Extra footswitch, excellent upgrade, essential tool.
It’s hard to discuss the new Ditto X2 Looper from TC Electronic without mentioning the original Ditto Looper (full disclosure: I own and love the original Ditto Looper). Make no mistake, the original Ditto’s simplicity and size made it the perfect looper for many. However, adhering to these two design goals limited the availability of certain features that many others deem essential in a looper pedal. The new Ditto X2 Looper meets these needs and then some, making it a stand out option for musicians looking to enhance their composition, practice, and performance.
The Ditto has literally and figuratively grown up. It is quite a bit larger, and there is now a second footswitch. There is a large centrally located knob, flanked by two mini-toggle switches. The knob feels solid and the potentiometer is smooth with good resistance to motion (I like a “stiff” pot). On top there are both mono and stereo ins and outs, a jack for your standard negative center power supply, and a mini usb port for updates and syncing. Around back, there’s a nicely designed door that lets you change batteries with a single screw.
If you have played with the original TC Electronic Ditto, you know how the footswitch on the left works: press once to record, play, and overdub; press and hold for undo/redo; double press to stop, press and hold to clean the slate and start again. I never got the hang of the double press though – and almost since the day I got it I wished my Ditto had a more precise way to end my loops. On the Ditto X2, the footswitch on the right solves this issue and then some: utilizing the mini-toggle just above the footswitch, you can stop/clear your loops, or engage the newly added effects.
Like everything else on the TC Electronic Ditto X2 Looper, the effects are quite straightforward. There’s two: reversing your loop, and slowing the loop by half. To be honest, I didn’t use these very much – I found them to be most useful when laying down percussion loops using all of the incidental sounds you can make on the bass guitar (especially on my acoustic bass guitar). When implemented well they did add some welcome variation to my beats.
Not unlike its Toneprint program for some of its other pedals, TC Electronic has introduced StarJam along with the Ditto X2. You can download (downloop?) loops from your favorite bass and guitar heroes to play along with. You can also download music directly from your own library, or from JamTrackCentral. Best of all, you can upload your own loops to your computer and build your own loop library. I’ve found this to be invaluable, and have begun to use the Ditto X2 almost as a sketchpad for song ideas, as well as the central hub for many of my more repetitive practice routines. All of this is done quickly and easily through the mini usb port.
There are two small changes I’d like to see, both of them additive. I would love an SD card slot for keeping track of my loops – this would be especially helpful during situations where you can have the Ditto X2 tethered to your computer via usb. I would prefer a knob or some other type of adjustment for the tempo of my loops instead of just the static ½ speed effect. There are other loopers out there that implement these features, and some are even smaller than the Ditto X2.
Using a looper can be a very personal endeavor, and every player has different wants and needs. The original Ditto is great, especially if you’re short on pedalboard space, and did much to provide a wonderfully straightforward looping experience. That being said, with its new features and dedicated stop switch, the Ditto X2 is worth carving out some extra space for, and greatly improves upon the original in almost every way.
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Nathan Smathers lives, works, and makes music in Michigan. He has played over 1,000 gigs on bass guitar and acoustic bass. His band, Delicious Bass (like the fish, not the instrument) can be found at deliciousbass.bandcamp.com. He is currently a contributing writer for Smart Bass Guitar.