The Taiwanese multi-national BenQ, known around the world for its consumer electronics and technology products has released the PianoLight. And it takes the task of illuminating the piano keys and sheet music to a whole new level.
BenQ is an acronym — Bringing Enjoyment ‘N’ Quality to Life. Who knew? They produce computer displays, projectors, and all manner of hi-tech accessories. Now BenQ has turned its attention to pianos.
Piano’s aren’t always ideally positioned in well-lit rooms, and often some form of illumination is required. But as one could be spending many hours practising, the music needs to be properly lit to avoid eye-strain, etc.
A piano light needs to illuminate the sheet music and the piano keys. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. Most people use a desk lamp placed on top of the trusted upright, but this isn’t how a desk lamp is designed to be used. The lamp is too close to the top of the music, and as a result, the page is much brighter the closer it is to the lamp. What is required is an evenly lit score.
And again, the keyboard, which is even further away from the lamp is at best lit in the middle, but only a small amount of light reaches the bass and treble extremities. Okay, perhaps you should be looking at the music not the keyboard, but this isn’t always the case.
So the brief the designers of the PianoLight had was to produce a product that provides even light to the music and the entire keyboard with minimal spillage (useful in live performance situations). And on that it delivers. But the BenQ PianoLight has more interesting features.
This “intelligent” device is for upright pianos only. It sits on top of the instrument and consists of a matte black truncated conical base unit from which two adjustable arms extend. These support the lamp head which is around 50 cm wide and incorporates a series of touch controls. An additional shield can also be easily attached to prevent any light shining into the player’s eyes. This may need to be used if a child or small person is at the instrument.
Customising the Light
The PianoLight doesn’t just have an on and an off switch. Firstly, the brightness can be adjusted to any one of 15 different levels to suit the environment. A sensor on the top of the lamp head detects the ambient light level and, if required, can set the illumination level automatically.
The colour temperature of the light is variable from 2700K to 6500K in 6 steps. The 2700K setting produces a warm, slightly yellower light. When set at 6500K, the light is much harder, with a hint of blue.
An infra-red sensor (the presence detector) can automatically turn the lamp on when anyone approaches the instrument. Or off when they leave.
And the BenQ PianoLight is programmable. Your favourite settings can be stored and instantly recalled as the light turns on.
BenQ has gone to a lot of trouble to ensure the PianoLight does the job. The company’s designers visited piano manufacturers to ensure that the placement of the light would in no way affect the instrument’s tonal structure, and that it wouldn’t resonated in any way. The PianoLight has a protective non-slip rubber base, with a cut-out to accommodate the piano’s top panel hinge.
The BenQ PIanoLight is designed specifically for upright pianos.
This is not a cheap product. It sells for $239.00 (£149.00, €189.00). However, it does everything you could conceivably want. And if you are spending a lot of time at the piano reading music, it does look like a worthwhile investment. What price your eyesight?
The PianoLight can be purchased directly from BenQ, from Amazon, and from certain specialist retailers. If you click this link it will take you to the Amazon website where you can read user reviews and glean more information (unfortunately not available from Amazon UK). And if you do decide to buy a PianoLight, World Piano News will receive a small commission which helps fund this website. Thank you.
Please note that World Piano News has not received any form of payment for publishing this article (not even a free PianoLight!). This is the same for all our news items. None of our articles are “paid-for”. We decide what to publish and we retain complete editorial control over the content. However, if you do have a newsworthy story please do send it to us for consideration.
BenQ PianoLight Specifications
- Dimensions: 526.3mm/20.7in x 123.8mm/4.87in x 347.3mm/13.67in (WxDxH)
- Weight: 3.47 kg / 7.65 lbs
- Materials: aluminum alloy, polycarbonate
- Light source: dual-color LED
- Color Rending Index (CRI): >95 (100 is perfect color rendition)
- Illuminance: 800 Lux in the center (height 70cm), variable
- Color temperature: 2700~6500K in six incremental steps
- Expected lamp life: 50,000 hours
- Expected metal shaft movement life: 10,000+ movements
- Power input: 12V (from supplied adapter)
- Power consumption: 16W (max)
- Power cord: 88in
- Compliance: RoHS. CE. FCC. IEC. CCC. BSMI. IEEE.