What is Lo-Fi?

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chris harris
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Post by chris harris » Wed May 28, 2008 6:13 am

If you're not trying to make your album sound like Dark Side of the Moon, Rumors, or a Tom Petty record, then you're probably going for some variation of "lo-fi".

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blackdiscoball
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Post by blackdiscoball » Wed May 28, 2008 6:16 am

I was about to say Guided by Voices. If some of their early stuff isnt to crappiest sounding recordings then I don't know what is. What makes it lofi is they actually wanted that sound! (awful huh?)
Also a new band I imagine would fall into this "category" would be the GO! Team. check them out if you've never heard them. I don't know how it was recorded or what was going on but I'm strangely attracted the the beautiful mess that is their music!

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Post by logancircle » Wed May 28, 2008 7:38 am

Beauty&Wonder wrote:...artists... embraced the sound quality of budget gear.
Yes. And remember the old lo-fi plugin for ProTools 5 added digital artifacts like that shimmer of a low sampling rate recording, distortion, etc.
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logancircle
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Post by logancircle » Wed May 28, 2008 8:18 am

blackdiscoball wrote:GO! Team....I'm strangely attracted the the beautiful mess that is their music!
Totally, it's like they were going through the PA in a high school gymnasium. It sounds great on a nice stereo, so it can't be lo-fi, can it?
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blackdiscoball
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Post by blackdiscoball » Wed May 28, 2008 8:30 am

It sounds great on a nice stereo, so it can't be lo-fi, can it?
I dont know? It does sound "good" on nice speakers which is why I think I like it. Its doesnt seem to sound like that because of ignorance, its sounds like it was made intentionally like that. I even think an engineer I have a lot of respect for did some work with them which makes me think its all plan? Anyone know who did any of their albums?

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blackdiscoball
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Post by blackdiscoball » Wed May 28, 2008 8:46 am

The name I was looking for was Joel Hamilton. The GO! Team was on his site. I know you're around here Joel if you have the time could you maybe give a little insight into what you did with them (like what songs or albums) and what there sound is aiming for?

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Post by JGriffin » Wed May 28, 2008 10:01 am

logancircle wrote: ...remember the old lo-fi plugin for ProTools 5 added digital artifacts like that shimmer of a low sampling rate recording, distortion, etc.

It's still around in PT7. I use it a bunch.
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Post by RefD » Wed May 28, 2008 11:02 am

and then there's playing thru an old 8 bit DDL, adjusting the delay time to minimum and turning the mix knob to 100% wet.

but that's not terribly practical most of the time.
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Post by logancircle » Wed May 28, 2008 11:59 am

Here's something I came up with, taken from a bunch of different sources and synthesized and economized:
Lo-Fi (Low Fidelity): disregarding and often flagrantly violating the established conventions of sound-quality, Lo-Fi often sounds unclean, containing natural noises such as natural reverb and echoes, distortion, tape-hiss and/or feedback, and various sonic artifacts, lack of sound-picture clarity, and the use of noise as an instrument.

I think that helps clear it up if you will. Here's a question: If someone says your stuff is lo-fi do you get offended?
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centurymantra
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Post by centurymantra » Wed May 28, 2008 1:22 pm

Lo-fi, when used as a cultivated aesthetic can be simply amazing. Personally, I love lo-fi. If the lo-fi quality enhances the texture and sonic palette then this is a good thing. There is lo-fi that is just poorly recorded and this can be kinda shitty actually, esp. if it obscures the music. A lot of it is just embracing the aesthetic and using it for what it is. A lot of times, a lack of over production (often a good thing) lends things a lo-fi air, though this doesn't mean it's been poorly recorded. There's some good examples of great lo-fi mentioned here like Guided by Voices, Grifters,
Sebadoh, early Dino Jr...someone even mentioned Azalia Snail and man, does that take me back! I've got too much great lo-fi to even really start making a list, but honorable mention has to go the Tall Dwarfs and a huge chunk of the late '80s to mid '90s New Zealand scene, most of which involved Flying Nun and Xpressway records. How about Billy Childish or that first Latin Playboys record? GREAT lo-fi there. Flying Saucer Attack just came to mind. Lots of great stuff out there. You've got a current label like Daptone Records recording on vintage, "compromised" technology but it sounds friggin' great, though some might also consider this lo-fi. Kind of a hard thing to truly define really.
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Post by mjau » Wed May 28, 2008 6:04 pm

I know it when I hear it. How's that?
The first couple of Will Oldham records are lofi. Jandek is most definitely lofi.

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Post by Knight79 » Thu May 29, 2008 8:25 am

Lamborghini Crystal......now that is modern day lo-fi creep out bedroom music at its finest! Completely enthralling. Check it out if you haven't. I couldn't begin to describe it. Its like taking the Ariel Pink aesthetic and twisting to a new creepy dimension.

I love lo-fi music. Especially when you can tell its recorded in someone's bedroom and not at some neutral site. Its like the artist is inviting you into their life and if its done well then it can be a very personal, intimate experience.

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thieves
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Post by thieves » Thu May 29, 2008 10:29 am

Knight79 wrote: I love lo-fi music. Especially when you can tell its recorded in someone's bedroom and not at some neutral site. Its like the artist is inviting you into their life and if its done well then it can be a very personal, intimate experience.
great point.
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Brett Siler
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Post by Brett Siler » Thu May 29, 2008 4:53 pm

It is the sequel to High Fidelity. John Cusack divorces his wife in it. It's sad.... :cry:

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Post by joel hamilton » Thu May 29, 2008 6:35 pm

blackdiscoball wrote:The name I was looking for was Joel Hamilton. The GO! Team was on his site. I know you're around here Joel if you have the time could you maybe give a little insight into what you did with them (like what songs or albums) and what there sound is aiming for?
I recorded all the double dutch chanting for their latest record. I didnt mix it or have anythng to do with them besides that. Ian from the go team and I were in the control room, and the ladies (double dutch divas) were in the live room most of the time.

I dont remember the names of the songs I worked on.
it was just one day.

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