Bummed your band can’t find a keyboardist with vintage tonal sensibilities? Want to inject your tunes with 1980s Atari or Nintendo bleep-bloop-bloop action? The LoFi Machine puts both at your disposal in a space the size of a roll of quarters.
Operation is ridiculously simple: The further you turn the bit knob, the more it imbues your signal with a digital character by reducing sampling depth (5–16 bits), while the tiny mix and sample knobs govern dry/wet ratio and sample-rate reduction (60–31,250 Hz), respectively, and a 3-way toggle optimizes EQ response for synth, guitar, or bass. Subtlety is kinda antithetical to the Machine’s being, so I preferred max-ing mix, though turning sample all the way down helped fundamentals cut through without too much digital background clutter. Set the bit knob between noon and 3 o’clock, then fingerpick moderately overdriven chords for deliciously vibey Wurlitzer 200 or Rhodes electric-piano sounds. Or, summon ominous Metroid vibes or whimsical Super Mario Bros. sounds with bit settings past 3.
Test Gear: Danelectro ’56 Baritone reissue, Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster Custom with Curtis Novak pickups, Schecter Ultra III with TV Jones Magna’Tron bridge pickup, Jaguar HC50 and Goodsell Valpreaux 21 amps.