Automatic record stackers – not as bad as you remember?

Automatic record stackers – not as bad as you remember?

Once upon a time, every household had a turntable equipped with an automatic record changer (also known as a record stacker). Some folks say these were the original record destroyers. But were they? In this video, I’ll show you my parents original 1970s console stereo system, which comes with a record stacker. I’ll discuss the pros and cons, and show you how the automatic record changer works.

#vinyl #records #stacker

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50 Comments

  1. Mike Riley on October 18, 2021 at 9:07 am

    My folks had a Grundig stereo console which had the stacker. Mostly C&W (which I loathed back then) with a bit of Burt Bacharach. Wish we still had it but we traveled too much and was lost amongst the many moves.

  2. E L on October 18, 2021 at 9:09 am

    Parents sitting on that Gambler album!!!!

  3. Misteur Cassette on October 18, 2021 at 9:10 am

    ten years ago ,one of my teacher gave me his records collection from the 70’s and early 80’s …he didn’t told me on which turntable he played those records back in the day , but i’m sure it was a automatic changer , like a BSR with the plastic platter , because some records had some thick greyish lines on the groove surface , probably the ”first record dropping” effect on the plastic platter

    But for the albums that were issued with ”automatic sequencing” , i can name ”Deep Purple -Made in japan ” , ”The Beach Boys – Endless Summer” …or here in Quebec , the band ”Offenach” released their 1974 album ”Tabarnac” with this sequencing .

  4. Neil Forbes on October 18, 2021 at 9:11 am

    3:51 A two-record set(American Graffiti soundtrack album, for example) had Side 1 backed with Side 4, then Side 2 backed with Side 3. A series of 3-disc Anthologies issued by Motown of their major acts(Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Four Tops etc.) had Side 1 c/w Side 6, Side 2 c/w Side 5, Side 3 c/w Side 4, when the first sides have played through, the records would be lifted off, flipped over and placed on the stacker spindle to play the remaining sides. As it happens, I have 3-disc anthologies of Stevie Wonder and The Temptations, I found it odd that the compilations were issued on the Motown label instead of the labels that normally carried these acts, Stevie Wonder on the Tamla label, The Temptations on the Gordy label.

  5. Yeet112 on October 18, 2021 at 9:14 am

    I had a Morse Electrophonic Juke Box. My dad received it as a gift back in the 70’s. It has a stacker record auto system. Though, it broke. To be honest, I prefer using a normal turntable because stackers were just dangerous for your records. But I still love using the Juke box for 8-track and radio.

  6. Michael Ackley on October 18, 2021 at 9:14 am

    Did you ever announce a discount code for merch store?

  7. Highway Blues on October 18, 2021 at 9:15 am

    Hey Frank …. we had a turntable that held 6 records in the stack. I played more records over and over and over on that turntable throughout my teens and even into my 20’s , I still have those albums and still play them .. it is amazing those records still play well. Great Videos ….

  8. Michael McKee on October 18, 2021 at 9:17 am

    Would love to have one now! Never damaged any of my records!

  9. Landon Praught on October 18, 2021 at 9:17 am

    My family had one back in the day we all loved it .
    Great video thank you so much for all you do I am a big fan of your work.

  10. Dale Romney on October 18, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Everyone had them, including me. I don’t think they damaged the records because the only contact was on the tops of the ridges, and the music is deeper in the groove. That is what we all believed back then, and I still think it is true. However, my current turntable is single play only.

  11. Media Watcher on October 18, 2021 at 9:21 am

    i have a record of Jesus Christ Superstar Australian issue record one side 1-4 record two sides 2-3 how it works is you put record one on first play side one after side one finishes record two drops and you have side two once that side finishes flip that record over then you got side three once that finishes you remove that record move the arm back flip record one over then you got side four and that’s two records played

  12. Analog city on October 18, 2021 at 9:21 am

    I parents had one, I had one on my home stereo in my room! But I wouldn’t want one today! There’s really no need these day’s as you have endless Playlist on phones and computers! CD changers are safer! Recrds these day’s are treasured more and are played for serious deep listening 🎶!

  13. 668_neighbor_of_the_beast on October 18, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Haha, what a trip down memory lane. I grew up with one of these in the family home home when I was young. Cool episode.

  14. The Rockabilly Project on October 18, 2021 at 9:31 am

    What a cool concept. If it could have flipped the vinyl before adding another vinyl, they may have been onto something.

    This reminds me of the magazine changers or multi-disc CD players that were popular in the 80s and 90s.

  15. Chaikittie on October 18, 2021 at 9:31 am

    Then just as now, if you were careful in handling and operating and cleaned your records, you had no issues stacking. Still have my original 1979 Garrard 640s changer & matched 300 watt Monteverdi receiver. They were and still are, cherished, though my newer equipment is better quality.

  16. MaltLiquor45 on October 18, 2021 at 9:32 am

    Wow that’s vintage. I had a all in one (cassette, 8 track, radio) with a record stacker but never really stacked the records. I played it just one at a time. ✌️

  17. happyhippy the vinyl guy on October 18, 2021 at 9:34 am

    My parents had one in house when I was growing up. Enjoyed the video my friend

  18. Just Tony on October 18, 2021 at 9:34 am

    We had one and It has lot’s of memories attached to it. It was my introduction into vinyl and hifi…………even though back then most of my time spent sitting on the floor in front of the console was listening to Disney read along albums 🙂

  19. Bob Qualls on October 18, 2021 at 9:35 am

    I love old console stereos. I have a Magnavox, but I need t0 work on it.

  20. 24hourtourist on October 18, 2021 at 9:37 am

    My Dad’s Dual 1600 had this and yes they were pretty bad. The mechanism could only take up to about a half dozen LP’s or so and the center column’s inner mechanism extension would break after a while, dropping a whole bunch of records – instead of just one – on the not fully retracted arm, slamming the stylus on the bottom LP, pitting & scratching it – not good. Many treasures were ruined this way. 😏

  21. Automated Electronics on October 18, 2021 at 9:39 am

    Growing up, I thought that record changers were the coolest! My parents had a Magnavox portable suitcase style hi-fi. In 1965, I got my own Sears Silvertone portable stereo with a record changer. In 1969 or 70, I upgraded to an RCA contemporary console with a record changer and AM-FM radio. This record changer had a floating cartridge which put very little pressure on the record as the tone arm rested on the record, riding on a felt pad, which also cleaned the records of dust. Another cool feature was that it could play a warped record, flawlessly.

    Today, I have an ADC Accutrac +6 programmable record changer which can be programmed to play any track on any record in any order. When done, it will automatically lift the stack of records and play them through again as many times as programmed. It automatically selects the speed by optically sensing the size of the record. 12" records play at 33 1/3 rpm and 7" at 45 rpm.

    I also have a Seeburg home stereo console HSC3 which has the usual AM-FM tuner, but the real feature is how it plays records. 50 records are held vertically in slots and are played vertically with a belt-driven turntable. They are played with a typical Pickering-Seeburg double-sided magnetic cartridge, tracking at 2g. This is the same stereo cartridge that Seeburg used in it’s jukeboxes from the mid-60’s all the way up to the last record playing jukebox. It only plays 12" LP’s, but each can be selected individually and will play both sides in sequential order. Each side can be selected and there is also an "All-Play" button which when pressed will play both sides of all 50 records, sequentially. Originally, selections were made with a telephone-type rotary dial. I upgraded it to a more modern 10-button touch-key pad, similar to a telephone.

    I am currently going through a 1948 Capehart console(mono), which has the obligatory AM-FM radio, but the key feature is the famous Capehart flip-over changer. It holds a stack of 16 intermixed 10" and 12" 78’s, in a magazine, and can be set to play each side of each record, sequentially, or one side of each record, sequentially. As it puts each record back in the stack, the next time through, the flip side of the record will be played. It can be set to play through up to 50 record sides before shutting off. Considered lightweight and futuristic for the times, it has a "J" style tubular tone arm with a headshell holding a GE-VR magnetic cartridge and tracks in grams, rather than ounces. Records will last forever!

    My point is, I still have virtually every record I’ve ever owned and many have been played multiple times on whatever record changer I had when I bought them. Not one record has ever been damaged or worn out being played on whatever record changer I had at the time, aside from being played with an unknowingly damaged stylus. That has happened more often with my modern manual turntables than on a record changer. The more a person handles a record, the more chance of being damaged it has. Record changers actually extend the life of a record.

    Like it was stated, most LP’s have a raised label and edge, so the grooves of one record should never touch those of another. However, because there are so many recently started up record pressing companies, and they lack experience, although they think that they know how to press a record, they actually don’t. Records often come out of the presses slightly warped and off-center, but the biggest problem is that the playing surfaces are wavy and the tone arm looks like it is on the ocean. In this case, the playing surfaces will touch when stacked. As long as they don’t slip, they will be OK.

  22. Dan Hogan on October 18, 2021 at 9:42 am

    Thanks for a trip down memory lane. My mother had a big record player like your and I remember stacking my disney records and listening to them on a Sunday afternoon. Oh thanks for explaining the double LP side numbering I always wondered why my Wings Over America album was numbered like that.

  23. Ritchie Babcock on October 18, 2021 at 9:45 am

    Frank,I grew up the same way my parents had one and all my friends parents had one too !!! and i want one for my self because some of these units were fantastic !!! as far as the record stacking thing goes i`ve never used it ever on a console stereo !! So far me at least it`s a non-issue !! Keep on spinning !!!

  24. Cameron Zywina on October 18, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Hi Frank, My parents had one of these consoles in the living room. We just sold it recently as we were disposing of the contents of their house before selling it. My Woodstock album was numbered to play sequntially when put on a stacker. Thanks for the interesting video.

  25. Garys Vinyl Dungeon on October 18, 2021 at 9:46 am

    My best friends parents had a real nice console and it had a place to plug in ext speakers it sounded pretty good, I think it was a Magnavox.

  26. Neil Forbes on October 18, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Learning that the Auto-Changer was an *Australian* invention? Yeeeeeaaaaahhhhh!!!!! Another gold star for us Aussies!

  27. Monaural $2.98 on October 18, 2021 at 9:47 am

    I’d like to see the classic console make a comeback…but updated for the 21st century. A single disc turntable (NO STACKER SPINDLE!), a CD unit (in place of the old 8 track or cassette deck), and of course the AM/FM. HOWEVER, it would also have necessary plugins & whatnot for all things computer/internet. Bring back the best part of it; THE DEEP CABINET, WHICH ENHANCED THE SOUND QUALITY!! THIS IS WHAT HAS BEEN MISSED WITH THOSE CONSOLES!

  28. David Stellwag on October 18, 2021 at 9:47 am

    I had a bsr record changer but never used the feature back in 1990. I think even back then I thought It didnt seem like a good idea to stack records although the possible heavy tonearm weight and the ultra cheap stylus may have done excessive damage to those zeppelin records.Maybe some accidental scratches on my part as well but you know they were my older brothers records so i bet they were already scratched up from their parties . Lol. I didnt care I used to play the hell out of them. I was 11 back then just really getting into zep.i also first heard ozzy Blizzard of ozz and sabbath paranoid that was scratched but heck man I could hear those tunes! Rush 2112 and moving pictures still sound great from my brothers old collection even with minor scratches. They are my favorite copies of those albums as I have have other ones I had didn’t sound great to me. Better pressings for sure maybe are those lps are the very first editions that may been directly from the original masters as opposed to production masters. Ok I’m rambling and nerding out again ha ha

  29. Roberto Quiros on October 18, 2021 at 9:48 am

    My dad spin the beatles collection on a machine like that a thousand times and the records are still playable..old as hell yeah but still sounds great…!!!!!!!!

  30. Tom Furgas on October 18, 2021 at 9:48 am

    My family had a RCA console and my Dad installed a new Garrard turntable in it. It was an automatic changer, but we almost never used it. I myself never trusted them. Anyway, with LP’s playing around 20 minutes per side it wasn’t a huge chore to get up and change the record. We mostly used it on the 78 RPM setting to play my Dad’s collection of 78’s including a bunch of V-Discs that he took with him when he left the Army in the late 1940’s. I loved those V-Discs! Of course in the ’60’s we graduated to 45 RPM singles, and he had a big, heavy changer adapter to play 45’s. Man, that thing seemed to weigh ten pounds! But we never used it as a changer, just as an adapter to play the big-hole 45’s.

  31. leftbreak vinyl on October 18, 2021 at 9:49 am

    My Dual 1225 has that …

  32. Mike Tucker on October 18, 2021 at 9:49 am

    I think the damage caused by changers had less to do with the stacking mechanism and more that they were usually fitted with low quality ceramic carts with heavy tracking weight. I also suspect most people never bothered to replace the stylus when it was worn. I know my grandfather didn’t.. “That’s a diamond stylus, diamonds are forever!”

  33. Ken Blair on October 18, 2021 at 9:49 am

    OMG ! I totally forgot about those things. I use to use those until I was told not to, for party’s (Back in 60/70s). Then I put my party music on reel tapes. But think about all the used records we may be purchasing, and how many had that treatment. So must be a bad theory. Thanks for the reminder .

  34. Albee213 on October 18, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Then much like today, most do not care about quality. So changers were fine for the average person that just want to listen to music.

  35. William Huff on October 18, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Hi Frank. I have an old boxed set of 18 45’s from 1955, (albums released as sets of 45’s was a very common thing in the 1940’s and 50’s) by Bing Crosby. It had 36 songs, 2 per side, and was made with automatic sequencing as well, with side 1 and side 18 on one disc, 2 and 17 on the next, and so on. Needless to say, on the rare occasions I play it, I don’t worry about the sequence. LOL!

  36. Kerry David Sadler on October 18, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Wow my parents had a stereo console also . Me and my brother played the heck out of it, when my dad got a new stereo system he gave us ( me and my brother) the console. Thanks for the memories, ours didn’t damage our records.

  37. Richard Hamilton on October 18, 2021 at 9:52 am

    I had a BSR record changer. It lasted about 10 years before the motor locked up.

  38. Doug Browning on October 18, 2021 at 9:52 am

    It all depends on the type of changer. The type you have there is a spindle drop changer. It is one of the last designs, coming out in the late 1940s. It features a small ledge on the spindle that holds the records, a dog pin that pushes the record off when it’s time to drop, and an over arm to hold the stack stable. There is also a shelf drop changer, where the edge of the records rests on a small shelf, with the pusher to drop them built into the shelf. Finally, there is the umbrella changer with rungs like on the handle of an umbrella, that ease the records, step by step, down to the turntable. These three types are perfectly fine for most modern records. The ones to be wary of are the earlier types that actually lifted records and flipped them over or dropped them in a bin, like a jukebox, or used blades to separate the records. These could actually do damage to records, especially the shellac 78s of the day, which were extremely fragile. Even the RCA 45 RPM changers, which had blades in the spindle to separate records can chip away at the holes. The last record changer on the market was the Crosley Stack-o-Matic, a copy of a BSR spindle drop changer, that was sold in the 2000s.

  39. Kurt Roedel on October 18, 2021 at 9:52 am

    We have a 1948 Philco record player. It has a automatic stackable player. Holds about 6 78s. We mainly play Xmas records during the holidays and it still works very well. Thanks for the video.

  40. The Vinyl Resting Place on October 18, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Actually, Frank, the majority of the 2x albums that were numbered for auto players always went: 1&4, then 2&3. I only have one double record that doesn’t follow that rule, and it drives ALL turntable owners crazy, because it neither works for manual or auto, you have to play side 1 on the first record, side 2 on the next record, BUT. When you flipped them over, you’d have to swap the records so they’d come out 3-and-4. Crazy, huh? It just happens to be an Eric Clapton comp from the early 70s.

  41. ChanelNo19 on October 18, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Such great memories, back in the ’70s, listening endlessly to my Joni Mitchell and Carole King albums, and those stackers were great, though one design flaw that I remember, they would sometimes drop two or three records at once, at times (rather than just one at at time), and I seem to recall many of my friends’ turntables also did the same thing, and so I think it must have been a fairly common problem with them, yes?

  42. Jason Richardson on October 18, 2021 at 9:54 am

    That was really interesting! Thanks for posting this. My grandparents had a turntable setup just like this and I remember them playing the records stacked up like this. I’d nearly forgotten all about that.

  43. Troy Kirchhoefel on October 18, 2021 at 9:57 am

    Ours was a funky one that had a 19 inch color TV built-in, and NO you couldn’t listen to the TV broadcasts with the stereo speakers. Unless there was an FM simulcast of a major sporting event. Like the 1976 Montreal Summer Games for example. But there was always a good 5 second audio delay between the TV and radio broadcast. 😁

  44. Alex Pendragon on October 18, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Man, does that bring back memories! However, I doubt they could make one of those beasts today that anybody would consider "affordable". Hey, sad but true, "they just don’t make ’em like they used to"!

  45. meterman39 on October 18, 2021 at 10:00 am

    We used to have an old Zenith tv with stereo console back in the 70`s when I was a kid. I remember the changer would usually drop more than one record at a time. As far as tearing up records, I don`t think it didn`t did any damage. The bad handling of the records did more damage back then but I`m sure record companies back then counted on that. The double albums with sides 1 and 4 and 2 and 3 drive me nuts. My Copy of The Beach Boys "Endless Summer" is auto sequenced as well as The original Soundtrack to "F.M." "Frampton Comes Alive" is the same way.

  46. Eric Johnson LO on October 18, 2021 at 10:00 am

    Hi Frank, I have a Panasonic tabletop record changer/stereo in my living room. Use it almost everyday, bought some nice Fluance speakers for it so it sounds pretty great. I have a second one similar to it, a General Electric. I keep that one as a backup. Love those record changers! We’re always spinnin’ at our house!!

  47. Jerry King on October 18, 2021 at 10:00 am

    What many people don’t realize is that records were made with a raised lip and a raised hub…Why? For record changers! It kept the track area from any kind of contact! NO DAMAGES!
    A 2 record album was labelled 1 and 4, and 2 and 3. 1 facing up, first with 2 facing up on top. when played, you just grabbed the "stack" and flipped it over for 3 and 4….

    Frank, the thing is, just because of the nature of record changers, the people that used them didn’t take really good care of their records! It’s that simple!

  48. 7JANEWAY on October 18, 2021 at 10:01 am

    One problem with these, is that sometimes records didn’t fit on top of the other record, causing it to slip and slow down when the stylus went down on the record. Though this didn’t happen every time, it happened enough to make you wonder if this next record going to play OK after it dropped. This is an issue that I don’t see anyone bringing up, but it was there.

  49. Neil Forbes on October 18, 2021 at 10:02 am

    The major problem with those "Console" stereo units was that the speakers were enclosed in the cabinet(too close together to appreciate the stereo effect). The best way to hear stereo is with the left and right speakers as far apart as allowable in a given space, like a lounge-room or a rumpus room.

  50. Jim Regan on October 18, 2021 at 10:02 am

    The latest Bob Seger Live Bullet reissue came in the side 1-4, 2-3 format. I guess they wanted it to be retro or something, first double album reissue I’ve gotten from that era that comes like that.

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