There are plenty of portable headphone amps that plug directly into instruments like electric guitars and basses, but the Boss just kicked things up a notch. The company announced Katana:GO headphone amplifier and it is foolwith a combination of features that I have never seen together in one small box.

Just like competing products, this thing plugs into the input jack of your preferred instrument and includes a headphone jack so you can hear what’s going on. Guitarists can choose from ten amp models, and bassists get three amp models, each drawn from the already existing Katana line of amp models. Boss Katana amps are mostly known for their surprisingly great tonal selection, and it looks like the company has managed to bring those same patterns into a headphone amp. Competing products are certainly convenient, but they don’t always sound as good.

There are 60 effects to choose from, with all the reverbs, delays and, of course, choruses that musicians expect from the Boss. These are also the same effects featured in larger and more expensive combo amps.

So, it has good amp tones and a solid range of effects. What sets the Katana:Go apart from, say, the Mustang Micro? First of all, there’s a built-in tuner, which is always a welcome addition. The Katana:GO also incorporates spatial audio technology to mimic a live setting, further enhancing its usefulness as a practice amplifier. It remains to be seen how realistic this sounds, but Boss says it allows users to position a virtual amp in different locations to give the impression they’re playing on stage or “jamming in a room with friends.” I’ve used many of these amps before and found the in-your-face nature of the headphone signal to be quite off-putting, so I’m intrigued by this feature.

The amp has 30 preset slots to create and save unique tones and integrates with company tone exchange service. This allows users to trade presets such as Pokémon. Okay, not quite like Pokémon, but you get the point.

Guitar player using the mobile app.


The Katana:GO even doubles as a true USB audio interface. Just plug it into a computer, smartphone or tablet and record straight into your DAW. Finally, there is a dedicated mobile app with the ability to listen to songs from streaming sites or your personal library. It’s especially handy for getting into that daily training session and has a loop function to nail tough segments.

Just like other headphone amps on the market, it folds up neatly and easily fits into a standard gig bag. The Boss Katana:GO costs $120 and, by the way, it’s the same price as the Mustang Micro, which doesn’t double as an audio interface or include a built-in tuner. Available for purchase now.