Launching a new trade show is complicated and risky, and it poses special challenges when the target audience speaks predominantly Spanish and Portuguese. But when more than 2,000 participants from 28 countries showed up at the Miami Convention Center on the first day of ExpoLatina '99, it was clear that the organizers had done their homework-and that the gamble had paid off.
From May 5 to 7, ExpoLatina attendees were able to visit more than 200 exhibitor booths, which covered a range of professional audio, lighting, broadcast and special effects products. Pro audio exhibitors included Apogee Sound, Crest Audio, D.A.S., EAW, Euphonix, Gemini, Hermes Music and Meyer Sound, to name just a few. For the three days, the mood on the floor was expectant and, for the most part, positive. By the convention's end, many exhibitors felt that ExpoLatina had made its mark and that, with fine-tuning, it would become an invaluable show to attend.
Off the floor, several conferences and seminars were in progress. High-profile presentations by companies including Apogee Sound, D.A.S., Digidesign, JBL Professional and Meyer Sound gave visitors a chance to learn about computer control, acoustic enclosure design, selecting DAWs, club system design, as well as polarity and phase in sound reinforcement systems.
Three audio seminars sponsored by Mix-Edicion en Espanol were particularly well-attended. The first day featured a microphone symposium moderated by Estudio 19's Francisco Miranda of Mexico City, assisted by engineer Mintel Alonso. Miranda's panelists included Angel Gonzalez of Sennheiser/Neumann in Mexico; engineer/synthesist Jaime Lagueruela of Miami, Fla.; and mastering engineer Bob Katz of Digital Domain in Orlando, Fla. This presentation covered everything from microphone basics and techniques-including descriptive sonic examples of classic microphones-to a look at some unorthodox techniques using vacuum cleaner hoses and toy cassette recorders, to a "guess-how-many-microphones?" discussion of Katz's recording of a Paquito D'Rivera song.
On the second day of seminars, Audiograph International's Jose "Chilitos" Valenzuela presented "To Use DSP or Not...And How Much?" a hands-on seminar on the art of using DSP. On the last day, studio designer Horacio Malvicino illustrated the step-by-step process of building a world-class recording studio, from bare bones to finish. Another special presentation was given by Julio Rivarola of Mexico on the enormous job of installing and running a sound system for the Pope's recent visit to Mexico City.
One of the highlights of the show proved to be the Music Producers Forum presented by LARAS, the Latin division of NARAS. Hosted by its executive director Sergio Rozenblat and moderated by Valenzuela, the panel included luminaries Emilio Estefan Jr., Rudy Perez and Bebu Silvetti discussing their working methods and studio techniques. Punctuated by much laughter, the forum gave a packed room a glimpse behind the scenes of the creative forces behind the hit records.
But what truly made this show different was the language spoken. Whether one was walking along the aisles, or sipping coffee with a colleague in the cafe on the floor, almost all conversations one overheard were in Spanish. This may not have seemed surprising to those living in Miami, but in an industry dominated by the English language, ExpoLatina offered new possibilities and could signal a momentum that will carry into the next decade. Be there for the next Expo from May 23 to 25, 2000, in Miami, Fla., and see for yourself.
For more information, contact ExpoLatina 2000, 5680 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Suite 100, Englewood, CO 80111; fax 720/489-3103; www.etecnyc.net/el.html.