TC Electronic Ditto X2 Looper Review
- Pros: Sounds just as great as the original Ditto but with a few more features.
- Cons: Can only load one backing track at a time. No drum patterns or metronome
- Overall: A fantastic sounding looper pedal that is hard to beat in terms of simplicity.
The original Ditto Looper was marketed as the guitarists looper for its high-quality sound output and its back-to-basics simplicity. Certainly, many other looper manufacturers have gone in the other direction by packing their loopers with so many features that you practically need a degree in engineering to learn how to operate them through complex series of button taps and holds. It’s hard to make music when you are busy studying manuals, so many saw the Ditto as a breath of fresh air. On the other hand, some musicians still found themselves wanting more.
If you loved the Ditto Looper but wanted just a few more features, TC Electronic may have hit the nail on the head with the Ditto X2. It’s the same great sounding looper pedal as the original, except it has two footswitches instead of one, lets you import and export loops and jamtracks to your computer, and gives you reverse and 1/2 speed effects. Just like the original Ditto Looper, the Ditto X2 is easy to use right out of the box, with all the features you need, and none of the fluff you may not.
How the Looping Works
The Ditto X2’s two footswitches are labeled “Loop” and “FX.” The “Loop” footswitch operates as you might expect. Tap it once to begin recording a loop. The Ditto X2 allows you to record for up to five minutes. While this is less than some loopers, it is more than enough for most people. Really, who needs to create a two-hour loop? When you tap the “Loop” footswitch a second time, the X2 will begin to play back your loop automatically. Successive single taps will toggle between overdub and play, allowing you add unlimited overdubs (for those who don’t know, overdubbing allows you to add more sounds to your existing loop). If you press and hold the “Loop” footswitch, it will act as an Undo/Redo button allowing you to subtract and add back your last overdub. This only works for your last overdub, however, so if you’ve built a loop with 4 overdubs, you can only Undo/Redo last portion you played.
Tapping the “Loop” footswitch twice will stop the loop from playing. On the original Ditto Looper, this was the only way to stop the loop from playing. On the Ditto X2, however, the additional “FX” footswitch can also act as a dedicated stop button with one press. This is a really nice improvement over the original Ditto because it allows more precise stopping. Finally, if you press and hold the “Loop” footswitch, it will clear the loop so that you can start a new recording.
Playing with FX
The “FX” switch lets you control three onboard effects: “Reverse,” “1/2 Speed” and “Stop.” You can toggle which effect the footswitch controls by setting the Selector just above the “FX” footswitch to one of the three positions. You can even combine the Reverse and 1/2 speed effects by assigning the Selector to the first effect and activating it by tapping the “FX” footswitch, then doing the same thing for the other effect. Alternatively, you could activate the first effect as just described, then double tap the “FX” footswitch to activate the other effect. To undo one of the effects, just move the Selector to that effect and tap the “FX” footswitch again.
When the Selector switch is assigned to the Stop position, a single tap of the “FX” footswitch will stop your current loop. Pressing and holding the “FX” footswitch in this mode will clear the current loop.
Controlling Your Levels
The level knob lets you control both the volume of your current loop and the level of your backing track, if one is loaded. To set the volume of your loop, simply adjust the Level knob. If you’ve created a loop with successive overdubs, however, the knob won’t let you master your loop by controlling the volume of each overdub. So, you have to be sure your overdubs are played at the right volume. To control the level of your backing track, first pull the Selector switch on the left towards you to the “Backing Track Level” setting, then adjust the knob to the level you want.
When I first started playing with the Ditto X2, I was initially disappointed because although the marketing says the looper comes with jamtracks, it didn’t seem that you could actually load them onto the unit. This is because the instructions that come with the Ditto X2 are only on a flimsy 5-inch piece of paper printed on one-side.
To my relief, I went online and there is a much more in depth Ditto X2 User Manual on the TC Electronic web site. As it turns out, I eventually figured out how to load the backing tracks.
When you purchase a Ditto X2, you get 8 free backing tracks from jamtrackcentral.com. You can listen to what is available with the Ditto X2 here. To load the backing tracks, you need to sign up for an account with jamtrackcentral.com, then download the free backing tracks, connect your Ditto X2 looper to your computer with the included USB cable, and load them onto your Ditto X2. When you connect the Ditto X2, your computer will recognize it as a USB storage device and it will show up as a drive called “Ditto.” On that drive will be a folder called “Track.” You can drag the backing tracks into the Track folder and they will be loaded onto your Ditto X2. Unfortunately, the Ditto X2 will only use the last track added to the folder, so if you want to change the backing track, you have to connect the Ditto X2 to your computer again. You can also load your own MP3 files onto the the Ditto which is nice.
Data storage between your computer and the Ditto X2 Looper works in both directions. So, if you’ve just recorded an awesome loop that you want to save for later use, you just need to store it by nudging the “Store / Backing Track Level” switch up on the Ditto X2, then connecting your Ditto X2 to your computer and dragging your loop from the Track folder to another folder on your computer.
Other Bells and Whistles
The Ditto X2 also features true bypass with analog-dry-through so that the looper will not color your tone at all or add any noise to your pedalboard while ensuring maximum signal integrity.
There are also stereo in/outs, which can be set up in a few different ways. For example, you could use the stereo outs to send a signal to two different amps. Using the stereo ins, you could even have two musicians plugged into the Ditto X2 at the same time with each instrument going to a separate amp. This setup would allow you to loop both instruments simultaneously.
Finally, the construction of the Ditto X2 is solid metal all around, even at the battery compartment on the back, so its built like a tank and won’t break. It can be powered using an AC adaptor or a 9V battery.
Is Is the Perfect Looper?
Honestly, its pretty close. When I plugged it in for a sound check against my old Boss RC-50, the sound quality of the Ditto X2 really stood out as exceptional and superior to the Boss. The Ditto X2 is a fantastic sounding looper and could certainly be used both for live shows or for recording. The X2 did not seem to color my tone at all.
For me, it would have been nice to have a built-in metronome / drum beats rather than just the ability to load jam tracks. I also like to have midi sync capabilities on my loopers because I like to create beats in Ableton Live. Nevertheless, I understand that adding these extra features would take away from the X2’s simplicity. There are other options out there if you want something more complex. The Ditto X2 really is a fantastic sounding easy to use looper that will surely be the hottest seller in 2014. I may even keep my demo.
Ditto X2 Demo