I managed to get a used Creative Sound BlasterX Katana as a hand-me-down under monitor gaming speaker system. I have to say the immediate plus point is the form factor. It is great for my study room and for any city-dweller with a space constraint. The sleek sound bar is two 12-inch rulers long, 6cm high and 8cm deep, almost like putting a short baseball bat under the monitor. The sub-woofer is slightly taller than a 12-inch ruler, with a width shorter than my mobile phone and depth less than a 12-inch ruler. This combination allows me to tuck neatly and discreetly away a powerhouse 5.1 speaker system with a maximum output power of 125 watts that would give any unsuspecting computer user a blast of a surprise or a heart attack.
For a work from home perspective, I confess the award-winning Katana is an overkill. But if you need to make excuses for yourself, the Katana does gaming, Spotify and Netflix audio pretty well, making a compelling case for work, learn, play and watch at home solutions, all rolled into one. While I am not a PS4 gamer, I had a great time down memory lane with Pac-Man when a friend hooked it up to a PS4 unit. For Netlflix, I was glued to my 28inch UHD monitor for a 24 hour Korean Drama marathon. The cinematic audio just clung me to the chair. Be warned, the Katana with good video resolution can be addictive and bad for your health when it comes to movie and drama binge-watching.
The Katana comes with aux-in, headphone, mic-in and USB-flash and computer connection, in case you are wondering what you can plug to. It also comes with Bluetooth connection too. There is a remote that comes with the Katana, in case you want to put some distance between yourself and the speaker, like bed and study table. 4 preset audio modes allow you to switch between, gaming, concert, cinema and the one mode you need without covering the speakers with blankets at night to avoid neighbours knocking angrily at your door - night mode. I know, it would be great to have a study or work mode to feel less guilty buying the Katana. And if you still want more out of the Katana, it comes with a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel decoder and 7.1-channel virtual surround sound. This is all made possible with the SB Axx1 audio processor, found in Creative's top audio and sound card products. You know you are in good hands when the authority on sound cards decides to put their mark in a speaker system. Now, if you still need more control, there is Sound Blaster Connect software for you to twiddle more via a PC for finer audio enjoyment. Somewhere in the Sound Blaster Connect is the Crystallizer function which improves vocals which means I get to hear my online meetings and video tutorials better. Yes, it does meet my work needs and boost productivity!
Well, the ultimate test for any audio product is in experiencing it and for me, the Katana passed the test with very high marks. Lucky me as it currently costs S$ 399 even at promotional price. But now that I have had an awesome experience, I know it will be a much appreciated present for my nephews and niece. What surprises me, for a product launched in 2016, it still does a splendid job compared with other sound bars in the market that cost double or triple the price. Good product designs, I guess do stand the test of time. I am proud of our Singapore company Creative!