Attention Bass Players! Boss Unveils A New Amp and Multi-Effects Unit to Rumble and Groove Like A Boss

Attention Bass Players! Boss Unveils A New Amp and Multi-Effects Unit to Rumble and Groove Like A Boss

Bass players have been rocking bag-sized amps for over a decade now. Moreover, the cabinets house Neodymium speakers so even if you carry your own, it’s not the back-breaking experience it used to be.

Well, Boss took that whole concept to the next level adding to what they achieved with the Katana line ever since it came out.

But that’s not all, because they also announced a revamped version of their ME-90 multi-effects unit specially tuned for bass players.

Which of these is the right one for you? Should you buy them both? We’ll answer those questions for you, regardless if you’re a gigging musician, aficionado, hobbyist, or beginner.

Let’s get ready to rumble!

The Boss Katana 500 Bass Head

The Boss Katana 500 fits in a little bag you can carry around on your bicycle if you like. But don’t let the size fool you since this unit is a bass powerhouse rather than an amp.

Well, to begin with, it boasts 500 Class-D watts to 1 or 2 speakers. That’s enough to play in most venues. Furthermore, with the available connections, you can easily use the amp’s power as a stage monitor and have the front-of-house deal with the rest.

Speaking of volume, this amp has plenty of that but it also packs many features to sculpt your tone before it hits the power section.

• 4-Band EQ – The mid-frequency in any bass is complicated to dial in. Boss included low-mid and high-mid controls to fine-tune it as well as a bass and a treble knob. Finally, the amp also features a Hi-Cut button and a Lo-Cut knob.

• Compression & Drive – The amp comes with built-in compression and overdrive. You can dial them in or transform them into any other effect via the proprietary Boss software (more on that later). The additional FX knob can also act as multiple effects.

• Shape Switch – The action of the Shape Switch can be modified via the software; you can choose between mid-scoop, bright, and wide-range options.

• Amp Feel – You can choose between Modern and Vintage settings. These positions change the tonal structure of the amp, giving you something that’s more of a feel than something audible. The response of modern and old amps is very different.

• Mute – Great for late-night recording.

• Memory – You can dial in your perfect tone and save it to the amp. That way, regardless of knob movements, you can go back to your favorite settings at the touch of a button.

• Cab Resonance Calibration – This is groundbreaking new technology. By pressing that button and holding it for one second, the amplifier scans the speaker cabinet’s response and fine-tunes its circuit to match the cabinet.

Adding the PAD button for active bass circuits, the front panel has enough features to cover most sonic ground you’ll ever need to. Furthermore, many of the options were designed with the live player in mind.

The best examples are the Memory button and the Cab Resonance button. Sometimes, you just arrive at the gig and all your knobs moved out of place, and the cab the bar provides has been punished by so many players before you it sounds like asking for help rather than loud and proud.

Well, all of that is Grandpa’s tales with this Katana.

Wide Connectivity Options

Moving over to the back panel of the amp, things are equally interesting. It is great to take it with you everywhere you go. Moreover, it can be your audio interface at home as well, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself here.

The rear control panel features:

• Dual locking speaker outputs
• USB connectivity (allowing you to record through the amp to your favorite DAW)
• XLR line out with ground lift and the ability to select between pre, post, and direct
• A ¼” headphones and analog recording output
• Foot control and expression pedal jacks
• Bluetooth adaptor slot (not provided)

Like every member of the Katana amplifier line, you can modify parameters with the Boss Tone Studio and choose among 60 effects to replace the stock compressor, drive, and FX. The addition to this model is that you can also use the Tone Studio (free) app for deep fine-tuning.

The Boss ME-90B

The Boss ME-90B is the company’s newest addition to the line and a great tool for any bass player.

It’s packed with 61 effects optimized to work best with bassists and 10 preamps to choose from. Speaking of preamps, the top knobs including a 3-band EQ, gain, and volume are very much like handling an amplifier. Furthermore, this multi-effects unit features sounds from Boss’s latest amp technology, AIRD. This translates into real-sounding amps with big tones.

You can use this multi-effects unit as a pedalboard or by banks accessed by the 8 footswitches and the expression pedal. Finally, every effect type is controlled with real knobs.

Going to the back of the unit, there’s an XLR output with ground lift, an effects loop, stereo outputs with an amp/line switch, and a 1/8” headphone jack. Lastly, the USB-C connection allows you to control the unit with the Boss Tone Studio software as well as using the ME-90B as a recording device.

Finally, the ME-90B has a metal chassis that makes it a rugged, road-worthy piece of gear. That, for something that’s going to spend most of its time on the floor of the stage, is not a detail.

The Bottom End

Let me finish this piece by answering the opening questions.

I would say that the Katana 500 is the perfect unit for a gigging musician or someone who plays live a lot and is looking for a portable solution that sounds great in every scenario. Also, it’s a great piece of gear to use at home for recording and practicing.

I would say, the Katana 500 is for you if you play live a lot and want a solution rather than a new color palette to paint your tone.

The ME-90B is exactly that, the perfect platform for experimentation with all the effects you can think of and usable preamps. Since you can’t plug it straight into a cabinet, though, it doesn’t make it such a powerful tool when playing live.

I would say the ME-90B is for the bassist who’s looking for more tonal options to experiment with while also taking it to every gig.

Which one would you choose? Let me know in the comments below or through our social media!

Happy playing (like a boss)!


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