The NUX MG-100 is a budget guitar multi-effects processor released in 2011. It comes packed with a colorful LED display, an assignable expression pedal, a 40-second looper, a drum machine, tap tempo, and a chromatic tuner, and runs on 6 AA batteries (sold separately) for up to 8 hours, or a power adapter (included).
The MG-100 offers 36 factory presets and 36 slots for user-created ones, plus a total of 58 guitar effects, including 13 amp and 11 cabinet models, arranged into 8 modules, which can be used simultaneously. However, the modules themselves – and therefore similar effects – cannot be stacked.
It has jacks for 1/4″ input and output as well as an auxiliary port for headphones or a CD/MP3 player. The processor is contained in a solid steel housing with plastic knobs and other elements, which seem sturdy as well.
Although small, light, and modestly priced, this compact multi-effects pedal is surprisingly big on the inside, offering all the functionality other units in its price range do, plus a little extra. 40 seconds of overdubbable looping time is more than any of the MG-100’s competitors have to offer as of writing this article.
Combined with its tempo-adjustable drum machine with tap tempo integration and looper synchronizaton, the MG-100 makes for an excellent practice and jamming tool for any beginner guitarist.
Ease of use and UI:
The MG-100’s graphical display with its variety of contrasting colors and pixelly icons might look a bit goofy, resembling something out of an old SNES console game, but is actually one of the more readable interfaces out there, compared to other similar systems. Though editing on the unit itself is therefore simple, a computer connection and dedicated editing software, which it currently lacks, would still be a welcome addition.
As such, it obviously does not function as an audio interface either. If this is a requirement for you at a budget price, however, you might want to take a look at the Hotone Ravo MP10.
As the NUX MG-100 does not have an on/off switch and the function is instead assigned to the input jack, you’ll need to unplug your instrument every time you wish to turn the pedal on or off, which obviously isn’t the most comfortable solution. Also, there is no way to undo a single layer of looped audio on the looper, meaning if you mess up, you’ll have to start the recording over again.
And, as with most multi-effects processors at this price range, there is no quick way to enable/disable individual effects. Thus, if you want to use the MG-100 for live performances, you’ll need to plan and order your presets accordingly, but at least the preset switching itself is quick and seamless.
The MG-100 sadly suffers from the digital tone curse prevalent among most older and/or budget multi-effects pedals. This is especially evident in its distorted/overdriven tones, which, to a more trained ear, have an unmistakable grainy or fizzy quality to them.
This can make getting smooth and compressed modern metal tones out of the pedal a bit of a challenge, but is alleviated slightly by the 6-band graphic EQ, which allows for more control over your sound. For tone nerds, therefore, don’t expect a miracle, though if you are looking for studio quality multi-effects you should be looking at higher price categories anyway.
All in all, then, the NUX MG-100 has most everything a beginner guitarist could need, and any lack of luxury/comfort features is more than made up for by an abundance of core ones. If you’re looking for a cheap and compact bedroom practice and jamming tool to inspire your guitar playing with a variety of staple guitar effects, look no further – the MG-100 has you covered.
If studio quality effect and amp modeling with deep editing parameters and recording capability, however, is what you’re after, you should be prepared to shell out more for higher end units, such as can be found here.