Inexpensive Audio’s Amp Sim Pedal

I bought my first tube amp last year after playing guitar for about 25 years. Previously, I relied entirely on solid-state amplifiers and digital models. It was a Revelation. And then, a few weeks ago, I had an almost equally revealing experience when I connected one of Universal Audio’s Uafx amplifier modellers for the first time.

UA is known for its high-quality plugins that mimic Vintage hardware. But last year he decided to get into the guitar pedal game with a Trio of classic effects. And now he is expanding this range with three amp modelers in formats compatible with the pedalboard. The company is not the first to try this. He’s not even the first to do it right. But after a short time with them, it is clear that the UA modelers are head and shoulders above the rest.

Let’s start with the basics. The UAFX amp modelers are available in three variants: Dream ’65 Reverb, Ruby ’63 Top Boost and Woodrow ’55 instrument amp.

These are emulations of Fender Deluxe Reverb, Vox AC30 and Fender Tweed Deluxe. I’m not going to spend a lot of time focusing on how close you are to recreating the originals to the smallest detail. There are a few filming videos on YouTube that you can directly compare, and I highly recommend watching them if that’s your biggest concern. But let’s just say that they managed to stumble much smarter ears than mine.

What’s more important to me is that they sound great, are easy to use, offer a variety of advanced features, and offer incredible value despite the seemingly high price. I’ll dig into the sounds more after, but they sound awesome. Point. These are by far the best Amp Sim pedals I have ever heard.

Now, I’m not going to pretend to have made side-by-side comparisons with any high-end amp SIM card. In particular, I have never used a Kemper profiler or a Headrush. But these are much more complex products with built-in effects, dozens of Amp Sims and prices that, in the matter of a Kemper.

Each UA pedal is focused with laser precision to capture the essence of a particular amplifier. Which, frankly, should be correct, since most guitarists don’t show up to concerts with a truck full of amps to move from one medium to another. But this does not mean that there is no variety or versatility here. Each pedal has several speaker box options (three ready-made booths and three Bonus booths when registering) and can emulate classic Mods or various revisions of the amplifier. You also have options and controls unique to each model. For example, the Ruby ’63 has a High-Cut button, while the Woodrow allows you to adjust the sound of the room to recreate the natural atmosphere of a recording studio.

This slight difference in functions and controls is one of the reasons why UA made three separate pedals instead of plugging all three amplifiers into one unit. While it is true that the hardware and the software platform are more or less the same throughout the range, the difference in the control schemes could unnecessarily complicate things. Currently, the six buttons and three switches have at most two functions and depend on the mode. So if you have the Dream ’65 in “Amp” mode, you get altitude and Boost controls, but set the middle switch to “alt” and those become the speed and depth for the Vibrato (which is really Tremolo, but don’t worry about that). If you tried to plug all three amplifiers into a single pedal, some regulators would have to control four or five different parameters. It’s too complicated if you ask me. The UAFX amp modelers offer an excellent balance between depth of control and ease of use.