Creative with this paired soundbar and subwoofer has created an elegant and highly customizable product, designed primarily for video games.
We have thoroughly tested the new Sound Blaster Katana V2, using it to play music, movies, TV series and of course the much-loved video games as well. This is a not exactly cheap product with its list price set at $ 329, so we had very high expectations when we unpacked it for the first time. After our prolonged use, the overall quality seemed to us in line with what we expected. The rather sober and neutral design combined with a well-balanced and customizable audio with numerous profiles, left us good impressions on this pairing of soundbar and subwoofer.
Despite some critical issues, Creative’s product defended itself well, so we want to explain its strengths and weaknesses in detail in our review of the Sound Blaster Katana V2.
Creative Sound’s new soundbar is a direct evolution of the previous model with 68% more power, delivered by the classic soundbar and subwoofer combination. The Sound Blaster Katana V2 comes with dual 63mm mid-range drivers and two 19mm tweeters. In the subwoofer, on the other hand, we find a single 165 mm driver for deep and well-defined bass. The frequency range covered goes from 50 to 20,000 Hz, while the total power output reaches 252 watts. These characteristics allow the product to faithfully reproduce a wide spectrum of frequencies at good quality, without particular distortions or hesitation, also allowing a fair degree of customization of the experience according to the user’s needs.
There are in fact several profiles of use with a different equalization to offer the best hearing experience based on the audio content reproduced. In addition to the classic Music, Gaming and Film presets, specific profiles have also been added for personalized multi-channel playback with the use of headphones and a specific mode for first-person shooter games. The Creative Sound soundbar also supports Dolby Audio certified 5.1 channel hi-res playback to enjoy good audio detail at any volume (only with HDMI and optical connection).
It is possible to combine the Sound Blaster Katana V2 with a varied number of devices, thanks to the numerous connectivity options available: from the Bluetooth wireless connection to the classic optical input, passing through the HDMI, AUX and USB-C port. In short, a universal soundbar for any living room or desk gaming station. Perfectly connects to your PC, Mac, smartphone, tablet, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S. Sound Blaster Katana V2 is also compatible with the Creative app for iOS and Android where you can make various changes to your device.
- Soundbar Drivers: Mid 2 x 63mm, Tweeter 2 x 19mm
- Subwoofer Driver: 1 x 165mm
- Total power: 252 W
- Frequency range: 50 – 20.000 Hz
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, HDMI ARC, optical input, AUX-in, USB-C, SXFI-out
- Built-in microphone: Yes
- Headphone Out: Yes
- Remote control: Yes
- Dimensions: soundbar (600 x 95 x 62mm), subwoofer (150 x 367 x 367mm)
- Weight: soundbar 1.5 kg; subwoofer 6.4 kg
- Price: 329 $
Creative has invested heavily in the build quality and overall design of the Sound Blaster Katana V2. The final product is truly elegant with a rather neutral black coloring. The soundbar looks good in the living room next to your television, thanks to its delicate lines and a good choice of materials. Since the latter are mainly made up of different plastics, their quality is not perceived very much to the touch, but it is undoubtedly pleasant to the eye. Creative has also thought of those who want a product that attracts more attention, implementing a customizable RGB LED strip on the bottom of the soundbar with a dozen light effects via the remote control or the appropriate application.
Going into the details, on the front we find a grille with small holes that hides the two tweeters of the soundbar. In the center there is a display on which it is possible to view the mode in use and adjust the various parameters such as the volume, the equalization profiles and the effects of the RGB LEDs. There is also a 3.5mm jack hole for audio output here. On the ends of the upper part, we find instead two holes covered by the same perforated grille from which the average sounds of the soundbar come out. Above the display there are six analog buttons for switching on and off, volume control, audio source selection, profile management and activation of SXFI and Bluetooth mode. Ports have been implemented on the slightly hollow back to connect the soundbar to a wide range of audio devices. Speaking instead of the subwoofer, its design is rather simple and minimal, characterized by a rectangular shape with two holes: one positioned on the front made with glossy plastic and one on the side covered in fabric.
Speaking of the overall dimensions we are faced with a rather generous soundbar 60 centimeters long. The subwoofer is also not exactly easy to hide with its 36 x 36 cm side surface. However, the measures do not affect the elegance of the product, but clearly in a small space they could make the difference.
Experience of use
We will tell you about our experience of use with the Sound Blaster Katana V2 starting from use with video games. We connected the soundbar to the PlayStation, Xbox consoles of the new and old old generation, without neglecting the Nintendo Switch and of course the PC. By setting the equalization profile to “Gaming” from the official application on our smartphone, we noticed the presence of specific profiles for some games or videogame genres. For example, there is an EQ optimized for Red Dead Redemption 2, for Rainbow Six Siege or for driving simulations in general.
The perceived changes between various profiles are in some cases almost imperceptible, but we appreciated being able to choose them (and clearly also customize) for each video game, being able to save our profile later. The soundbar reproduces with good fidelity the wide spectrum of sounds generated by the software, making us perceive sound effects and details that are difficult to recognize with the audio system of the TV or monitor. At each volume level the audio quality remains constant, being able to then act on the equalization to balance the high, medium and low sounds. The power of the subwoofer is evident, especially when pushed to the maximum in action games where every shot or explosion is reproduced in a realistic way with the right depth. The dialogues, background soundtracks and ambient sound effects are clearly distinguishable, even in the most complex situations. The voices of the non-player characters are clear with a deeper and more realistic tone.
Among the most interesting modes of use in the gaming field we found the Scout Mode and the SXFI Battle Mode. The former offers greater immersion in video games, allowing us to better hear every little detail or sound effect that can make a difference. For example, on Warzone some otherwise imperceptible enemy sounds are perceived much better.
By connecting a pair of headphones to the audio output of the soundbar, you can emulate the quality of 5.1 channels within any headset. SXFI Battle Mode is exclusively available in this mode of use for an even higher level of auditory detail. By plugging in a pair of mid-range headphones, we were able to perceive superior audio quality. The most noticeable improvements were highlighted again this time mainly in competitive FPS video games. The perceived sensation is really good, because in addition to noting the direction of the shots, we were also able to understand their distance from our character.
Watching the movies and TV series with Dolby Audio and 5.1 channels supported by the Sound Blaster Katana V2 left us with a good impression. The system with the right equalization customization manages the volumes well. However, it has rarely happened that the lows overwhelm the mids and highs as you pass from one scene to another. Perhaps with a better work of equalization these events could have been avoided, but you certainly cannot waste too much time configuring this system which was born mainly as “plug and play”. Probably more could also have been done on the front of automatic equalization based on the audio content reproduced. However, the implementation of 5.1 audio channels for greater auditory detail should certainly be rewarded.
Connecting the soundbar via Bluetooth to devices such as smartphones or tablets revealed a negative side of this product. Audio quality delivered with Bluetooth pairing is not the same as physical connections. Playing the same song on Spotify from the TV with the optical cable or from the smartphone via wireless one perceives a notable difference, as if on the one hand the track was of a considerably lower quality. In general, therefore, the Bluetooth playback is not the best. A real shame, because in the other modes of use the soundbar defends itself really well.
Speaking of music, we instead enjoyed playing the songs from our living room. The soundbar can in fact replace an audio system, especially if you are not obsessed with quality and you just need a good playback system. The maximum volume is too high for not too large rooms, such as an apartment in a condominium where certain decibels cannot be exceeded.
Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 final review
- Universal connectivity with multiple wired and wireless options
- Good audio balance between highs, mids and lows
- Lots of customization in equalization for each audio content
- Bluetooth quality definitely not at the level of wired connections
- Value for money not advantageous
- Some difficulties in certain situations if the right equalization is not used