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Top 13 Free Lofi Plugins

1. Fazu - Owl O’ Lantern

2. Tarabia & Taratube Distortion - Smaolab

3. Emergence - Daniel Gergely

4. Lost-tapes - Superfly DSP

5. Krush - Tritik Audio

6. Tape Cassette 2 - Caelum Audio

7. Mel-Lofi - Audiolatry

8. Exc!te Snare Drum - CHAIR

9. Love-Fi 2 - Quiet Music

10. Cassette 606, 808, & 909 - BPB

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Fazu - Owl O’ Lantern

For this video we’ll look at both lo-fi effects and lo-fi instruments, starting with the effects.

Fazu by Owl O’ Lantern is a great distortion plugin tailored toward low-frequency instruments - although I couldn’t find info on the exact function of the dials, tightness is likely the ADSR of the introduced distortion. We have 2 distortion types in the middle, and I believe a resonance filter.

Sparkle is an exciter or high-frequency distorter, and of course, the output affects the final level.

Let’s take a listen to the effect.

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Tarabia & Taratube Distortion - Smaolab

In this chapter we’ll cover 2 plugins - Tarabia is more of a digital-sounding distortion that introduces clipping and some digital artifacts. TaraTube offers a vintage sound and emulates various instances of a signal being run through a saturated tube, which can be saturated more with the Gain In dial.

Both are pretty straightforward and just take a little altering to get the right sound. For both, I’d avoid selecting the mono function, since I think this needs to be patched.

Let’s take a listen to both, starting with a clean signal, then Tarabia, and followed by Taratube.

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Emergence - Daniel Gergely

Emergence is my personal favorite on this list and makes a great creative effect. It’s a granular effect plugin meaning it introduces unique modulation of the signal by duplicating it into multiple instances, allowing you to change its pitch, length, forward or backward play, and more.

The granular aspect is probably the most important, since it starts and stops playing the signal at various points depending on the buffer size, amount of feedback, max grain count, and more.

Now, I’m probably not doing the best job at explaining it, so let’s take a listen to it, and introduce Streams 1, 2, and 3, and frequency modulation with an LFO.

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Lost-tapes - Superfly DSP

Lost-tapes is everything you need from a lo-fi tape emulation. It lets you introduce 4 different types of tape emulation from broken to new, with Lost-tape being my personal favorite, and then introduce noise, tape saturation, frequency and time modulation, as well as tape artifacts.

I also like that I can quickly make the effect mono or stereo, which is great for monitoring or creating some variation with the effect.

Let’s take a listen to it.

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Krush - Tritik Audio

Krush is a great digital distortion plugin that introduces bit depth and sample rate reduction distortion, traditional drive distortion, filtering with option resonance boosts, and modulation. In the modulation section, you can determine the oscillation rate, wave type, and to what extent it affects various parameters.

It’s also impressive that you can link a midi controller to the effect, which would be great for live performances, or if you prefer to automate your effects.

Let’s take a listen to it.

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Tape Cassette 2 - Caelum Audio

Tape Cassette 2 offers what you’d want from a lo-fi tape emulation with saturation or drive dial, a low pass filter, variable noise floor, as well as frequency and time modulation. What makes this plugin special though is the option impulse response of a cassette tape.

When engaged, the IR function will alter the frequency response and subtly change the ADSR of the signal, making the emulation a lot more realistic. I only wish it had an output dial, but other than that this is a fantastic plugin.

Let’s take a listen.

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Mel-Lofi - Audiolatry

Next up, let’s move on to the lo-fi instruments starting with Mel-Lofi, a sample-based instrument that lets you process various bass, keys, string, voices, and woodwind packs. From there we can change the attack, release, pan, reverb, and tuning while adding 4 layers of lo-fi artifacts.

In the middle, we can introduce modulation, and change the waveform, how our midi controller or midi date controls the function, and what is actually being modulated.

Lastly, we can introduce a low or high pass filter.

Let’s take a listen, and notice how when the various elements are engaged, we achieve a distinctive lo-fi sound.

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Exc!te Snare Drum - CHAIR

I debating adding this one since the plugin itself isn’t lo-fi, but I could definitely see how it could be really helpful on a lo-fi session. In short, it’s a drum synth that models the various physical characteristics of a snare drum being struck.

We get to control how hard the snare is hit, the surface of the drum stick, if the stick is resting on the rim, the drumhead tuning, tension of the snare beads on the bottom skin, and the angle of the hit.

I see this working really well when blended in with another snare, to add complexity or a unique sound.

Let’s listen as we cycle through the settings.

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Love-Fi 2 - Quiet Music

With Love-Fi 2 we’re greeted with this cool start screen and artwork - in the middle we see our velocity curve, voice mode, filter types, and modulation settings as well as presets. These presets let us switch between pads, keys, basses, drums, and ambient noises.

We can introduce modulation and tuning to the instrument on the left side, as well as note glide, frequency cutoff, and reverb on the right.

On the bottom, we have AR Low and High, which I wasn’t able to discern what they did. Then we have our ADSR, and lastly the volume.

Let’s listen to a few of the pads and keys that the instrument offers, and then check out the drum options.

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Cassette 606, 808, & 909 - BPB

Last up let’s cover 3 great instruments by BPB, all of which use samples of cassette saturated drums. The top dial controls the level of the sample, while the bottom controls the sustain or length of the sample - up top be can switch between 3 sample sets based on saturation levels.

Each version operates the same way, but some include more samples than others. Let’s take a listen to all 3, and know that the demo won’t be too musical, since we’ll just cycle through the 3 kits.

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