The affordability of single button looper pedals may be irresistible, but it's almost inevitable you will outgrow them. Granted, you might not have a choice on a cramped pedalboard. Alternatively, if you're only planning on bedroom or studio use, you might get away with it. That said, most gigging players are running two-button loopers with a dedicated stop control, at the very least. As far as they go, the TC Electronic Ditto X2 is one of the most successful. Released as an improvement on their compact Ditto looper, it is bombproof in terms of both build and usability.
Sound quality is excellent, thanks to hardware optimised for high headroom and 24-bit ADA conversion. The pedal is also true bypass and analogue through. Then again, with loop pedals at the end of a chain, bypass isn't normally an issue unless there's some serious noise in the power line. Other two-button loopers at around this price point also offer sound effects, but the Ditto's are particularly easy to use. Even if you're not a shoegazing space cadet, you're likely to play around with them, and they may well make their way onto a track.
- Explore our pick of the best cheap looper pedals
Using them does flip the function of the stop button, however, so factoring that into any live use is essential. As you'd expect at this price, and without a screen, the Ditto isn't quantizing. This can be a strength - for example if you want to play polyrhythms or switch time signatures without reconfiguring the loop setup. The Ditto has five minutes of loop time available, and infinite overdubs. The loops will get muddy by the time you've got three or four running though, unless you're careful about the register each overdub uses. The fact the Ditto is full stereo is also useful, especially if you're using it at the end of your board, after stereo delays or modulation.
There's a host of extra features too, though you might not use all of them. High on the list is import/export via USB to Mac and PC, useful if you're using the Ditto as a riff writing tool. Nice to have but less useful is the bank of backing tracks that you can load, and then control via the Ditto. In all honesty, however, unless this is the main reason you're buying the Ditto, this is a feature you're unlikely to use often. The greatest strength of two-button loopers like the Ditto is that they support spontaneous playing and experimentation, whether that's writing or in the heat of the moment live.
TC Electronic Ditto X2 review: Verdict
The Ditto X2 may be light on bells-and-whistles, but it's got everything where it counts. As a stage looper, there are few options as foolproof or straightforward. With its additional FX modes, you get access to useful tools for studio experimentation or live weirdness. Elsewhere, USB loading means it can be used to trigger a sample if needed.
TC Electronic Ditto X2 review: Specifications
- Price: $169/£119
- Bypass: True
- Sockets: Stereo In/Out, Power
- Footswitches: 2
- Dedicated stop control?: Yes
- Additional FX: Reverse, 1/2 speed, Stop A/D/A conversion: 24bit
- Contact: TC Electronic