So this is the amp a lot of us have been waiting for - and actually somewhat ahead of schedule really per my expectations. It of course carries over all the previous Artist advantages and benefits - including the front-facing control panel and superior Waza Craft Speaker - and marries those to the latest Katana MKII innovations - the Variation button on Amp Types, more granular Effects control via dual-concentric knobs, dual-amp stereo link - and of course the extended range of Effects and parameters.
Via the Boss Tone Studio you can pretty much apply the same parameters across both standard and Artist Katana amps - while the Artist surfaces a few more of those within its control panel. The most significant changes on the panel are the addition of a Solo Boost and Tone Shape / Global EQ / Contour switch - while the Cabinet Resonance is now a smaller 3-way switch above the Power button, and the former Line Out Air Feel control has been relegated.
You need to decide for yourself whether the superior format and speaker are worth twice as much outlay. Retail price of the Artist MKII looks like £571, while the equivalent 100 Watt Katana MKII can be had currently for £298. There is an argument that you simply buy the superior speaker separately - the G12W-8 12" Waza Speaker is available for £159 - so £298 + £159 versus £571 is possibly the smarter choice. While for me the added practicality of the front-facing panel makes it pretty essential for me. Of course I would prefer to pay less, but on a comparative level this is still a pretty great value proposition.
As soon as the MKII was announced I have been waiting for the follow-up announcement for the Artist, and like I say in the intro I’m a little surprise that the Artist edition has arrived quite so quickly. This will most definitely be my next amp acquisition when I upgrade my Katana MKI 100 - could be this year, but with all my pedal priorities and considering what Chase Bliss Audio keeps revealing - it may very well be next year at this rate!
All in all another great amp from Boss and likely many player’s first choice - although you do pay something of a premium on it versus the standard MKII models.