Jukebox Buyer's Guide

Posted by Abi 05 NOVEMBER 2013
cool stuff

Here at Home Leisure Direct we’ve been working hard on filming Buyer’s Guides to advise you on the right games rooms products for you and your family in time for the Christmas season.

Our new Jukebox Buyer’s Guide takes you through the variety of jukeboxes available to you, from brand new CD, iPod, Bluetooth or Digital models, to the beautiful vintage machines of the silver age. This includes models from such famous brands as Wurlitzer, Rock-Ola, AMI and Seeburg, along with such new companies as Sound Leisure, who are a leading manufacturer in new, high grade jukeboxes in original designs, such as the famous Wurlitzer 1015 from the late 1940s. 

Transcription as follows:

Hi there, I'm Andy. Welcome to our Jukebox Buyer's Guide. With quite a
lot of choices available to you and a fairly sizey investment. It can be a
pretty bewildering task to try to pick the right jukebox for you. So in
this video I'm going to take you through, first of all the choices if you
wanted to get yourselves a brand new jukebox and these kind would be with
CD and potentially with an iPod dock if you wanted to specify that as well.
Or we might decide to go for one of the more recent models which is
completely digital and these can hold up to 13,000 CDs on the one machine.
Or you might prefer to go for a vintage model such as this beautiful
Wurlitzer you can see here. And we'll take you through the different
brands that are available to you, so Wurlitzer, Rock-Ola, Ami, or Seeburg.
So stick with us and I hope you find this useful.

Okay, so let's start off with the brand new jukeboxes and look at the most
popular design which is the dome top. This is based on the Wurlitzer 1015
from the late '40s which is referred to as the golden age of jukeboxes.
These jukeboxes play 78 rpm vinyl records. Coming back to the present day,
this is a Sound Leisure 1015 which is made in solid oak. It has the
fantastic chrome, colored lighting, and of course the bubble tubes. This
jukebox is beautifully finished with iPod dock, motorized title cards and
this chrome grille centerpiece. It holds 80 CDs and uses a commercial
grade Philips CD player for high quality reproduction and top notch

The 1015 is supplied with the software to print the title cards along with
the cards themselves. It's that easy to set up and have everything looking
professional. It also comes with this remote control so you don't even
have to get up from your sofa. You can specify the optional iPod dock
which fits the iPhone 4S and older models or iPods. If you've moved on to
an iPhone 5 or later or use an Android phone we can fit a Bluetooth kit so
you can use the jukebox to play all your music completely wirelessly.
Looking at the back you've got outputs for mic, video, and auxiliary. And
inside you can connect up extra speakers to these sockets on the amplifier.
Inside the front door is the CD controller and massive five way speaker
system. Inside the door you can see the bubble system bubbling away. This
model is fitted with the optional diamond pattern lighting system so you
can pick the lightshow you want.

Okay so moving on, we're also an official distributor for Rock-Ola. This
model is called the Bubbler and uses the same dome top 1015 style design.
Rock-Ola has been in the jukebox business since 1927. They're manufactured
in the United States and imported into the UK. The Rock-Ola Bubbler
employs the same great chrome work and colorful bubble tubes which are so
popular with today's jukebox buyers. The Bubbler comes in one of two
types. Either a 100 disc CD version or this music centered digital
version. It has a one terabyte hard drive which holds and incredible
13,000 CDs. They come in a range of wood finishes or high gloss black or
white paint. The slim line design means it won't take up too much space or
stand out too far from the wall. Sound quality is amazing with
amplification coming from a 1600 watt amplifier. It's simple to load your
music onto, either by putting your CDs into the player in the middle or
connected your hard drive to transfer your digital connection. It also
comes with either an iPod dock or Bluetooth connection included.

Our last design to look at in new jukeboxes is the Rocket 88 from Sound
Leisure. This is based on a Rock-Ola design from the silver age of
jukeboxes which is the second half of the 1950s. Employing plenty of glass
and chrome, this jukebox uses the same CD carousel we looked at earlier in
the 1015 to hold 80 CDs. It also has a motorized title card display to
find the tune you want or you can use the remote control from the comfort
of your armchair. It can also be fitted with iPod dock or a Bluetooth
connection if you prefer. Around the back you have mic input and audio
output and inside you have the fantastic 300 watt amp with additional
speaker outputs, should you need.

Okay, so let's go back in time to the silver age of jukeboxes in the mid to
late '50s where they all play 45 rpm records. These beautiful designs in
glass and chrome take their inspiration from the ultimate build design of
the day. I'll just run you through a few examples.

This is the Ami K which was made in 1959. This is the 120 version which
plays 120 tracks from 60 records. Which are held in this rotating basket
inside the machine.

The Rock-ola 1468 tempo 1 was also made in 1959 and it also plays 120
selections from 60 records.

The awesome Wurlitzer 1900 centennial was made in 1956 to celebrate
Wurlitzer's 100th year. This plays 104 selections from 52 records which
are held in the visible carousel which rotates before playing your choice
of record.

Our final example is this Wurlitzer 2300S which was made in 1959 and was
Wurlitzer's first stereo jukebox. This model is the top of the line
version which plays 200 selections.

Okay, so let's run through a summary with a few pros and cons. First of
all, let's look at brand new jukeboxes. Okay, so the pros are that they
hold far more music; either 80 or 100 CDs or up to 13,000 CDs if you go for
a digital model. Secondly, because they're brand new they're box fresh and
in mint condition with no signs of age or wear. And thirdly, they're much
more reliable. In fact, they rarely ever go wrong. They're designed for
commercial use where they get played all day every day.

So then, the cons. Well they're not the true classic jukebox and you can't
play your vinyl collection on them so it's digital disks or downloads only.
But that's really it. New jukeboxes look fantastic and sound incredible
so there's very little against them.

Okay, so now looking at the classic vintage jukeboxes. We concentrate on
the late '50s models due to them playing 45's and having these amazing
designs. If you go earlier you'll find that they only play 78's and have
very few selections. If you go for later models the mechanism is hidden
away and the designs are a bit boxy and boring. So we say, stick to the
late '50s.

So firstly the pros. You get that real jukebox sound. This comes from
vinyl played with a stylus from an old style valve amplifier. It has a
classic warmth to it, although it does lack the clarity and frequency of
range you've been used to from modern music. Secondly, if you buy right
certainly the '50s models will hold or appreciate in value. And finally I
certainly find them endearing. These are pieces of history that most
probably started life over in the States in a bar or a diner. Just imagine
what it's been through before being sat in your house.

And finally the cons. The serious issue is reliability. These are 50 to
60 years old so they're tired and worn and have been repaired and re-
repaired over time. So be prepared for problems. Parts can usually be
found but you'll need to be patient as they can often only be found in
either Germany or the United States. Secondly, they are most probably
battle scars. I think its part of the allure but you must be prepared for
dings, scratches rust, and maybe the odd funny smell or two. And lastly,
it's tough to find good ones. Fully restored models are going for
seriously big money. Recent restorations or original condition pieces are
reasonable but can be really hard to find. Cheap rubbish often available
on places like eBay but if you're not careful you'll buy yourself some real
trouble and may find it hard to sell it on again. So best beware of what
you might be getting yourself into.

Okay, so I hope you've enjoyed our buyer's guide to jukeboxes. If you'd
like to come down to our showroom in Bristol we've always got some on
display here. We've got some '50s vintage machines like this beautiful
Rock-Ola that you see here as well as the brand new machines as well. So
come on down and we can take you through all the key features on there,
make sure you choose the right one. Alternatively, you can always give us
a call and we can talk you through all the options available to you or drop
us an email with your requirements, we'd be happy to help.

That's it from us. Thanks for watching.


Written By: Abi Ponton

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