Vinyl LoFi Effect
In Logic X
A Great Way To Add More Character To Any Sound, In Any Genre
December 24, 2018
If you're looking to get that LoFi sound, but don't want to spend a bunch of money on plugins this is for you
It's kind of funny to think about how we, as producers, typically strive to capture the highest quality audio in our music, yet LoFi effects and processing are popular and trendy. Digital audio is all about being clean and transparent. Whether that's using cutting edge soft synths like Serum, high end or prosumer level audio interfaces, and pro microphones, we usually want a clean sound.
That is until we don't want a clean sound. Which could be quite often depending on the genre(s) you produce. Enter the LoFi effect.
LoFi effect plugins used to be rare, but now there are more than a few options. These plugins add artifacts to any sound you put them on. There is even a plugin that will make your music sound like 2006 YouTube video, uploaded from a terrible sounding MP3. Now that I read that back, we might be taking this trend too far...
The LoFi sound is all over the place in modern Hip Hop right now. A great example is Drake and Meek Mill's track Going Bad. The piano is LoFi. It's fluttering out of tune and paired with some vinyl static.
It's safe to say a ton of artists and producers are employing the effect in their music and to great success.
What is LoFi processing?
Basically, you want to create a sound that is imperfect in the eyes of digital audio. Something that has character, warmth, and full of character. You can use LoFi processing on any sound source. I like using it on pianos, keys, synths, pads, and drums, but definitely experiment with anything that you want.
A quick recipe list of LoFi processing would include:
1.) Pitch Modulation - Slow moving vibrato or tape flutter. If you put this on a piano, it makes it sound kind of out of tune, reminiscent of a honky tonk piano.
2.) Audio Reduction - Bit crusher or sample rate reduction. 24 Bit is soooo 2016. It's all about 12, 14,16, and for the brave of heart, 8 bit in 2019. I'm kind of joking. I haven't heard too many 8 bit samples floating around in top 40 tracks, but never say never! A sample rate reducer takes the typical rate of 44.1Khz and down samples to lower values. Noah "40" Shebib, Drake's producer, has used this effect in a lot of his music.
3.) Noise - Adding in noise like Vinyl crackles, tape hiss, or room ambience.
4.) Distortion or Saturation - Usually tube or analog modeled distortion to further dirty up the sound.
Why Should You Use LoFi Processing In Your Music?
There are a few reasons. The first would be if you're trying to sound current in the Hip Hop world right now. Deciding when to jump on a wave or let it ride out is ultimately up to you as a producer, but just know that tons of the biggest songs right now are using LoFi effects.
The second reason would be to make your music stand out from the crowd. LoFi effects aren't as common in other genres as the are in Hip Hop right now. You can use this to your advantage. Maybe spicing up a piano in a Pop ballad or applying to tape flutter to electric guitars in your Future Bass track will add some powerful ear candy that will catch any listener's ear.
Setting it all up
In this tutorial, I will be using Logic stock plugins to create a LoFi sound that is perfect for modern Hip Hop. If you don't have or use Logic X, don't worry, you can easily translate these steps into other DAWs!
You will need to source some type of noise sample like vinyl static or tape hiss, if you don't have anything like that Click this link, it comes with 5 noise samples for FREE