Audio Quality and Comfort
So for testing, like I mentioned in the opening, the goal with the Katana was to finally get a proper speaker setup on my wife's new desk so for testing, I set it up there right away. She has two monitors on a desk mounted arm so getting the space up under them wasn;t a problem at all. The Katana is thin enough to fit under most monitors even at stock height. A good example of this is with her right monitor that is taller where it sits lower but the Katana fits well.
The thin design of the sub worked out especially well, fitting in the small space she had next to the drawers under her desk. If the Katana had a traditionally sized sub it would have ended up either on top of or extremely close to the heat vent causing a fire hazard. Not only that with this design she also has more foot room so big props on the sub’s small footprint.
Getting everything wired up was simple, the speakers are built into the main unit so really you just have to hook up the power and the PSU to get things rolling. If you want to use the Katana’s built-in DAC and audio controller you need to hook up the USB to your PC as well and I would recommend that. Once you have it all up and running you power it up and the front has a hidden LCD display behind the grill. This gives you feedback when using the remote or with the controls up on top. I love that they hit the display as well so you don’t have a glossy area that ends up looking dirty with dust or fingerprints. Having the remote in general ended up coming in handy more than I would have thought. For me, I control everything through software on my PC but my wife found it easier to use the remote to control the volume and to flip through the lighting from time to time. She rarely used the top controls because they were limited and really given how close the Katana is for most people with it on your desk it almost wouldn’t be bad if the remote could be dropped into the top of the Katana when it isn’t being used. This way you would still have a remote but also have the additional controls right on the unit when docked.
Where the Katana stands out though is in its overall audio performance. When compared to any normal PC speaker setup the Katana is well above and beyond in both features in performance. Most PC speakers are just that, speakers. The Katana has a built in DAC, amp, and audio controller to give you the Dolby effects. I have a similar setup on my desk but with the X7, speakers, and a sub where the Katana costs about what the X7 costs and you get everything. Now performance wise my much more expensive setup does sound better, but it should considering the price. The Katana, however, being an all in one unit sounds better than any of the all-in-one setups I’ve ever tested. A lot of that is because the built in DAC and all of the hardware with that is improving the audio quality well above what you are getting from a cheap soundcard or onboard audio.
So when gaming the setup had good directionality, especially considering it was all coming from right in front of you. Music sounded good but when compared to the powered sub on my setup the unpowered sub on the Katana did fall behind. I had to go out of my way to really get it to thump and shake the room. I don’t care for wall rattling bass myself, but if that is what you are looking for this might not be the setup for you. Overall though it had a good performance at everything but the high volumes. The mids and highs were good but when cranked up the lows fell off. The good performance was consistent in gaming with a good sound field and directionality, with music, and while watching TV shows and movie as well.
Now as far as the RGB lighting up under the Katana, the lighting didn’t show up as well on her black desk but it looked great in our photo area. The lighting effects were interesting and my wife played with them for a first few days until the novelty wore off after that she set it to what she liked and didn’t mess with it. If you have a theme with your PC, keyboard, and mouse then the Katana can help carry on that theme with a touch of mood lighting. If you hate lighting all together it's okay as well. You can turn it off or set the lighting to something simple like white.