Intro and Design
When it comes to sound and especially, soundbars, there's something inside of me that immediately wells up hesitation and a sort of "geek anxiety" that tells me I'm in for something subpar or mediocre at best. I've tested so many soundbars and speakers over the years, from the lowend to the higher end, but I usually walk away let down and disenchanted. So it was when I received the Katana from Creative Labs' Sound BlasterX line.
Taking this small wonder out of the box, I was even more hesitant because of the sides of the bar and sub. It's a very attractive package, don't get me wrong with a sort of polished steel, black finish, but it is quite compact and definitely one of the smaller soundbars I have handled. Makes quite a bit of sense since it's designed to go under a monitor.
All reservations will quickly dispelled after I started putting the Katana through my normal paces. First off, gaming was pure audio bliss as I blasted my way through enemies (and died a lot) in BATTLEFIELD 1 on PC. I was absolutely blown away by the bright, clear, and powerful audio coming from this little unit I had totally misjudged. I quickly switched over to Hotel California from The Eagles Hell Freezes Over concert. Absolutely... unbelievable. I cranked up the volume and zero distortion. Even more impressive, the Katana will fill a small to medium room completely with audio goodness. Consider me impressed.
I then switched over to the PS4 Pro using the optical in, one of the many strengths that I found in multiple audio inputs, and once again, I was blown away playing HORIZON: ZERO DAWN. Dialogue, sound effects, and music were all near perfect.
Value and Conclusion
Starting around $299, the Katana is not on the low end of the price spectrum for gaming audio but it must be noted, it's much more versatile than just your average "gaming soundbar". In fact, as mentioned it can double as a small home theatre for music, movie but I still consider gaming to be it's greatest strength, mainly due to the extremely powerful and crisp sound coupled with big bass from the included sub. I sure wish the sub was wireless but it's not a deal breaker. I walked in hesitant and came out super impressed with the Katana.