What it takes to make great lofi music
What is the DIY principle behind this movement and why is it important?
A large part of the lo-fi resurgence is thanks to social media. There are dozens of pages dedicated to sharing the best lo-fi music on the internet. You'll often find the same artists being re-posted on these pages, making their way up the algorithmic ladder of success.
Many of these artists are releasing music through Soundcloud, which I think adds a certain mystique to their work. Soundcloud has been a place for independent artists to share their work directly with listeners for years now, but still has a sense of being "underground", as opposed to Spotify or Youtube. This means that many people only discover new music through Soundcloud or by browsing these social media pages.
This leads me to my next point; much of the music from this scene has a DIY feel to it. Artists are using inexpensive equipment to create really interesting sounds. This can be seen in videos like "My Entire Lo-Fi Hip Hop Collection" where Rob Scallon shows off his modest collection of audio gear that he uses for production.
What's particularly great about this is that most people don't have access to expensive studio facilities and recording equipment, but there's absolutely
The sound of lofi hip hop is closely associated with the equipment used, which can be considered a core element in the creation of this style. All the classics have been made on a very limited set of gear and recorded in ways that exaggerate their flaws. The vinyl record crackle, the lo-fi drum beat, the grainy textures, the distortion and saturation… all of these things come from the limitations of our tools and not only are they stylistic choices but also integral parts of the composition.
The DIY principle behind this movement is very important because it allows anyone with basic gear to produce great music. This was a huge deal for me when I started making beats at home because I didn’t have access to studios or expensive gear. Recording music with whatever you have was such an eye-opening experience that I think every producer should go through if they want to learn how to make great music as fast as possible.
Nowadays, with Youtube tutorials and blogs like this one, learning how to make lofi hip hop is so much easier than it was back in my days! It’s still hard work but luckily we don’t have to figure everything out by ourselves anymore.
The current state of recording technology for lofi music
The first thing to take into account is the current level of audio fidelity that has become standard. The only real reason the LO-FI sound became a thing is because the bar has become so high for what is considered professional sounding. The majority of music recorded by mainstream artists uses a sample rate of 48kHz and a bit depth of 24 bits. Even though there are many music studios that use higher quality, this is the standard for most commercial music. It’s called “CD Quality” for a reason. When you put your ear up to a high quality speaker you will notice how much more detailed and clear it sounds than any other form of sound reproduction including MP3s, youtube or even TV broadcasts.
Here’s the kicker though: We can’t hear that much detail! Our hearing can detect frequencies up to around 20kHz, and our brains can only interpret about 16bits worth of data at any one time. So why would we need more than 16bit/48kHz resolution when recording? That seems like overkill right? Well, not really…
In my opinion, the reason so many people like lofi tracks is because anyone with basic recording equipment can make them. You don't need any expensive gear or really fancy studios to make a track like that and that's what I want to talk about today.
Understand the techniques used to make DIY lo-fi music.
Many musicians working under their own steam are trying to make the best of limited resources. They may be recording in bedrooms, in attics or on laptops. The lo-fi music movement, which started out as a rejection of mainstream values and a DIY approach to recording and distribution, has been adopted by many indie and alternative acts who want to make their music sound less polished and perfect. Here we look at some ways you can use simple techniques to achieve this effect.
Using the Voice
One of the most common elements of lo-fi music is the vocal, often recorded informally, with a mic placed close to the singer’s mouth. This can be done for convenience, but it can also be used as a creative tool — say if you want to give your vocal track an intimate, confessional feel. While this technique is commonly associated with lo-fi hip hop acts like Odd Future and RATKING, it also works well for other genres such as punk and indie rock.
Lo-Fi Rap Vocal Effect
One way to create an authentic DIY sound is to record with a USB microphone on your laptop's built-in audio interface. This will give you that distinctive compressed digital sound that many artists strive for - especially if you record using the microphone
Lo-fi music is a movement that came about at the end of the 20th Century as a reaction to high-fidelity, overproduced recordings. In this article, I will look at what makes lo-fi music different from other types of music and how it can be made using modern recording technology.
Lo-fi music can be defined as an 'anti' approach to making music. It is a reaction to slick, overproduced recordings which were the norm in the 1980s when digital recording came into its own. However, it is also more than that. It is a deliberate attempt to make recordings sound like they are flawed versions of what we normally hear on a commercial recording.
The lo-fi process is relatively simple. Recordings are deliberately made with low levels of fidelity so that they sound like they were recorded on old and inferior equipment. This may include using tape hiss and distortion to achieve the desired effect.
The term lo-fi has been used since the 1960s but it really only came into its own around 1990 when bands such as Pavement and Sebadoh began releasing albums that had this characteristic sound. The term has also been used in hip hop circles where producers such as Madlib have deliberately emulated older styles of production in order