Photos and Features
Remember when every “good” PC gaming setup just had to have 4-7 speakers and a sub. If you weren’t around for that, you’re lucky. It was a huge wiring mess and it often wasn’t worth all of the trouble of finding room for it all. I gave that a try once and quickly switched over to a 2 speaker and sub setup and have stayed with that over the years. But there are some situations where you may not have room for that and the original Sound Blaster Katana was the first to consider going with a soundbar design for PC gaming and from then Razer eventually jumped into that market as well. Years before that home theaters proved that you could get a good experience with a soundbar so I’m surprised it took so long. With the Sound Blaster Katana V2 Creative hasn’t changed any of the fundamentals at all. You still get a side-firing subwoofer and the soundbar with a display in the middle, RGB lighting, and front and top firing drivers. They have just taken what they learned from the original Katana to make a few changes with the Katana V2.
One of the big changes was with the subwoofer which for the original Katana was 130 x 299 x 333 mm (5.1 x 11.8 x 13.1 inches) but the sub on the Katana V2 is now 150 x 367 x 367 mm (5.9 x 14.4 x 14.4 inches) which is wider, taller, and deeper than before. They went from a 5.25 driver in the sub to a 6.5 as well and they have given it more power as well. The total system power is 126 Watts RMS and 252 peak with just 66 watts of that RMS being dedicated to the soundbar leaving 60 watts RMS for the sub where the original Katana had 75 watts RMS for the whole system. The look of the Katana V2’s sub isn’t any different than before however, it has a textured black finish and the Sound Blaster logo on the front. The driver has a fabric cover on the side and the box has a baffle in the front to help push the sound out that direction. Then at the back, there is just one lonely-looking wire running out the back with a long cord and an RCA plug on the end to plug into the Katana V2. The new larger sub and more power doesn’t change the bottom of the frequency range though which is still 50Hz just like with the original. Then down on the bottom, it has four large rubber feet to keep it from moving around and to hopefully keep the vibration from going into the floor too much.
The main speaker for the Katana V2 is of course the soundbar. The new design is similar to the original in a lot of ways but it does have a new look which has a straight front now where the old design had an angle on the front for the middle section to stick out more. The V2 does angle on the ends and the metal mesh that they use for the entire front does wrap around onto those sides as well. That mesh runs the full length and allows for some extra airflow as well as letting the audio from the speakers out. The V2 is the same 600 mm width as the original but it is deeper at 95mm to 79mm and slightly taller at 62mm vs 60mm. Like with the sub they did change some things around on the speaker setup. It has the same 2.5-inch mid-range drivers that face up but now the tweeters are smaller, they used to be 1.3-inch tweeters and now they are ¾-inch tweeters. This didn't change anything on the frequency range which is still 50-20,000 Hz. Like I mentioned before they upped the power limits as well with 126 watts RMS total now and 252 peak vs 75 watts RMS and 150 peak on the original and they say 66 watts of that goes into the soundbar which should give it some more kick.
The Sound Blaster website doesn’t talk about it much but the front screen on the Katana V2 is a big change from the old design. The old screen was behind the mesh which looks good when powered off but is harder to see overall. For the V2 you have a black translucent plastic area for the screen and there is also a headphone jack right on the front for easy access. The original had headphone and microphone jacks but they were on the back and impossible to get to. There are also two microphones built into the Katana V2 for when you are using it plugged in via USB to your PC and you can see one to the left of the screen in the picture below. Then above the screen, you have your controls. These are similar to the original with the machined round metal buttons but the LED status rings for power/Bluetooth and the SBX on the original were dropped for smaller pinhole style LEDs on the V2. The big Sound Blaster X logo on the original is smaller and back to the original logo without the X as well. As for the buttons you have the power button which also is how you set up Bluetooth, volume up and down, source, mode, and SXFI mode. The mode button is new and will switch between EQ modes like movies, music, gaming, etc.
The back of the Katana V2 is the thinnest area of the speaker, you can see the tilt of the speaker from this back view really well. There is some ventilation for cooling on both sides of the rear I/O which is in the middle and sunken back. The rear I/O is mostly similar to the original Katana but a few things did change. The biggest change is the addition of the HDMI Out for ARC support. But they did also change the USB connection for hooking up to a PC from Micro-USB to Type-C which should make hooking things up blindly a lot easier. You still have the power plug, optical in, the sub out RCA, and the auxiliary in which is a headphone jack which you can use a male to male cable to hook the Katana V2 up to anything that outputs to that. The USB port for MP3 use is gone and has been replaced with what they have labeled as an SXFI Out which is for hooking up their SXFi headphones that use a USB dongle. While not a rear I/O input the Katana V2 does still have Bluetooth support as well but that has changed from 4.1 to 5.0 now.
The bottom of the Katana V2 gives us a much better look at how the RGB lighting is done with the U-shaped diffuser that runs the length of the speaker to light up the whole edge with aRGB lighting. Behind that you have two 2 inch long rubber feet to keep things from moving around then on the left side there is a sticker. The sticker has all of the required certification logos as well as information like place of manufacture. It also has the model info and your serial number. There is some ventilation on the bottom of the Katana V2 on the side of the rear I/O which helps go with the ventilation that was on the back.