Universal Audio has demonstrated its mastery of creating digital emulations of analog classics for years. Prior innovations like the OX Amp Top Box have shown the brand making its move into the guitar world, but with today's announcement of a new line of UAFX pedals, they've firmly entrenched themselves in the stompbox game.
Engineered and developed by the team at Universal Audio, the Astra Modulation Machine ($399), Golden Reverberator ($399) and Starlight Echo Station ($399) feature dual-processor technology that power some of the most stunning effects ever created for the pedal platform. Each release puts three emulations of classic vintage gear at your feet (there are some free extras you can get upon registration) and offers six knobs, three switches and two footswitches for controlling your sound. In addition to accepting Hi-Z, the UAFX also accepts line level, so you can use the pedals for mixing.
Vintage King's resident pedal guru Dustin McLaughlin was the first to crack open the three new UAFX pedals from Universal Audio. Watch below as he shows off the Astra Modulation Machine, Golden Reverberator and Starlight Echo Station, and we break down what emulations are featured on each pedal.
Universal Audio UAFX Astra Modulation Machine Stereo Effects Pedal
For the UAFX Astra Modulation Machine, Universal Audio has stuffed three timeless modulation effects into this one stunning stompbox. Check out our breakdown of the onboard effects that come loaded on the pedal, an overview of the controls and Dustin McLaughlin's demo below:
Chorus Brigade: Universal Audio's emulation of the BOSS CE-1 Chorus Ensemble offers up essential 1970s analog bucket brigade chorus and wobbly vibrato.
Flanger/DBLR: Another bucket brigade favorite comes with the Astra, this time in the form of the rackmount MXR Flanger/Doubler. Loads of lo-fi flange, filters and textures to play with here.
Trem 65: Love the tremolo on the classic Fender amps of the 1960s? It's now available in pedal form, thanks to Universal Audio.
Free Bonus Effects (Upon Registration): Phaser X90 and Dharma Trem 61
Knob Controls: Speed, Depth, Intensity, Shade, Shape, Mode
Switch Controls: Emulation Selecter (Chorus Brigade, Flanger/DBLR, Trem 65), Store, A/B
For all three demos, Dustin ran each pedal stereo out into the two Hi-Z inputs on his Universal Audio Apollo x8p audio interface. For guitar, he had loaded up two UAD Diezel Herberts in Unison, ran clean panned hard left and right. He used the same set-up for the Moog Matriarch portion of the demo, but no plug-ins were used. For the bass, he used the same stereo set-up, but used two UAD Ampeg B15 amp emulations in Unison.
Universal Audio UAFX Golden Reverberator Stereo Effects Pedal
Since getting started in the plug-in game, Universal Audio has created a wide range of different reverb emulations. The brand has taken three of its stunning recreations and packed them into the Golden Reverberator stereo effects pedal to give you instant access to 1950s plate sounds, mid-60s amp reverb, and digital reverb from the 80s. Here's what comes loaded on the Golden Reverberator and our demo of this amazing new pedal:
Spring 65: Universal Audio is emulating another Fender classic here and this time it's based on the standalone spring reverbs heads from the 1960s. These legendary heads include three different spring reverb tanks.
Plate 140: Next up is an emulation of the iconic EMT plate reverb. The 600-pound plate reverb box is a timeless studio treasure and has been distilled down here to fit into a single stompbox.
Hall 224: The essential Lexicon 224 is featured on the Golden Reverberator pedal with three different types of digital reverb, including room, small hall and large hall.
Free Bonus Effects (Upon Registration): Vintage Digital Plate and Chamber 224 Reverbs
Knob Controls: Decay, Predelay, Mix, Bass, Treble, Mod
Switch Controls: Emulation Selecter (Spring 65, Plate 140, Hall 224), Store, A/B/C
Universal Audio UAFX Starlight Echo Station Stereo Effects Pedal
The Universal Audio UAFX Starlight Echo stereo effects pedal is another trip through studio technology of the past. This delay pedal offers up three onboard emulations that span from the tape echo machines of the 1960s to a more modern delay that offers pristine sound quality. Let's take a look at what comes loaded on the pedal, the controls, and get a first listen of the Starlight in action:
Tape EP-III: Universal Audio's Starlight pays homage to the essential tape echo unit with its Echoplex emulation. Perfect for anything from subtle room echo sounds to wild out there squeals and self-oscillation.
Analog DMM: Next up is Universal Audio's take on the Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man, which features three different effects for bucket brigade echo, chorus and vibrato goodness.
Precision: Last, but not least, is the Precision Delay Mod based on the beloved plug-in from UA. A timeless clean delay that will be a perfect fit on your pedalboard.
Free Bonus Effects (Upon Registration): Cooper Time Cube Delay
Knob Controls: Decay, Feedback, Mix, Division, Color, Mod
Switch Controls: Emulation Selecter (Tape EP-III, Analog DMM, Precision), Store, A/B/C