"We wanted something smaller, easy to use, no Bluetooth app, no hidden menus – just turn knobs, make noise, play guitar…" Watch Yvette Young blow our minds with the new pedals from Universal Audio

Yvette Young plays while Paul Riario looks on
(Image credit: Future)

"It's your choice: do you want great fidelity or do you want garbage?" Universal Audio's James Santiago is talking us through the company's new effects pedals. "I love garbage-y, weird, almost vibrato-like wow and flutter effects." This new range of pedals based on classic gear, he says, has "all the charm and all the defects that we like about those machines."

As we reported a few weeks back, Universal Audio's move into hardware continues, with the company unveiling four of its cheapest effects pedals to date: reverb, delay and compression units in the form of the 1176 Studio Compressor, Orion Tape Echo, Evermore Studio Reverb and Heavenly Plate Reverb, with each one tipping its hat to the sounds generated by classic gear.

The Orion Tape Echo, for example, is UA’s take on a Maestro Echoplex EP-III – one of the most iconic guitar effects of all time – while the two reverbs (the Heavenly Plate and Evermore Studio) are based on sounds from The Record Plant recording studio in Sausalito (that produced albums from everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Sly & The Family Stone and Metallica), while the Evermore seeks to recreate digital studio hardware, and the 1176 Studio Compressor which emulates the 1176LN Limiting Amplifier – UA’s own version of Bill Putnam Sr.’s original 1176 rack unit that featured on records from Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and more.

"Compression is cool but can be boring," says Santiago. "We all love delays and reverbs but there's something unique about compression, when it's used with a certain playing style, that can bring out dynamics and can make you do things that normally would be just sort of buried in your playing. Compression is one of those tools that once you get used to it, it's hard to live without it."

Santiago learned from Don Landee, producer of the early Little Feat records, as well as Van Halen and the Doobie Brothers. "He said, 'We were looking for a way to get the cleanest sustain out of the slide player's sound.' And they decided to go direct, go into one compressor, go into another compressor, and then print that to tape. So this is like the most crystal-clean guitar sound. But if I just hit a note, it'll just hang there forever."

Watch the video as Santiago walks us through the pedals and Yvette Young melts our brains with her playing.

For more info, visit Universal Audio.

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Scott Rowley
Content Director, Music, at Future plc

Scott is the Content Director of Music at Future plc, responsible for the editorial strategy of online and print brands like Guitar World, Guitar Player, Total Guitar, Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, Guitarist and more. He was Editor in Chief of Classic Rock for 10 years and, before that, the Editor of Total Guitar and Bassist magazines. Scott regularly appears on Classic Rock’s podcast, The 20 Million Club, and was the writer/researcher on 2017’s Mick Ronson documentary Beside Bowie