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Gryphon Audio Designs was founded in 1985 as an offshoot of 2R Marketing, The first product, the now legendary Gryphon Head Amp, grew from a one-off spare time project developed only for the designers’ own home systems. At the 1986 Chicago Consumer Electronics Show, a respected Japanese distributor expressed interest in the product. Soon after, the Head Amp was voted “Best Buy” by the Japanese audio press. Although the Gryphon project was initially strictly a hobby, not an actively pursued commercial venture, demand generated by reviews and word-of-mouth acclaim led to the formal establishment of Gryphon Audio Designs as a separate corporate entity.

Following the immediate success of the Gryphon brand, all import business was phased out in 1993, so that Rasmussen could dedicate his efforts entirely to Gryphon.