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Creative Sound Blaster Katana SE review: Strong PC sound

Creative Sound Blaster Katana SE review: Strong PC sound

Creative Katana SE

Despite its small frame, the Creative Sound Blaster Katana SE packs quite the punch. While you can use it for gaming audio for your PC, it also works with your TV for Netflix shows. Of course, you can also use it for console gaming. Sound is clear and crisp, and the Katana SE can do Super X-Fi to your headphones. There's no subwoofer, so you can easily find a spot to set it all up.

Quick specs

  • Dimensions: 650mm x 109mm x 78mm
  • Drivers: 2x 109mm mid-range, 2 x 54mm, up to 90W RMS
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, HDMI ARC, Optical, AUX-in, USB-C, SXFI-Out
  • Included in box: Remote control, power adaptor, optical cable, USB-C to USB-A cable, 2x wall mounts

Design-wise, it looks like the Katana V2X, which features angled sides. There's LED lights at the bottom for added gaming bling. Let's be clear, the size of this soundbar doesn't mean it can't put out audio. In fact, I came away impressed with how loud it could get. Sure, you may need to crank it up all the way to enjoy room-shaking effects, but it's more than enough to fill up a normal-sized study room. However, the lack of a subwoofer does mean that certain bass elements feel lacking. That's not to say there's no bass, but it's not as strong as it can be. For example, in 6 Underground, the yacht magnet scene felt a little flat compared to other soundbars.

Creative Katana SE
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

But if you're using this for a PC desktop setup, then the bass feels more than enough. The four-drivers deliver great mids and highs, and offer plenty of clarity. The Katana SE can do 5.1 virtual surround, but not Dolby Atmos despite having up-firing speakers. But the surround effect is pretty good, though you don't get the distinct height channels. There are also different modes you can use, such as gaming or movies, to change the sound profile to better fit the media you are watching. You can also use the Creative app on your PC to customize the EQ further, and tweak the RGB lights. I also like that this soundbar has plenty of connectivity options, from Bluetooth, HDMI, optical, USB-C. You can also plug in a headphone into the 3.5mm slot on the front panel for Super X-Fi. Sadly, there's no AirPlay or Google Cast.

Creative Katana SE
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

Super X-Fi is Creative's awesome spatial sound, but only for headphones. You can do this by plugging in a normal headphone, or use a SXFI headset which has a wireless dongle. SXFI also has two special modes, Battle Mode, which gives you an immersive experience, and Scout Mode, which tries to give you pinpoint clarity on your enemy's movements. Scout Mode is also available without the headset, though it's not as optimized. I can't honestly tell if there's a difference though. I do like Battle Mode, as it puts you right in the action. But it's odd, because you're using a pair of headphones instead of enjoying the audio from the soundbar.

At S$419, this mid-range Creative Sound Blaster Katana SE is a pretty decent buy either for your PC or your TV. It works best with a PC though, I feel. That's because you take advantage of its Super X-Fi features easier. Get it from Creative.

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Note: Review unit provided by Creative.


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Verdict



CAN BUY

Strong sound that you can use on a PC or TV.

Buy from Creative

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