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Floorstanding Speakers

The Rebirth of Mirage Loudspeakers?

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.

Mirage M1, M3, M5, M7-si Loudspeakers

If you are old enough to remember Mirage Loudspeakers — 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.

Mirage M-1 Loudspeakers
Mirage M-1 Loudspeakers

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.

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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.

Mirage OM5 Loudspeakers in Cherry
Mirage OM-5 Omnipolar Loudspeakers (Cherry)

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.

39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. Bob Dog

    January 11, 2023 at 5:35 pm

    Loved Mirage. Hope this works.

    • Ian White

      January 11, 2023 at 6:08 pm

      Bob,

      So did I. Really wanted the M-3 or M-1s.

      Ian White

      • HENRY M FRASER

        January 14, 2023 at 9:08 am

        I want mirage

        • Jason RAYMOND

          January 16, 2023 at 12:15 am

          I’m still using my Mirage bookshelf speakers and Harman Kardon amplifier 35 years later and they still sound great.

      • HENRY M FRASER

        January 14, 2023 at 9:12 am

        I need these speakers

    • yogev

      January 12, 2023 at 7:09 pm

      i remember they said about mirage being on the dark side? i didn’t quite got it

      • HENRY M FRASER

        January 14, 2023 at 9:09 am

        I want mirage
        Speakers

  2. Nick

    January 11, 2023 at 7:50 pm

    You forgot API also made Sound Dynamics

    • John Butler

      January 12, 2023 at 2:28 am

      And Energy and Image speakers

      • Ian White

        January 12, 2023 at 1:27 pm

        John,

        Energy were great. Reference 22 are very popular still.

        Best,

        Ian White

        • Ray Krauss

          January 12, 2023 at 1:54 pm

          I’m still listening to my M1s, will never sell them there tough to set up but when you get it right there’s nothing like it👍

          • Ian White

            January 12, 2023 at 1:58 pm

            Ray,

            I agree.

            What are you driving them with?

            Best,

            Ian White

    • Tony C

      January 12, 2023 at 5:28 am

      I still own the mirage omnistat 5.1 set up with the S10 sub. It’s stored away, but it was one of the best sounding speakers I have ever heard .

      • Michael

        January 13, 2023 at 1:03 pm

        I still have my OM-5’s as my main speakers. I believe Andrew Welker at Axiom was the designer. They have a tendency toward burning out the midrange drivers which are no longer available. I ended up replacing my mids with Faital drivers which are a close match. Best of luck to the reborn company!

    • Ian White

      January 12, 2023 at 1:27 pm

      Nick,

      Were the Sound Dynamics models designed by Kevin Voecks?

      Best,

      Ian White

      • Peter

        January 12, 2023 at 10:17 pm

        Ian. No, Sound Dynamics were not Kevin Voecks. They were developed by the original partners in API, lead by George Baker. They were the Cerwin Vega distributors in Canada prior to embarking on Sound Dynamics the original SD with spun-aluminum horn tweeters resembled some CV models. API was also the distributor for EPI speakers which is why Winslow Burhoe was involved in development of the dual hyperdome tweeter for the Energy Pro 22s. API was also building one of Burhoes speaker lines after he left API. Kevin left API part way through design of the M-1 and in fact he was only working part time for them. He was never an owner in API. Ian Paisley finished the M-1 design and continued on as chief engineer, pretty much I think until API was purchased by Klipsch. Also there’s another API brand – Paisley Research. Also dB Plus.

      • Gar Harrington

        January 14, 2023 at 3:36 pm

        No, can’t remember the The designer’s name right now but definitely wasn’t Kevin Voecks

        • Ian White

          January 15, 2023 at 2:37 pm

          Gar,

          Ian Paisley

          Best,

          Ian White

  3. Jon Poletti

    January 12, 2023 at 3:20 am

    I have a pair that I bought back in 1988. They still sound great.

  4. Don McIntosh

    January 12, 2023 at 4:43 am

    I have a pair of much loved original M-1’s available for sale because I no longer have room for them.
    We should not forget Ian Paisley’s contribution to the design of these speakers.

    • Taylor

      January 12, 2023 at 10:51 am

      What are you asking?

    • Ian White

      January 12, 2023 at 1:26 pm

      Don,

      Indeed. Ian took the original M-Series speakers and revised them into the incredible products that they became.

      If the new “Mirage” can create products that sound even better than those speakers — watch out.

      The new management have decades of proven success and my fingers are crossed on this one.

      Best,

      Ian White

    • Tsylor

      January 17, 2023 at 5:52 am

      My email is Btaylor307@gmail.com
      I am interested in buying your M1’s

  5. Herman Thind

    January 12, 2023 at 6:07 am

    I still have a pair of vintage Energys, and a full set of Sound Dynamics surround sound speakers (I think they were called the AC-3 (fronts), and have the matching centre and dipoles surrounds). Had that setup mated to a Velodyne sub.

    These days I mainly listen to a set of Paradigms (for theatre), Axiom M60s in the ‘Rec room/dude cave’, PSB Alpha (office/desk setup), and Monitor Audio Silver 100 7G (living room 2-channel system for music and TV audio). Mostly all Canadian, and love them all!

    • Ian White

      January 12, 2023 at 1:24 pm

      Herman,

      Vintage Energy 22 Reference are currently in Eric Pye’s system and the topic for a future article. I’m trying to find a pair myself.

      Best,

      Ian White

      • Mike Cornell

        January 12, 2023 at 2:09 pm

        Hopefully Eric’s Energy article won’t go the way of his KLH Model 5 article!😀(i.e.never happened)
        The Mirage ‘2001 monoliths’ as well as the Energy Reference 22’s were definitely on my radar back in the day. Excited to hear Mirage is coming back!

        • Ian White

          January 12, 2023 at 2:15 pm

          Mike,

          Eric gets a pass on this one. He does. Extenuating circumstances.

          Best,

          Ian White

          • Mike Cornell

            January 13, 2023 at 2:03 pm

            No worries, Ian (and Eric). Just would have been interesting to hear his perspective being a vintage guy reviewing a modern take on a vintage speaker. But life and priorities take precedence, so I understand.

  6. Meatbag

    January 12, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    I have had countless systems from Sony to JBL to Pioneer, Kenwood and Technics, etc. However, the only set I have ever regret giving away were my beloved *Mirage M760* speakers. Tempted to track down a set again…

  7. Bruce Sarpola

    January 12, 2023 at 5:02 pm

    I repped MAPI products back in the 90s. I still onw a pair of OM-3s. Ia Paisly was good friend and we spent alot of time together.

  8. Meltone

    January 12, 2023 at 11:39 pm

    I’ve had 3 different Mirage systems thru the years … towers, bookshelf, and Omnistats. All were very good at their price points. The towers and 490 bookshef models are still in service at homes of close friends.

    • Taras Zakordonski

      January 24, 2023 at 4:03 am

      Can ya imagine what a mirage subwoofer could be doing in 2023 if it had proper succession? Heck, the bpss 210 still beats most modern subs hands down.

  9. Nic

    January 13, 2023 at 3:22 am

    I own a pair of Mirage 750 speakers from new. Love them. Can’t say enough about them.

  10. Steve V

    January 14, 2023 at 5:49 am

    I am fortunate to have been exposed to music from birth, as my grandfather was a professional musician, and he also recorded and projected home movies. He had a splicer/viewing setup, made titles, and so on. My favorite instrument he played was the upright bass. He had a Sony reel to reel recorder too. My dad had Cerwin Vegas, culminating with a pair of D-9s, and now has a Definitive Technology 7.1 surround system, w/BP 7000s as the Left and Right fronts. I got into the Audio/Video Home Theater business in 1990, but back in the late 70s early 80s I had Cerwin Vega 6x9s and EPI door speakers. What a great car system. I have always been a Klipsch fan, and I am blessed to have a pair of Belles and Cornwalls in my “casual” listening room. 2 pair of SA-3s to fill the yard. While I absolutely love my Belles and Cornwalls, I have achieved an amazing music AND 9.1 movie setup. 3 KLF-30 across the front, Heresy L,R front side surrounds, Bi-Polar KSP-S6 rear side surrounds, and 2 RP-240D rear surrounds. The amp in my RSW-15 died, and while I felt like it was the first sub (that Klipsch made) that dug deep enough AND played loud and fast enough to do my KLF-30s justice, the Definitive Technology Trinity SuperCube that replaced it made me glad the Klipsch sub’s amp went out. As great as the RSW-15 was, the Trinity leaves me wanting for NOTHING. I posted this long post because I’ve heard Mirage Electro-Stats, some great Polk speakers, Energy, Sound Dynamics, and on and on. What a GREAT era to have lived in, and being “in the business” really was fun. After selling and installing so much great equipment for so many people, I am happy to say that I never find myself listening to my Belles, Cornwalls, and especially my 9.1 setup wishing for ANYTHING more. It’s been a LONG time coming, but I am absolutely thrilled with my movie and music listening experiences!

  11. Darrell Chappelle

    January 16, 2023 at 9:50 am

    OMG. Are you kidding me. I was a Maggies guy for years until I heard the Mirage OMD-5’s in piano black. Those things rocked. The possibility of Mirage returning is the exciting most thing I have heard in a long time. I hope the deal comes thru, I will one of many salicating for the first model.

    • Ian White

      January 16, 2023 at 2:37 pm

      Darrell,

      Us too. The new ownership ran Energy, Klipsch, API’s remaining brands for years. He’s probably the one person who can do it correctly.

      They have been very tight-lipped about when the first models will be available but nobody leaves a C-Suite job at Klipsch to relaunch a legacy brand unless there is already a plan.

      We will keep you all informed.

      Best,

      Ian White

  12. Barry Hirtle

    January 17, 2023 at 9:25 pm

    I was so pleased to hear about Mirage coming to life again today. I first heard the Mirage SM-1 in my store showroom in 1980 when the rep Paul MacDonald drove down (to PEI) with a pair and their strange stands which put them at an unusual angle. I was blown away by Kevins design for the money and immediately took on the line. I sold Mirage ever since until their demise at the hands of Klipsch. Practically every model they ever manufactured passed through our doors over that period…I can hardly wait to see what they come out with.

  13. Gralen K Young

    January 21, 2023 at 4:52 am

    I still have my mirage om 10 and energy book shelf speakers. Glad they are back

  14. Lash

    January 30, 2023 at 2:38 am

    My buddy has Mirage and I had Athenas. Great company.

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