As a musician, a looper pedal can be one of your best friends in several contexts, and I think every guitar player should own one for various reasons.
This is a review of the TC Electronic Ditto Looper, an affordable but very valuable pedal that packs a lot of impressive features, considering the fact that it is extremely small. I have owned this looper for several years and I would highly recommend it even over some more expensive pedals.
In short, if you do not need a huge looper with multiple channels and advanced features, the Ditto Looper by TC Electronic is one of the best options available today. It is cheap, has a high quality sound, and barely takes up any space on your pedalboard.
After having an in-depth look at this looper’s features, we will also check out a few alternatives that are available in the market today, so that you can make a well informed decision when you buy your looper pedal.
TC Electronic Ditto Looper Main Features
Reduced Size and Build Quality
One of the biggest advantages of the Ditto Looper is its small size. It is extremely easy to incorporate it into a pedalboard, even if it is something compact like a Pedaltrain Nano.
It is also very well built and you can count on it lasting for a very long time, even if you are using it frequently. I have had mine for several years and it has never disappointed me in the slightest during practice, sessions and gigs.
The Ditto Looper is one of the cleanest pedals there is, with only one LED light, one knob to control the volume of your loop, and a footswitch that controls every command available.
The volume knob is self-explanatory, you rotate it clockwise to increase the volume, and counter-clockwise to decrease it. The footswitch works differently depending on how you press it and whether there is a loop being played back or not.
TC Electronic wanted to make sure that you could record anything with the Ditto and hear it being played back with the best quality possible, so they went with an analog dry-through signal path that lets you record your loops in 24-bit uncompressed audio.
I have used loopers from different brands such as Boss, Electro-Harmonix and Nux, and I have to say that the TC Electronic Ditto Looper has one of the cleanest sounds of them all, even with such an affordable price.
True Bypass Switching
Many people appreciate having true bypass pedals on their board so that their guitar’s tone is not affected by them while they are not engaged.
The Ditto Looper features true bypass and an analog dry-through design meant to keep your sound as transparent as possible in every situation you might encounter.
Even though you only have one footswitch to access all of the Ditto’s functions, you will still find it easy to operate and you’ll start making the most out of this pedal in a short time.
Here is a short summary of its main controls:
- Recording your first loop: press the footswitch once. The LED will be red, and when you press it again, it starts looping and the LED turns green. It will flash every time the loop starts again.
- Overdubbing: after you have recorded your first loop, you can repeat the same process to record overdubs. If you don’t press the footswitch again, it will start recording a new loop each time it starts over, layering them all.
- Undo/Redo: to delete your last take, press and hold the footswitch for 1.5 seconds. You will notice the LED blinking twice, indicating that the last loop has been deleted. To bring back the loop you have just deleted, repeat the same process and it will restore it.
- Stop the loop: if you want to pause the loop and overdubs you have recorded, you must press the footswitch twice quickly. Once you do this, it will stop looping, and the LED will flash in green to let you know that the pedal has a loop in its memory that you can bring back anytime.
- Deleting everything: when you want to erase everything you have recorded, you should press the footswitch twice, but you must hold down your foot at the end. This will disengage the pedal and the LED will turn off. You are now ready to start a new loop from scratch.
Complete Specifications of the TC Electronic Ditto Looper
Here are the full specifications of the TC Electronic Ditto Looper.
- Pedal Type: Looper
- Looping Time: 5 minutes
- Max Overdub Number: Unlimited
- Latency: None (analog dry-through)
- Input: 1 x 1/4″ jack – mono/TS
- Output: 1 x 1/4″ jack – mono/TS
- USB: 1 x Mini-B USB for firmware updates
- True Bypass: Yes
- Power: 9V DC negative center (not included)
- Controls: Loop Level Knob, Switch
- Dimensions: 1.9″ x 1.9″ x 3.7″ (width x depth x height)
Pros and Cons of the TC Electronic Ditto Looper
One of the most appealing aspects of the TC Electronic Ditto Looper is its small enclosure. It is the same size as the Polytune, and just slightly smaller than other famous mini pedals such as the Xotic EP Booster.
he small dimensions allow you to place this pedal comfortably on any pedalboard, even if you are running a compact model.
They still managed to fit in the USB input so that you can update the pedal’s firmware, but sadly, there is no option of powering the pedal with a 9v battery.
In my personal experience, since I always use a power supply with isolated outputs, this does not bother me a lot.
Easy to Use
Even though you only have one knob to control the volume of your loops and a single footswitch, this pedal contains all of the essential functions that you would expect, such as record, overdub, undo/redo, pause and erase everything.
You can also keep a loop stored in the pedal’s memory. This will be indicated by a flashing green LED. I have found it significantly easier to use than most single channel loopers I have tried before, such as the Boss RC-1.
Having a tiny looper pedal that you can easily carry with you opens up a lot of possibilities. A looper is a great tool for studying, since you can record a simple chord progression to practice anything from scales, arpeggios, improvising, and more.
ust the fact that you can record your own backing tracks is beneficial since you end up practicing your comping skills at the same time.
If you are a guitar teacher, you can also use the looper during your classes to help you explain a lot of concepts, and it is always fun for jamming too.
I frequently use mine to practice improvising over simple cadences such as II V’s in several keys, or to see how a melody sounds like with a chord progression that I am working with.
If you start using the Ditto Looper more frequently, you will come across lots of situations in which it will be a great asset, making it an extremely versatile pedal.
Despite its small dimensions and minimalistic design, this pedal is very well built and you can expect it to last for a very long time, even if you play it consistently in different scenarios. I have had mine for more than 5 years and it works just as well as it did the day I bought it. I would never worry about taking it to any rehearsal, studio session or live performance.
This is subjective, as it depends on each player’s preference in regards to true bypass and buffered bypass. Sometimes, people who are running long cables and complex pedalboard setups like to have one or two buffered pedals at the start or end of the signal chain to compensate for some of the high frequencies that are lost. On the other side, true bypass also has its advantages.
No Battery Option
Not having the option of powering this pedal with a 9V battery is not a huge hassle for me since I would not be using it frequently anyway, but some people might appreciate this feature in their pedals.
In this case, TC Electronic most likely decided to compromise on this option in order to design the smallest pedal they could, and I personally agree with that decision since I appreciate the convenience of a small enclosure more.
Other Loopers to Take into Account as Alternatives to the TC Electronic Ditto Looper
Finding the perfect looper for you can be a tricky task if you don’t know what you are looking for and what are the most valuable options currently available in the market.
The TC Electronic Ditto Looper is an amazing pedal that is well worth its money, but depending on your playing style and requirements, it might not be the best choice for you.
Here are a few other looper pedals that offer diverse functions and great build quality. They cover a wide price range, and come with various features that will appeal to all kinds of guitar players.
TC Electronic Ditto Stereo Looper
If you are into the Ditto Looper but feel like it is lacking a few things, then you might want to take a look at the Ditto Stereo Looper.
Aside from all that you get with its smaller cousin, you can loop in stereo, import backing tracks, and because of its larger enclosure, you can also power it with a 9V battery, which was not possible with the original Ditto.
Purchasing this pedal also gives you access to StarJam loops, a compilation of recordings by famous artists like Guthrie Govan and John Petrucci specifically for TC Electronic.
You can find this pedal for around $110, just a little more than the original Ditto Looper.
Boss RC-1 Loop Station
The RC-1 is the simplest looper currently made by Boss. It allows you to record up to 12 minutes in a loop in mono or stereo, and features a single level knob, much like the Ditto by TC Electronic.
It has a circular loop indicator that lights up as your loop is played back, giving you visual feedback on when it is about to start again.
You can power it with a 9V battery or an AC adaptor. You can also plug a footswitch into the pedal that will unlock more features that make this pedal easier to use during live performances.
If you don’t want a very complex looper pedal, this one is a great choice. It is usually sold for around $115.
Electro-Harmonix Nano Looper 360
The Electro-Harmonix Nano Looper 360 is a compact looper that you control with only one footswitch. It has two knobs, one for the loop volume, and another one that cycles between 11 loops that you can record to the pedal’s onboard memory. The sound quality is notable due to its 24-bit digital converters.
Its price is not much higher than the other pedals we’ve seen so far, but the possibility of storing 11 loops and recalling them easily with a knob is great and can be used in various scenarios. You can record a loop up to 6 minutes long.
MXR Clone Looper
The MXR Clone Looper is an excellent option for anyone looking for a small pedal that doesn’t compromise on sound and built quality.
This pedal gives you 6 minutes of looping, an analog through-path that ensures your sound is as pristine as possible, and you can even toggle between true bypass and buffered bypass.
Other interesting features of this pedal by MXR include a flashing count entrance which lights up four LEDs at the start of a loop, helping you with your timing. You can connect an expression pedal or a tap switch to control parameters such as the loop speed and the reverse function.
At around $150, it is a bit more expensive than the entry level loopers, but the quality of the MXR Clone is worth the investment.
Pigtronix Infinity 2 Looper
With the Pigtronix Infinity 2 Looper, we introduce the possibility of recording two independent loops that you could use for something like the verse and chorus of a song.
This pedal can be used with mono and stereo signals, and can also accept line level signals. It has two knobs, one for the loop volume, and a decay knob. This one controls a fade out effect that can occur while you record overdubs. This allows you to have a more dynamic loop that does not get repetitive easily.
The Infinity 2 also features several effects that are assigned to one of the footswitches on the pedal. The effects are Stop, Stutter and Octave Shift. If you want, you can also connect an external footswitch with a TRS cable to control the effects and keep the one on the pedal for the Undo/Redo function.
This pedal is usually found for around $200.
TC Electronic Ditto X4 Looper
Players that are looking for a looper pedal with a lot of features designed with live performers in mind should check out the TC Electronic Ditto X4 Looper. This pedal is not small, but it comes packed with interesting functions that you will definitely appreciate having.
It has two independent loop channels, stereo ins and outs, and a capacity for 5 minutes of 24-bit audio looping. It also lets you play over a stored backing track. TC Electronic has a diverse backing track collection from JamTrackCentral that you can take advantage of when you purchase the Ditto X4.
If you are already familiar with the original Ditto or any other version such as the X2, you will be happy to know that both loops on the X4 are controlled the exact same way, via their own corresponding footswitch.
It contains 7 different effects to spice up your loops such as reverse, fade and half-speed playback. There is also a decay knob that gradually fades out loops so that you can keep building upon a musical idea without creating a muddy loop.
Other features worth noting are its USB connectivity, used to transfer backing tracks and loops between the pedal and your computer, MIDI sync, true bypass switching and an included power supply.
This amazing looper pedal is generally sold for a price of around $220.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about the TC Electronic Ditto Looper
Question: Is the TC Electronic Ditto Looper true bypass?
Answer: Yes, the TC Electronic Ditto Looper features true bypass circuitry, meaning that this pedal does not affect your tone at all when it is not being used. It also features an analog dry-through signal path which is meant to leave your dry tone as accurate as possible.
Question: Does the TC Electronic Ditto Looper feature stereo looping?
Answer: While the small version of the TC Electronic Ditto Looper does not offer the possibility of looping in stereo, there is a different model by TC Electronic that features stereo options, so check that one out if this is an important thing for you.
Question: Is the TC Electronic Ditto Looper worth it?
Answer: The Ditto Looper can be found being sold for less than $100, and has several strong points that make it an excellent pedal for its price. It is very small, which makes it easy to incorporate it into any pedalboard setup, it is intuitive to use even with just one knob and one switch, and it is built to last.
Question: What is the best Ditto Looper model for a live performer?
Answer: There are several options in the Ditto range. Apart from the small one with one knob and switch, you have the Ditto+, Ditto X2 and Ditto X4 models.
Depending on your needs, you might not need to get one of the most expensive models. If you only need basic functions like record, overdub, pause and redo, you should be fine with the Ditto or Ditto+.
If you would like to have the possibility of adding effects to your loops, the X2 has reverse and 1/2 speed available with a dedicated switch. If you need more than one channel, the X4 is the best model for you, with two individual loops and seven different effects available.
Question: Can you power a Ditto Looper with a 9v battery?
Answer: Unfortunately, you can only power the Ditto Looper with a 9v adapter, most likely due to its reduced dimensions. This usually is not a very big disadvantage since most people use power supplies with their pedalboard setups.
Question: What are some good Ditto Looper alternatives?
Answer: If the TC Electronic Ditto Looper is not your cup of tea and you want to try something else instead, there are many other excellent looper pedals that are easy to find in music stores.
Here are a few examples of loopers that you might want to check out:
• Sweetwater Music – Boss RC-1 Loop Station Looper Pedal
• Sweetwater Music – MXR Clone Looper Pedal
• Sweetwater Music – TC Electronic Ditto X2 Looper Pedal
• Sweetwater Music – Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal
• Sweetwater Music – Pigtronix Infinity 2 Looper Pedal
• Sweetwater Music – Boss RC-300 Loop Station 3-track Looper Pedal
To figure out which looper is the best for you, you have to define your priorities and decide which features you value the most. For instance, if you don’t need to have more than one channel while looping, you can already leave out lots of high end pedals and save a good amount of money.
Closing Considerations about the TC Electronic Ditto Looper
The TC Electronic Ditto Looper is one of the pedals I recommend the most to other guitar players. Having a looper is amazing because you can use it while studying, composing, practicing, and even during live performances.
The possibilities are endless, even with a pedal as simple as the Ditto. Its small enclosure, intuitive controls and excellent sound quality are just a few of the reasons why so many guitarists have purchased this inexpensive, yet valuable asset.
If you would like to have a more complete pedal and aren’t worried about how big they are, you can find lots of interesting alternative that have added features such as multiple individual channels for more complex loops, effects, among others.