I prefer to do my listening with the lights down if possible, it’s more relaxing and music sounds better when you’re relaxed. As a vinyl lover there is a problem with low lighting however and that’s the need to find a specific track on a record if it’s not the first one, you need a lot of light to get the stylus above the breaks between tracks with sufficient precision. It’s possible to turn an overhead light on of course but the switch is rarely next to the turntable so a better option is to have a lamp specifically for this purpose.
The Uberlight Flex was made as a task lamp for a variety of jobs but thanks to its size and features is well suited to the job of illuminating a spinning slab of vinyl. It uses LEDs that can be set at three levels of brightness, I found that the lowest level (pictured) works fine and isn’t so bright that you have to turn it off while listening, and it’s easy to scroll through the levels with a button on top. The other button selects between colour temperatures, again there are three shades to choose from ranging from bright white (6000k) to ‘Warm white’ (2700k) that’s similar to old skool filament bulbs.
Warm white 2700k
The Uberlight itself has a strong, flexible ‘gooseneck’ that allows you to position the lamp where it’s needed and there’s a clamp on the base so that it can be fixed to an equipment rack or piece of furniture. The gooseneck allows the head of the lamp to be twisted by up to 270 degrees but in the turntable application that shouldn’t be necessary.
The power cable terminates in a USB plug so the light can be run off any USB charger and is indicative of the low power requirements of this lamp. It also means that the Uberlight will not perform the function that lamps over more dedicated turntables once did, that is warming up the cartridge, for that you’ll have to play a side of vinyl and enjoy the music in the process.
Ultra bright 6000k
I found it easy to use and alarmingly revealing of vinyl condition even at the lowest setting, some new pressings turn out to have scuff marks under this sort of exposure, fortunately they didn’t turn out to be audible. It takes a long press on one button to turn off which means that there’s a tendency to leave it on for the duration of the listening rather than just when selecting tracks, but given that it need not be bright this isn’t an issue. The cast metal clamp allows for fixing to material up to 50mm thick and has soft pads to avoid marking, I used it on a 6mm glass shelf which is about the minimum for the clamp so it will swivel if pushed but doesn’t move in use.
The Uberlight Flex retails for $49 in the US and can be shipped to the UK for $45 which at today’s exchange rates makes it just over £66 and that seems like good value for a product of this quality. There are alternatives available of course but I couldn’t find any that offer the range of features found on the Uberlight and those that combine variable brightness with a clamp fitting are particularly rare.
Output settings: 2W, 4W, 6W
Colour temperature options: 2700k, 4000k, 6000k
Dimensions HxWxD: 950x190x38mm
Power cable: 1.7m
Finish: white silicone rubber
Warranty: 1 year
Price: US$49 plus shipping
Manufacturer: Reliable Corporation