The biggest difference is that the Katana mk2 100 has the effects loop while the 50 does not. The 100 also offers additional line out, midi input/puts and better connectivity. On the other hand, the Katana mk2 50 has the 25w mode, is lighter and cheaper than the mk2 100.
For Home Use, I personally recommend the Mkii 100 due the effect loops. It is a lot of fun to play with. As a beginner, you will also learn due effects interacts with things like pedal.
If you are worried about the bedroom volume, you can either use the headphone jack or choose the 0.5W setting, which is available on both. At the 0.52 setting, use the master volume to dial down the loudness of the amp.
As both models can give you bedroom level of loudness, it shouldn’t be a big factor in deciding on which model you should get.
More Detailed Comparisons
While the above gives an overview of the key differences between katana mk2 50 vs 100, I give more details below. Specifically, I contrast their differences in (i) technical components and (ii) audio experiences.
- Effects Looper: The md2 100 has the effects looper while the 50 does not.
- GA-FC foot switch: Only works with md2 100 and not the 50. Having this means you can easily change the effect while playing.
- Wattage settings: The mk2 100 offers 0.5/50/100 watts while the 50 offers 0.5/25/50/100. The 25w option for 50 can be a good choice for bedroom practice if you do not want to use the master dial as volume control.
- Additional cab line: The 100 comes with an additional line out for you to plug the additional cab in. Just on the stereo expand after the line has been plugged in. The 50 does not offer this option.
- Midi inputs/outputs: The mk2 100 allows you to use midi switchers due to their midi inputs/outputs
- Cab resonance selector and presence dial: 100 has these at the panel
- Speaker: The 100 has upgraded speaker, that is better than the 50. Both are factory speakers though.
- Headphone jack: Both models have it
- Prices: The MD2 100 will cost you about $300+ while the 50 will cost about $200+
- Presets: The mk2 100 has 8 presets while the 50 has 4 presets. If you use the tone studio, this difference is not as important as you can easily change the presets using the software.
- Low volume tone: Due to the lack of 25w option, the mk2 100 only offers 50w if you want something more powerful than 0.5w. However to keep the volume down, you will need to dial the master dial to 1. For the 50 mode, you have the option of using the 25w and dialing the master to 2 or 3. As a result, the 100 model may be a bit silent on low volume when on clean channel.
- Loudness: The 100 is definitely louder than the 50. This will benefit for those who are using the amp for small gigs. For bedroom practice, the extra loudness is probably a negative.
Which amp should I buy
The answer will depends on the purpose which you are using the amp for.
- For bedroom practice: if you have no desire to play with effects and want a amp with clear notes and good volume control, the Katana mk2 50w will be the right choice
- For beddroom practice with effects: go for the 100 as you have more options with the effects loopers
- For gigs playing: The 100 offers better connectivity that allows you to plug in additional cab, controllers, pedals etc. The speakers are also louder and is able to pierce the room with audio.
Can you gig with Katana 50?
Between the Katana 100 and 50, the former is definitely better for gigs. However, if due to budget reason, you are considering the 50w model, the next question to ask if it is loud enough.
The maximum power will be limited to the 50 watts limitation. With that being said, it can be loud enough for a small venue.
How loud is it? For comparison, this is what I found out:
- Comparing with solid state amps: the Katana 50 is louder than most solid state amp with the same power. For that it can be considered loud.
- Comparing with tube amps: definitely not close to any 50w tube amps. The tube amp can knock down walls if played at full power. Only the katana 100w has a chance to compete with a 50w tube amp.
- Miked or unmiked: If your performing area is un-miked, the Katana 50 is unlikely to be loud
- Any drums playing: The drums might drown out the Katana 50, esp if it is un-miked
- Limited presets: The Katana has only 4 presets. Usually in a stage performance, you might need more. For example, with 3 effects (clean, overdrive and distortion) and volume boast for each for the 3 will already required 6 presets.
- Portability: one benefit of the Katana 50 is its light weight. It is is easy to move around and set up.
If you really want to use the Katana 50 for gigs, here is a recommended preset setups you can consider
- Preset 1: Clean tone
- Preset 2: Clean tone but louder for those sections that the guitar needs to stand out
- Preset 3: Distortion
- Preset 4: Distortion but louder
The above plays to the strength of the 50 while operating within the 4 preset limitation.
For complicated set up, this post is a good read
Bank 1 Preset 1- Clean ish ( zep 2 tone ) set bright- slight verb Preset 2- Solo ( blues gain ) with mid boost and hall reverb.
Bank 2 Preset 1- 70’s crunch. Preset – 2 Solo ( rock gain ) with mid boost and slight delay
Panel set to heavy metal- Brown sound w slight delay set to solo, roll back guitar volume to 6 for riff/rhythm ect
Latching footswitch to switch presets to solo
Go to amp to switch Banks/panel
Bank 1 on a les paul with the Rythym pickup on half ( tone on 10 ) and treble pickup on full ( tone on 7 ) I get three levels of gain by just using the pickup selector. Clean, midrangey clean- ish and crunch respectively. If the crunch is too loud I pull back on the tone knob to hide more in the mix
Bank 2 same thing only not set as bright and with more gain.
I only use the clean channel for bank one and bank two
On bank two I use the Rat boost for the extra gain.
For an additional $100 or so, I would recommend the Katana mk2 100 over the 50. You can enjoy more effect experimentation, more connectivity and louder output.
If you need none of these and just want a bedroom amp for clean playing, then the katana mk2 50 might be sufficient.