Mixing and Recording Engineer Maria Elisa Ayerbe Used KRK Headphones, Monitors, and Sub to Produce Arenas’ Most Recent Album
MIAMI ― GRAMMY®-nominated Singer and Songwriter Paula Arenas released her third album titled ‘A Ciegas’ in May, and it has since been nominated for four Latin GRAMMY® Awards and one GRAMMY® Award in the category of Best Latin Album. Like Arenas’ previous two albums, ‘A Ciegas’ was crafted with the help of her friend and Latin GRAMMY®-winning Engineer and Latin GRAMMY®-nominatedProducer and Composer Maria Elisa Ayerbe.
Arenas and Ayerbe both have a strong passion for music, and they require high-quality audio equipment to share this passion with the world. That is why they turned to KRK’s KNS 8402 Studio Headphones, which were used to help create Arenas’ most recent album. “I like the 8402s specifically because they help make our tracks sound good and are well-balanced headphones,” says Ayerbe. “I also really appreciate the fact that they have volume control, so I don’t have to ride the artists’ volume on my end the entire time. The KRK KNS have great isolation, so you don’t get a lot of bleed, which doesn’t happen with other headphones.”
Another reason the KRK headphones are a go-to for the duo is the fit. “They’re comfortable, and that is important while recording since we’re wearing them for hours,” shares Ayerbe. “They are also nice looking, which is always a plus,” adds Arenas. “I love them and really treasure them.”
A long-time KRK user, Ayerbe has a variety of gear at her Miami-based South Mountain Studios, which she also deployed in the creation of Arenas’ music, as well as a variety of other recording and mixing projects. This includes the KRK S8.4 Powered Studio Subwoofer and KRK V4 Series 4 Powered Reference Monitors. “The V4s are incredibly accurate, high-quality compact speakers,” says Ayerbe. “I love how transparent they are. They have a great low end and a very open, pristine, high end, as well as a very good stereo image.”
In addition to working with KRK in the studio, Arenas has her own pair of KNS 8402s at her home as well as the KRK ROKIT 5 G4 Five-inch Powered Near-Field Studio Monitors, which Ayerbe recommended for Arenas’ space. “The monitors work great no matter what environment they are in,” explains Ayerbe of the decision to install the monitors in Arenas’ home. “The ROKITs are good at providing a great reference without relying too much on the acoustic treatment of the room, which is perfect for home-listening applications.”
While the studio equipment used is important to make a great album, so are the people you work with—that is why Arenas and Ayerbe have had such success collaborating for so long. “Paula knows exactly what she wants to sound like, and she is able to let me know the story that she wants to tell sonically before I step in on the technical side,” adds Ayerbe.
“It is so important to work with people who you trust, and Maria Elisa is that for me. We understand each other very well, and that is why we continue to work together,” shares Arenas. ‘A Ciegas’ holds a special place in Arenas’ heart. “The album is very personal. The title means going blindly, which is how I feel when I really get into my music,” says Arenas. “Writing songs is like a diary to me; I tend to write what is in my heart, and I do it to be my best self for me, my son, and my family. The album is almost like a love letter to me.”
Ayerbe also understands the importance of Arenas’ music and believes that is what makes the duo thrive. “Paula’s music is very heartfelt, and she stands by everything that she writes,” shares Ayerbe. “There’s always a story to tell, and there’s always a feeling behind those stories. Also, we are very specific and conscious about the overall quality of the music. This is why I think our partnership has been successful—I listen to her, and I take her music to where she wants it to go. Ours is a great partnership because we have fun, and we love what we do.”
Arenas started her music career in her home of Bogotá, Colombia, and eventually made her way to Miami, where she has lived ever since. Ayerbe is also from Bogotá and has been working professionally for 17 years. She has her own label and a goal to empower and highlight Latin music in the alternative pop scene. She is also an audio educator who currently teaches at Abbey Road Institute in Miami and has taught at a variety of universities across the U.S. and Colombia.