“It will sound and more importantly, feel, like the amp that defined rock and roll”: Universal Audio’s UAFX Lion ’68 puts a Plexi in a pedal, offering Marshall-style roar – and a direct ‘Brown sound’ setting

Universal Audio UAFX Lion ’68
(Image credit: Universal Audio)

Universal Audio has announced four new effects pedals, including a Plexi-style Marshall amp emulator dubbed the Lion ’68, plus three compact stompboxes in the shape of the Teletronix LA-2A Studio Compressor, Flow Vintage Tremolo and Brigade Chorus and Vibrato.

The Lion ’68 takes, er, pride of place among the new line-up, joining the ranks of UAFX’s previous amp emulation pedals, namely the Dream ’65 Reverb (which channels Fender’s black panel classic), Ruby ’63 Top Boost (based on the Vox AC30) and Woodrow ’55 (Fender tweed) amp emulation pedals. 

As with its predecessors, the Lion ’68 uses dual-engine processing to model three varieties of the amp circuit in question. 

In this case, it’s three 100-watt classic Marshall heads, including the classic Super Lead 100 (labelled Lead), the Super Bass 100 (Bass) and an EVH-style “hot-rodded” Super Lead 100 (Brown).

Universal Audio UAFX Lion ’68

(Image credit: Universal Audio)

Alongside the head models, you also get three pre-loaded speaker emulations, including various Celestion “Greenback” Marshall-style cab tones and, again, a Van Halen-channeling option, via a 25-watt Greenback/JBL D-120F-loaded 4x12 cab sim. 

All of which makes it a direct, albeit very much unofficial, route to Van Halen’s classic ‘Brown sound’ tone – though of course the Plexi builds were used by a plethora of classic rock guitarists. 

Indeed, Angus Young, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend all used Plexi tones at various points in their careers.

"When we released UAFX Dream, Ruby and Woodrow amp emulator pedals, we were thrilled to see their near-instant acceptance from guitarists who had never even considered 'modeling' pedals before,” says UAFX’s Senior Product Designer, James Santiago.

"We put our heart, soul, and decades of analog expertise into Lion '68. So from the first chord that you play, it will sound and more importantly, feel, like the amp that defined rock and roll."

Elsewhere, the latest UAFX announcement also introduces three new compact pedals, all of which effectively package up single presets from the firm’s larger, more expensive offerings. 

Universal Audio UAFX Teletronix LA-2A Studio Compressor

(Image credit: Universal Audio)

The Teletronix LA-2A Studio Compressor takes “the fat, warm tone” of the renowned optical tube limiter (also found in the firm’s Max Preamp and Compressor) and offers it in an appealingly retro compact pedal form.

Universal Audio UAFX Flow Tremolo

(Image credit: Universal Audio)

The remaining offerings, Flow and the Brigade Chorus and Vibrato, are both spin-offs from one of the first UAFX pedals, the Astra Modulation Machine

Flow offers three classic amp-based tremolo voicings, including the Astra’s 65 (optical), plus Dharma (harmonic) and Square (square wave) tremolos. 

Brigade takes the BBD tone of Boss’ CE-1 pedal (which fetches $500+ on the used market) and offers a choice of vibrato or chorus tones. 

Universal Audio UAFX Brigade Chorus and Vibrato

(Image credit: Universal Audio)

Like the other new compacts, it’s priced at $199. Of course, you can pick up Boss’ own CE-5 for $140, but a fairer comparison is probably Boss’ high-end Waza Craft CE-2W, which retails for $210 – at which point, UAFX’s play makes more sense.

All three of the compact pedals take 9V power, have switchable true bypass and a further mini-switch option (preamp on/off on the Brigade, tap tempo on the Flow and stock/fast release on the Teletronix) located near the I/O. 

Price-wise, expect to pay $399 for the Lion ’68 and, as mentioned, $199 for the Teletronix, Flow and Brigade pedals. For more information, head to Universal Audio

Finally, to find out more about the first three UAFX amp emulations, check out Guitarist’s Woodrow ’55, Dream ’65 and Ruby ’63 review.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.