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Universal Audio Starlight Echo Station review

A high-end delay with layers of immaculately crafted old-school sounds

Universal Audio pedals
(Image: © Universal Audio)

Guitar World Verdict

Exemplary tones – there are no multi-taps, but for straight old-school delay sounds you’re covered.

Pros

  • +

    The delay sounds are unquestionably superlative.

  • +

    Nice range of options with each delay type.

  • +

    Quality build and design.

Cons

  • -

    No multi-taps.

  • -

    Pricey.

Universal Audio has a formidable reputation for studio hardware and DSP-powered plugin emulations, and with its guitar effects pedal debut, it is a lock that this rep is going to extend to our pedalboards.

There are three options so far. The Golden Reverberator reverb pedal; the Astra Modulation Machine, which does exactly as you might imagine, gathering chorus pedal, vibrato, tremolo and phaser all in one enclosure; and this, the Starlight Echo Station, a delay pedal offering three different flavours of repeats plus an extra downloadable bonus mode. 

Indeed, each pedal has an extra effect (two for the Astra) that can be downloaded via USB, and a choice of three effects with toggle-switched variations. You have a single preset per pedal; just dial in your sound, flick the Store switch and you’re done. 

The footswitches accesses 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.

The tape echo, BBD analogue delay and pristine digital delay on offer here should cover your needs when it comes to delay. Oh, and there’s a delay based on a garden hose!

The tape emulation is based on a single-head Echoplex and sounds great as the preamp section has been modelled with adjustment for more grit via ‘record level’. You get three variations – pristine, old tape or a bit knackered – and adjustable wow and flutter, too. DMM is an authentic take on the Electro-Harmonix original (as used by the Edge) with the straight sound or with chorus or vibrato engaged, while Precision handles digital delay chores with options for added flanger or chorus.

Wild card download Cooper Time Cube has lower-fi charm with three filter options, and the tap tempo works great, but switching to the preset isn’t instant – it needs a footswitch hold of 1.5 seconds.

Specs

  • PRICE: $399 / £355
  • ORIGIN: USA
  • TYPE: Delay pedal
  • FEATURES: Tap Tempo, Selectable True/Trails bypass,
  • EFFECTS: Tape EP-III, Analog DMM, Precision: Modulation, Cooper Time Cube
  • CONTROLS: Delay, Feedback, Mix, Division, Color, Mod, Effect Type switch, Store switch, Mode switch (A/B/C), Pair switch, Preset/Tap footswitch, Bypass footswitch
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard inputs
  • (1/Mono, 2/Stereo), standard outputs (1/Mono, 2/Stereo), USB
  • POWER: 400mA, 9V DC adaptor (not supplied)
  • DIMENSIONS: 90 (w) x 144 (d) x 63mm (h)9
  • 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.