EDIT: I do have to rescind some of the below. How close they sound to each other really depends on the room. There are certain rooms I've played in where the Katana still sounds very good, but not as good as the Two Rock when put side-by-side. It's hard to explain - something about the harmonics, the note "bloom," the ease of EQ. It's not that the Katana is brittle or anything, but that extra bit isn't quite there. If the amps weren't being played side-by-side, I wouldn't notice, but it's noticeable when playing one right after the other depending on the surrounding acoustics of the room.
Some of this was copy/pasted from another post on another forum. Just a little bit of backstory:
There's some hype behind this Katana amp, and I decided to try it out. The original purpose of buying the Katana 100 combo was to be a bridge until I bought my Two Rock Studio Pro 35. Before I bought the amp, I A/B'd the Katana 100 with a DRRI in-store (the DRRI at its sweet spot just below 5 on the volume and setting the Katana to emulate it), and the Katana 100 combo actually won. Some guys listening said the DRRI sounded way better, but I think they were listening with their eyes. I didn't take it as much of a triumph since I don't think the DRRI is much of an outstanding amp in the first place, but beating out a tube amp was a pretty good sign, in my book. I used to have a Studio Pro 50 that I loved, but I got tired of hauling around the 50 lb. head and Alessandro 2x12. So, I'm familiar with how to get a Studio Pro amplifier to hit its tonal sweet spot between the push/pull pots, addt'l bright switch and control on the back, pickup loading, contour, gain vs. master, etc.
Anyway, I got the TRSP35 in the mail, and as much as I hate to admit it, the Katana keeps up with the TRSP35. Unbelievable. This mini-review only touches on clean tone without any pedals. However, in my experience, somehow this non-tube amp takes pedals very nicely as well. To me, to make a TRSP sound its best, the back treble knob needs to be pulled. Generally, the TRSP has two distinct clean tones: Fendery mid-scooped sounds that happen to be thicker than a Fender and a fatter mid-knob-pulled clean. Ergo, the push/pull mid-knob on the front of the amp makes a huge difference. Big difference in volume, and a big difference in tone.
I A/B'd for about 3 hours between the amps: I set the TRSP at a sweet spot, and then would try to manipulate the Katana to emulate...and it emulated it amazingly. I was just surprised at how well the Katana kept right at par with the Two Rock on so many settings. It can get that rich, sweet attack that the Two Rock has. When you play intervals of 3rds, stacking 4ths, or 6ths sliding up and down the neck, you get that nice, crystal-like saturation with your clean tone. The Studio Pro has a bit of a "bounce" to the sound (I don't know if this is the same "bounce" that JM has mentioned in his recent videos with PRS...probably not, haha). I can only describe that by saying when you snap a bass note or a staccato chord up high, it's a loud, bubbly, sweet sounding attack, which quickly turns into to a softer trail - kind of like the intro to Out of My Mind. Is the term for this uncompressed? The Katana gets that feel of the attack with the presence control turned LOWER, I've found. It's really, really weird to say it, but if I'm able to switch in a reverb that sounds as good as Two Rock's reverb, the Katana 100 would basically sound just about identical when set and EQ'd appropriately.
My Katana 100 settings were at 50W CLEAN mode: gain at noon, volume variable, bass at 9 o'clock, mids variable, treble between 2 and 3 o'clock, red reverb setting at 9 o'clock, presence at 9 o'clock or lower, and master at max. I A/B'd between the two with a Fender CP '60s Strat and Mogami Gold cables. In a space with nice acoustics and somewhere between too-loud-for-house and full blast. So, a good amount of volume.
1) The TR's reverb is the lush reverb that we all know that sits "behind" the note, rather than washing in with the note like on a Fender reverb tank. The Katana's stock reverbs are okay, but they don't match up to Two Rock's. This wasn't a huge issue for me, as I usually set the reverb low enough that it wasn't a monumental difference, anyway. However, the Two Rock's reverb is, honestly, just better compared versus Katana's stock reverb. I'm not sure if the Katana's reverbs can be edited - maybe someone else can chime in on that one.
2) The Katana 100 actually had LESS 60-cycle-hum than the Two Rock.
3) I think the Katana 100 might be the only way to go because the 100 watt version has a presence control. The variable that I found to achieve that "bounce" that the Two Rock had was turning the presence down.
4) The Two Rock is just cool to have as a guitar player. Having a no-shortcut, handwired, solid, tube amplifier. If you're a purist, as I am, I had mixed feelings when the Katana kept up with the Two Rock. However, truthfully, it did sound basically the same, to my ear, when the settings were manipulated to match. To the point where when I tried to A/B blindly on several settings, I couldn't tell the difference. I find myself to be hypercritical when it comes to guitars, pedals, and amps, and that was impressive to me.
Again, this is for clean only with no pedals. No consideration or P90's or humbuckers. Take this as you will. This is 3 hours, and also doesn't take into account how either speaker will break-in over time, or that I could replace the Katana's speaker for something else. There are a few sweet spots on the Studio Pro that I used that I think would all appeal to our fellow JM fans, and these are the settings that the Katana was able to duplicate. Just like any amp, the Katana is not amazing at every setting. Not a drawback, and I have to disagree with those who say that Two Rocks sound good at any setting on the dial. This is why Two Rocks sound good in so many different scenarios, because different players, guitars, cables, pedals, and environments all make an impact on the sound, and what sounds "meh" in one scenario will sound perfect in another. Same kind of thing for the Katana.
Anyway, that's my take. I've probably played the Katana 100 for 20 hours total, and have played (in the past) my Studio Pro 50 for more hours than I care to think about. Limited experience, but enough to know what the sweet spots of the amps are and how to get to them. I don't have any real recording equipment, or care to put in the effort for a full-on video, but this is just my take on things. Thanks for reading!