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Universal Audio is one of the world’s leading producers of audio gear. They’re best known for their exceptional range of audio interfaces, but the brand also makes some superb pedals in the UAFX series.
UAFX pedals combine immersive effects with intuitive controls and are often designed to recreate the sound of popular devices. The range includes everything from reverb to modulation pedals.
In this guide, you’ll find our selection of the best UAFX pedals available. We’ve assessed their abilities based on key aspects such as versatility, tone, dynamics, and controls.
What are the Best UAFX Amp Pedals?
How We Tested
To ensure that we tested these UAFX amp pedals as accurately as possible, we monitored their sound using a variety of guitars and amplifiers. We then tweaked each of the controls installed on the pedals to gauge their effectiveness.
Next, we assessed the additional features of the pedals, such as the presets, tap tempo switches, and EQ controls. This allowed us asses how effective the pedals were at producing the desired effects.
In-Depth UAFX Amp Pedal Reviews
The Fender ‘65 Deluxe Reverb is regarded by many as one of the greatest tube amplifiers in history. With this Universal Audio amp modeling pedal, you can access its authentic tones and effects on your pedalboard.
UA has designed this pedal meticulously, considering every aspect of a Deluxe Reverb amplifier and recreating it with stunning accuracy. The trio of the onboard speaker and amplifier presets provide a variety of clean and saturated tones.
You can also choose between various mic and cabinet settings to further customize the sound of this pedal, and Universal Audio’s Dynamic Room Modeling technology opens up a new realm of sonic possibilities.
Connecting the Universal Audio Dream ‘65 to the popular UAFX app via Bluetooth on your smartphone or tablet gives you access to a wide range of customizable features, presets created by professional musicians, and much more.
- Replicates the sound of a Fender ‘65 Deluxe Reverb amp
- Onboard spring reverb and vibrato
- Three speaker, cabinet, and mic presets
- Produces the authentic sound of a vintage Fender tube amp
- Allows you to use two additional channels
- Space to save your preferred settings
- Preset switch is a little complicated to use
There’s something undeniably special about the British invasion guitar tone that became popular in the mid-1960s. Blending aggression with inviting warmth, the tube amps that were used by the likes of The Kinks and The Rolling Stones remain popular today.
Universal Audio has created the Universal Audio Ruby ‘63 to emulate the iconic sound of the Vox AC30. As soon as you plug your guitar into this pedal, you’re greeted with the familiar snarl of the legendary Vox amp.
The three channels included on the Ruby ‘63 offer Brilliant, Normal, and Vibrato settings, each producing a classic rock n’ roll sound that is well suited to riffs, chords, and melodies.
The AC30 was renowned for its sparkling cleans and ferocious overdriven tone, and this UAFX amp pedal delivers a faithful recreation of both sounds.
Like the amplifier that it’s based on, the Ruby ‘63 is highly compatible with other effects when it is used to produce clean tones.
- Recreates the sound of 2 x 12 British amps from the ‘60s
- Three amp presets
- Harmonic vibrato effect
- Boosts your guitar tone while adding warmth
- Puts you in control of your dynamics and tone
- Save your presets for later recall
- Lacks a midrange EQ frequency band
There’s something so appealing about the sound of vintage analog delay hardware that was popularized in the 1960s and 70s. UAFX has condensed many of the classic sounds into this emulation pedal.
Thanks to the power of their state-of-the-art DSP, Universal Audio’s Starlight Echo Station includes a diverse range of delay effects and sounds, which have the potential to transform your guitar tone.
The three onboard presets consist of the Tape EP III, the Analog DMM, and the Precision delay.
Firstly, the tap delay is perfect for creating saturated repeats of your guitar melodies and riffs. You can have a lot of fun playing around with the Analog DMM preset, which adds modulation to the repeats in bucket-brigade fashion.
The final flavor of delay, labeled Precision, is sharper and more controlled, making it ideal to combine with other transformative effects.
- Contains two iconic echo emulations
- Tape EP-III provides digital delay effects
- DMM offers warm, analog delay
- Can be operated in mono, dual-mono, or stereo
- The precision mode adds modulation to digital delay
- Switch between two different presets
- Storing presets slightly complicated
The UAFX Golden Reverberator pedal allows electric guitarists to access a variety of ambient, gorgeous-sounding flavors of reverb on demand. It includes three core reverb types – Hall 224, Spring 65, and Plate 140.
Each of the three reverb categories sounds distinctively different from the other two, and you can customize the sound using the onboard controls. The highly capable DSP enhances the functionality and performance of the pedal.
Along the top row of the pedal, you’ll find three rotary controls, keeping with the typical design of UAFX amp pedals. The “decay” and “pre delay” knobs can be used to make the reverb sound more or less extreme, and you can then blend the wet and dry signal using the “mix” control.
A 2-band EQ is included on the lower row of controls, along with another intriguing knob labeled “mod.” This control transforms the sound of the chosen reverb preset and is fun to experiment with.
- Spring 65 analog reverb
- Plate 140 offers 1970’s style reverb
- Three settings of Hall 224 reverb
- Can be operated in true bypass or buffered modes
- Compatible with the UAFX Control app
- Durable chassis and solid construction
- Great for vintage reverb, not so great for modern reverb
Astra Modulation Machine is one of Universal Audio’s most ambitious and exciting pedals. Powered by the brand’s most advanced DSP to date, it emulates a trio of iconic modulation effects.
Firstly, you gain access to a classic chorus effect. Based on the classic CE-1 from 1976, it is perfect for adding some warble to your melodies and chord patterns. Next, there’s the equally impressive flanger, which can double-track your signal.
Finally, the UAFX Astra Modulation Machine also provides you with a tremolo that closely resembles the effect you get installed on a vintage tube amplifier.
Each of the effects included on this pedal has a distinctively analog sound, which is refreshing in a world where most modulation pedals lack this. You can then tweak the variety of onboard controls to your liking.
You can also expand the number of effects the Astra pedal houses by connecting it to the UAFX Control app. The two additional effects offered are the X90 phaser and the Dharma Trem 61.
- Chorus Brigade based on the Japanese effect from 1976
- Flanger and doubler add thickness to your tone
- Trem 65 recreates tube tremolo from vintage amps
- Can be operated in mono or stereo
- Powerful DSP ensures flawless operation
- You get two free effects after registering the pedal with UAFX
- Some of the controls seem unnecessary
UA Audio Pedals Buyer's Guide
manufacturers cramming various sounds into a single device. Universal Audio has focused more on quality than quantity.
The pedals included in the UAFX series offer a small selection of high-quality amp simulations.
In some cases, you get an accurate replica of the sound produced by a classic tube amp, and in other cases, the pedals produce amp-style effects like reverb or vibrato. UAFX pedals have an intuitive design, allowing you to tweak the settings easily.
In the remaining section of this guide, we’ll discuss the key aspects of UAFX amp pedals so you can decide between the options we’ve reviewed.
Things to Consider When Buying Universal Audio Pedals
Each UAFX pedal has a default amplifier model and up to three cabinet, speaker, and microphone models. The modeling included with the pedal is unique to the amplifier type and may be suited to a specific style of guitar playing.
In addition to the virtual amps and modeling combinations, the pedals can also house specific effects. These effects may be based on designs used on the amps that are modeled by the device, or they may be added to the pedal to increase its versatility.
UAFX amp pedals have two footswitches at the of the device. These switches are commonly used to control the presets, which you can save when you find settings that you like. Also, you may find that the footswitch can be used for tap tempo.
Key Aspects & Features of UAFX Pedals
Recreating Classic Tones & Effects
Universal Audio’s UAFX pedals are unique for various reasons, but one of the most appealing things about these devices is how accurately they emulate classic amplifiers and effects hardware.
The UAFX series includes impressive emulations of Fender’s iconic 1955 Fender Deluxe, 1965 Deluxe Reverb, and the Vox AC30.
Amp emulators have become popular when recording guitars into DAWs. VST plugins make accessing the sound of iconic amps and effects units easy, but they’re not a practical solution for live performances.
With the UAFX amp pedals, Universal Audio provides the perfect solution for guitarists who want to access accurate recreations of their favorite amps and effects while performing live.
Dynamic modeling is one of the most innovative aspects of these UA pedals’ design. When you select the virtual amp or effect preset, you can choose between three speaker, cabined, and microphone settings.
The dynamically modeled speaker, cab, and mic combinations are all designed in line with the core amp or effects units that the pedal emulates.
Tweaking these settings results in distinctive differences in the ways the core presets sound and replicates the alterations that can be made in a recording studio when capturing a guitar amp.
Universal Audio has ensured that everything down to the finest details has been considered, allowing you to shape the sound of your chosen virtual amps and effects hardware.
You can access three additional cabinet presets when you register your pedals with the UAFX app.
You can also bypass the speaker, cab, and mic features if you feel they are unnecessary, which may be the case if you’re combining a UAFX pedal with a real tube amplifier.
Connectivity & Power
All UAFX pedals are designed with identical power requirements and connectivity options. A 9V DC power supply must be used, providing at least a 400mA current.
You’ll find four jack plugs on the rear side of the UAFX pedals – two inputs and two outputs. In most cases, you’ll only use one of the unbalanced inputs and outputs for a single-amp setup, but you can also expand your rig.
The ‘Four-cable mode’ is another noteworthy method of connection that can be used if you have an amplifier with an FX loop. By switching this feature on in the UAFX app, the first output can be sent to the amplifier’s front section, and the second can be sent into the return of the FX loop.
The FX loop’s send is then hooked up to the UAFX pedal’s second input jack. When you turn the pedal off, the guitar’s signal is sent directly to the amplifier’s front section, and the second input forms the final connection in the FX loop.
Live and Preset Modes
The two footswitches on the UAFX pedals commonly allow you to switch between the “Live” and “Preset” modes. Presets can be saved into the UAFX app and recalled whenever the mode is active.
This is useful for several reasons. When you’re experimenting with the various controls and parameters on the UAFX pedals, you can save any sounds that you want to use in the future.
Factory presets are also available in the UAFX app, and you can then tweak them using the controls on the pedal.
UAFX Amp Simulator Pedals FAQs
Can You Use UAFX Amp Pedals with a Real Amp?
UAFX amp pedals are designed to be equally suitable for live performances and recording. They can be used with real amplifiers, whether they are of the solid-state or tube variety.
You can also connect UAFX amp pedals directly to an audio interface or preamp to record directly into your preferred DAW.
Do UAFX Make Boutique Pedals?
Universal Audio’s UAFX pedals fall into the boutique category, along with alternatives made by the likes of Strymon, Walrus Audio, JHS, and EarthQuaker Devices. They’re premium-quality pedals that produce unique sounds.