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Boss Waza-Air review

A fully featured headphones amp that might just be the best wireless, take-anywhere-and-practice option on the market

Boss Waza-Air review
(Image: © Boss)

Guitar World Verdict

The Waza-Air setup changes the game for the practice setup, with a wireless headphones system that offers three-dimensional sound, and a cornucopia of amp models and effects plus Bluetooth audio streaming. It might well be the most portable and finest practice solution ever.

Pros

  • +

    Headphones are very comfortable.

  • +

    Excellent sense of space and depth in the sound.

  • +

    You can take it anywhere – it's totally wireless.

  • +

    Stacked with effects from the Boss Katana series.

Cons

  • -

    Nothing.

The say "Practice makes perfect" but a guitarist's practice (opens in new tab) routine can be a dull affair, especially when it is just you stuck in a room with your headphones and amp. It would be much more exciting if something allowed you to have those practice sessions anywhere, right?

Well, that's where the Boss Waza-Air comes in. Following on the Boss Katana-Air's success – an amp Boss called “the world’s first totally wireless guitar amplifier” – the company is pushing the envelope further here with a personal wireless guitar headphone amp that integrates a gyro sensor that tracks your head movement and spatial technology to offer a truly three-dimensional, “amp-in-room” experience.

Furthermore, you'll find a wide variety of the Katana's amp models and effects, the ability to stream audio via Bluetooth and edit your tone via the free Boss Tone Studio app. As an all-in-one practice and play-anywhere solution, the Waza-Air might well be unbeatable.

Features

You won't find any cables in the box, or anywhere. The Waza-Air pairs its headphones with a low-latency WL-T wireless transmitter for 100 per cent wireless connectivity. Both the headphones and transmitter have built-in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and an auto standby/wake function to conserve battery life. 

The battery life is very generous. The headphones will give you about five hours of playing time, the transmitter will be charged for about 12 hours.

The Katana-amp voicings are intrinsically Boss-sounding, meaning they have a digital sheen combined with desirable analog overtones that sound completely organic

The headphones themselves have large, custom-designed 50mm drivers offering studio-quality sound. The soft conforming earpads are super comfortable while a wide headband keeps the fit secure. 

There are power and Bluetooth-enable switches on the set, a chrome-knurled guitar volume wheel and a pair of plastic buttons to access the six preset memories and tuner. These buttons also control playback when you are streaming audio from your mobile device.

Waza-Air uses advanced 3D algorithms to create three separate and spatially realistic environments – Surround, Static and Stage. 

Static activates the gyro sensor and places the amp and ambient room sound in front of you and pans it in relation to your head movements. Surround is like playing in a virtual recording studio, with a similarly immersive atmosphere, while Stage creates a virtual “live setting” by placing the amp sound behind you. Each has its own life-like sound and feel. 

The panoramic effect triggered by your head turning in Static and Stage modes is really wild while the Surround mode is like virtual-reality candy for your ears

The free Boss Tone Studio app is compatible for iOS and Android mobile devices and allows for deep editing of the five amp voices – including a full-range voice for acoustic/electric guitar and bass, access to more than 50 Boss effects, plus you can edit and organize presets, and download tones that have been curated for Waza-Air.

Performance

Once fully charged, inserting the WL-T transmitter into the Waza-Air’s 1/4-inch headphones jack to pairs both units for total wireless play. Note: You can’t simultaneously charge both by doing this.

It’s quite liberating. You have freedom to move about, with no cables to get tangled up in, as you play. All the while you are hearing your guitar in three novel environment settings. The panoramic effect triggered by your head turning in Static and Stage modes is really wild while the Surround mode is like virtual-reality candy for your ears.

The sensation is best described as surreal. Cooler still is when you use the Tone Studio app to and use a 360-degree rotation control over where you place your guitar and audio positions.

The Katana-amp voicings have a digital sheen that's combined with desirable analog overtones – each sounds completely organic, and intrinsically Boss-sounding. Each sounds incredibly dimensional through Waza-Air’s high-fidelity headphones, and these are the most pleasing hi-gain and clean tones to my ears. 

As expected, Boss goes overboard with their wide selection of reverbs, delays and modulations and produces each effect with vivid clarity.

Specs

  • Price: $399.99 / £373 / €425
  • Type: Wireless headphones amplifier
  • Key Features: 5x Katana amp types, 3-dimensional sound via advanced Boss spatial technology and integrated gyro sensor, 50 customisable effects accessible via Boss Tone Studio app [free], custom-designed 50 mm drivers, onboard tuner and chromatic tuner via app
  • Contact: Boss (opens in new tab)

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Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.