LoFi Drums: How To Make Them

LoFi Drums: How To Make Them

Lofi drums are the bedrock of any beat. So, how do you get lofi drums in a world where all our tools are hifi?  

It’s all about the effects you had. What are those effects and how do you get them.?

We’ll cover typical effects found on lofi drums and recommend VSTs so you can do the same.

Let’s dive in.

LoFi Drums: Sound Effects

Here we'll cover the different effects found in lofi drums. I'll do two things for each effect:

  1. Explain the concept
  2. Provide an audio example so you can hear the effects

To start, here it the baseline audio we'll work off of with no effects:


Tape saturation is such a key part in LoFi. If there is only one effect you need to now, it's this one.

It adds the warmth and the wobbly warble sound. It's a mix of distortion, hiccups in resonance, phasing, compression, shaving off the high highs and lower lows of frequencies. It's kind of an all in one LoFi effect.

In a lot of ways it's not really an effect per se. It's a modern day effect that tries to emulate what happened back in the day when music was recorded on magentic tape.

Add tape saturation to your drums to take them from regular drums to lofi drums.

Let's listen

The above effect was added by using the lofi drums preset on the Taip Plugin by Baby Audio.


LoFi Drums Setting on the Taip Plugin by Baby Audio


Reverb is like echoes, but a bunch of them at the same time. When sound happens, it not only goes to your ear, but it bounces off all the space around you and then hits your ears.

When all those other sounds bounce off and hit your ear, that's reverb. They slightly alter the sound. Play a sound in a small room sounds different than if you play a sound in a church.

The benefits of reverb is is makes the sound wider, fuller, and bigger.



There's many different types of distortion, all geared towards getting a gritty, noisey, and maybe even buzzy feel. It helps give your lofi drums character.



Chorus is basically copying the sound and playing it at the same time, just with slightly alterations. Delay, pitch changes, panning, offset start points are all alterations that happen with chorus.

The alteration are subtle, but can be felt.

The benefit: your lofi drums will sound fuller and richer.



This is a form of an echo. The dry signal plays but then a wet signal is played slightly after. It gives an echo like feel, a bit richer sound, and can even add to the rhythmic feel of lofi drums.



Phaser can give a swoosh feel, sometimes watery, sometimes swirl type effect. It's a type of modulation effect.


Popularized by the late grat J Dilla swing is essentially being human. When we make music on computers, by default everything is perfectly lined up. So perfect and precise.

Humans are not perfect. When we play drums we don't always hit the drums at the right moment. We're usually off by a bit. A touch too early. A touch to late.

Swing is a way to incorporate that human feel. It moves the notes slightly off the grid. This gives your lofi drums a human feel.


LoFi Drums: Top 5 Plugins To Make That Lofi Feel

So now that we takled about the effects. How do you get them? Plugins is the answer. Here are a few top lofi drums plugins to help you get that lofi feel in your drums.

  1. Taip by Baby Audio
  2. RC-20 Retro Color by XLN Audio
  3. Izotope Vinyl
  4. VHS by Baby Audio
  5. Abbey Road Vinyl by Waves

Ride Out

Those are some of the main effects you hear when it comes to LoFi Drums. And, use those plugins to get started. If you want to go free, start with Izotope Vinyl. If you're looking for one and one only, I would recommend. RC-20 or Taip.

It's one thing to know how to make lofi drums, but you'll also need to know how to make LoFi Drum patterns. Take a look at the lofi drum pattern guide to get started.

Packed with LoFi drum patterns and 300 lofi drums it's all you need to get started on making lofi beats.


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