Even though we’re seeing more and more players moving towards digital rigs, there are still a good number of high-end effects pedals and standalone stompboxes hitting the Market. Universal Audio has recently released another batch of incredible amp emulator pedals onto the market including the Dream ‘65 and Woodrow ‘55, in addition to the all-new Galaxy ‘74 Tape Echo and Reverb.
The Galaxy ‘74 captures the vibe of what is arguably the most iconic reverb unit of all time, the original Roland Space Echo, but does so with the latest and greatest in digital processing.
We were lucky enough to get our hands on a Universal Audio Galaxy ‘74 Tape Echo and Reverb pedal, so in this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we bring you a full rundown of this unique echo and reverb pedal.
Keep on reading to learn more!
Who Is this for?
The traditional stompbox format of this pedal means it’s a pretty user-friendly unit, and as such possible for players of all abilities to squeeze a ton of performance out of it. Additionally, the quality of the effects from the unit (and the sturdiness of its design) make it perfect for serious amateurs, working musicians, and pro studio users.
Appearance / Features / Controls
Like most pedals in the UAFX family, the Galaxy ‘74 boasts a full metal chassis and metal housing. It’s built like a tank, and not only was the quality great, but the aesthetics were spectacular. We can’t recall the last time (if ever) we got genuinely excited about how an effects pedal looked, but with this UA number, it really looks and feels every bit a $300 unit. The design is simple, with no gimmicks, just a simple matte black housing with cool neon green lettering.
Part of the Galaxy ‘74 appeal is the authentic modeling of the multi-head tape delay mechanism from the original Roland model. This is what really separates it from the majority of modern tape delay emulators. As well as the tape head modeling, it also featured a super accurate spring reverb emulation. The head selection was controlled from a physical switch on the top panel, which made it easy to change modes on the fly.
Not only did it faithfully recreate the iconic ‘70s Roland tone, but it also added additional features like doubled delay times. Further expanding the delay range meant it opened up even more experimental tones that weren’t possible with the analog tape Space Delay.
Another premium feature we particularly liked was the silent switching, which let us instantly mute the signal for tuning or taking breaks during a set. It also included buffered bypass, ensuring that our signal stayed strong and uncolored when the pedal was disengaged, and analog dry through, which helped maintain the integrity of the guitar’s original output signal, which really stopped the pedal from overwhelming the inherent character of the pickups.
One of the Galaxy ‘74’s more interesting functions was the spillover/trails feature, which allowed us to maintain the continuity of delay and reverb effects that had already been instigated, even when switching to a different effect.
It gave us the option of both mono and stereo out, and there was a USB port on the back for firmware updates and connection to the UAFX control app. This convenient and user-friendly app allowed us to tweak settings and parameters, and customize our oscillation sounds.
The Galaxy ‘74 really performed well across the board, both in terms of moving around between features and also the tones themselves.
Having the head select switch let us move between the three different head combinations. This not only made it sound like an original ‘70s Roland but also added a more realistic feel, too.
The pedal itself was extremely intuitive. Tapping on the left foot switch activated the pedal and switched it off, and tapping the switch on the right gave us instant tap tempo. However, when we held down the button on the right, we opened up “Performance Mode”.
Each of the three heads on the Head Select switch sprang to life in performance mode. Head 1 served up dotted 16th notes, Head 2 gave us dotted eighths, and Head 3 dropped some fantastic dotted quarter notes.
As we played, the tempo effects swelled in sync with our feedback volume, and when we released the switch, the echoes gently faded out, providing an almost ethereal soundscape to play over.
We were able to shape the echo tones to our liking using the echo rate, feedback, and echo volume controls. One of the coolest effects came about when we adjusted the echo rate while it was already oscillating – this unleashed some wild pitch shifting that really made it obvious why the original was called the Space Echo!
When we played in stereo, we loved how it moved between a wide field and a tight, more focused field. It did so in a really musical way and felt like it just added a really unique flavor.
Final Thoughts on the Universal Audio Galaxy ‘74 Tape Echo and Reverb Pedal
There really was a lot to unpack with the Universal Audio Galaxy ‘74 Tape Echo and Reverb Pedal. It offered a ton more than initially met the eye, largely down to the banks of hidden features unlocked by way of holding vs. tapping the control switches.
We found ourselves extremely impressed with the build quality and, most of all, the tones. This really felt like having access to a Roland Space Echo – and while the UA pedal might be on the expensive side of things, original Roland models in good condition can sell for as much as $3000, so the Galaxy ‘74 feels like a bargain by comparison.
The range of echo and delay tones it offered was enormous, and having app control made it super easy to fine-tune things to get the exact sound we wanted.
If you’ve got the budget for it and you’re looking for true vintage reverb and echo tones, we think the Galaxy ‘74 is a great buy.