When I first started on my HiFi journey, France was lucky to have two great drivers manufacturers AUDAX and SIARE.
Both companies have tremendously smart technical directors like Gilles Millot, Jacques Mahul and Philippe Lesage for AUDAX, but only one is remembered from SIARE: Michel Visan. He stayed there for 22 years until the company folded. He too had a short stint at Audax...
He ended up starting his own business, Davis Acoustics, first designing drivers, inspired by his own creations at Siare, then experimenting with new materials like Kevlar and later Carbon. Then he started his own range of complete speakers, the recent Karla being the accomplishment of a lifetime pursuit of perfection. He died in June at the tender age of 74 after 26 years running his own show, my hat to you, Mr Visan.
Michel helped me design the 17cm driver for my SWS subwoofer, and it is a tribute to him that they were so well built that I am still enjoying them everyday.
I had met Michel again at the Show over the last two years ad I congratulated him on his Karla system (see my report on the 2010 show). I did note at the time that Mr Visan (I never had the guts to call him Michel: as we say in French, we didn't shepherd the sheep together, so first name and "tu" were not appropriate...)was still happy to run the show with the help of his wife and two sons.
There are plenty tributes to his genius and kind manners on the Net (mostly in french, so this will make sure there is one in English...). He has helped countless small companies to design new speakers although I am sure he knew who had a chance to become a big client and who would be more a confidential name.
He was always ready to help with a new prototype or listen to you brainstorming aloud.
Up until the end he was still innovating and creating new products whether in the drivers department or in complete speakers. See below some of his best creations.
Rest in peace, Mr Visan and long life to Davis Acoustics.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.