The Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 soundbar dials up the volume and the power — literally. Its peak output is almost 100W RMS higher than the previous version. Creative also added several new features to the soundbar, from its proprietary Super X-Fi audio holography feature to a HDMI ARC port. It makes for a soundbar that's not just ideal for your PC, but works well with a TV for your gaming den.
- Power output: Soundbar (66W RMS), total system (up to 126W RMS)
- Aux-in, headset out, optical-in, USB-C, SXFI-out (USB-A), subwoofer-out, HDMI ARC
- Bluetooth 5.0 (SBC codec)
- Weight: 1.52kg (soundbar), 6.4kg (wireless sub)
The Katana V2 sounds phenomenal for a PC soundbar. It hit me with a wall of sound in the first ten minutes of Blade Runner 2049. Sound effects had punch and thump, while the dialogue — after some tweaking in the Creative mobile app — came across clearly. And the soundbar can get really loud. I usually don't watch movies on my computer, but the Katana V2 would make a great choice if you do. Especially as the soundbar accepts a host of inputs, from USB-C audio to optical input to HDMI ARC. It also has Bluetooth, though it lacks AAC and aptX support.
A key feature of the soundbar is Creative's Super X-Fi UltraDSP chip. This means you can transfer your Super X-Fi profile, plug headphones into the Katana V2's convenient front 3.5mm jack, and enjoy holographic audio. It's a bit convoluted in practice. If you're starting from scratch, you'll also have to map your head and ears using the SXFI app beforehand. I think the process can be streamlined, but it's worth going through it if you enjoy the wider soundstage enabled by Super X-Fi. Gamers can also choose between SXFI Battle mode (helps you pinpoint direction and distance of enemies) and Scout mode (increases clarity of audio cues). But I didn't find these SXFI game modes significantly better than the default surround audio.
The Creative app also lets you customise the LED strip at the bottom of the soundbar. For example, you can change the lighting scheme from the default wave pattern to a pulsating one. Or set it to change colour based on the music. A minor grouse: the Katana V2 seems to take a really long time to wake up from standby mode. And sometimes, it just wouldn't wake up at all, so I have to unplug and reconnect the power cable. The good news is that you can turn off this energy-saving feature using the Creative app. But it's annoying, and Creative should fix it.
At S$479, the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2, which debuted last year, is much more expensive than the firm's latest Stage Air V2 budget soundbar. But you get a whole lot more sound (and better quality) with the Katana V2, not to mention the Super X-Fi processing. Alternatively, if you prefer a more traditional look for your speakers, the Klipsch ProMedia Heritage 2.1 also provides good sound at a similar price (S$499). The Katana V2 is available from the Creative website.
Note: Review unit provided by Creative.
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