Sunday, February 19, 2012

Seeburg 1000 Restoration Complete!

Record changers are fascinating mechanisms from the recent past. Older folks take them for granted.
Audiophiles, enamored with vinyl, disdain changers. Noisy, common, abusive to records.

That's a shame. From a younger person's perspective, they are graceful and robotic. They are a pleasure to watch. It's like contemplating a lawn sprinkler, relaxing and strangely entertaining. And with the Seeburg,  you'll hear retro background tracks, music not intended to be heard above the department store din.

These selections, however, was laboriously written and recorded, one piece at a time, by real, work-a-day musicians. There's excellence in the execution of these pieces. The recordings are solid and consistent. And, there's lots of improvised solos and seemingly, entirely improvised pieces.  Some of the solos are pretty wild, especially for what is supposed to be background music. Listen to the final number in the demo video below.

I am fascinated by devices such as this Seeburg 1000 changer. Not intented for general use or consumption by the public. Intended to be hidden in a closet at the back of the store. Built like a tank, to work all day long, every day, for years.  The machine has many patents, all of them searchable on google patents.

For the uninitiated, here's the basic introduction....

The Seeburg 1000 Background Music System is a phonograph designed and built by the Seeburg Corporation to play background music from special 16 2/3 RPM vinyl records in offices, restaurants, retail businesses, factories and similar locations. It provided a service similar to that of Muzak.  A full load of records, played all the way through, yields a about a 1000 selections, hence the name. 

This restoration was from a unit that was water damaged. The "compact" case that these turntables were built into are unattractive and have an awkwardly functioning door.  This one's cabinet was quite rusted, and so I constructed a base to better appreciate the mechanism.  The unit was also available in an metal, chrome and glass cabinet, about the size of a large microwave oven. While certainly attractive, these cabinets take up a huge footprint, and again limit the appreciation of the Seeburg 1000's form and function.

I don't remember how I stumbled across these unusual players from the 60's. But I happened across this decrepit example of a Seeburg 1000 BMC player on ebay, and the seller lived in Austin. We got together at the Vintage Radio Society Convention and Auction last November, and he sold this to me in its original form for about $100.
-by Pete Verrando

Please visit my website

1 comment:

  1. hello and thanks you so much for your last reply one last (hopefully) last question do you happen to know how many watts the light output provides? my light and wires for same were missing when I got this unit I want to put an original light if I can find one but can just as easily add led's I do not have a voltage tester or I'd just simply do the test I was hoping that you'd have some idea btw I FINALLY got my bms 2 up and running my amp was bad but low an behold! the chinese cheapy amps fit the space above the power supply/amp damn near perfectly and sound just great so the amp 15 bucks delivered and a phono pre amp (used for 10 bucks delivered) and I'm listening to it right now! not the "best most desirable set up as everyone wants a stone original unit but hey those power supply /amps don't come around often enough for me so in the intrim? I have a great sounding unit for less than a 5th the cost of one of the amp/supply beasts (I saw one bid to 200 bucks!! wow way too righ for my blood

    thank you for advising me on that whole deal about cutting in a new amp while I'm not as skilled as you may be I certainly got great results the amp I got that fits near perfectly (tiny play left and right quarter inch total!! the amp has the name of "kinter" and it's a 10 watt unit plenty of power and the unit sound super clean! hope that info can be passed along let me know on the light socket voltage if you can

    Kenny ..