Creative is best known as the inventor of the Sound Blaster soundcard, which dominated the PC market in the 90’s. Fittingly, the soundbar Katana can also work as a PC sound card via USB. A straightforward display makes the soundbar easy to use. Unfortunately, it lacks an HDMI input. You can solve this by connecting the TV to the optical digital input, and hope that the sound is synchronised with the image, so the dialogue is synced with lip movement (lip sync). This works OK with the Sony TV that we tested it with. The sound has a tiny delay, bu we think it’s acceptable.
The soundbar sounds really good when your driving skills are put to the test with the driving game Forza Horizon 3 on the Xbox One S. The sub-woofer slams really well when you crash, and the engine sounds solid enough. Somewhat rounder than the Panasonic, but Creative still feels more powerful.
We are not so sure the blue light on the underside of the bar during Gaming sound mode is a good thing, or that the entire underside lights up in the colours of the rainbow when the music is on Concert mode.
Film engages well and the subwoofer follows. It is wired and thus less placement-friendly. Nevertheless, we think that the Creative soundbar works quite well.
Music on the other hand is a rather tame experience with woolly vocals due to low energy on the treble, which is where the overtones and music clarity lie. But Bluetooth actually works here, much better than with Panasonic.
The Creative Sound BlasterX Katana is an OK attempt at a soundbar. It is by no means a powerhouse, but it has enough muscles to be used for gaming, and it also works well for movies and TV.
There is lack of resolution in the treble, which makes the music experience less tempting. Without an HDMI input, we have to turn to an optical input from the TV, in which case perfect lip sync is not guaranteed.
Also in this test
Does not follow up
A masculine expression and rugged sound does not have the power to follow up, and Klipsch lands at the bottom.
JBL Bar 3.1
No one in the class provide this sense of home cinema. JBL crushes everyone on sheer force, and the sound quality is good enough for it to take the lead.
Let the sound flow
The soundbar from LG is one of the most affordable with built-in network features and streaming of music services. It also sounds good.
The soundbar from Samsung has a beautiful coherence in the tones, which makes both movies and music a pleasant experience.
Small and half-hearted
The small soundbar from Panasonic sounds bigger and more powerful than you might think. But it has a few issues.
Surprisingly huge sound
Yamaha was first on the market with active soundbars. This is their first with DTS Virtual:X surround sound.
Philips Fidelio B1/12
Better on TV than music
This is one of the smallest soundbars on the market. It sounds bigger than it looks, but has its shortcomings.
Extra dimension in height
Sony’s soundbar simulates both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in height, thus giving an extra dimension to the soundscape. Yes, it works.