This sad looking early CD Manhattan jukebox came to us needing a great deal of care and attention. We could tell from the serial number that the jukebox originally left our factory in 1996 making it 25 years old at the point it was returned to us. It was fitted with an early Series 4 rotary CD mechanism which was still in place. As the images below show, there were lots of areas that needed attention, so our team got to work planning how to restore it to its former glory.


The jukebox had spent 20+ years in various pubs and public bars before being put into storage for a number of years. When we opened it up, the cabinet was full of random objects including some parts of the internal mechanism that had fallen off over time.

The jukebox cabinet had some pretty serious exterior damage which is to be expected after two decades use in bars and pubs, but was still strong and otherwise remained in great shape. Sound Leisure are the only company in the world still making one piece jukebox cabinets and have always done this with our Classic Jukeboxes. When we get an old machine like this back and you see how well the cabinets have retained their shape and strength over many years it does reinforce the ongoing commitment to retaining this feature of our jukeboxes. There were a multitude of scratches, chips and war wounds on the exterior of the cabinet and it was very dusty and grimy. The dents in the cabinet dome and front hoop are made by thousands of hands, rings, watches and pieces of jewellery hitting the jukebox over countless years as customers make their selections, each leaving their imprint.

As we often find with older jukeboxes that were used in pubs before the smoking ban came into effect in 2007, the top and bottom bubble tube pilasters were nicotine stained and filthy having never been cleaned during their years in service.

The jukebox powered up but the mechanism wouldn’t run and there were some pretty obvious areas on it that needed attention. The interior lighting was also ineffective with a number of bulbs and tubes missing or not working, but all the bubble tubes popped into life and proved to work well during test.



The start point with any restoration project is to fully assess what is salvageable, what can be repaired and restored and what would need to be replaced. We also think its important take into consideration what treatment will give the jukebox the greatest possibility of extending its life and giving enjoyment to a future generation of owners.

Although the original Series4 CD mechanism needed some work, it was in relatively good condition considering its age and we had no reservations regarding our ability to restore it to full working order. However, the R&R team had their own ideas, and wanted to use this specific cabinet to attempt a full update to the latest specification S3 Unity jukebox control system and CD mechanism, something we’d never previously attempted at this point in time.

We still stock a full range of spare parts and components for the Series4 CD Mechanism, so it was agreed the original mechanism would be repaired and serviced to allow it to be re-used as a drop-in replacement on a future R&R project, while this jukebox would be updated with a new S3U tech platform and mechanism. In traditional Sound Leisure style, nothing would be wasted.

The team therefore started work to establish what modifications would be required to allow the installation of the S3U tech. At this point the S3U product development team were brought in to advise how best to apply the modifications and retain as much as possible of the original cabinet. It was agreed the update to S3U CD ‘should be’ relatively straight forward.


Cabinet work

To see what we really had to work with, the cabinet was first given a thorough clean, then was stripped of all its fittings and components. The front door was separated so it could also be cleaned and restored separately.

Our skilled restoration team relish a challenge and they were certainly given one here! They were however confident they could bring the dusty woodwork back to life. When cleaned, it became apparent the cabinet had developed a beautiful rich colour during its life, which is common with our old lacquered cabinets and this was something we really wanted to retain and enhance so the jukebox cabinet was able to tell its story. The worst of the cabinet chips were filled and prepared and the cabinet was then  sympathetically re-stained and re-lacquered to enhance the beautiful colour and aged character.

As you can see our restoration team did a fantastic job on the cabinet, it really did glow when completed. The front door was restored to a similarly high standard. With the overall cabinet looking great, the jukebox was fitted with new chrome adornments and the front door was refitted and trimmed in the same way it would have been when originally made to ensure a perfect fit.


The upgrade of the CD mechanism and control system required changes to the internal cabinet layout, including a new inner mechanism shelf and new equipment shelf for the various 3S Unity PCB’s. The product development team handled this side of the project and assisted with the development of the new components. Once the redesigned cabinet interior was in place, the cabinet went back to the spray shop so the new wooden components could be stained and finished to match the original cabinet.

The new S3 Unity cabling for the cabinet was then installed and the control PCB’s put in place. To ensure the restored jukebox sounded as good as it looked, a new SL-D4 Digital amplifier was also installed and the speakers connected, bringing this 30 year old machine bang up to date and sounding great again.

Sound Leisure’s S3 Unity control system is a universal control solution for any of our jukebox current mechanism options. Once the PCB’s and harnesses are installed, any of our mechanisms could be dropped into the jukebox and would work perfectly. Dedicated control systems and cabling which only work for a single mechanism or platform are now an inefficient and wasteful way of developing technologies. The S3U system also adds a host of new features, so Add-Ons such as the Diamond pack LED lighting option and Bluetooth connection kit were added, giving this old workhorse a feature packed and thoroughly modern repertoire.

With the internals in place, tested and working, the final build up was completed by the team. The bubble tubes were cleaned and refitted and new diffusers and plastic covers were fitted. The original chrome adornments were cleaned up and re-polished and looked as good as new when fitted.

With a few final touches and a great deal of labour and love, this 25 year old Sound Leisure Manhattan jukebox was ready to be unveiled and put on the market. As you can see on the quick video we shot below, it looked simply fantastic and was immediately snapped up by a new owner, ready to continue its story for another generation.

Sound Leisure refines and refreshes the legendary designs of the 1940s and 50s to create jukeboxes of uncompromising quality that are contemporary, full of soul and the real deal. It also offers the only bespoke jukebox build service in the world via its Custom Shop service, producing one off and low volume custom jukeboxes based on our extensive range of cabinets and models.

See our other restorations

RESTORATION: 1990’s CD Manhattan jukebox
RESTORATION: 1996 CD Gazelle jukebox


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