Sound Leisure Factory Tour

Posted by Andy 24 JULY 2014
cool stuff

We’ve worked with Sound Leisure ever since Home Leisure Direct first started trading back in 2008, and have been one of their official retail partners ever since. Following many invitations from Chris Black (MD) and Colin Vernon (Division Head for Classic Jukeboxes) to pay them a visit and take a tour of their facilities I finally made the journey north to their factory and offices in Leeds.

The Sound Leisure range of classic jukeboxes have always been a firm favourite with both our sales team and customers alike. The build quality, appearance and sound quality are fantastic. But you never really appreciate what goes in to building such an iconic product from scratch, until you see it being done before your eyes.

Our short video gives you a flavour of the production process, along with the great care and skill that goes into producing each of the hundreds of components that goes into each and every one.

Sound Leisure employs over 100 staff in their factory, which is over 80,000 sq.ft. in size. The company was started by Alan Black, Chris’s father, back in 1978. Always a skilled technician and inventor Alan built the company from it’s first location which was only 2,000 sq.ft. into what it is today.

The range of skills and depth of expertise can only be appreciated when you look at each of the pieces that makes a jukebox. Everything has been designed and built by Sound Leisure, apart from the CD head for example, which is a commercial grade unit made by Philips. The electronics are designed and produced by Sound Leisure, you can see the “SLE” markings on the printed circuit boards in the video. I had assumed that these parts would be outsourced, but that’s not the case when you’re building something as specialised as a classic jukebox.

It’s not just the electronics that call for this type of expertise, the woodworking is something that the company takes great pride in. Employing craftsmen that have been with the company for not just years but decades to hand make all the cabinets ensures that the finish is exemplary. The dome top cabinets are made from a single piece construction, employing the methods used by the manufacturers from over half a century ago. They are now the only jukebox maker in the world still employing these methods.

All the chrome work is made in solid metal from Sound Leisure’s own casts. Each piece is meticulously prepared by the craftsmen in the metal shop, to ensure it’s perfectly finished and has the authentic shine and feel you expect from such a thing of beauty.


The bubble tubes are thoroughly tested to ensure they bubble reliably before being fitted to the cabinet, along with all the other electronics. Once finished they are then moved into the testing room where they are put through their paces to ensure they function correctly and also thoroughly inspected for any cosmetic imperfections which may have not previously been spotted.

The atmosphere in the factory was terrific - positive, enthusiastic and upbeat. The craftsmen love what they do, that’s why the majority of them have been with the company for decades. The guys were great to talk to and keen to explain what they do and how they do it so well. The sense of pride was tangible from everyone I met. They really enjoy what they do and what they are part of. That love is evident in what they produce. No wonder their jukeboxes are so great and why they become so loved by anyone lucky enough to own one.


Before I left I was lucky to meet Alan Black himself. He is Chris's father, he started company back in 1978. I was blown away by his enthusiasm. He was so keen to show me all the new components, equipment and products he has in the pipeline. There were a few I was sworn to secrecy on, so I can’t divulge those for now. But he did share with me two fantastic pieces - a bar top CD jukebox and a desk top jukebox which runs it’s music from a memory stick, you can see the prototypes in our video. He clearly loves what he does and the team he has around him. I can’t see him retiring for a good few years.

If you are interested in owning a Sound Leisure jukebox then please either give one of our experts a call on 0800 622 6464 or pop down to our showrooms where we can demonstrate all the features for you and help you make your choice.


  Written By: Andy Beresford

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