How to Make LoFi Music: Important Elements and 7 Tips!

How to Make LoFi Music


As digital technology marches on and provides us with limitless potentialities in music, there’s one inescapable pattern: the reaction. Contrarian musicians and producers react in opposition to the high-tech world – give us high-quality WAVs, and we want vinyl; give us laptop processing, and we wish 60s compressors; give us the ultimate DAW, and we wish the bit rates of early samplers.

Whereas silicon valley forces smartphones into our pockets, there’s a nostalgia within the air for a less complicated time – one with imperfections, discolorations, and most significantly, vibe.

In this guide, we’ll let you in on the most effective methods to deliver that vibe back to your music. Whether or not you’re in search of a tinge of tape, the inspiration of early hip-hop methods, or the settings to emulate your idol’s hardware in a software program, we’ll get you there with a number of bitesize methods and techniques for making LoFi Beats and tracks.

What Is Lo-fi?

Lo-fi, or lofi, refers to a recording with lower than professional or flawed sound quality. “Lo-fi” is brief for “low fidelity,” and initially referred to a low-quality recording with audible imperfections, akin to background noise or performance errors, recorded with cheap equipment, the opposite of high fidelity or hi-fi production.

Within the 1980s and 1990s, lo-fi was thought to be an extra authentic-sounding type of music production than professional strategies. Many punk, indie rock, and hip-hop artists pursued a lo-fi aesthetic for economic and creative causes.

Lo-fi represents a subgenre of digital music that shares qualities with downtempo music, the chillwave scene, and lo-fi hip-hop.

Lo-fi music mixed elements of house, jazz, and hip-hop beats and samples with a DIY music aesthetic that emphasized the imperfect, homemade quality of analog recordings.

The outcome was dreamy audio with a relaxed, retro sound that many discovered best for background music, particularly studying.

how to make lofi music

Elements of Lo-Fi Music


Drums are a necessary part of most songs produced in trendy music. Nonetheless, in any such music, it’s not just the drum samples. Dusty and scratchy-sounding drums are key parts of the style. Therefore, looking out through outdated samples once more is an efficient starting line to discover a drum for your track.

When listening to samples, search for a kick, hats, and a snare that share related sounds. These will often include background noise, a lot of compression/saturation, and fewer high-end aesthetics. Splice Sounds supplies many drum samples that you could edit to make the samples have an extra nostalgic feel.

In most Lo-Fi songs, the kick and snare are close together, and often, the second kick is on the offbeat. A lot of songs feature this pattern however strive to experiment with others to give you something actually unique.

Together with an open hi-hat on the final beat creates a way of continuation. So, feel free to change up the instruments and find those that you feel are needed for such genre and type of music.


Though the bass in most Lo-Fi songs is kind of relaxed, it will probably still be very fascinating in pattern and tone. For Lo-Fi music, bass sounds that concentrate on the lower end work finest. Then, you can also make the sound extra interesting by including saturation or distortion to it.

To make the actual bassline, return to your chord development and create a rhythm based on this. Your chords ought to only be used as a beginning to your bassline. You possibly can transcend this rhythm by moving across the notes and even including additional rhythmic alterations.


One other beauty of Lo-Fi music is that it’s virtually as simple to produce as it’s to listen to. Hardly any of those tracks embody lyrics unless it’s a sample. So, you won’t have to stress about discovering the best words to accompany your music.

Many Lo-Fi tracks begin off using samples of chords and melodies from outdated funk, soul, jazz songs, and 80s and 90s Hip-Hop. You possibly can write your own, however, do take into account that many instruments and manufacturing software could produce music that’s of a higher quality compared to Lo-Fi music.

After you have discovered the chord to sample or created the right chords for your track, create a brand new clip in your workstation and pencil in some 4-bar chords. After you’re executed freezing and flattening the audio, now you can use the chord development like audio. This is your time to get actually artistic with augmentation and effects to create the tune.

Now, it’s time to chop and slice the audio to add in a drum rack or different percussion sounds. You can too change the pitch and tone of your track to see what sounds finest.

Sound Effects

One other key component heard in most Lo-Fi songs is a vinyl crackle to add to the dusty, basic aesthetic. For this part of the track, you possibly can both use a sample or use foley to create the scratchy impact.

Aside from the vinyl sounds or sounds of cassette tapes playing, there aren’t many guidelines about particular effects in Lo-Fi music. Do keep with the entire basic aesthetic although, trendy effects shouldn’t really be used.

Chimes, foley, sweeps, background percussion, and pretty much the rest that’s mellow sounding will be added in. Voices or samples of vocals from a speech (typically from old movies) can be included in your track to create that certain vibe. Processing vocals with EQ, distortion, and different effects can create some distinctive sounds. Make it possible for the sample you select to blend with the remainder of the tune in a cohesive manner.

great plugin for lo fi music

Tips about Making Lo-Fi Music

Create lo-fi radio filters & underwater effects.

One other important technique for adding lo-fi texture to your tracks is the usage of the traditional radio EQ effect. Or in different words, recreating the sound of a crappy outdated clock radio speaker. You know, these things all of us used to get up to before our smartphones!

Some call it the underwater filter effect. Others call it the ‘phone’ effect. No matter what you name it, this trick may give your mix a pleasant low fidelity touch. The normal and customary method to reaching this effect includes both grabbing an EQ, rolling off the lows within the 200-300 Hz range, and reducing the highs between 2-3 kHz.

There’s additionally the method of re-amping or working the signal through an old-school tape player, sampler, or guitar amp after which mixing that back into the DAW.

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Use Guitar Modulation Pedals.

There’s a guitar pedal for completely everything and lofi isn’t any exception. What you get from a devoted lofi pedal is the unmistakable sound of warped vinyl. They usually do a little bit of everything: vibrato, compression, delay, and crunch simply to call a few. That is the right possibility for players after an easy lofi-in-a-box resolution.

Boutique originators ZVEX make the On-the-spot Lo-Fi Junky, which for a lot is absolutely the gold standard. It nails the seasick vibrato trails and is ready to closely compress your tone. Different nice shouts are the Caroline Megabyte and its number of filtering effects, in addition to the Cooper FX Arcades with the lofi card inserted to present you with eight flavourful sounds.

Pitch it Down!

One of many predominant traits of a lo-fi sound is its warmth and unpolished end. One of many methods to attain that is by pitching your samples down. Right here’s the best way to do it.

When selecting your sounds, you would go for a sample that may be a few semitones higher in pitch than the tonality of your tune, so you’re pressured to repitch it to make it match.

The fact that you’re stretching the sample will most likely harm the standard of the sound. However don’t fear, we wish these imperfections to present your sound with an extra retro analog vibe. Most DAWs have an easy method to do that with a transposer.

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The Human Touch.

Back in the day, everything you heard on a track was performed by somebody. There was no such factor as clicking a note with a mouse and keyboard. You possibly can hear older folks now speaking about the feel and the emotion in regards to the music of their period, this might be the lyrics, and the sounds however we also feel that is partly because of how the music was created, all by hand.

Having the ability to click on in midi notes right into a piano roll in your DAW is nice, it’s fast, easy and everything will be snapped on point very quickly. This nonetheless makes the music sound too good. As an alternative to clicking your drum sounds in, strive to play them on your MIDI keyboard or different hardware.

If you do not have this option then click on your notes and move the notes barely off the snap. There are a variety of instruments like randomizers or shifters to maneuver notes over. Swing can also be nice to add to your sounds or patterns as this may even give extra rhythm and flow to your music and provide it an extra human feel.

Layer Ambience, Crackle, and Crowds.

You don’t need a whole plugin to go all-out within the retro sonic stakes; there are loads of atmospheric samples out there which have truly had nothing to do with music – well, nothing instantly to do with music, at the least.

From bird noise, atmospheric ambiance, vinyl mud noise, and more, you may give your tunes the raw feel of live performance, or just add some subconscious human vibe to them. Many Lo-Fi packs include a number of top-quality atmospheric recordings, jungle and woodland birds, rain, and vinyl samples, simply drag and drop these samples for an on-the-spot injection of LO-FI.

plugin for lofi

Discovering Your Style

It doesn’t matter what style you’re working in, it’s essential that you simply create your personal unique style. Discover methods to set your tracks aside. For instance, you would use certain samples in a number of songs. Or pull sounds from a specific style.

Drums are some of the identifiable items of a producer’s sound. With practice, you possibly can tell who made a track simply by listening to the drums. It’s possible you’ll even be capable of telling what period they made it in if their style modified over time.

Recording methods

Go in opposition to your natural instincts to make your tone sound “good”. Lofi ought to come throughout effortlessly, with spiky peaks and wet-mixed modulation effects. Attempt positioning your mic central to the speaker cone, wider on the rim, and even additional away from the amp than typical.

Condenser and ribbon mics are more proficient than their dynamic counterparts at detecting the tonal cracks and imperfections you’ve labored to create.

In case you’re still not pleased with the end result, it’s time to dive into post-EQ plugins inside your DAW. Attempt applying band-pass filters to take away a few of the low and high-end frequencies. Simply bear in mind, you need your tone to be listenable so make incremental modifications at a time. Heavy filtering could cause severe ear fatigue!


The Lo-Fi genre gets much attention these days, and if you are dedicated to making this type of music, we believe that you have interesting points that you can follow in this article. No matter your level of professionalism, they will be helpful to get you started.

If you are having any more questions in regards to making this type of music, feel free to shoot them in the comment section – once available, you will get all the answers needed. Until then – create some music!

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Nikoloski is the founder and main content writer and editor of Mixing Tips. With his experience in audio engineering, mixing, and mastering for over 15 years, will provide hands-on experience and expertise in all the matters covered on this website.

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