The Prototype

Contrary to what one might expect, the Vox Discotheque unit was actually a thing initially of 1967 not the 1970s.

Below, photos from a set of taken for JMI before 31st August, 1967, and probably before the Russell Hotel Trade Fair, 20th-24th August - the original Vox disco unit, two turntables only and a microphone. The modified Vox Continental organ stand had brackets on which the lid of the unit could be set.

Below, a shot of one the JMI display rooms at the "British Musical Instrument Industries" Trade Fair, held at the Russell Hotel, London, 20th-24th August, 1967. The Discotheque unit is centre left. On the back wall, the psychedelic lights that are in the background of several shots of Dick Denney demonstrating various new guitars at the show.

The chassis and Z-legs of the Discotheque unit are those of a Vox organ. For other items in the picture below, .

A detail, the disco unit side on.

Denney with the Escort Special, the lights behind him.

"Beat Instrumental" magazine, October 1967. Part of Gary Hurst's review of the Trade Fair, mentioning the lights.

The prototype discotheque unit was later advertised in "Melody Maker" magazine and sold, along with the lights.

"Melody Maker" magazine, 20th July 1968. The Vox Works were in Erith.

Production - "Vox Sound Limited" (1970-1973)

With disco all the rage, "Vox Sound Limited" resuscitated the idea, which had been mothballed by JMI and VSEL, for a twin record deck console. The decks were made by Garrard (Garrard SP25s), a company well-respected in field of turntables.

Cassette players were either "Fantavox" (its budget audio components normally sold through Lasky's) or Sony.

Below, the first major advert for the Discotheque / Discotape, published in "Beat Instrumental" magazine, 3rd August, 1971:

"Beat Instrumental" magazine, 3rd August 1971.

Vox Discotape, music press, 12th February 1972

12th February, 1972.

Vox Discotape, music press, 12th February 1972

12th February, 1972.

Vox Discotape, music press, 12th February 1972

12th February, 1972. A new version of "Suddenly you're a top DJ..."

Vox Catalogue, 1972. The photo was taken in the "Hi-fi Club", Hastings.

Page from within the catalogue.

The specifications

Some units that survive

A video of Vox Discotape serial number 036 in action, thanks to Malc. If it does not play, click on the link in the video :

Thanks to Malc, pictures of Discotape serial number 036. Pics four and five show the power section of the unit during the course of restoration. The 2N5294 transistors have the date code "7106" = 6th week of 1971.

A VSL Discotape unit (owned by Martin Kelly).

Pictures of a Vox Discotape in red vinyl, probably from c. 1972, complete with its lid can be found .

Later 1970s and on

When Vox folded in 1973, its stock was sold off. The "Roxburgh Sound Company", also known as "Roxburgh Electronics", bought up some, if not all, of the unfinished Discotheque/Discotape units.

Above, an advert for reconditioned Vox disco units, "Beat Instrumental" magazine, December 1973.

An advert was also placed in "Melody Maker" magazine, 14th July, 1973.

The link between Roxburgh and Vox was in fact George Stow, former managing director of the latter - . Below, a notice in "Beat Instrumental" magazine, September 1973. A good deal of surplus Vox equipment went with Stow to Roxburgh. August was evidently the grand opening, the page in "BI" evidently purely promotional. But the company did not last long. By March/April 1975 Stow was working for Reslo, with which he had done business since the late 1960s.

"Beat Instrumental" magazine, September, 1973.

Some of the old stock was finished off in peculiar ways in Winchelsea, Hastings and elsewhere, which has often led to the cry "prototype!" whenever it turns up. Unfortunately not. Just late VSL bits and pieces turned into a saleable form.