Rounding a corner in Antigua, Guatemala, while on a sightseeing trip in Central America, I caught my first glance of a Todo Audio y Más production – stage and truss in the final stages of assembly with line arrays flown from both sides in front of the ruins of a 17th century cathedral.
Drawn to all things audio, I walked across the courtyard to see what was happening.
After getting by for the previous two weeks of my trip with my modest Spanish, I was pleased to be greeted in English by Gonzalo Moran Jr., a company co-owner who was filling the roles of production manager and front-of-house engineer for the show.
We were able to spend parts of the next two days together, culminating in an excellent performance in a beautiful setting as the first Antigua show of the country-wide Festival Internacional Jazz.
For the past 12 years, spanning the month of March, a series of jazz performances have been held in a variety of venues throughout Guatemala. The musicians come from a variety of countries, with this year’s acts from Spain, Mexico, France, Guatemala, Italy, France, Switzerland, and the USA.
Free to the public, the concerts are sponsored by corporate and cultural organizations as well as the embassies of the artists’ home countries.
The bulk of the performances are presented in Guatemala City and the cultural center of Antigua, with a handful in Quetzaltenango and Coban. Todo Audio y Más was commissioned for the six Antigua shows, plus one at the Guatemalan-American Institute in Guatemala City; the main festival venue in Guatemala City has an already installed system.
The production in the midst of the ruins of an old cathedral in Antigua. (click to enlarge)
Todo Audio founder Gonzalo Moran Sr. spent a decade beginning in the early 1970s playing bass with various bands in the San Francisco area. When the last band broke up, he returned to his home country, accompanied by some audio equipment and the ambition to continue pursuing music. Fairly soon, local musicians in the capital of Guatemala City discovered that he had the best equipment in the region, and began contracting his services.
During the early days of the company, called Amplifica, Moran Jr. joined the world, noting, “I was practically born inside of a speaker enclosure.” Growing up in the business, and participating in concert productions as a childhood activity, he was schooled to eventually lead the company into the 21st century.
In the beginning, Amplifica used Altec Lansing full-range “Voice of the Theatre” enclosures and Gauss woofers for low-frequency support. The company also built its own triamped loudspeakers loaded with Electro-Voice, JBL, and Cerwin-Vega components.
Gonzalo Moran Junior and Senior working together at the festival. (click to enlarge)
In the late 1980s, Moran Sr. invested in an inventory of Community Professional RS-880 3-way cabinets, using them and Cerwin-Vega-loaded subwoofers to support regional tours for at least 20 international artists annually for a decade, including Ricky Martin, Shakira, Selena, Vanilla Ice, Mana, Los Tigres Del Norte, and more.
As the turn of the millennium approached, competitors sprouted up throughout Central America and began to offer full production services in addition to sound reinforcement.
Responding to this competition, and with Moran Jr. beginning to come into his own, Amplifica broadened its scope to include other services – staging, lighting, video, ground support, and backline equipment, with the company name changed to Todo Audio y Más (All Audio And More) to reflect its new status.