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Universal Audio Golden Reverberator review

An old name in audio becomes a new name in stompboxes – and it's set to impress with this vintage-voiced reverb pedal

Universal Audio pedals
(Image: © Universal Audio)

Guitar World Verdict

Not the most comprehensive, but it delivers the vintage essentials with class.

Pros

  • +

    Quality of sounds is hard to beat.

  • +

    Plenty of scope for tweaking.

Cons

  • -

    No expression pedal or MIDI input.

Studio equipment manufacturer Universal Audio may be best known for its authentic plug-in emulations, powered by DSP in the company’s own hardware, but now it’s using its technology in a series of guitar pedals with dual-processor architecture. 

The Golden Reverberator is a reverb pedal with various mono and stereo options. Each pedal has a choice of three effects with toggle-switched variations, but you can download an extra effect (two for the Astra) via USB. 

Each pedal stores a single preset – just dial in your sound, flick the Store switch and you’re done. The footswitches give you access to two sounds. The left footswitch accesses the Live sound representing the current positions of the knobs and switches, while the right one calls up the preset with its stored values.

Having a decent spring reverb emulation is usually the hallmark of a quality reverb pedal, and the three spring variations on offer here – based on Fender amp ’verb – tick all the boxes, with plenty of tweaking options available. Likewise, the plate reverbs are excellent and work nicely with guitar tone.

For a larger space, there’s a Hall reverb, too, but it adheres to the pedal’s retro vibe as it’s based on the (more than 40-year-old) 12-bit Lexicon 224 and, in true 70s/80s style, has optional chorus. It also provides bonus reverb, two more plates and a chamber.

There’s no doubting the quality of the sounds, but for onstage work some may take issue with the fact the pedals don’t have an expression pedal input or MIDI, and support just a single preset. There’s that USB socket and Bluetooth, though, so perhaps there’s more to come?

Specs

  • PRICE: $399 / £355
  • ORIGIN: USA 
  • TYPE: Reverb pedal 
  • FEATURES: Selectable True/Trails bypass 
  • EFFECTS: Spring 65, Plate 140, Hall 224, Chamber & Plate 224 
  • CONTROLS: Decay, Predelay, Mix, Bass, Treble, Mod, Effect Type switch, Store switch, Mode switch (A/B/C), Pair switch, Preset footswitch, Bypass footswitch 
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard inputs  (1/Mono, 2/Stereo), standard outputs  (1/Mono, 2/Stereo), USB 
  • POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 400 mA  
  • DIMENSIONS: 90 (w) x 144 (d) x 63mm (h)
  • CONTACT: Universal Audio (opens in new tab)

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Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.