task lighting suggestions

Hi all,

I'm looking for suggestions for task lighting to be used to better see my turntable. I'd rather not use a clip-on and might consider a floor stander. I've also seen a few examples of track lighting and thought that might be a good way to go. My listening room ceiling is the dropped tile kind, so I'm wondering if someone makes this type of lighting for such an application.


My favorite has always been one (or more) Littlite units (or don't you like those?) They have a new LED version that's supposed to be real good -- ask Doug Deacon, I think he has one.
I use one of those little halogen goose necks with the transformer base that are about $15 from K mart. Sits next to turntable on the rack and easy to swivel around closer to see the record. Cheap and easy.
The transformer base could be a problem (hum). If you want to go that route, get the ones with the 120V halogen bulb and no transformer
I have two stereo racks.
One is short, that my turntable sits on, and the other is tall, that holds all my other gear (Preamp, CD Player, SACD player, CD Recorder, Tuner).
I clamp on one of the little Ikea lamps (see link below) onto the top shelf (about at eye level), and it overhangs (somewhat) the turntable. It swivels, and it has a snake arm, so it can be positioned anyway I like. The transformer is a wall wart, so it is kept well away from the rest of my equipment, so no hum problems. One thing that is really cool, is that the halogen light is bright enough to put a reflection up onto the ceiling, so you can watch the record spinning around.

(Plus it looks rather nice, and goes with my modern furniture that the wife picked out. Always nice to have a high WAF!)

My two cents worth anyway.
Good Luck in your search!

Ikea clamp light
I use a Lightolier Dramalux attached to the ceiling above and in front of the turntable on a Monopoint. A Monopoint serves the same purpose as a track but accommodates only one fixture (tidy for this purpose).

Within the base of this fixture is a switch, enabling the user to choose either a 5.5 or 12 Volt Par36 bulb. Several companies manufacture Par36, including Osram, GE and Sylvania. Depending on distance and the amount of light you want, choose wide, normal, spot, or super spot halogen bulbs in various outputs wattages.

I choose the GE display super spot which is 2 degree (or less) and puts out either 35 or 50 watts. I have a Magenta filter in front of the bulb which increases visibility of record grooves in the dark, making it easy to find the exact cut I want to cue.

Halo and Home Depot both manufacturer low voltage fixtures that would do an equal job if you don't have an existing system of Lightolier (or other brand) to match cosmetically. This style of lighting is visible in my system images here at Audiogon.

Albert Porter system

By the way, the suggestion by Kurt on the Ikea clamp light is good too. I don't have any way to clamp a light like that but it would probably work excellent, appears to be halogen design as well.
Thanks for the great ideas! Eddaytona, I have a light like the one you mentioned that I use by the RCM. Works very well but it does get pretty warm. Nsgarch is right, it does produce a hum if too close to the equipment. I also found that it produces a significant amount of noise on the circuit when turned on or off.

Neil, Doug has some really nice track lighting over his system that looks great and is flexible in that you add/move the lights. Wish he'd post a picture, it really looks nice and functions beautifully. There is almost no heat put out by them either which is a big plus. Even with that lighting system or the one Albert uses (which is also very cool!) I could still see the need to pull out a LittleLite from time to time.

Those Ikea's Kurt posted about are probably the most cost effective. Alas, they aren't sold through the website and I'm not close to an Ikea store. Still, it does give me some ideas of what to look for on my next run to Home Despot or Blowes.
My criteria for a suitable lamp was that it must be flexible in positioning, have no transformer (or any other sort of noise-producing quality, either physical or induced over the power line), and preferably NOT clamp to an existing rack or stand. While aesthetics aren't all that important (I have a dedicated listening room), it should be somewhat unobtrusive. I eventually cobbled together a combination: an articulating arm "architect"/"student-desk" style lamp, such as this:


I then removed the base, and since these lamps are designed to be mounted on drafting desks and the such, they usually have a short mounting post which mates to a fixture which can be screwed/clamped to any surface. Discarding said fixture, I then used an old cymbal stand base (yes, I used to play the drums...). This tripod is very rigid, has nylon bushings and a tightening set screw to lock the lamp post into the tripod. Lightweight, floor-standing, positionally flexible, very adjustable height, and a simple incandescent bulb. Also rather sporty in all chrome (which cymbal stands invariably are).

The only caveat is that the mounting stem at the very bottom of the lamp (where it normally mounts to the base) MUST be made of metal. Plastic will eventually break due to the amount of stress at this point. Measure the lamp stem diameter, and go to your local music store to find a used cymbal stand, preferably one with double-braced legs. This provides a wider tripod base, and an additional amount of weight to counterbalance the lamp well. Cost effective, and more versatile than many of the aforementioned solutions.

Also see:

http://www.luxous.com/ -- a time tested manufacturer of exactly this style of lamp

Don't plug halogens into the same circuit if you can help it-avoid hummmmm