Mirage Loudspeakers are coming back. The storied Canadian brand has been reborn and we’re really excited to see if the M-1 is returning.
If you are old enough to remember Mirage Loudspeakers (or follow ’80s vintage hi-fi) — this might prove to be very exciting news. Over the weekend, we were alerted by industry insiders that Premium Audio Company (PAC) COO, Oscar Bernardo, was leaving the company to relaunch Mirage.
Do you remember the storied Canadian brand that was eventually acquired by Audio Products International?
Bose tried to acquire Mirage prior to the API purchase but it never came to fruition.
Mirage was started back in 1979 by Jeff Percy, Jeff Soltysek, and Patrick Dempster. What a lot of audiophiles probably don’t know is that famed loudspeaker designer, Kevin Voecks (Revel, Snell Acoustics), created the original Mirage loudspeaker designs.
The first few years for Mirage were focused on rather high quality, but affordable two-way loudspeakers that did relatively well in the marketplace.
Voecks, who owned another loudspeaker company in the United States, sold that business and moved to Toronto to become the lead designer at Mirage.
The aforementioned Bose acquisition fell through when the Toronto group realized that it would mean that the company would be relocated to Massachusetts and there wasn’t a lot of support for that internally.
The brand was fortunate to secure private financing to expand its manufacturing capabilities and develop a proper dealer network in the United States; something that became a problem when demand outstripped their ability to create product fast enough after a series of very positive reviews in the high-end press.
Too much success has killed more than a few high-end brands which lacked the ability to scale up their operations.
The Mirage M-1 Loudspeakers were the pinnacle of their design philosophy and a huge success.
API were assembling Mirage’s loudspeakers so the acquisition made logistical sense when it finally occurred.
The Klipsch Group purchased API, but Mirage never really found its legs again and the brand died a rather unceremonious death; unless being sold in empty Magnolia showrooms counts as market presence.
The rebirth of Mirage could be a very good thing if the new products live up to the pedigree of the M-1 and smaller models in the series.
Before joining the organization in 2006, Bernardo served in executive and management positions focused on operations at Audio Products International (maker of the Mirage, Energy and Athena speaker brands), Fineline Circuits Limited and Campeau Corporation. He also holds an HBA and MBA from the University of Western Ontario.
In his new endeavor, Oscar is going back to his roots by pursuing his unyielding passion for Canadian audio. He has purchased the iconic Mirage speaker brand with plans to restore its status as the innovator in setting new standards in speaker design and performance.
The Mirage legacy began in Canada in 1977 when a small group of devout audiophiles made it their mission to develop a speaker that could deliver a soundstage so natural, audiences would forget they were listening to a product, rather than a live event. The Mirage name is synonymous with immersive, 360º sound experiences.
While traditional speakers focus on direct sound dispersion, Mirage Omnipolar products capture the impact of reflective sound. “Oscar is a dedicated, respected, and trusted leader that has made significant contributions to the success of our company,” said Paul Jacobs, president and CEO of Premium Audio Company.
“He has been integral in carrying out the company’s vision and developing new ways to create, distribute, and sell the most exciting high-performance audio entertainment products around the world. I am confident he will rebuild the Mirage speaker brand to the greatness it deserves,” Jacobs continued.
We look forward to seeing what Oscar Bernardo can achieve with Mirage based on his track record over the past 35 years in the high-end loudspeaker category.