Leave your amp on all the time for best sound?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Michael Jewels, Jan 30, 2002.

  1. I have a stereo test CD, and it has a few tips at the back of the booklet on getting the best sound out of your stereo sytem. One of them reads as follows:

    " If you have solid state equipment, consider leaving it on all the time. It won't use up much electricity at idle, or be dangerous, and it won't 'wear out' from being on. In fact more stress is put on the equipment when it's turned on.

    Why should you do this? Because many audiophiles and engineers claim it takes at least 24 hours for the electronics to 'warm up' and sound best. Try this: Turn your system on and play a favorite piece of music ~ one you know well. Leave your system on for 24 hours and play the piece again. If you hear no difference, don't bother leaving it on. But if the music sounds warmer, fuller, less harsh and more natural, don't shut it off!"

    O.K. They're talking about stereo amplifiers here, but, how does this idea sound to you?

    Also, are stereo amps and musical instrument amps that different?

    Your comments/thoughts please.

    Mike J.
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    The problem with bass amps is heat. They generate much more than home audio componants. I personally would see it as a safety issue to leave something on all the time that consumes the kind of power that a bass amp consumes. Of course, I don't leave the house with the clothes dryer running either.

    I wouldn't do it, especially if your amp has a cooling fan, you reduce the life of the fan and what happens if it happens to fail when you are not around? You amp just sits there and bakes until you discover it.

    True, while not is use, the amp isn't going to generate as much heat, but I still wouldn't do it.

    Lastly, bass amps, when in use, draw a ton of current and heat up very quickly, I can't see that leaving it on would effect the sound of it at all.

  3. One advantage to avoiding power cycling in solid state gear is the damage inherent in repeated thermal cycling. When the equipment heats up and cools down, it is kinda like bending a coat hanger. Do it longer enough, and something breaks. The other part is the in-rush current spike on cold equipment.

    I would not leave tube gear on, but leave my SS stuff, including all my computers, etc, up forever.

    TAPP was pointing out a good procedure of turning on tube gear such as my SWR IOD in Standby mode. This keeps the +250V off the tubes until they are warmed up. The heaters work at power up, but +250 doesn't get applied until Standby is operated.
  4. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    Hey dudes, I'm back after my short break of TB. It was taking over my life!!! Well, during my time away, I managed to purchase an XBOX. Very nice graphics, its fun.

    Anyways, I try to leave my tubes warming up for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before usage to get optimum sound in the shortest amount of warm up time. Bruce has the right answer, though.
  5. Showdown


    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Kinda inconvenient if you play gigs, isn't it? Or would you use a 20 mile long extension cord? :D
  6. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    Ditto bgavin. It may not be politicaly or environmentaly correct but compaired to commuting fifty miles in a 300HP SUV it's nothing. I've had my Cerwin Vega 1800 power amp on since 1979. Its been relocated a few times and some substantial upgrades a few years ago, but no down time.

    On the other hand listening to my QSC's fan and the sight of all those lights on the Navigator is abit much so that gets turned off.
  7. I have found that w/ my guitar amp (all tube), it doesn't start to sound REALLY good untill after its been on for at least an hour or two, and I've been playing it for at least 30 min. of that time. It sounds good, but not as good as it could.

    I do know that for tubes, its better for the tubes to have a constant flow of electricity, than to have none, and then a sudden rush.
  8. i don't know...

    24 hours is a really long time...and what Chasarms said, what if it bakes overnight?

    i'd say let it warm up for 10 mins or something...not 24 hours!!!...that's abuse!

    but i agree with the whole "warming up" thing...i totally think that it is true!
  9. Dude, is that when you start going deaf?


    Couldn't resist poking a bit of fun. My guitar player starts out the night sane, and an hour later is destroying the reproductive systems of every adult inside the bar. Everybody keeps asking me why I keep turning down during the gig...
  10. danqi


    May 21, 2001
    My amp needs about 1.5 hours of playing time to sound the best it can. At least I think that is the best it can.
    I still would not leave it on.
    Keep that electro-smok in mind, it all adds up.
  11. I think an all-tube amp needs time to, what we call, "marinate". We try to turn amps on at least 1 hour before show time, more if we can. I'm not sure about 24 hours or always.
  12. Hey, do you think that the guy that initially said to leave our amps on all the time be connected to Enron? (Power Co.):D $$$

    Mike J.
  13. gbenner


    May 20, 2001
    ocean, new jersey
    Mike, back to stereo, do (or did) you leave your receiver on and did you notice a difference. Also if thats the case the same should hold true for your cd player.
  14. Gbenner, yes, I've left everything on for a few days, and I honestly can't tell the difference. But, I haven't cranked it yet, I'll have to wait for the weekend. It hasn't produced any noticeable heat though when idling. (love that word) It is a decent sized amp though; it's an old S.A.E. power amp - it's 100watts @ 8 ohms, and I think 150 or so @4 ohms. I'm using it with a pair of Bose 501V speakers, which are 6 ohms, so I guess maximum output would be about 125 watts. All I know is it goes just loud enough, but, not deafening. Bose speakers sound great, but, aren't known for the highest efficiency. I guess I'll see (hear) on the weekend.

    Mike J.
  15. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio!

    Jul 3, 2001
    Chester, Connecticut
    Former Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    IMHO, unless you're operating it outdoors on the tundra, any electronics gear that takes 24 hours to "sound best" isn't designed well.

    The trouble with that is that you're not going to remember accurately what it sounded like 24 hours earlier. Your ears are wonderful instruments, but they're subject to the whims of your brain. The system might perform exactly, exactly identically both days, but even just your being in a different mood will make you perceive it a little differently. Is the bass a little smoother, is the midrange a little harsher? Who knows? You can't go back in time and actually compare it, so you have no reference any more, and your imagination can end up influencing your judgment.
  16. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    IIRC Glockenklang recommends warming up their Class A amps for 30 minutes.

    Interestingly enough that's roughly the same amount of time our keyboardist's MiniMoog needed for warming up, or else it wouldn't hold the tuning.

    So I guess that's enough time for any circuit.
  17. I've heard tube amps should not run long without a load (something plugged into the input). I use an old Sunn Sorado all tube amp and I've been hesitant to turn it on before I've plugged in my bass. Does anyone know about this?
  18. Showdown


    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    By load, they generally mean on the output, i.e. a speaker. You can leave it on without a bass on the input as long as you want.
  19. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    I heard that alot of times when guys are gonna play in the studio,if they have a tube amp they leave it on for a few hours to get a better sound.

    I'm notorius for forgetting to turn off my amp,one time I left it on for a few days until I realized it and turned it off,it's still fine though.

    Everytime me and my guitarist play he has to remind me to turn it off:(
  20. I dunno, in our computer labs we have computers that have been running for years - almost continually. Computers generate a lot of heat too. Yes, if the fan fails it can cause problems, but if a fan fails in a $1,xxx amp head after being left on for a period of time, even over a weekend, I would bitch to high heaven;)

    but anyhow, i see no reason to leave my amp on all the time - i also dont think it sounds different after warming up - I SOUND different, but does the amp?

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