Wrensilva Sound: Listening Sessions with Manny Marroquin

The moon rose high above the storied and artwork-filled Larrabee Studios in North Hollywood where we met revered music mixer Manny Marroquin for a special listening session. Wrensilva co-founder and head of audio Scott Salyer joined Manny to drop the needle on some of their favorite records — and to test out the sound of the new Wrensilva Record Console Collection.

The pursuit of the Wrensilva Sound is a constant endeavor for us. It began with our founders’ deep roots in music, sound engineering, and design. The first step was to handcraft every console with proprietary electronics and elite audio components. Another crucial step, however, is our collaboration with respected music creators to fine-tune the Wrensilva sound experience. In our listening session with Manny, we discuss exceptional records, studio insights, and the intricacies of the Wrensilva Sound.

Manny Marroquin of Larrabee Studios and Wrensilva co-founder Scott Salyer spin records during our listening session.


About Manny & Larrabee Studios

The front door awning of Larrabee Studios in North Hollywood.

Larrabee Studios is a world-class recording and mixing studio. Founded in 1969, the studio, in its various forms, has seen the likes of Michael Jackson and countless other celebrated music acts. Now, the owner and main force behind the studio is award-winning mixer Manny Marroquin. A self-described chameleon, the 18x Grammy-winning mix engineer has the unique ability to adapt his mixing sensibilities to the needs of diverse genres. In addition to the albums played during our listening session, Manny has also created albums with Alicia Keys, Rhianna, Ed Sheeran, Kanye, Bruno Mars, and The Weeknd, to name a few.

Before mixing, Manny started out as a drummer, then developed technical skills working as a sound engineer at recording studios. “Recording was just the way to become a better mixer,” Manny said. “I've done everything that I can to become a better mixer, from taking art classes to studying culture and leadership.”

Inside The Final Listening Session

Beside the green velvet sofa in Larrabee’s Studio 1 Lounge where artists usually hang between recording sessions, the new M1 console — loaded with records from Manny’s discography — took on the centerpiece role. Records by Alicia Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Leon Bridges, and Paramore adorned the console’s walnut hardwoods. It wasn’t long before Scott and Manny delved into a stream-of-consciousness style conversation about music, sound engineering, production techniques, and Wrensilva’s sound.

The first record to come out of the sleeve was Paramore’s This Is Why, which won the 2023 GRAMMY for best rock album, making Paramore the first female-fronted rock band to ever do so. As Manny dropped the needle on their eponymous track, the song’s bouncy beat and guitar delays began booming from our
custom speakers.

Manny Marroquin vibes to a record during our listening session.

“A lot of rock records tend to be dynamic in the chorus,” Manny said, describing a few of his mixing techniques on the song. “Here comes the chorus, and you hear guitars, power chords. The low end is the first thing to go because that's how you can get more level overall. It's actually really difficult to get a lot of low-end and still have the track come up emotionally. So, I want you to notice that especially because it sounds so good on this system. This is the first time I’ve heard that song on this system. There are things that I heard in the studio that I haven't heard in the car or at home, but I heard here — so that's a really really good sign. But notice when we get to the bridge how everything drops and it has this feeling of floating.”

“Imagine you're in space and there is someone with you,” Manny continued. “You let go of their hands and they're floating away, and then you grab them and yank them towards you, and then you let them go, and then you yank them again. To me the letting go is the verse, and the yank is the chorus. Meaning, I need to get your attention. I need you closer to me. That's what we're trying to do mentally. So, for a song like this, the low end is really important because it never disappears. The bass and the drums never disappear, so pay attention to the hook and how we achieve that.”

After playing and vibing to the song again, Manny pulled out the record Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — Music From and Inspired By and dropped the needle on Rihanna’s song “Born Again.” “A key to this song,” Manny said, is Swedish composer “Ludwig Göransson’s amazing orchestration,” which progressively expands the song’s originally slow, ballad feel. The song then culminates into intense strings and melodic vocal delays.

“Then you have all these evil synths,” Manny continued. “It's the last song on the record and it summarizes the record — and it's powerful. This sounds like my studio. And that's a tough song because there's so much happening. Did you hear the sub when it went deeper? It went a whole octave deeper. I was wondering if it was going to react to that — and I felt it and heard it. You could hear all the distortion I had on the synths. On the creative side, I always think of the good and evil. The good is she's an angel. The evil, well, this song is a perfect representation of what that means.”

“I thought it was gonna rattle too, but it didn’t. And I didn’t hear any feedback,” Manny added. “It’s funny because I don't feel like I have to play with the treble and bass — and I'm usually looking for that.”

A Leon Bridges record spins on the next-generation M1 record console during
our listening session.

“I wondered about that,” Scott said. “I came in early and I could tell people had been playing it. What I usually look for is, where are the treble and bass dials? And they were straight up. Nobody is messing with the tone. For me, that's a learning moment.”

“Yeah, that's EQed the right way,” Manny said. “I mean, I'm always trying to reach for that. You're doing something very similar to what we're doing in the studio. When we work on the song, we have no idea how you're going to listen to it.”

Manny Marroquin plays Alicia Keys’ ALICIA album on the Wrensilva
M1 console.

Manny picked up Alicia Keys’ ALICIA album, displaying four portraits against vibrantly colored backdrops, and dropped the needle on the song “Time Machine” and its ethereal intro sounded like space wind pouring through the speakers. “I'm gonna play Alicia Keys' ‘Time Machine,’ just because I love the low end and the dynamics on this record.”

Then the punchy, driving beat came in and the breathy tone of Keys’ voice hovered perfectly above the bouncy groove of dark synth basslines. The song reached high-pitched falsettos as it headed into a chorus with the most catchy part yet — a descending melody where she sings, “No we can’t rewind / Life ain't no time machine / but once you free your mind / there’s beauty in everything,” backed by a funky synth bassline from
the future.

“That's as low-endy as you can get,” Manny said as the song ended. “I remember this song blew one of my speakers in the studio. I've never played it this loud. It’s one of those songs that has a lot of information, too.”

Craftsmanship Meets Studio-Quality Sound 

Wrensilva Co-founder Scott Salyer cranks up the volume of a track during our
listening session.

Manny’s expert input, along with that of our entire Wrensilva Creator Team, is a crucial step in achieving our sound — as heard from the new Wrensilva Record Console Collection. For us, it’s really about celebrating music in its purest form. That means crystal clear imaging combined with deep bass and warm tones that make a song sound the way it was meant to be heard. Wrensilva has always been at the intersection of HiFi sound and design, with the express goal of crafting consoles that deliver a multisensory experience. Manny spoke candidly on that note as our listening session wrapped up.

“We make records so that we can sit in this room,” Manny said, “have a glass of wine, have some Wellar bourbon on a big block of ice that melts really slowly. The lights are dim. It's an experience, and you will remember that moment, maybe not for the rest of your life, but for a very long time. So, you're creating memories with this.”

“How you were describing the aesthetics and the woodgrain,” Manny added in reference to Scott’s description of the woodwork, “when you point that out — it's art. I'm excited to keep playing with it. I can't wait to go to different cities in the world and buy vinyl so I can play it here.”

“I think that art and commerce, when they meet, this is what you get,” Manny said. “And this is something that everyone, everywhere — I don't care who you are. I don't care how old you are — you want to touch it. You want to play something. You want to mess with it.”