NUX PG-2: The guitar “pedal” that almost put me off from using guitar pedals

The NUX-PG2 is sold as a “Portable Guitar Effects”. This is not a pedal: it does not have stompers, and it has a little clip on the back to fix it to your belt, probably. Still, it was designed to be used with an electric guitar, as a basic amp simulator with a couple of sound effects, an EQ, a metronome and a tuner. A demo of this pedal using the Volca Bass can be seen in the video bellow.

A quick inspection of the device shows a simple interface with four pentagonal knobs, three switches and seven buttons on the front panel, as well as a large display on the centre. On the left side there is a Noise Reduction switch and a stereo Aux In mini-jack socket. Incidentally, the audio coming in from this socket is not processed. On the top there are 1/4″ TS (mono) jack sockets for input and output and also a stereo headphones mini-jack socket. On the right-side panel we can see a 9 Volt power supply socket (centre negative, like most guitar pedals), and a three position power switch with off, on and on with backlight options. Around the back, we have a metal clip (possibly to attach it to your clothes, and also the battery compartment (it takes only two 1.5V AA batteries, and they will last for quite some time).

So, lets start with the amp simulations. the NUX PG2 offers three type of amps (I don’t know if I should call it amp simulators): Clean, Blues and Rock. A small switch below the Gain knob allows you to select the type of amp. As expected, pushing the Gain on the Clean setting just makes the audio louder. There is also a Noise Reduction switch on the side, that reduces the hummm of the Rock “amp” when no audio is coming in. As expected the Rock setting is very cluttered with distortion to the point you can barely make out the timbre of the original source: everything sounds like an electric guitar. On the other hand, the Blues setting offers some distortion, without going over-the-top. Neither are particularly pleasant, overall, but there are a few sweet spots in the Clean and Blues settings. Like in many distortion pedals, the Master works in conjunction with the gain knob to adjust the volume of the output signal .

By pressing the Alt button, the device enters in EQ mode, and the four knobs can be used to adjust the Level, Bass, Mid and Treble parts of the incoming signal.

The PG-2 also offers two sets of effects: three MOD effects (Chorus, Flanger and Tremolo) and three AMB effects (Delay, Room Reverb and Spring Reverb). Each of which are a simple one-knob affair, and none on which is particularly satisfying. Indeed, if you are considering this to add some reverb or chorus to your setup, there are better options from Behringer, and also from NUX itself.

The major advantage of this device is the fact that it also has a nice metronome with tap tempo and different rhythmic patterns which are useful when overdubbing a part playing on the off-beat. Better still, this is a clicking metronome (actually with a rather satisfying sound) and not one of those beeping ones, It also has a built in tuner, with both Guitar, and Chromatic work modes. As I demonstrate in the video, the device is muted while tuning (including the Aux In signal, which is not processed by the DSP). Thus, it is not advisable to put this device on your sound chain to use as a tuner. Another unpleasant thing is the fact that despite the 7 buttons on the front panel, you have to enter and trigger the metronome in order to enter into the tuner section… with so many buttons, a more straight-forward user interface would be expected. There are some presents and also some memory slots to save your settings, but given the overall poor quality of the sound effects, I rarely use this feature.

This is not an expensive piece of gear. I brought mine in April from for about 30€. This is little more than the price of a decent metronome/tuner. Actually, this might even be cheaper than a low-end metronome-tuner and an accompanying distortion pedal, with the advantage of not using as much space, and being a proper clicking metronome. But if you already have a nice metronome, a tuner and a half-decent distortion pedal, then this piece of gear won’t add anything to your setup. In particular, don’t buy it if your main need is either a reverb, delay or chorus pedal, as there is simply not enough quality in that part of the DSP.