As TC Electronics' Tore Mogensen says, with some loopers "you almost need a degree in rocket science to make sense of all the functionalities." But can a stripped-down, easy to use one still do the job? Rick Graham tries TC's new Ditto Looper.
If you're anything like me, whenever you think of a looper pedal you'll conjure up an image of a unfeasibly large, space-hungry unit, with a multitude of flashing lights and buttons and a user interface that requires an engineering degree to successfully navigate through. Take one look at the latest from Denmark's TC Electronic, the Ditto Looper pedal, and all such preconceptions will disappear as quick as a flash. This rather deceptive looking unit is considerably smaller than a standard sized stompbox, ensuring that it will integrate itself perfectly on your pedalboard with the minimum of fuss and, perhaps more importantly, without encroaching upon any space taken up by your existing pedals. Don't be fooled into thinking that any compromises were made due to its size though!
The Ditto contains some fantastic features within those diminutive dimensions and, true to its word, TC Electronic has kept guitarists at the forefront of its design ideas, with features such as True Bypass and Anologue-Dry-Through, ensuring there is no conversion in the signal path, which I'm sure will be welcomed by many. Other impressive features include five minutes of looping time, unlimited overdubs, undo/redo function and 24 bit uncompressed audio, ensuring a crystal clear reproduction of the original signal.
It's remarkably easy to use too, meaning that you can start constructing your loops, sections and even full songs straight out of the box. With one level knob and one switch you really can't go wrong. To get a loop going, hit the switch and record your part. Hit it again to playback and to layer overdubs simply hit the switch again to record as many parts as you wish.
If you're not happy with what you played, hit and hold the switch to undo. If you change your mind and want that part back, do the same thing and it will redo the part. This is great, for instance, if you wish to drop out a part and bring it back in again to create chorus - verse - chorus style parts. When you've had enough, double tap to stop and press and hold to clear the looper. This will put turn the pedal off, also activating true bypass mode.
The Ditto Looper is a truly fantastic pedal - and don't just take my word for it. Everyone in the office was blown away by this latest pedal from TC and it has just won the 'Best In Show' award at 2013's NAMM show in the USA. Intuitive, innovative and incredibly inspiring to use, it offers a gateway to the glorious world of looping to the budget conscious guitarist and does so with that ever-so important element which eludes so many: simplicity. This one is simply superb - wonderful value for money and another triumph for TC Electronic.