Price paid: $ 129
Ease of Use — 8
The Ditto Looper is simple and straightforward. A single knob controls playback volume. A single footbutton does everything else. Press it once to record a loop up to five minutes long - that's a whole lot of looping - enough for complete tunes. Hit it again to set the end of the loop and start playback, and once more to overdub. Keep doing that to your heart's desire - there's no limit on the amount of overdubs. Press-and-hold to undo the most recent audio, and tap twice quickly to stop the loop. When it's time to move on, press-and-hold to clear loop audio. There is a bit more to the story once I actually tried the Ditto. The button is click style, which I found a bit trickier to use for looping than the kind of footpads found on some loopers that activate when you lift your foot. The Ditto's diminutive size meant it moved around rather easily, so securing it to a pedalboard was practically essential. It's amazing that the Ditto can do so much with such a simple interface, but the one-button-does-all approach has some inherent drawbacks, all of which can be overcome with concentration and execution. You simply have to stay focused on whichever task is at hand, otherwise you can wind up, say, overdubbing instead of ending or clearing. When clearing, an audio snippet will play for a moment until the Ditto realizes the command is to clear rather than overdub. Onstage, I compensated by using my mutable stage tuner. At home, it's a non-issue anyway.
Sound — 10
Awesome. The Ditto's 24-bit, uncompressed digital audio literally sounded like a copy of whatever input came its way. I fed the signal from a Fender Stratocaster or a Godin Montreal Premier through a Blackstone Appliances Mosfet Overdrive, a TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster and a Roland RE-20 Space Echo, and then out from the Ditto to a Fender Super Champ. The Ditto's true bypass meant its circuitry was completely out of the picture when off. I appreciated that.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I brought the Ditto Looper to a series of rehearsals and gigs over the course of more than a month and it held up fine. The Ditto withstood use in the camping area at the High Sierra Festival where temperatures reached over 100 degrees and sand was flying around in high winds. It had no trouble at the Guitarfish Music Festival where the altitude was nearly 8,000 feet. The Ditto was tossed around with other pedals and trekked over thousands of miles, and it continued to perform reliably.
Overall Impression — 9
It's so small! Kudos to TC Electronic for packaging a pro quality looper in a box not much bigger than a Pez dispenser. If you're looking for something small and simple, especially for practice purposes or road convenience, the Ditto is damn attractive. The low price point makes it even more alluring. It's so small that there's no room for a battery. Requiring a power adapter for something otherwise so convenient was a bit of a conceptual drag, but since I already had a string going for my other 9V pedals, it was no problem. If you use a powered pedalboard, it's a nonissue. Being able to update the firmware via a USB Mini B cable is a nice boon. I found the process to be a cinch. Players looking to do serious looping might require something more complex, but everyone else needs to try the Ditto Looper. Even if you own another looper, the Ditto is a solid backup consideration, and it works well in conjunction with other loopers.