Universal Audio has been knocking it out of the park recently with their range of effects pedals. While they have had a range on the market for some time, including several reverb and delay pedals like the super popular “Golden Reverberator”, their most recent batch including, models like the Galaxy ‘74, and the Del-Verb, have been something really special.
The UA Del-Verb is one of the more interesting pedals in their range, billed as an “Ambiance Companion”. To find out exactly what they mean by that, we put the Del-Verb through its paces in this KillerGuitarRigs Review.
If you’re in the market for a high-end reverb or delay pedal – this might be just what you’re looking for. Scroll to find out more!
Who is This For?
The Universal Audio Del-Verb, in terms of usability, is a great choice for pretty much any guitarist looking for studio-quality reverb and delay effects. Additionally, while it’s price pushes past your Boss and MXR pedals and into the realm of Strymon and Walrus Audio, meaning it’s going to be more for intermediate and above musicians, it has to be said that its features and general quality rise to the occasion with gusto.
Appearance / Features / Controls
As we’ve seen with other UA pedals, the Del-Verb was a beautifully made unit. It was all metal, including both chassis and housing, and had a fantastic powder-coated “Tiffany Blue” finish. It’s clear a lot of thought has gone into the design of this range of pedals, as the brown dials accented the housing perfectly.
The array of controls on the Del-Verb included Delay time, which controlled the echo rate, Feedback, which adjusted the delay repeats, and Mix, which allowed us to set the delay level. The other three dials were Color, Mod, and Reverb. Color handled the delay character, Mod handled the modulation amount, and Reverb set the pedal’s reverb level.
In addition to the knobs, the control panel was home to a pair of switches. The switch on the left was the Delay selector and allowed us to toggle between Tape EP-III, Analog DMM, and Precision. The switch on the right had the Reverb options, with settings for Spring 65, Plate 140, and Hall 224.
Like the rest of the new UA pedals, it had dual footswitches, and on the Del-Verb, the left switch turned Delay on and off, and the switch on the right turned Reverb on and off, and also controlled Tap Tempo.
On the back of the unit, there was a range of inputs and outputs. It had both stereo and mono I/O and a USB C port for firmware updates. This is also where we found the pair button, which is used for connecting the Del-Verb to the companion app.
While we’re talking about the companion app, it was packed with additional features and parameter adjustments; the most useful in our opinion, though, were the reverb trails (which we could turn on and off) and the ability to download custom voicings.
Performance / Sound
The UA Del-Verb was an extremely impressive pedal. As we’ve found with other UA pedals, it was super easy to operate.
Getting the most out of this unit was an absolute breeze, particularly the reverb functionality. Instead of having to set level, decay, etc., all of the reverb was controlled just by the one knob. The higher it was turned up, the deeper and longer the reverb trails were. We found that the reverb was organic sounding and really quite ear-pleasing.
The delay features were a little more complex, but we found that taking the time to understand the controls resulted in some fantastic tones. Using the color control gave us a vast range of signal delay, from a gentle bounce, right through to a cascading waterfall of sound.
With the time knob, we were able to set the delay length up to 1.5 seconds, and with the precision control, we managed to set it in milliseconds for super fine control.
By adjusting the feedback, we adjusted how often the delay repeated. Once past the three o Clock position, it began self-oscillating. With the EP-III setting activated, it was a self-oscillating tape effect; in DMM, we got some fantastic swelling feedback, and in Precision, it gave us a consistent, unfaltering self-oscillation.
Overall, we found that no matter which mode we ran it in, it delivered consistently clear, natural tones. The blend between the reverb and delay effects was fantastic and, as far as we could tell, totally seamless.
We did think it sounded better with humbuckers, mainly due to the inherent brightness that this pedal has. Don’t get us wrong, it still sounded great with single coils, but an EQ section, or even just a tone knob, would have been a great addition to help tame the brightness for anybody who finds it to be too much.
One of the few downsides to the Del-Verb was the fact that, to use Tap Tempo, we had to switch off the Reverb. If you’re new to pedals, this can prove challenging to do quickly, but with a bit of practice, it becomes second nature. Of course, this being primarily an ambiance pedal, we didn’t find ourselves drawn too much to the Tap Tempo feature anyway.
It did require an external power supply – something to think about if you prefer to run pedals from batteries. The power cable wasn’t included, but if you’re spending upwards of $300 on a pedal, we think it’s safe to assume you already own a pedal power supply unit.
Final Thoughts on the Universal Audio Galaxy ‘74 Tape Echo and Reverb Pedal
Once again, we were bowled over by a UA pedal. The Universal Audio Del-Verb was a real joy to use and will likely remain a permanent fixture on our studio pedal board. As promised, it delivered massive ambiance, which is really the main goal when it comes to delay and reverb effects.
It was beautifully made, it looked great, it was easy to use, and the range of functionality was fantastic. As we mentioned, it’s definitely not a cheap pedal, but in terms of build and sound quality, it’s hard to imagine going back to any other delay or reverb unit.