Introduced in 1986 the Vela Discolite DK-990R is easily one of the most iconic boomboxes ever made. It was branded under a few different names all of which are highly desired by collectors. It embodies all that made the disco era what it was – bright colors, flashy lights, over the top embellishment.
Abundant use of colors on the control panel, equalizer, logo, buttons and tuning meters along with heavy gold accents on the speaker trim, cassette controls and tuning knob. Someone definitely had a lot of fun designing this box! This boombox was also sold under the names Breakdance, Diamond, Coogar, Spacetech, Dynasty, and Skitronic. It features dual cassettes, 7-band equalizer, AM/FM/SW1/SW2, and a 10 segment VU meter. It’s a little over 28 inches long, 14.5 inches high and a shade over 5 inches deep. Despite its size it weighs in at a somewhat light 20 pounds.
The Discolite or, Personal Disco Component, has been used in videos such as Madonna’s “Hung Up” and Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance”.
Here is a close up of the right side speaker section. This particular box is missing the DiscoLite emblem that is normally mounted under the blue coned speaker. While the Discolite was heavy on colorful design it was a little light on performance and isn’t really known for its sound. But, some have replaced the tweeters and found that makes a big difference in the sound quality.
Below is how it looks lit up in the dark. The smaller LED lights are the difficult ones to fix if they aren’t working.
As I mentioned before the Discolite machines are in high demand from collectors who tend to have a love hate relationship with the boombox. Some hate it and feel it’s just an overpriced box of LED lights and others love it for its over the top light show and overlook its lack of audio performance. The latter collectors bid prices up very high for these models. Once recently sold for $1700.00 in very good cosmetic and working condition. I have seen partially functioning parts/repair units sell for over $450.00. So, if you’re looking for one of the Discolites make sure your prepared to pay a good amount for it. Or you can take your chances scouring yard sales and swap meets and hope to score one cheap. Good Luck!
Update: June 28, 2013 – A very nice condition, fully functional Vela Disco Lite DK-990 sold for $1327.00.