Birmingham Sound Reproducers

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Birmingham Sound Reproducers was a British manufacturer of record player turntables.

Daniel McLean McDonald (1905 – 1991) founded Birmingham Sound Reproducers as a private company in 1932 in the West Midlands of England. By 1947, the company chiefly manufactured communications sets (intercoms), laboratory test equipment, and sound recording and reproducing instruments, including phonographs.

In the early 1950s, Samuel Margolin began buying auto-changing turntables from BSR, using them as the basis of his Dansette record player.[1] Over the next twenty years, Margolin manufactured more than a million of these players, and “Dansette” became a household word in Britain.

In 1957, BSR, also known by the name BSR McDonald, became a public company and, by 1961, had grown to employ 2,600 workers. BSR McDonald supplied turntables and autochangers to most of the world’s record player manufacturers, eventually gaining 87% of the market. By 1977, BSR’s various factories produced over 250,000 units a week.[2]

The company also manufactured their own brand of player, the Monarch Automatic Record Changer. That could select and play 7", 10" and 12" records at 33​13, 45 or 78 rpm, changing automatically between the various settings of disc sizes only, as speeds were changed manually.[2]

During 1975 BSR, with the help of Peco Electronics, started the manufacture of a new upmarket turntable called the ADC Accutrac 4000 at its Garratts Lane factory in Cradley Heath. This turntable had individual track selection capabilities, therefore the user could select to play specified individual tracks, or play the LP in any order desired. It had a direct drive turntable motor, and a high quality ADC LMA1 cartridge and stylus. This was further developed into a turntable called the Accutrac 3500, which did all of the above track selections, but with multi stacking of up to 6 Singles or LPs. Both turntables were equipped with an infrasonic (not infrared) remote control.

Changing times and technology hit BSR in the early 1980s. Although BSR McDonald produced tape recording decks in addition to their widely used turntables and changers, consumers had begun to expect portability from their music players, and BSR were not prepared to compete with eight-track and cassette tape players or later, the groundbreaking Walkman from Japan. In the first five years of the 1980s, BSR closed factories and made thousands of workers redundant.

During the 1980s BSR manufactured the Rotronics Wafadrive for the ZX Spectrum range of computers.

After producing their last turntable in 1985, BSR McDonald closed all divisions except for Astec Power Supply, as well as keeping investments in various entities, including dbx, X10, BSR Housewares (the latter sold to the French small electrical appliances and kitchen equipment manufacturer Moulinex). dbx is now owned by Harman International Industries.

BSR then moved its head office to Hong Kong, as Astec(BSR) plc, and continued in Hong Kong until 1998, when Astec(BSR) plc was 100% acquired by Emerson Electric Company (NYSE: EMR).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dansette record players from our collection". Dansettes.co.uk. 2000-04-18. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  2. ^ a b "Busy scenes at the BSR works". Black Country Bugle. 2008-01-31. Archived from the original on 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2012-02-21.