What is Lo-Fi? How to Make a Lo-fi Beat

DAW swing

Like jazz, lo-fi music doesn’t strictly adhere to a grid-like understanding of rhythm like rock or electronic music.

Instead, notes are loose and slightly off-kilter.

In jazz, this rhythmic feel is called swing.

But lo-fi music isn’t swung exactly. Rhythms are instead played “in the cracks”—meaning the beat isn’t perfectly straight but nor is it perfectly swung.

This effect was pioneered by beatmaking legend J Dilla, who learned how to use his MPC to place notes off the rhythmic grid to create a rhythmic feel called MPC Swing.

Later, with the introduction of DAWs, the term became known as DAW swing.

With any DAW you can add the exact swing feel you want in your track, whether you want a classic MPC swing pattern or your own custom swing pattern.

Adding DAW swing in your DAW is easy and we’ve written about it in-depth in other articles.