December 11, 2023

Art Official: AI & De La Soul’s Long-Awaited Digital Release


De La Soul is one of the most influential groups of all time, thanks to their unique sound and stand out style compared to other hip hop groups of the late 20th century. Earlier this year, the group announced the reissue and digital release of their first six albums. The remasters, which are mixed with Dolby Atmos, were made possible after a year- and-a-half endeavor to clean up “cosmetic issues” and remaster the original mixes for a new, immersive format.

Being a few decades old, the albums’ original project files were not available, and left audio engineer Rich Keller with just the original stereo master. Rich, who has worked with iconic hip hop and R&B artists like DMX, Swizz Beatz, PDiddy, Nipsey Hussle, and Nas, did not need anyone to tell him that the bar for these long-awaited releases would be high. Without clean stems, it became nearly impossible to create the quality of mix they desired. So Keller and the label, Reservoir Media, sought the help of AudioShake

“We had to work inside tracks where we only had the original stereo master and for 80% of the Atmos mixes, I relied on AudioShake to give me the cleanest and sonically pure AI stems available. AudioShake is at the cutting edge and their dev team really came through to help us deliver this monumental long awaited rerelease.” – Rich Keller, audio engineer for De La Soul

Using our technology, Rich could pull high quality stems of the original De La Soul masters which gave him greater control and precision in mastering these albums. While members of the original De La Soul team did the heavy lifting of recreating the mixes where multitracks were available, AudioShake’s AI was “necessary and impeccable at separating the punchy, gritty, vintage sounds from these analog classics.” 

Rich’s goal for mastering these iconic albums in Atmos was to ensure they were kept as true to the originals as possible. AudioShake was key for Rich to access high quality stems and build an Atmos concept that would earn the approval of Pos. 

“I chose AudioShake as the platform to use for AI stemming because of their noise floor and clarity of sound, mostly in the low end where we needed it most. Being classic hip-hop, these were dusty samples… with more shades of gray in the low frequencies to discern. As well as their decreased noise floor when the signal dropped out. That’s something that a lot of other platforms have issues with. When the signal changes, when it goes down, way down at the tail end of a fadeout you’ll hear little clicks and pops as it's trying to gain up the audio. But [AudioShake] fixed that problem.” – Rich Keller

Released by Reservoir Records, De La Soul’s first six albums are now available in Dolby Atmos.