“Next-generation sound experience backed by decades of R&D”: Boss has big news for bassists, unveiling feature-packed ME-90B multi-fx, plus high-powered Katana-500 head and matching 1x12 cab

Boss ME-90B Multi-Effects Processor
(Image credit: Boss)

Boss has unveiled a huge drop for bass players, expanding its bass amp and multi-effects lineup with the new Katana-500 head and matching 1X12 cabinet – and launching an ME-90B multi-effects pedal that’s packed with sounds and designed specifically for bass guitar.

It’s a full-on digital rig. The matching Katana 112 is a small-footprint speaker cabinet specifically tuned to complement the head. But there’s a case to be made that with the Katana-500 in your backline you would want for nothing else. 

Certainly, you would not lack for muscle; as the name implies, the Katana-500 has 500-watts of Class D power under the hood. Nor does it lack features. 

As you’d expect from Boss’s Katana series there is a lot going on here, from the onboard effects – of which you can choose from 60 Boss effects to swap in and out of the Compression, Drive and FX sections, with deep edits performed via the free Tone Studio app – to the Cab Resonance feature, which allows players to fine-tune the output of the amp at the touch of a button so it pairs perfectly with any speaker cabinet. 

Boss Katana-500 and 112 cabinet

Boss Katana KTN500B-HD Bass Head and Katana Cabinet 112 Bass cabinet

(Image credit: Boss)

Also, the Katana-500 offers prophylactic tone measures for difficult stages, with a Bottom control to finesse the low-end and a trio of Hi Cut settings to do similarly for the treble side. The Shape button lets you apply mid-scoop, bright, and wide-range EQ curves to your sound.

The front panel is where you will find most of these controls. There is a four-band EQ, a Feel switch that offers Vintage or Modern settings. Alternatively you can just leave this off. The Blend dial is nested with the effects and allows you to dial in more or less of your dry bass signal.

There is also a chicken-head dial on the front for shaping your sound when going direct to the desk or DAW, with three mic’d speaker emulations to choose from, and three custom settings. 

Around the back, there are two speaker outputs, a USB connection, individual inputs for an expression pedal and footswitch, a 1/4” output for headphones or direct recording, and an XLR out with groundlift. Lastly, there is an optional MIDI dual adaptor for Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to stream audio to the unit, or perform wireless edits via the Boss Tone Studio app.

As for the cabinet, it’s loaded with an Eminence Neodymium Series woofer and a high-frequency tweeter. The tweeter has two switchable settings, and can be turned off entirely. The Katana-500 Head is priced £734/$799, the Katana Cabinet 112 Bass is £717 / $699.

Boss ME-90B 

Boss ME-90B Multi-Effects Processor

(Image credit: Boss)

The ME-90B multi-effects might be more familiar. Like the ME-90 for electric guitar, this is an all-in-one amp modelling and effects workstation, featuring 61 effects, 10 bass preamp models engineered using Boss’s AIRD tech, and all of this is presented for manual editing, with a small display.

There are eight multi-function footswitches plus an expression pedal, and the whole thing is arranged a little like a pedalboard, with effects categories grouped and selected via dial, with dials to control the parameters. The Blend control lets you adjust the wet/dry mix. 

Bassists can run the ME-90B in Manual mode, where what you see is what you get, or in Memory mode, where you are working off the presets. The unit ships with 36 factory presets and has 36 user memory slots for saving down your sounds. You can also run it in mono or stereo. 

There are a lot of tones to be found here, but because more is always more, Boss has fitted this with an effects loop for integrating your stompbox collection. This could also be your rig for playing live, with an XLR output for sending your signal direct to the PA. Similarly, the USB connection allows you to use it for home recording.

There is a headphones output for silent practice, and if you are hooked up with USB you can add a backing or jam track. The ME-90B can also be edited via the Boss Tone Studio, making it easier to manage your sounds and IRs, with the space for three user-defined IRs.

The ME-90B is available now, priced £345 / $399. For more details, head over to Boss.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.