Review: SoundBlaster Katana V2 – Highest Quality Soundbar in a Compact Design

Creative is one of the biggest leaders in digital entertainment products. Popular for its Sound Blaster cards and driving for a multimedia revolution – which has established a user base of over four-hundred million. Creative propels the digital performance field with the latest audio solutions that contain premium wireless speakers, strong audiophile-grade digital amplifiers, wireless headphones and next-generation home-theatre systems. We are talking about the SoundBlaster Katana V2 Soundbar and Subwoofer.

Design and Features

The Sound Blaster Katana V2 is the newest edition to hit the market from Creative. The design itself has been heavily modified, with the latest speaker configuration in the soundbar itself. It is still the same width, but it is a little deeper and taller.  The subwoofer housing is a bit bigger now as well and they have included a much bigger 6.5” subwoofer, compared to the original Katana 5.25” design. There are a lot of improvements to connectivity too, with the modern Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C now added, and HDMI ARC. There is also a headphone line out for SXFI processing (including SXFI battle mode) which is rightly remarkable. The bundle includes both the Soundbar and Subwoofer, a wall mounting kit, a customizable remote control, built-in RGB lighting and more. Really, it is everything you would expect from a “Version 2 model”.

The Sound Blaster Katana V2 has a matte sleek black build, which will match any type of monitor or TV. The latest version also delivers 68 percent more power than the original Katana. There is a customizable RGB light beneath the soundbar that brings a layer of soft color surrounding the unit. It has different modes that users can adapt to their style of gaming or office setup.

At 62mm depth, it lies pretty flat on the desk and if you have a monitor or TV on a stand, the Katana V2 should still be right below it without blocking any display content. One nice asset for placing the soundbar under your monitor, is it can hide cables that normally show in this location. The dedicated subwoofer also has the best cable length and can be located further from the monitor or TV. Personally, I keep it right below the desk and it creates a nice thick sound with great bass.

Connectivity wise, there are a lot of choices here: ARC, HDMI, Optical, USB-C, 3.5mm AUX, and Bluetooth. This versatility permits the Katana V2 to be hooked to literally anything within your home – Macs, PCs, Gaming consoles, mobile devices like tablets and phones, etc. To switch between the connections, you can press the “source” key on the top of the soundbar or use the added remote. This makes it simple to reach without having to search for the remote. There are also buttons to change its sound mode, SXFI, and volume. The included remote contains every control a user would need for the Katana V2 and thankfully, we can still use the Apple remote to change the volume if the V2 remote is in a drawer.

Surprisingly, there are dual built-in beamforming microphones within the soundbar, so you can join zoom or make calls without needing a desktop microphone or headset to talk. Obviously this works great if the soundbar is connected to your personal computer and is in near distance to your mouth. One thing that needs to be mentioned, to help reduce any time spent searching for an answer, is that the Sound Blaster Katana V2 can only accept audio streaming from a Bluetooth connected device. This means that it will not output sound to a set of bluetooth headphone directly from the soundbar. I spent a lot of time trying to get it to connect to my bluetooth headphones and found quickly on the official website, that this is not possible.

Audio Quality

Five total speakers make up the Katana V2’s big experience. It has pairs of mid-range tweeters and speakers along with the subwoofer. The full layout and mid-range driver sizes are identical to the original. The other 3 drivers are bigger, and the total power output has increased to 250W. The subwoofers frequency response is 10Hz lower, letting you hear rumble near to the lower limits of human hearing.

We need to remind ourselves that this Creative soundbar was made to fully engulf the gaming environment. It is geared for those of us that want a gaming-oriented focus with amazing bass delivery and a strong soundstage. It will also work for binge-watching your favorite action flicks and shows, but gaming is where this soars. The Katana V2 includes specific sound modes for some of our favorite games including, Overwatch, Fortnite, Cyberpunk 2077, Rocket League, the Call of Duty Series including the newest one and even older games like Metal Gear Solid V. The soundbar is made to sit near to you on the desktop and reproduces the most details in that position. You will have to take care when picking the volume since the subwoofer gets truly loud really quick.

Built Quality

The Katana V2 is actually a very nice product that is designed to fit underneath all types of displays. It is just big enough to give you the highest flexibility on pairing it with almost any setup, even if you only want a standalone audio receiver for music or other applications. Both sets of controls on the soundbar itself and the remote are simple to use, reach and adjust. There are more controls on the remote like display and LED options but for the most part, you can make key adjustments through the remote or the bar.

On the build quality standard for 2022, there are not many other companies around like Creative that deliver such consistent and amazing pieces of audio goodness. The Katana V2 is actually an amazing example of how to make a minimalistic design that can fit into any home or office, that includes feature rich sound made with high quality materials.

Featured iOS and Android Apps

The two applications that go side by side with the Katana V2 are the Creative app and the SXFI app. The Creative application permits you to track which connections are in use and facilitates pairing via Bluetooth 5.0. It also allows you to create and edit comprehensive sound profiles, which is the application’s most amazing feature. You may perform this individually for the soundbar, as well as any plugged-in headphones. A full process consists of many parts. First is the acoustic engine. You can tweak it for more or less surround sound, excellent dynamic range, and more audible dialogue.

As mentioned before, it comes preloaded with lots of settings tailored to dozens of musical genres, movies, effects and of course specific games. Users who know a thing or two about equalizer curves can even draw their own, to make nuanced custom settings. Creative added a very nice touch, giving users the ability to easily associate special lighting effects with each profile. As an example, I have a “Play Mode” and a “Work Mode” with different lighting colors and modes. Users can remap the remote custom buttons, engaging SX-Fi, set up microphone equalizer, and more. All of these settings can be accessed inside the Creative IOS and Android app.

The personalized feature that consists of head mapping and configuring the Katana V2 for each persons specific needs are found in the SXFI App (Super X-Fi). This allows users to setup a personalized profile for themselves and also anyone else that may be using the Katana V2 in their house or office. The app will request each user to take photos of their individual ears. Honestly, this is something you will need a friend to help with because it asks for specific angles of your ears. Once the app collects both photos and figures out the sound design that best fits your ear shape, it will be saved for future use. Each person can then select their own custom profile, anytime they are working or playing at that station.

In Conclusion

The Creative Katana V2 Soundbar has a beautiful, compact and simplistic design with different connectivity options. The vertical subwoofer is also designed to be compact for saving space below or next to your desk, while thumping the right amount of bass we personally like. This Creative design stands up with some of the bigger sized soundbars, while packing the same amount of music and sound power. The Katana V2 may be smaller in size, but it definitely provides a much bigger and bolder sound than expected. When it comes to gaming on a Playstation, Xbox or PC, the one thing that completes the visual experience of the game itself is the surrounding audio. The amount of high quality, room-filling sound that comes from something so compact is an absolute marvel. Users will find that the Katana V2 produces an arrangement of enhanced tones, while preserving those crisp audio details we all like to hear. This gives the listener an overall beautiful surround sound experience and includes everything we need in one purchase. The Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 comes in a package deal for only $329.99. This includes the Soundbar, all of the cables and the Subwoofer. You can purchase your own HERE or on Amazon. Check the Official Website for more information.

About Author
Bruce is a seasoned tech reviewer with a passion for exploring the latest gadgets and innovations. With years of experience testing and reviewing technology products, Bruce has become a trusted voice in the tech industry.