Universal Audio only got into the hardware guitar effects game about two years ago with the Golden Reverberator, Starlight Echo Station and Astra Modulation Machine. It quickly capitalized on its initial success by introducing three amp simulators in pedalboard-friendly formats. And now the company is adding three more units to the lineup: the Del-Verb Ambience Companion, Galaxy ‘74 Tape Echo & Reverb and Max Dual Preamp & Compressor.
These $349 pedals aim to capture the sound of several classic effects with powerful digital emulation. The form factor is the same as the rest of the UAFX pedals — so you get two foot switches, six knobs and stereo ins and outs, enclosed in a beefy aluminum enclosure. The only immediate difference between the new members of the family and the original six is the price. Universal Audio is one of the few companies actually lowering prices. The company says some minor changes were made to the knobs and packaging, and that the feature set is actually slightly simpler than past pedals, which allowed it to shave $50 off the price.
The Del-Verb Ambience Companion combines delay and reverb into a single pedal. One half of the pedal lets you pick between a spring reverb modeled on a “60s American guitar amp” (presumably a Fender Deluxe), a vintage German plate reverb or a late 70s digital reverb. The other side houses a tape echo emulation, an analog bucket brigade delay (BBM) and clean digital delay.
Galaxy on the other hand, goes all in on specifically modeling the Roland Space Echo. That includes its much loved preamp and spring reverb effect. There’s even a tape age parameter for dialing in just the right amount of lo-fi grit. UA claims it’s “the most authentic emulation of the classic mid-’70s Roland Space Echo hardware”, but I’m sure Roland would beg to disagree.
Lastly the Max combines emulations of several iconic compressors with a recreation of Universal Audio’s own 610 preamp. You can choose between the UA 1176, Teletronix LA-2A and DynaComp compressors, which cover everything from gentle tube squeeze to lo-fi crush. Multiple compression algorithms can even be stacked with the UA preamp to get some truly wild tones and textures.
It has no effect on the sound quality, but these are also probably the best looking of the UAFX pedals yet. The combo of baby blue and rich brown on the Del-Verb is delightful, and the single bright-red knob plus deep blue inset on the Max has a lovely vintage charm. The Del-Verb Ambience Companion, Galaxy ‘74 Tape Echo & Reverb and Max Dual Preamp & Compressor are available now through all of the usual retailers for $349.