a super x5 usb port that can be used to plug in creatives super x5 dongles that come with their headsets like this creative s65 feeder and then there’s the addition of an hdmi arc port now those of you are wondering what arc is it’s essentially an audio return channel that offers a two-way communication between devices over a single hdmi cable so let’s say if you have a tv with hdmi arc support you can actually simply plug in the katana v2 into that and then control your audio using the ir controls from your tv remote it’s essentially a simplified experience if you plan to use the katana v2 as your main audio device with your tv it was something i wish the original katana had but hey it took them five years to add one so i’m pretty stoked to use this feature when i set up my living room now the cherry on top of this is that if you plan to wall mount your entertainment setup creative actually includes wall mounting brackets in the box for easy installation so what they’ve done here is basically take a sound bar that was meant to live underneath your monitor and expand its use case to something that you may be able to use with your living room or

whatever scenario you see yourself taking advantage of hdmi arc now as usual you still get bluetooth functionality in this case it supports bluetooth 5.0 i just keep in mind that it’s sbc codec only so you don’t get aac or ldac support and as for range it covers up to 10 meters of range in an open area but if you have walls and all that kind of stuff then that would suffer honestly i didn’t really experience any interruptions here in my smaller studio space but i don’t plan to use bluetooth as much as i would with this katana because the real deal comes with just you know plugging in it directly to a source the built-in rgb lighting is still here and the diffusion is gorgeous guys it looks amazing at night there are seven effects that you can cycle between like color wave solo lights up the entire led array with a single color that can be customizable through the software pulsate morph and my personal favorite aurora now if you plan to set it up with your pc there’s actually dedicated driver software that comes with the v2 called the creative app so let’s actually take a look at what it offers as you can see the home page gives you a bird’s eye view of all the settings that you can adjust starting with sound modes where there are a ton of presets to choose from including some custom profiles for certain games the super x5 button is used to enable the virtual surround sound mode when you plug in a pair of

headphones to the audio jack located at the front acoustic engine has options where you can enable surround sound and a bunch of other effects that can be used to fit your style of listening you can do the same thing with the headphones as well which is nice there is an equalizer that you can play around with crystal voice has a bunch of microphone presets that you can choose from scout mode basically tightens up your directional queue for fps gaming the lighting tab is where you can customize the effects for rgb lighting beneath the soundbar decoder allows you to control the dynamic range of your volume there’s a separate mixer tab to monitor the levels and finally custom buttons which essentially lets you program commands to these six buttons included in the remote do keep in mind that whatever you do with the software gets directly programmed into the built-in memory profile or the built-in memory of the soundbar so it comes with you wherever you go all right quick change of scenery here because i wanted to test another thoughtful feature added to the v2 which is a built-in microphone now i’m sure most gamers are going to rely on gaming or dedicated headsets for comms and i would stay away from using a soundbar with a built-in microphone for both listening to and talking to at the same time because those two are just going to clash at each other but let’s just say that you want to attend a quick skype meeting or zoom

meeting this will actually get the job done creative does say that they’ve included some noise canceling characteristics but you know for my testing i just didn’t really notice that much of a difference now i will say that if you actually go into the create crystal voice tab that’s on the driver software there are a bunch of presets that you can play around with uh that basically improves your audio quality so if i go into the microphone equalizer and enable that now you’re listening to preset 11 which improves vocal and quality it emphasizes my vocals which naturally brings up background noise and actually sounds more compressed but if i switch over to let’s say preset 5 it’s just a happy medium where it boosts my vocals slightly there are just tons of customization that can be done with the katana v2 but at the same time i just find it a bit too much because it seems like they wanted to throw everything at the wall to see what would stick and personally i’m not a fan of that i prefer something more streamlined and minimal but my opinion is objective so you may be on the other side of the fence i want to quickly go over the remote control that comes with the v2 because i just noticed how ergonomic it feels in the hand compared to this tiny one that comes with the older sound bar now this does accept two aaa batteries which are

unfortunately not included in the box so that’s something that you ought to get separately they have added more buttons where you can quickly switch between speakers and the headphone output dedicated base level control and six programmable buttons that i talked about earlier finally let’s talk about sound quality the driver placement is basically the same compared to the original katana so there are two two and a half inch mid-range drivers at the top two three and a quarter inch tweeters at the front and the six and a half inch subwoofer driver now all of this is powered by their multi-core dsp delivering up to 126 watts of rms power with 252 watts peak that’s actually 68 more power compared to the older katana and guys let me just tell you this thing gets super loud to a point where i never crossed the 25 volume level because if i did i’m pretty sure i would have completely destroyed my ears now having listened to the older one and this back to back there are a few things that i noticed first is that the trebles were detailed and more soothing to listen to uh the bass response was a noticeable improvement in power where it’s more boomy and tight it also emphasizes the mid-range frequencies or the little details that you may have missed with the older model and i’m just genuinely impressed with just how much sound this

thing can fill here in my studio and just given its power output this thing would do wonders in a larger space without losing that clarity and that punch now i listen to a lot of music and the katana v2 just simply puts you in a space where you get to appreciate everything that an artist wants you to hear but if you do switch things up to gaming it’s a whole other level guys sometimes i feel like tossing away my pair of headphones and sticking to this soundbar because obviously the sound stage is wider the crystal clear cues that you get as you navigate through the scene just makes you feel more connected to the game that you’re playing and that dedicated subwoofer man if you’re looking for something to annoy your neighbors downstairs which i would highly not recommend or if you’re just looking for what what’s the right word i’m looking for um sturdy where it’s solid powerful and robust when you hit the ammo this thing is just gonna blow your mind and that pretty much sums up my experience with the katana v2 so the real question is is it really worth it over the original katana absolutely because for an extra 30 dollars you actually get a lot of features like hdmi arc wall mounting options a remote that’s just easier to hold a simplified design that fits in within any workspace a headphone jack with a

ridiculously good dac seriously i’m thinking about dishing my apogee duet for that one and most importantly sound quality that makes you appreciate artists and just a breathtaking experience for gaming and watching movies i just hope that you could find one because the original katana was a little bit harder to get hands on and when i spoke with creative they actually had a really tough time trying to get hands-on with these dsps because of the chip shortage and all that kind of stuff so um they’re trying their best to make it available on every retailer site so i’ll make sure to leave links down below if you’re interested so on that note thank you so much for watching i hope you were able to take away everything that you needed to know about the creative labs sound blaster katana v2 now if you are using the original katana would you actually consider an upgrade or if you’re actually looking for a soundbar would this be on your list it definitely should be because it’s so good it just really is that’s it guys i’ll talk to you guys the next one spend responsibly

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