- Learn how to achieve the hazy, nostalgic sounds of lofi house.
- How to choose one of the many LoFi VSTs on the market
- We dive deep into the 7 best LoFi House VSTs for house music
- Also, check out our post on the best cheap synth VSTs that money can buy!
LoFi house producers can all agree that the genre comes with a distinct set of sonic characteristics, all of which are relatively simple and fun to achieve.
There is an incredibly wide array of LoFi VSTs on the current market, and deciding which is the best for your beats can often be overwhelming.
We’ve narrowed down a list of 7 of the best LoFi house plugins this year has to offer.
We’ve also briefly covered each LoFi VSTs primary features and specs and provided some insights into their pros and cons.
What Are The Best LoFi House Plugins/VSTs
Our list of the 7 Best LoFi House VSTs is as follows:
- XLN Audio RC-20 Retro Color (Our Pick)
- Softube Tape Echoes
- Tritik Krush (Best Free Plugin)
- Aberrant DSP Sketch Cassette II
- DopeSONIX LoFi
- Softube Model 84 (Best Sounding Plugin)
- Thenatan Tape Piano 2
The Best LoFi House Plugins/VSTs (Paid & Free)
1. XLN Audio RC-20 Retro Color (Our Pick)
RC-20 Retro Color is a creative effect plugin that easily recreates the warm feeling of vintage recording equipment. It adds life and texture to any recording and also works perfectly in any modern production setting.
- Free 10-day trial
- Rich-sounding LoFi textures
- Independent wet/dry controls
- Type: LoFi Multi-Effects Unit
- Formats: VST, AU, AAX (64-Bit)
- Size: 2 GB
RC-20 Retro Color is a wonderfully simple and versatile multi-effects unit that caters well to producers of LoFi genres.
This LoFi VST comprises an interface similar to a guitar pedalboard, with six effect types that add various shades of vintage coloring to your sounds:
- Noise – Introduces layers of various machine noises like tape hiss, circuit hums, and vinyl crackles. Users can also tweak the overall tone of their noise. There are also dials to adjust the tone of your noise.
- Wobble – Wobble & Flutter acts as a pitch shifter to give your sound the same instability you’d heard on warped tape or faulty vinyl players. There are separate rate controls for either effect and optional stereo spread for extra width.
- Distort – This effect offers a handful of tube and digital-style distortions to give your sounds some grit. The distort pedal also doubles as a saturator with certain distortion types.
- Digital – Emulates the degradation of sound heard on 80’s sampling units to create stunning erosion. This effect is a particular highlight for RC-20 and is prime for adding LoFi texture to almost any instrument or signal.
- Space – A basic reverb pedal for adding some spatial depth to your overall effects. This reverb has a very glossy 80s digital feel to it.
- Magnetic – Magnetic recreates the volume losses that occur during tape recordings and tape playback. The effect sounds best when used subtly.
Each of RC-20 Retro color’s effects comes with independent wet/dry controls, and there is an added control for this on the master strip of the effects board for added control.
The plugin also features some presets to use as starting blocks for your effects, and you can save your settings as a user preset for later use.
RC-20’s Retro Color’s greatest strength is its useability. It’s incredibly easy and fast to start tweaking your sounds, and the overall effects selection creates some truly rich-sounding LoFi textures.
XLN Audio offers a free 10-day trial of this plugin for anyone who wants to test it.
2. Softube Tape Echoes
Tape Echoes is overflowing with all the pulsating color and character you need to take your tape effect from authentically gritty to lavishly analog. With the Drive & Dirt features, you can effortlessly drench your track in as much wobbly, glitchy, distorted delay as you can fathom.
- Unique hybrid echo unit
- Signature spatial sounds
- Type: LoFi Effects Unit
- Formats: VST, AU
- Size: 49 GB
Tape echo is one of the signature spatial sounds that help to create LoFi atmospheres, and the Tape Echoes LoFi plugin by Softube is one of the best devices for this effect.
The latest version of Tape Echo uses various parts of three classic echo devices (the Roland Space Echo, WEM Copicat, and Echoplex) to create a unique hybrid echo unit with great versatility.
The top end of the Tape Echoes user interface features a slider to adjust the overall delay time. This dial can be set to tap tempo or synced to the track BPM for click-tight echoes.
Using the slider in real-time creates some dreamy pitch shifts, and there are Tape Glitch switches to produce a similar effect momentarily.
The bottom half of the user interface houses a series of texture and mix controls. Drive introduces saturation and comes with low and high-pass filters.
The Dirt knob improves or reduces the quality of the playback tape to blend a stunning distortion into your signal. Feedback controls the overall amount of echoes generated.
Tape Echo’s simplicity allows producers of any level to use it quite easily. Learning how to perfectly rhythmically sync your echoes in real time will take some practice, but it is well worth it.
Some advanced users might wish that Tape Echoes came with some more extensive control options, and rightfully so.
3. Tritik Krush (Best Free Plugin)
With its bit crushing and downsampling algorithms, Krush combines the crispy taste of the digital realm with the warmth of its drive stage and analog modeled resonant filters. A modulation section allows you to quickly add extra life to the sound by modulating any parameter.
- Fully resizable interface
- Clean and intuitive
- Modulation depth for every parameter
- Type: Effects Unit
- Formats: VST, VST3, AU, AAX
- Size: 2 GB
Tritik is known for releasing some generous and smooth-looking VST devices. The Krush is one of the coolest effect devices and is ideal for anyone looking for a simple, effective erosion device.
It’s also very light in size, CPU load, and free, making it extra attractive.
Tritik uses a saturator, crusher, and downsampler to add wonderfully tasteful reductions and textures to your signal.
Drive adds distortion, crush erodes, and the downsampler introduces bit-reduction to the signal.
These parameters can use the onboard filter independently for meticulous sound sculpting options.
Tritik Krush also features an extensive modulation panel, each of which can be routed to the primary parameters.
There are four modulation types to select from, as well as the option for bpm sync or freeform modulation speeds.
Krush’s interface is incredibly easy on the eye, and its strength lies in its minimalism.
Anyone who enjoys this version of Krush should also consider checking out their paid Pro version, which has additional parameter controls and user features.
4. Aberrant DSP SketchCassette II
Inspired by 4-track cassette recorders, SketchCassette II is designed to introduce a wide array of lo-fi effects into your mixes. From subtle warble to unearthed-from-the-attic destruction, SketchCassette II unlocks the full range of cheap tape sounds, while also offering the flexibility and control to push your sounds even further into total LoFi weirdness.
- Attractive interface
- Includes 61 presets
- 12 different tape types
- Type: Lofi Multi-Effects Unit
- Formats: VST, VST3,AU, AAX
- Size: Undisclosed
If anything, SketchCassette II is by far the best-looking plugin on this list.
The user interface is laid out in a 2-D doodle-style animation of an actual cassette tape, and only makes this great-sounding LoFi plugin even more fun to use.
SketchCassette II features 12 different tape types & quality profiles, each with a distinct set of retro-style characteristics.
The device comes with full age modeling control, allowing you to layer and adjust all the fundamental sounds with tape-style treatment.
There are two saturation models included in SketchCassette II, allowing for either harsh or gentle saturation options.
In addition, there are controls to blend in tape hiss or add wow and flutter to your signal that can be set to run free or synced to tempo.
A noise-reduction compressor helps to smoothen out your signal flow and comes with controls for brightness and amount.
The texture and modulation effects on SketchCassette II have a distinct, classy feel, and nothing is confusing or overwhelming about the GUI.
Aberrant has also included 61 presets with the plugin that should give users a good few hours of experimentation.
5. DopeSONIX LoFi
LoFi is a versatile plug-in that is easy to use and perfect for creating Old School Hip Hop, Chill Hop, Movie Soundtracks, Ambient, and Electronica, as well as adding warmth and atmosphere to any track that may sound overly digital.
- Mono, Poly and Legato modes
- Built-in flexible ADSR controls
- Ultra-low CPU usage
- Type: LoFi Synth VST
- Formats: VST,
- Size: 457 MB
It’s not often that you find a VST instrument that is specifically designed for LoFi-style music.
The team at DopeSONIX has been among the first to jump on this train, and their LoFi VST synth comes with almost every sound you’ll need for creating LoFi compositions.
LoFi comes with over 200 sounds influenced by artists like Boards of Canada and Brian Eno.
The sounds of these instruments range from soft and glossy to much more abrasive and noise based-textures and offer a wide scope for sound design over arrangements.
What’s more appealing about the sounds that come with LoFi is how they were captured.
Every sound preset on LoFi was captured or processed using an MPC MKII, a Fostex Reel to Reel, and a handful of classic analog devices that give this VST a powerful library of lush-sounding samples that are great for any genre – LoFi or otherwise.
LoFi gives users many sonic shaping options on top of their sound library. Users have access to various parameter controls, including velocity switches, full ADSR, and lo and hi-pass filters.
For anyone still learning the fundamentals of creating LoFi house music, this VST instrument is well worth checking out.
6. Softube Model 84 (Best Sounding Plugin)
Softube's Model 84 Polyphonic Synthesizer reproduces the classic 80s-era synth icon, complete with its distinctive sound and exclusive features. It offers two poly modes with accurate voice allocation, along with new and innovative additions.
- Low-frequency oscillator
- An authentic emulation
- Great tool for LoFi house compositions
- Type: LoFi Synth VST
- Formats: VST, VST3,AU, AAX
- Size: 8 GB
Softube’s second feature on this list is a testament to their consistency, and their Model 84 is a great instrument for creating various LoFi moods and textures.
Model 84 emulates the famous 1984 polyphonic synthesizer of the same name.
While Model 84 may not be specifically designed for LoFi house music, it has many signature sounds associated with classic synth-based pop music from the 80s.
Regarding analog emulation, the Model 84’s interface features every usable dial featured on the real original. This user interface can be quite intimidating to anyone unfamiliar with analog synthesis.
Model 84 lets users layer up to 5 voicings over a single key to create stylish pads, leads, bass, and other synth sounds.
Notable features include full ADSR control over each voicing, as well as filters and amp control to sculpt your signal’s overall dynamic.
There is also a dreamy onboard chorus, pitch shifting, and two LFOs to add motion to your chosen sounds.
The Model 84 might not be the most user-friendly or versatile synth, but it does sound amazing and is a great tool for creating LoFi house compositions.
Related: How Analog Plugin Emulations Work (& Are They Better Than Digital?)
7. Thenatan Tape Piano 2
The Tape Piano 2 has been enhanced to become more lightweight, speedy, and loaded with additional capabilities. The ADSR team has succeeded in bringing you a collection of awesome Piano-Key Sounds that are not only perfect for LoFi, Chill, and HipHop but for most other genres as it has a vast array of phenomenal presets.
- Layer up to 5 voicings simultaneously
- Over 200 presets
- 4 samplers
- Type: Lofi Piano Keys VST
- Formats: VST, VST3, AU
- Size: 2 GB
Certain producers enjoy plugins that don’t require browsing massive sound libraries of options and instead prioritize quality over quantity.
Such is the case with Thenattan’s Tape Piano, which boasts every piano sound you’ll likely need for basic LoFi house production.
Tape Piano’s name is slightly misleading, as it has a lot more than just pianos stashed into it.
The instrument acts as a sampler to layer up to 5 voicings simultaneously, and other useful instruments include synths, pads, and percussions.
You can adjust various parameters of each sample layer and blend them all independently for a precise tonal mix.
The Tape Piano’s sampler is further supported by a bevy of onboard tonal and texture controls.
Producers can use up to two LFOS, two envelope controls, and even a step sequencer to program rhythmic modulations into your signal.
The plugin also features an envelope editor that lets you draw in custom shapes, which can be mapped to any parameter within the plugin.
For mixing, the Tape Piano includes a parametric EQ, as well as a handful of basic effects, including reverb, delay, distortion, and mod phaser.
There’s a lot to play with and discover in the Thenatan Tape Piano, and this plugin should last a long time after its first use.
LoFi house is a relatively young genre, especially within the bedroom producer world.
The music style generally consists of slightly more advanced chord structures and a reasonable dose of glossy, hazy textures and samples.
There are a wide range of useful tools listed above that are perfect for creating LoFi house compositions and atmospheres.
The above-listed LoFi plugins can be used independently or in combination for some unique and sometimes peculiar results.
However, when it comes to LoFi, the weirder, the better.
What Is The Most Realistic LoFi House VST?
The LoFi VST instrument by DopeSONIX comes with textures and preset sounds that are processed and captured using analog gear.
The result is easily evident when listening back to any compositions made using it.
What Lofi VSTs Do Composers Use?
While several popular plugins are used in the LoFi house genre, many acclaimed composers and producers are enjoying RC-20 Retro Color, in addition to the Tape Echoes and Model 84 emulators from Softube.
Before you go, check out our guide to the 9 Best Synthwave VSTs (Synths, Drum Machines & FX!)