REVIEWED: UNIVERSAL AUDIO DREAM 65
DATE REVIEWED: SEPTEMBER 2022
WHAT IS IT? Digital emulation of a 1965 Fender Deluxe Reverb amp in a pedal format.
BUILD QUALITY, DESIGN & EASE OF USE: 9/10
SOUND: 8/10. The TREBLE response can be very difficult to tame, in all the different settings, even with the TREBLE turned down completely. But this depends on whether you output the pedal to an audio interface or to a PA / powered speaker; In the latter case, there is not really a problem because you can tweak the EQ on the PA mixer. Perhaps UA should provide a firmware update to improve TREBLE response / sensitivity; this prevents a score of 10 for sound, in my book. Over a PA system, with tweaked EQ, the unit can sound really good.
PLAYABILITY &; FEEL: 9/10. For an emulation, it feels and responds almost like a real amp; this is exceptional, so well done UA!
FEATURES: 7/10. Limited features: no on/off switch (unpractical when the unit is on your desktop and you are using it for recording!) no headphones connection (not handy when you want to use the unit for practicing), no balanced XLR / DI out (when you want to connect the unit directly to a PA mixer). Limited features/usability of the UA app, it would be great if you could also load separate presets to each of the two foot switch buttons, (one for clean, one for lead sounds)
VALUE FOR MONEY: 8/10 It ain't cheap but quality comes at a price! There is bound to be increasing competition out there so you could wait and see what the competition will offer.
ISSUES: Treble response can be over the top, More attention for the unit’s EQ by Universal Audio would be a good idea. The Dream could be perfect for practice, recording and live use if it had some extra features such as a headphones out and a balanced DI Out / XLR. The STORE flip switch can be easily engaged by mistake (in a live situation, on a dark stage) and consequently you lose your preset for button number 2. The unit does not come with a power supply; and a suitable UA power supply costs an extra 25 euros which is expensive.
VERDICT: 8/10. A good, almost great, sounding emulation of a single classic tube amp that feels good under the fingers, in a well made unit, let down by a few issues and lack of features that are really important for practicing, gigging and recording. UA should add those features even though it would make the unit a bit more expensive.