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Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 review: The best soundbar for gaming is now even better

Creative revamps its Sound Blaster gaming soundbar.

Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2
(Image: © Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

The original Creative Sound Blaster Katana was well received by us and the wider gaming community. It became one of the go-to soundbars for the TV in the big room or gaming setup in the office. It wasn't a perfect device and had a few minor issues that have largely been rectified by Creative with the new Sound Blaster Katana V2.

In this refresh, Creative promises more than 60% additional power than the previous model, a brand-new remote controller, a larger subwoofer, and some additional connection support. Whether this helps retain a spot on our best PC speakers list for the Katana remains to be seen, so let's dive in and see what's new with Creative's latest gaming soundbar.

Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2: Price and availability

Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

The Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 is an expensive piece of kit. If you're just going to be using this device for gaming on a PC or console, it's far more expensive than simple 2.1 speakers, but the difference is night and day. If you want one of the best audio soundbar experiences for gaming, you'll need to spend more and the Katana V2 commands a $330 price tag.

It's not overpriced, which makes it a good option for gaming on the larger screen too. Thanks to the 250W peak power output, improved sound with Super X-Fi support, there's plenty to love about the Katana V2, and the high price is well worth it.

Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2: What's good

Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

I really liked the original Sound Blaster Katana and thought Creative did a fine job. There were a few things I didn't like, namely the remote control, but other than that it was an excellent speaker system and one you'd find hard to replace for a console or PC. When the company came out with version 2, I was interested to learn what had changed.

For starters, there's a substantial increase in power output, allowing for the advanced sound tech to be added and improve the audio experience. I'm talking full support for Creative Super X-Fi. Then there's the improved remote control with programmable buttons and a slightly redesigned soundbar with new connectivity ports. All this makes the best gaming soundbar even better.

Looking for the best gaming soundbar? This is it.

Even though Creative managed to cram in yet more functionality inside the Katana V2, it's almost identical to its predecessor in terms of dimensions aside from a slight bump in height. The new Katana V2 comes with six drivers in total, alongside an external subwoofer unit. Compared to version one, we're looking at some considerable improvement here, including the use of aluminum domes.

The subwoofer has also seen an upgrade to help it perform well even at lower sound levels. I've been talking about a 250W peak power output, but the V2 is rated at 126W of consistent root mean square (RMS) power. This is a step up from the 75W (and 150W peak) found on the original Katana.

Whether you're smashing Covenant in Halo Infinite and want impressive-sounding explosions or are hiding behind the blanket to The Conjuring, you'll enjoy what this compact soundbar has to offer. And you'll be able to hook up all your favorite devices to the Katana V2 thanks to the excellent list of connection ports.

CategoryKatana V1Katana V2
Drivers2x 63mm (2.5-inch) mid-range drivers
2x 19mm (3/4-inch) tweeters
1x 165mm (6.5-inch) subwoofer driver
2x 63mm (2.5-inch) mid-range drivers
2x 34mm (1.3-inch) tweeters
1x 133mm (5.25-inch) subwoofer driver
Power outputUp to 75W RMS (150W Peak)Up to 126W RMS (252W Peak)
Frequency50-20,000Hz50-20,000Hz
Sound Blaster Acoustic Engine✔️✔️
Super X-Fi✔️
SXFI BATTLE Mode✔️
Microphone✔️
ConnectionsBluetooth 4.2
Optical-in
AUX-in
USB-A
USB flashdrive
Bluetooth 5.0
HDMI ARC
Optical-in
AUX-in
USB-C
SXFI-out
Soundbar dimensions600mm x 79mm x 60mm
(23.6 x 3.1 x 2.4 inches)
600mm x 95mm x 62mm
(23.6 x 3.74 x 2.44 inches)
Sub dimensions130mm x 299mm x 333mm
(5.1 x 11.8 x 13.1 inches)
150mm x 367mm x 367mm
(5.9 x 14.4 x 14.4 inches)

Creative allows for Bluetooth 5.0, HDMI ARC, optical-in, AUX-in, USB-C, and SXFI-out. I found the Bluetooth to be a vast improvement to the Katana V1. The design of the Katana V2 is similar to the original model, which isn't a bad thing as that was a sleek speaker system. There's a new display on the V2, as well as a diffused RGB underglow effect as opposed to reflection-based.

There's also a new headphone port on the front of the soundbar, which simply provides easier access than reaching around the back. The revamped remote controller makes it more convenient than ever to switch EQ modes and manage the sound output of the Katana V2. The EQ presets are pretty good for switching between games and movies, but you can fine-tune the speaker using Creative software.

But really, regardless of EQ preset, you're going to have a good time with the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2. This is a fantastic soundbar that shouldn't sound as good as it does.

Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2: What's not good

Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

There are a few minor issues with the Katana that are related to its form factor. This is a soundbar with a separate subwoofer module, which results in some punchy bass and clear sounds for gaming and enjoying the odd movie. But this requires correct positioning to enjoy the full experience on offer. You really need to be sat in front of the Katana V2.

This isn't a deal-breaker for an office setup since it's highly likely you'll have the soundbar positioned below your monitor, but it's a whole different story for a larger room with a big screen. Using the Katana V2 with the best 4K TV for Xbox will provide excellent results, especially if your sat directly opposite, but this soundbar doesn't have anything on 7.1 surround speakers.

To be clear, the Katana V2 isn't terrible in larger rooms, but you will need to crank up the volume (taking advantage of that 250W peak power) and ensure no one is sat off to the side. It's just that you can find better audio products (like Creative's own SXFI Carrier) for your TV, and that's okay since this is positioned at gamers.

Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2: Competition

Razer Leviathan

Source: Razer (Image credit: Source: Razer)

There are some great speakers out there, and if you're looking specifically for soundbars, you can't really go wrong with some competitor picks to the Sound Blaster Katana V2. Creative itself has numerous soundbars available that can be used with a PC or console, but we're also big fans of the Razer Leviathan (opens in new tab).

The Katana V2 is pretty pricey, coming in at $330, and there are certainly more affordable soundbars available, including the Panasonic SoundSlayer (opens in new tab), but if you opt for cheaper soundbars you'll lose certain features like surround sound and large drivers.

Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2: Should you buy it?

Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

You should buy this if ...

  • You want a compact speaker system for your TV or PC
  • You don't mind paying a premium for a rich audio experience
  • You don't want a true surround speaker setup

You shouldn't buy this if ...

  • You want a true surround audio experience
  • You don't want to spend hundreds on a speaker

A soundbar is a solid purchase for PC and console setups, be it in the office, gaming, or living room. So long as you're going to be positioned directly in front of the screen (and soundbar) you'll enjoy some seriously good audio with the Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2. This isn't for anyone who wants a true (and more immersive) 7.1 surround speaker system for the TV.

This may be a small soundbar with a dedicated subwoofer, but you can crank up the volume and hit upwards of 250W of peak output power. That's a serious punch for such a compact system, which is what leads to the rather premium price tag. The Katana V2 changes a few things to the V1 that makes it even better for gaming, including a more sleek-looking design.

The remote control is far better, and the improved audio makes it a killer companion for any PC or console. There are a few minor niggles with the Katana V2, however. You won't want to throw this into a large room that's primarily used for movies and music as you will need to position the soundbar to get the most out of the available drivers, but this is easily one of (if not the) best gaming soundbars you can buy.

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.