Definition of lo-fi in English:


(also low-fi)


  • 1Of or employing sound reproduction of a lower quality than hi-fi.

    ‘lo-fi recording techniques’
    • ‘By this I think he meant that the lo-fi sound (the recording venue is stated as being ‘in Jan and Ed's basement ’) is more than compensated for by the energy and enthusiasm that jumps out of every track.’
    • ‘At times, the recording sounds ridiculously lo-fi.’
    • ‘Despite the slight distortions of a lo-fi recording, the songs are an ambitious, groovy blend of late 60s garage, wiggly noises, piano-led balladry and the odd moment of Nick Cave-ish histrionics.’
    • ‘The hazy, semi-hallucinogenic beauty is boosted by the lo-fi, not-quite-focused home recording.’
    • ‘When you have the freedom of recording in your rehearsal space we knew we would have no restrictions, and when you listen to the music, the lo-fi quality is not a factor at all.’
    • ‘The strangeness of the samples coupled with the surprisingly good mixture of hi-fi and lo-fi productions gives the whole album an otherworldly quality that I'm still discovering.’
    • ‘Users can hear the high quality version for three days, then only the low-fi version can be played.’
    • ‘When wrapped around his infectious melodies, though, they prove to be perfect bedfellows to his lo-fi sound.’
    • ‘Musically they are part of a welcome trend away from slick 1990s production towards lo-fi sounds.’
    • ‘Thankfully the Future Shock EP shows all the same qualities of the later debut, with a slightly more lo-fi recording.’
    • ‘From his early lo-fi home recordings to his one-a-year studio albums, Pollard has never been one for self-censoring, and as such this work is hit-and-miss.’
    • ‘Every song has a great hook or riff, and Saloman's guitar sears across these lo-fi recordings.’
    • ‘Track nine contains what sounds like a lo-fi recording of the master musicians of Jajouka, which has been increasingly scuffed up over time.’
    • ‘Did he release a cassette of lo-fi four-track recordings?’
    • ‘It helps that the band's recordings wear their lo-fi sound like period costume - all tape hiss, tinny high-hat, and slightly reverbed vocals.’
    • ‘Recorded on a home tape deck, the sound is definitely lo-fi, and Reed's vocals at times are almost swamped beneath his and Sterling Morrison's blazing guitars.’
    • ‘The lo-fi recording quality harkens back to 60s staples like Simon & Garfunkel or Nick Drake, not to mention Sumpner's haunting pastoral imagery.’
    • ‘In the digital age, lo-fi recordings have improved incredibly in terms of sound and affordability.’
    • ‘His rough, fuzzy backgrounds and crisp, hard-edged beats have a ragged beauty that shines through all the tape static and lo-fi murk of his recordings.’
    • ‘As before, the recording quality is as lo-fi as it gets, and each one of the twenty-three tracks features Lou on his guitar with only an occasional assist on backing vocals or music.’
    1. 1.1 (of popular music) recorded and produced with basic equipment and thus having a raw and unsophisticated sound.
      • ‘Yet the ‘roots’ are understated throughout the album, lending a lo-fi feel to the laidback and late-night melancholy.’
      • ‘The rest of us had to make do with Greatest Hits, an ironically titled compilation of tracks from those four albums as well as Dying Happy, a fifth lo-fi album of soundtrack music that came out in 1997.’
      • ‘Some say her lyrics are reminiscent of Liz Phair and her sound is lo-fi.’
      • ‘French label Burning Emptiness stand alone at the vanguard of anything and everything lo-fi, avant-garde, techno, or just plain and simple noise.’
      • ‘Much like the indie-rock version of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, this lo-fi gem was recorded following the breakup of band members Rick White and Julie Dorion.’
      • ‘The results sound like lo-fi prog-rock, if you can imagine such an unlikely beast.’
      • ‘You're led to believe they'll continue in a lo-fi style of indie Can-rock, but they don't for long.’


mass noun
  • Lo-fi sound reproduction or music.

    • ‘If the term lo-fi needed to be defined, it would be by this album.’
    • ‘The lack of sonic variety prevents most of the songs from making much of an impression musically, and in general lo-fi really starts to grate after about 20 straight minutes.’
    • ‘So that's the musical counterpart to the lyrical problem - turning lo-fi from a ho-hum excuse to a gritty asset.’
    • ‘There's no cross-section of early period lo-fi, mid-period big studio slickness and late period mid-fi compromise.’
    • ‘As long as people believe poverty and authenticity go hand-in-hand, lo-fi will never go out of style.’
    • ‘This is a Northern European mongrel of dizzy lo-fi with pop hooks to help you escape the everyday.’
    • ‘Tom Vek meets the contemporary current of fashionable new new-wave spliced and spiced with bedroom lo-fi.’
    • ‘This is a band that needs a little lo-fi in their sound to be truly effective.’
    • ‘The five track EP is quintessential American lo-fi.’
    • ‘Recorded in DIY lo-fi, they have better chemistry than when they debuted on the Sanddollars EP earlier this year.’


1950s: from an alteration of low + -fi on the pattern of hi-fi.