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I got my Katana in the mail a couple days ago and here are my impressions, with 376 requests as I type this I'm sure they will drop it again, so I hope this will help people with their buying decision.
For the price of this thing, and some of the positive things I'd read in this very discussion thread I had high hopes for this sound bar. I probably should have taken more of a grain of salt in audio quality review from a "gaming" sound bar from Massdrop users.
Before I go on too long of a diatribe I'll just get this out there, this is a small sound bar designed to fit under a computer monitor, and that's the best way I can describe the sound: small. It's the desktop audio equivalent of listening to sound from your cell phone speaker. That may sound harsh, but the pure fact of the matter is, for the $300 price of this unit you can achieve FAR better sound by getting either some powered monitors or some passive bookshelf speakers.
I still own some very nice powered monitors, but I wanted to give this unit a chance because my other speakers are large (5" drivers) and take up a fair amount of desk space. This unit solves the desk space problem, but at what cost?
I could go on, but I think I got my point across. For $300 this sound bar isn't worth it, plain and simple. If the price was closer to $100 it might be easier to recommend.
Hey there Rhenom,
Thanks for the feedback here. And I want to assure you I'm not being sarcastic in that comment. It's always good to hear feedback from all aspects of the user base.
That being said, I think there are quite a few reviewers and users of this product that would greatly disagree with your "cellphone speaker" playback claim. It's quite simply not true. And if yours IS sounding like it's coming from a cellphone speaker then you've definitely received a defective unit and we can get that replaced for you.
Our goals when designing the Katana was simple.
Deliver high-powered / high-quality audio for the desktop in a form factor that was space saving and ideal for those using multi-monitor and ultra-wide monitor systems.
The reason why we've called the Katana an "under-monitor audio system" versus a "gaming soundbar" is because it's not just a sound bar. It has tons of technology built in to it that places it far and above from other "sound bars" with its footprint and even much larger ones. And that's what sets Katana apart from the others...the tech and the design.
The format is indeed challenging to deliver great audio from because of the very simple fact that audio is all about moving air. And when you have limited amounts of air to move you need to be very smart in your design in order to get it to sound well. (Believe me it'd been a walk in the park to get to the audio quality level we are at with Katana if we were able to somehow use 5" drivers, the laws of physics definitely slant in your favor on the acoustic side there.
As essentially every pro review and a massive number of user reviews have contested...we've delivered on our promise for them. Great sound , small footprint)
With audio being extremely subjective, and with us being around the audio business for 3 decades now, we know that we're not going to make everyone happy. But that doesn't stop us from trying. I'm sorry your experience wasn't the one that the majority of those who have purchased Katana have had (a great one), and wish you the best moving forward.
Ryan (from the Sound BlasterX team)
OH, and my offer stands to swap out your unit if it is indeed defective! Just fire me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org