Recommend a music light?

Edited: May 10, 2018, 10:32 AM · I use Aria lights for illuminating my music, normally, but they have a drawback -- they're tall. I'm short, and with a Manhasset stand at its lowest, the height of the light means that it's both difficult for me to see over the stand, and for other people to see me.

I'm considering switching lights for chamber music, to either a side-of-stand mounted light, or one that illuminates from the top but has a very low profile. (If I do side-mounted, it's okay for there to be two lights.)

Does anyone have a recommendation for bright lights of this sort? I normally use an Aria Brio or Diva at its maximum brightness, so brighter is preferable.

Price is not a concern. Either battery or plug-in is fine.


Replies (19)

Edited: May 10, 2018, 12:06 PM · I have an Aria Diva, but ironically it just sits in the box stored away. My favorite light, believe it or not, is the original Manhasset 1000 design, but with a modification. I've removed the original incandescent bulb and replaced it with a 6 watt LED bulb. The LED bulb I chose has a brightness equivalent to a 60 watt incandescent, a daylight color temperature, doesn't heat up, is long lived so you don't have to carry a spare as people often do with incandescents, and of course it uses far less energy. The Manhasset light sticks up like Aria lights do, but it's a lot narrower so you can see around it. You might even have one already sitting unused in a closet or drawer.

Note: I had trouble finding the LED bulb I'm using locally, so I wound up sourcing it from Amazon.

And here's a website you may not already be aware of:

May 10, 2018, 12:26 PM · Lotus light!
May 10, 2018, 1:00 PM · Mighty Brite Orchestra (about $50), I've had about 5 years now so that is probably 1500 uses, and it's still holding up. Not as bright as an Aria or Lotus but adequate for these aging eyes.

What I consider a big advantage for Mighty Brite -- it runs on AAs. So if you run down (it will go 5-6 hours on high), as long as you've got extra batteries packed, you're still in business. I use rechargeable AAs (Eneloop) and they are very reliable.

Rechargeable units frighten me a bit -- what if I'm at a dimly lit venue and can't play because I forgot to charge the night before -- or the charge didn't take for some reason. Though I'm sure Aria users have their rituals so they don't experience unwelcome surprises.

May 10, 2018, 1:10 PM · I've had an Aria Brio cut out mid-concert, after less than 90 minutes of use on a full charge. I assume that at some point the battery packs wear out, necessitating full replacement of the light (or simply using it plugged in).
Edited: May 10, 2018, 2:46 PM · Not sure if you can get by with a plug-in light or if you need battery power. If your stand is actually the problem, if it needs to be a little shorter, Manhasset makes a cello version -- they call it "concertino." For chamber music I do like my stand a little lower and regular Manhassets only go so low. That's because my chamber pieces are half-memorized so I can tolerate less direct viewing, but I want to see my collaborators very well. I'm pretty sure that's a general preference among violinists.

There's always the concern that side-mounted light will irritate your neighbor or prevent music from being laid out wide if it's three pages.

May 10, 2018, 11:07 PM · I use a Mighty Bright duet. I find it a little weak - however during a concert this year I saw someone had an updated, more powerful version and have resolved to purchase it. It was superb - I highly recommend it. Battery powered and with adjustable necks so you can set it however you want it.

May 11, 2018, 5:02 AM · I have some Mighty Brights; I keep them in my gig bag for quartet emergencies. IMO they are neither Mighty nor Bright. I don't like them very much; about the best I can say is they are better than nothing.

The Lotus Light is here: It's expensive but the best stand light I've ever used. I can feel my eyes relaxing when I replace the dim Symphony-supplied stand light with my Lotus.

May 11, 2018, 7:01 AM · I have been using a Kootek (cheapo $20 light) from Amazon for a year and a half, it has a low and high setting (though the light is LED blue/white, and I'd prefer something warmer). It is a plug-in.
Edited: May 11, 2018, 7:30 AM · My FERMATA is fantastic! ( ) Single LED bulb, 3 brightness settings, its little case also holds 4 extra AA batteries, fits in my stand case, although it could also fit in my violin, viola or double case.

It has 3 brightness settings and a warning that flashes as battery power starts to fail so you can set it to lower brightness and get some more lit-time. I have no problem getting an even illumination level over 2 pages and reasonable level over 3 pages. It was sufficient during my time of pre-cataract surgery and works great (at the lowest illumination level) post-cataracts.

The current on-line FERMATA ad says a new model will soon be available.

Edited: May 11, 2018, 10:16 AM · FYI here's a web site that did some brightness metering of stand lights. You can see how much brighter the Aria and Lotus lights are compared with Mighty Brite. The Fermata rates well, and another bright one is the Manhasset 1050 clip on light. That one gets good reviews but the catch is it will only attach to stands with thin desks.

Also, addressing my concern about rechargeable lights, the new model Lotus models will run from same kind of USB portable charging pack that people use to charge phones.

They sell one of these on their site -- so if you run out of charge unexpectedly, you have a backup battery you can plug in That might be enough to get me to try Lotus. The Aria lights are beautiful, but I agree the hood can get in the way if you're playing chamber music, and it's also kind of bulky to carry in your gig bag.

May 11, 2018, 8:23 AM · The FERMATA looks very interesting. Thanks for sharing that, Andrew.
Edited: May 11, 2018, 9:53 AM · I found cylindrical LED bulbs that fit standard sockets at Home Depot. Not only can I fit two of these into overhead and standing lamp sockets (using a "Y" attachment) but they are the same diameter as the incandescent bulb in the old Manhasset fixture on my stand at home. They cost about $10 for a pack of 3 9v bulbs each with output equivalent to a 60W incandescent.
Edited: May 13, 2018, 7:23 PM · Mary Ellen,

Have you tried the new one with the 2 LED's in each head? I find the original duet with the single LED very lackluster (and the single head one as well) but the newer one isn't so bad.

I mainly went for portability, as I was until a couple weeks ago a student and when I would need my instrument on campus I would be stuck carrying it all day - ouch!

As per above I see even the newer one has quite poor light reviews - I'll stick it mine for it's portability, but if I ever needed something at home now I know the items to look for. That's a very informative listing.

May 13, 2018, 8:20 PM · Yes, I own several Mighty Brites with 2 LEDs. I keep them in my gig bag for quartet gigs with uncertain lighting...for my colleagues in the group, in case they don't bring their own light. I bring the Lotus Light for myself. The Mighty Brites are better than nothing but they are barely adequate for those of us whose eyes have passed the half-century.
May 15, 2018, 6:04 AM · Yup, I used that review site when I was first buying my Aria lights, and I looked at it again before posting, but the site also isn't comprehensive in terms of the lights reviewed (awesome as the site is).

I'm thinking about getting the Lotus. Cringing slightly at the price tag. :-)

May 15, 2018, 10:38 AM · IMO it's worth it.
Edited: May 15, 2018, 12:20 PM · There is now a new, less expensive Lotus model, the PRO6, about $120. Makes use of new more powerful LEDs and claims to light 3 pages well, but it's less bulky than the top of the line Lotus. I'm thinking of trying it out.

Also, and this is big for me, Lotus has added the capability to use a USB backup battery (just like the ones for smartphones). That gives you ability to run your light if your battery unexpectedly dies.

Lotus is a small company and has very good customer support -- you get full return privileges if you buy through their web site.

May 18, 2018, 2:03 PM · I just received the new Lotus model, the Pro6 ($120) and I think it's a keeper for me.

It's more compact but quite a bit brighter brighter than my old dependable Mighty Brite Orchestra Light (though it did cost twice as much). I have no idea how to measure these things, but it seems twice as bright, and the light color is warm and beautiful.

The light saturates the music evenly top to bottom and 3 music pages wide. This light is so bright, I'm not sure there is a need for the top of the line Lotus model ($170) unless you need 4-page-wide coverage.

Lotus also now has a solution to my other concern about their lights -- given they run on a rechargeable battery, what is the backup plan if you run out of juice during a long evening? The Mighty Brite runs on AA batteries, so you just carry extra AAs.

Lotus's answer is that its lights will now run off standard USB backup batteries -- the kind you use to keep your iPhone running. Lotus gives you an adapter cord to do this. It will support any standard external USB backup battery that you might use for a phone or a tablet.

I still think the Aria lights are beautiful for orchestra pit use but, as Lydia and others have found, they're not great for chamber music because they can block your view of your partners.

May 18, 2018, 3:26 PM · iPad? :-) I think I remember you use one sometimes Lydia. We carry scores whenever my pianist son has a gig just in case, but am getting fairly close to having my cellist daughter go digital as well. Battery life isn't an issue like it seems for the stand lights.

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