Universal Audio Max and Del-Verb

Smart Stomps
Universal Audio Max and Del-Verb
Price: $349 (each)

After rolling out several “amp-in-a-box” pedals last year, Universal Audio is back with a fresh line of stompboxes to help guitarists groove.

The Max Preamp/Dual Compressor gives models of famous compressors, with three compressor circuits – the classic DynaComp pedal capable of squashed, chicken-pickin’ sonorities, and two studio favorites, the LA-2A and FET 1176, which you’ve heard on a million platinum albums. In rackmount form, the latter two cost thousands of dollars each. There’s also a model of the LA-610 preamp accessible via dedicated smartphone app that connects with Bluetooth.

For guitar or bass, the Max gives you ample compressor tones to play with, from squashed and funky to natural and breathing, as well as a powerful preamp (the orange knob) for dialing up a surprisingly robust overdrive. So, in one housing, you have an army of compressors for live guitar and bass, along with the option of bringing it into your home studio for seriously heavy-duty sonics. There aren’t XLR ins/outs for traditional engineering, but the stereo 1/4″ jacks deliver excellent audio.

For pure jamming fun, the Del-Verb Ambience Companion is a blast. It’s basically a delay and reverb in one box, but with UAFX’s models adding tons of dimension. On the reverb side, you get vintage reverb models (Spring, Plate, and Hall), while there’s a full cadre of echo sounds, including Echoplex, analog bucket-bridge delay, and clean digital boxes. The Color knob changes the character of each model, while Mod offers a little tape wiggle, vibrato, chorus or flanger. The reverb footswitch doubles as the delay’s tap-tempo and you can adjust deeper parameters with the UAFX app.

Plugging your axe straight into the Del-Verb brings oodles of ambient joy, with deep and shallow reverbs, and powerful delays. Surf-twang is a breeze, but a real surprise is combining it with distortion for authentic ’70s arena rock. You want some Humble Pie or Queen thump while sitting at home? This box delivers the Echoplex goods with commendable accuracy.

Both UAFX pedals bring high-end audio to the pedal scene, adding welcome tweaks like the app and USB-C connectivity for updates. Stomp ’em!

This article originally appeared in VG’s August 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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