"There has to be something better.”
These were the words of Mike Viglas in 1979, sending him on a path to partnership with engineer David Reich and the founding of Classé Audio. Mike knew what it was to work hard and build things. A Greek immigrant, Mike arrived in Montréal, Canada as a young man with little money but plenty of energy and determination. He was welcomed by French-Canada and embraced it in return. Opportunities arose wherever Mike made them and year after year he built on his successes. Winters in Florida and summers in Canada, Mike was comfortable, living the good life.
Mike was passionate about many things, especially music. His hi fi system was truly high-end and he loved showing it off at parties. While no one could believe that a stereo could cost so much, everyone agreed it sounded amazing. Then the inevitable happened. BOOM! Lights flickered, silence, a strange odor permeated the room and particles, formerly contained within his beloved vacuum-tubed amplifier descended. As the guests pulled capacitor wadding from their hair, Mike, embarrassed, vowed that it would not happen again. There had to be a better way.
The problem is common even today. How to get both performance and reliability from high-end electronics? This was top of mind when Mike met David Reich, a talented young engineer building his own solid-state amplifiers. Mike was instantly taken with the sound of David’s amp and together they set out to realize that vow. Classé was founded.
Their first amplifier, the DR-2, was introduced in 1980. It was a 25W stereo amplifier operating in class A, which inspired the name of the new company. Other models followed and Classé quickly earned a reputation for both reliability and its open, natural, authoritative sound.
Forty years on, Classé remains at the forefront of audio. The iconoclastic and talented Classé Design team in Montréal now has a global reach, being larger and more diverse than ever. Precision manufacturing at the legendary Shirakawa Audio Works in Northern Japan allows today’s Classé to deliver on the performance and reliability always demanded by Mike Viglas. We think he would be proud of what we have achieved.
Brand Director – Classé