After speculation recently surfaced on the internet, The Edge has now officially confirmed he’s ditched his suite of tube amps in favor of digital amp emulators for U2’s ongoing string of Las Vegas Sphere shows.
Rumors of the U2 guitarist’s significant rig shakeup began circulating earlier this week, with Ultimate Guitar sharing snaps of what looked to be a new-look version of The Edge’s pedalboard that housed the Universal UAFX Audio Ruby, Woodrow and Dream pedals.
For those unfamiliar with the UAFX range, these three units are all pedal amps based on British, American and Tweed amps, all of which offer onboard speaker cab options.
It was a curious picture indeed, with many suggesting that the Edge – a long-term loyalist of the tube amp contingent and champion of a Vox AC30, Fender Deluxe and Fender Harvard setup – had defected to the ranks of digital amp emulators.
Well, The Edge has indeed made the swap, with the guitar legend now revealing he will be opting for three aforementioned amp pedals for U2’s run of shows at Las Vegas’s Sphere venue.
In a statement issued to MusicRadar, The Edge confirmed, “For various reasons at the Sphere I decided to switch from amplifiers to digital amp emulators. I'm using UA Ruby, Dream and Woodrow amp pedals with some Fractal Axe-Fx units handling additional amp emulation and FX.
“When you introduce radio leads and all the electronics involved it's never the same as a simple guitar into amp tone, so it's a case of high-level complexity to make it sound simple.”
Not only is this a huge endorsement for Universal Audio – who, remember, only started making hardware pedals in 2021 – it’s also a major coup for the digital amp camp and a ringing seal of approval for modern amp technology, which will now be represented on stage at the most expensive, state-of-the-art multimedia music venue in history.
The Edge’s selection makes sense, too: the three amp pedals he’s running are sonically similar to his previous amp setup, and are based on a ‘55 Fender 5E3 Deluxe Tweed, Vox AC30 and AC30 Top Boost, and ‘65 Fender Deluxe Reverb.
It turns out the Ruby, Woodrow and Dream aren’t the only UA pedals to take The Edge’s fancy, either. As confirmed by the brand itself, he’s bought the entire range: “Edge has bought most/all of our pedals,” UA posted on its website. “He's also shared his feelings with us directly, but we are not using it to promote specifically, out of respect for him.”
Whether the Edge will stick to his new Universal Audio setup in the future remains to be seen, but if they sound up to scratch at the Sphere, we see no reason why he won’t stick with his new pedalboard. It will certainly make transporting his mammoth guitar rig easier, too… well, slightly easier.
Guitar World has reached out to the Edge’s guitar tech, Dallas Schoo, for further comment.