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Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 review
If you’re in the market for a reasonably priced soundbar with lots of versatility, you absolutely should consider the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2.
Before monitors with speakers were standardised, computers needed a soundcard and speakers. And decades ago, there was one main name: Sound Blaster. Fast-forward to more recent times, and Creative is still around and still very much interested in audio. This is where the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 steps in as a wholly impressive soundbar sequel to the long-serving original Katana.
How much does cost the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 cost in Australia?
If you’re looking at the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 for PC audio, you may balk at the $499.95 price tag. But viewed in the context of a soundbar that can be just as easily used with TVs as it can with computers, and that value changes. The closest direct comparison is the Razer Leviathan V2, which is cheaper at $409.95 (more on how these two soundbars fare in comparison below).
But compared to typical TV-focused soundbars that come with subwoofers, the Katana V2’s pricing is very competitive. More than just an afterthought, the Katana V2 is just as viable as a PC soundbar (with dedicated gaming mode) as it can be for TV audio.
At the time of publishing, the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 is available for $319 at PC retailer Mwave.
Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 setup
Creative has packed a lot into the Sound Blaster Katana V2 box. In terms of the basics, you’ll find the soundbar itself as well as the external subwoofer. It’s also a nice touch to see an optional wall mount, as well as a variety of power plugs for different parts of the world (including Australia).
The most impressive inclusion is a remote control—that may have impressed me more than it should have after the Razer Leviathan V2 didn’t include one—but batteries aren’t included. I actually thought the remote was broken after trying two different types of new AAA batteries in it. As far as I can tell, the remote has issues with batteries that have a higher voltage. Subbing in some older, lower-voltage batteries worked a treat.
Everything else was easy to configure. The soundbar needs power and connects to the subwoofer, both of which are done via generous-length cables. Unfortunately, the USB-C to USB-A cable is a little shorter than I’d like, but that’s a cheap enough replacement if you have trouble reaching an available USB port on your computer.
There are physical buttons on top of the Katana V2 soundbar to control power/Bluetooth pairing, volume down and up, input source, and playback mode, plus there’s a dedicated SXFI button if you’ve connected a compatible Creative headset. It’s much easier to control everything from the included remote, though, and I was impressed that it included playback control that worked without any additional configuration in Windows 11.
Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 quality and soundscape testing
I love headphones and speakers that have the option to effortlessly go loud and also have room for big bass. The Katana V2 ticks both these boxes (and then some). For most of my dozens of hours spent reviewing the Katana V2, I used the soundbar for desktop audio. Even with the volume set at around six on the Katana V2, the volume was already at a great level. Volume lovers should appreciate that the Katana V2 volume maxes out at 50. Yeah, these things get loud, but even at higher volumes, the quality doesn’t suffer.
Jumping into the Windows audio settings, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Katana V2 supports 24-bit, 96,000Hz studio-quality audio. As you might expect, the results are a treat for your ears, whether watching movies, playing games or listening to music. The default Katana V2 audio presets are great for their intended functions, and across the board there’s a depth and richness to the soundscape that adds extra layers to audio playback. Pair the Katana V2 with high-quality audio from the likes of Tidal, and the results are even better.
There’s a mobile app and a Windows app if you do want to tweak settings. The software has an easy-to-navigate layout with logical placement for the various settings you can personalise. That said, you can honestly get away with sticking to the presets for immersive sound. In a surprise move, the Katana V2 also includes an inbuilt microphone, which was echoey in my tests, so you’re better off with a standalone solution or a headset. Still, it’s a nice, unexpected perk and an okay backup option in a pinch.
Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 vs Razer Leviathan V2
I really like the Razer Leviathan V2 and it does a lot right. Like the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2, it’s just as easy to setup and it has audio presets that just work out of the box. It’s also great that Razer has included multiple easy-to-remove feet options so you can change whether the soundbar is at an angle or straight on.
The Katana V2 doesn’t have that option, but it does include a wall mount. In my audio comparisons, the Leviathan V2 has great sound and plenty of volume but is lacking on the bass front. The Katana V2 has even better sound for my ear and heaps of volume, as well as the option to tune the bass to beefy.
In terms of connectivity options, there’s no real contest here. The Leviathan V2 is built as a PC soundbar, which means USB and Bluetooth audio only. While it has the newer Bluetooth 5.2 and the Katana V2 has Bluetooth 5.0, Creative’s soundbar offers a full range of connectivity options. The addition of a remote with the Katana V2 also means it’s just as viable under a PC monitor as it is for use with a TV.
Both soundbars have subtle RGB that’s a nice touch if you’re into that kind of thing, but the main area where Razer has a lead is the price. When dealing with RRPs, the Leviathan V2 is $90 cheaper than the Katana V2. The price difference is justified by the versatility of the Katana V2; still, you can find the Leviathan V2 for around $350, while the Katana V2 tends to hang around its $499.95 retail price.
Is the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 worth buying?
If you want to save money and only want a PC soundbar with good playback results, go with the Razer Leviathan V2. That said, if you’re willing to spend more on the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2, your ears will thank you.
How we review speakers
Our main focus with speakers is how they sound. This means we put them through the paces of everyday use, depending on what they’re designed for. If it’s TV speakers, we use them to watch a variety of content, including TV shows, movies as well as playing games.
For other speakers that aren’t designed for TV, we spend a lot of time listening to a variety of music, comparing them to whichever speakers are our typical go-to options. We like speakers that are incredibly easy to set up and just work after being connected without having to tinker with software. That said, we also look at any available companion software to test the versatility of speakers, particularly smarter options.
Connectivity is important, which is why we favour speakers that offer the user plenty of options, including wired and wireless. Basically, the more versatile a speaker in terms of its uses, the more potential uses it has, and the greater its value. Where available, we also test remotes to ensure they’re intuitive and responsive as well as other applicable features like voice control.