Literature on sound reproduction is largely concerned with “high-fidelity” recording, despite a multiplicity of modes of recording in practice throughout history. As a result, histories of listening have often tacitly privileged standards of appreciation rooted in high-fidelity culture. In an attempt to expand our conception of different listening styles, the author draws attention to latent histories of low-fidelity listening, positing “lo-fi” as a receptive mode that appreciates amateur and failed musical performances, aestheticizes noise in soundscapes and encourages listeners to participate in the construction of sonic experience at the time of playback.

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