Mighty Bright Orchestra Light to Aria to Lotus 14

Edited: October 9, 2020, 10:40 AM · Some may remember my earlier threads from last 2019 when I was having problems finding a stand light bright enough for my vision. The Mighty Bright Orchestra Light worked well for sometime...but I need something brighter now.

Just in case it's the light rather than my eyes, for those who use, or have used it, do the lights actually fade over over the course of time? I keep it plugged in so it's not related to the batteries that aren't installed.

My next brighter choice is quite a leap in price. I settled on this one after trying everything out there under $70. I really hope all of you will tell me the LEDs for this light fade over time, but I don't really expect that given the nature of LEDs.

It's time to reconsider the Lotus 14 and Aria Diva again - I certainly like the price of the Aria better - and it's brighter than the Lotus. I know the Lotus is easier to move though, I am curious if opinions on these two lights has changed in the last year.

Replies (41)

Edited: October 7, 2020, 11:38 PM · It’s serendipity that the Mighty Bright Orchestra Light and the Aria Diva are the two lights that I own. The Diva is brighter and casts a broader light field. The Mighty Bright is easier to carry and takes batteries. The Diva is a better light, without a doubt, if brightness is what you’re looking for.

Do LED’s fade over time? Yes they do. Aria claims that their LED’s have a 100,000 hour life, but the fine print is that at that 100,000 hour point the LED’s will have gradually diminished to 1/2 of their original brightness, and that 1/2 brightness is the point at which they arbitrarily define them as worn out. However, if you do the math, you’ll find 100,000 hours to be very many years at typical usage. (OK, I’ll do the math. 4hours/day everyday = 1460 hours/year. 10 years = 14,600 hours. 20 years = 29,200 hours, and we’re not even to 1/3 of that 100,000 hours. And who uses their light that much anyway? Get the point?) It’s unlikely, even improbable, that your Mighty Bright has diminished to any noticeable amount in the few years you’ve owned it.

October 8, 2020, 12:35 AM · I have used Aria and Lotus. If you can deal with the physical bulk, Aria is great. Lotus works nearly as well, and is much easier to cart around. Both have the option of rechargeable batteries— I would go for that.
October 8, 2020, 8:29 AM · As I recall, I had the same problem with the Orchestra Light last winter - I think this is related to the changing light from the season. I've LOTS of light in my practice room but I obviously need more direct light on the page. Right now I'm not traveling with my violin, no surprise there.

I think I will get the Aria Diva, and cross my fingers that the MB Orchestra light will be sufficient when I need to travel to my teacher's studio and ensemble practice again.

The Lotus is quite attractive, but the price difference is just prohibitive for my situation. If I do need to travel with the Aria, then so be it :-)

October 8, 2020, 9:22 AM · Like Stephen says it is nice to have the option to run these off of batteries; my kids rehearse outdoors at night lately under a large park shelter with no outlets. The Lotus doesn't hold a charge as long but you just plug it into the same USB power bank you use for a phone. But for Aria that makes the price about the same as Lotus.
October 8, 2020, 9:29 AM · You can also bring a battery pack with you if you're worried about running short. The size of a pack of cards.
Edited: October 8, 2020, 9:38 AM · I made the switch from Mighty Bright to Aria Diva several years ago. Diva has a significantly larger and brighter light field, but it has an uneven light field. What is the answer?? Please-- someone invent the perfect stand light!
October 8, 2020, 10:38 AM · I find the Diva's light field to be extremely even. Ditto the rest of the Aria lights. Maybe you have a defective one?

Honestly, the Lotus Pro is pretty awesome. Very bright, wide dispersion, good battery life, easily portable.

October 8, 2020, 11:28 AM · How does $22 sound? We bought a 29 LED lamp on Amazon that is GREAT! Battery powered (rechargeable), and covers two pages across the stand
EASILY. It is a Royal Super Bright 29 LED Music Stand Light. We like our Aria, but...
October 8, 2020, 12:55 PM · Ahhh, the Aria Diva doesn't have a battery option, it may wind up being the Lotus after all.

The inexpensive lights just don't have enough lumens for my eyes. Today I experimented with pointing all 6 of the huge LED bulbs in my floor lamp directly at the sheet music and that worked, but that solution causes shadows. I've spent more than the Lotus would cost in the last 2 years experimenting with less expensive options.

Edited: October 8, 2020, 1:01 PM · My suggestions for consideration:

1. For "away playing" I carry, in my stand bag, a KOOTEK light from Amazon as well as a FERMATA - by Lampcraft - (that I used previously and still carry for emergencies because it is so compact). Either one does very well illuminating 2 pages and well enough for 3.

At home, I use a 60 or 75 "watt equivalent" LED STIK light in my very old Manhassatt stand light (and in an equivalent holder). Normally these holders only work with 40 watt incandescent bulbs (in these holders incandescent 60 'watters' overheat and burn out in no time).

As an old man (who makes music with other oldsters) I am familiar with the ravages of time on eyesight.
1. Phase-1 seems to result in enlarging the music until you can barely track a conductor over the top.
2. Phase-2 is getting a stand light.
3. Phase-3 is getting a brighter stand light.
4. Phase-4 is cataract surgery
5. Phase-5 is going back to normal-size music

For some reason we like keeping that brighter stand light even after we don't need it!

There is a possible Phase-6, (actually several different ones) but we who are fortunate do not get there.

October 8, 2020, 1:14 PM · Thanks for your input Andrew, it's appreciated. Enlarging the music doesn't actually help - I forget what my eye dr said but I need lots of extra light to see print clearly of any size. I can read quite small print - as long as there is enough light - and what is "enough" is changing.

At only 60, I find myself grumbling over this, but that doesn't actually help so no need to grumble further :-)

Edited: October 8, 2020, 2:20 PM · Shar is selling the Forte for the same cost of the Lotus 14 - for those who have both, is there significant difference in the light between them? I know there is a difference in lumens, but it's hard to translate that to what the difference might be on the page.

Andrew, I will also research your suggestions, will see if I can find any information on lumens.

Thanks again for the helpful comments!

October 8, 2020, 3:34 PM · You are collecting lights like I am collecting metronomes :-).
October 8, 2020, 3:52 PM · Actually not so Stan, I find new homes for those that do not, or no longer work. I an deeply frustrated, which is the only reason I'm seriously considering such a purchase. When I first mentioned the 2 years ago Lydia suggested this might be the best option- and I've certainly spent at least as much as the Lotus to realize that she was right. Still. I need to be able to see the music to play, even as a student and hobbyist...
October 8, 2020, 4:08 PM · I was sick of throwing all those batteries away (ecologically awful) so bought the Aria rechargeable. Its VERY expensive but I have not regretted it for a minute. You can use it for 8 hrs at a time on one charge and even more at lower power (the light is so bright we were joking about hanging it over the section for everyone :D ). My desk is the envy of the orchestra...

I won't go back to batteries (not even 'rechargeable' penlight batteries - they don't last long).

October 8, 2020, 4:38 PM · Thanks Elsie! I think the Aria Forte is rechargeable, and I can get it for the same cost as the Lotus Pro 14. I do have the money, and one thing is certain, if it ever gets too dim for me then I will have much larger problems than reading sheet music...still thinking but I may have already decided.
October 8, 2020, 4:42 PM · I use a Lotus 14.
I would have never purchased it on my own as it was too expensive.
It was given to me as a gift.
Now, I find it indispensable.
The unconditional 5 year warranty is reassuring.
October 8, 2020, 5:11 PM · Thanks Toby, warranties are the next thing to compare ;)
October 8, 2020, 7:00 PM · To come at this from another angle, I have just invested in one of the mammoth iPads as I had so much music online , and was sick of having to remember to print it out at work, and having bits of paper everywhere.
That has dispensed with me needing to use my (crappy) stand light.
You can also find ways to magnify the music too.
October 8, 2020, 7:13 PM · I do have a 12.9" iPad Pro which is now my primary solution for my orchestral music. It is very bright, but note that overhead lights can cast a glare on the screen that can be annoying.

The Aria has a light shield, which the Lotus does not. This is good and bad. Everyone around you will thank you for the light shield. But the light shield also obscures you behind it. My quartet-mates can't easily see my cues when I'm using an Aria with a shield, which is why I've switched to using the Lotus for chamber music.

October 8, 2020, 8:33 PM · I find the Lotus is well worth the cost if you are going to have only one light for both home and away, and this is in spite of paying 30% more in exchange rate.
October 8, 2020, 9:17 PM · I really appreciate all of the comments, thank you. I will sleep on it, but I’ve settled on the Lotus 14. While most of my playing is at home, I do play with my teachers ensemble (if we ever reconvene) and I think the Aria would make it harder to watch the others.
Edited: October 8, 2020, 9:44 PM · This might not apply to you (yet), but I have also had to develop a special prescription. I am nearsighted and need a decent correction for reading as well. The problem is when I have to read things that aren't on a desk under my nose, or 30 feet away. So my optometrist came up with a new progressive lens that keeps the reading part of my normal lens the same, but dials in the top of the glass to be best between 3 and 20+ feet.

It actually works well enough at distances that I can still drive very easily, and see conductors as much as I want to. But it is much better for reading music or looking at documents on a conference table.

October 9, 2020, 6:17 AM · I have special music stand glasses :-) Got those about a year ago, the entire lens is designed for the distance to the music stand. It was interesting, I actually took my instrument and stand to their office so they could measure. Computer glass, which I also have, won't work as it's not the same distance.

I'm also curious about the Lampcraft lights, but I can't find lumen information so I will call them. Sadly they seem to no longer make the Fermata. I will, most likely, wind up with the Lotus but my budget would like a less expensive option IF it meets my needs.

October 9, 2020, 6:50 AM · FWIW I get emails from Lotus a few times a year about 15% off sales. You might email them and ask when the next sale will be before ordering.
October 9, 2020, 7:26 AM · I have the same as Catherine. Actually, I now own 4 pairs of prescription glasses, each tuned to one purpose. I tried progressives and trifocals but found it immensely irritating that my field of view was so narrow. With the latter you would have to rotate your head to read the notes on a line.

The nice thing about having purpose music glasses is that you can pick a frame that fits to your style of playing. In my case rather sober for orchestra or chamber.

Edited: October 9, 2020, 10:31 AM · Yes, don't do what I did. My music glasses are the same color as my normal (progressives) glasses. I sometimes grab the wrong pair as my home office is currently in my music room as a consequence of the great work from home 2020 trend. My computer glasses have a very different appearance so that doesn't happen with those.

Good tip Stan, thanks! Sadly, no sales for a bit, but on the bright side my new Lotus 14 is on the way! If this doesn't end my lighting problem, then there are much larger things going on.

Edited: October 9, 2020, 10:33 AM · I've been getting my eyeglass prescriptions filled by ZENNI.com for the past few years. I'm very satisfied. The price is low- $4.95 for shipping and about $6.95 for single vision, as little as about $40 for progressives --- lenses and frames included.

I had my refraction done for a distance of about 1-meter as well as the standard close-up and distance. With that information I was able to get progressive lenses that work from reading out to computer and cello-playing distance. With these the focal areas are larger than with full-range diopters so playing music a little closer than a meter is no problem.

If one does not have serious astigmatism, there are non-prescription progressives available, for even less than the ZANNI cost. I have used some I got from Amazon a decade or so ago.

October 9, 2020, 10:38 AM · The single distance one is fine for me until it isn’t. The music stand and conductor are clear without a hassle, but if I have to change strings or write on the music I am quite useless. Bringing the long range down to medium allows me an easier transition between zones.

As always, I am blind in my own ways— just offering an example.

Edited: October 9, 2020, 10:41 AM · Andrew, I am truly jealous, and very happy to hear those options have worked out so well for you! Both my music and computer glasses are single vision, basically. My computer glasses has a tiny reading and equally small distance area, and they are great for working, but not for music stand distance. I tried really hard to make that work.

I AM curious that your progressives are working for your violin playing, or am I misunderstanding? I can't play my violin with my progressives as strange things happen as my head tilts in playing position. At that point I can see the music better without them - and that leads to eye-strain. Sadly.

I do have to stay the right distance with my music glasses, and I can see my director well enough, or I look over the top of my glasses. I make notes at arms length :-)

Edited: October 9, 2020, 11:13 AM · Catherine, I think a lot depends on the "refraction" results of your optical measurements.

I need no correction for distance. I need correction for reading and I am borderline at one-meter that is corrected by a 1.25 diopter lens. I need 1.50 for normal reading. My astigmatism is slight but improved by the applicable non-spherical corrections of my prescription lenses.

I would have the same problem you described reading music with full-range progressives and have to move my head rather than just my eyes. For this reason I decided to try progressives that only work for near-distance to one meter.

October 9, 2020, 11:31 AM · I understand now, thanks! I've far more vision issues, have had since at least age. Likely earlier.
Edited: October 9, 2020, 11:48 AM · Personally, for my stand lights I go for rechargeable AA or AAA batteries, and carry spare charged batteries for rehearsal/concert use, although there was an occasion a few weeks ago when we had a successful orchestral rehearsal out of doors in a big field in brilliant sunlight, which didn't prevent one pessimist from using completely unnecessary stand lights!

A few years ago a way of recharging ordinary non-rechargeable batteries was invented. I suspect the invention uses a controlled pulse charging system to prevent overheating of the battery, but I stand to be corrected on this. The device has now reached the domestic market.

I have such a charger that recharges up to four "dead" non-rechargeable AA or AAA batteries to their 1.5V charge within 4 hours, the recommended maximum time. A battery that initially checks out as damaged or otherwise truly dead will be ejected pronto with a warning signal. The manual says that good quality non-rechargeables can be recharged up to 10 times, but I have yet to reach that stage.

The device also recharges rechargeable batteries, as one would expect.

October 13, 2020, 8:31 AM · Be warned that many alkaline batteries are not built to take the pressure that occurs during charging and as a result they may leak during or after charging. The leak can happen several days after charging. Also they cannot be charged as many times as a NiHM battery. NiMH batteries are quite cheap these days (IKEA has some really good ones) so in my book it is not worth it to recharge alkalines. If there is one leak inside my music stand light - or worse inside a camera flash - there is all the saving gone.

Back to the topic of stand lights I recommend K&M. They have several versions, some have adjustable output and can be operated on batteries or from a power outlet. One of their cheaper models 12247 is rated at 4200 Lux (compared to the Mighty Bright Orchestra Light a t 1700)

Edited: October 13, 2020, 12:52 PM · My Lotus 14 arrives today :) it should be a game changer and if it's not bright enough then I've larger problems going on. I just got a significant raise so it was a good time to do it.

Personally, I don't think I would try to recharge normal batteries, but that's just me.

Edited: October 14, 2020, 6:16 AM · The Lotus 14 arrived yesterday. I do think it could have been packaged better as all of my packages these days are arriving with more damage these days.

The light is great and is worth every penny. Interestingly enough it doesn't SEEM that bright, but it is. Not only can I see everything perfectly, but the light is consistent across the entirety of both pages, which is wonderful. Nor does this change if the surrounding light level changes. The 3 light levels is interesting though I do need the highest light level. The lowest light level made me laugh a bit as it is SO low that I can't use it at all. I can see how it would help the audience for musicians with better eyes in a night/darkened setting.

I appreciate the helpful discussion on this thread, and the two other discussions over the last two years. Lydia, I should have listened to you 2 years ago!

October 14, 2020, 9:18 AM · I'm glad you like the light. :-)

I normally turn mine to the highest light level, too. But the multiple settings are really useful for pit playing in open pits where the musicians are asked to turn off / turn down their lights when there are big gaps between numbers.

October 14, 2020, 7:16 PM · Thanks Lydia - I hadn't considered that and it makes perfect sense. I will never be in that position at this stage in my life. Very thankful to have a really good light - being able to see is worth the cost.
October 15, 2020, 12:32 AM · Catherine, where did you get yours from?
I can’t find them online or they are
‘Unavailable”
You and Lydia gave it such a good rap I started looking - maybe you’re responsible for them selling out…???
Edited: October 15, 2020, 1:00 PM · I bought from the manufacturer - not inexpensive but am very glad to have done so:

http://shop.lotuslights.net/lotus-light-pro14/

They ship that day if possible, the next if not.

October 16, 2020, 8:13 PM · My experience dealing with Lotus has been outstanding, they were very pleasant and quick, and that's coming from Canada. I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone looking for a stand light in my orchestra.


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