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quick and easy question for tube amp owners

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BartmanPDX, Mar 26, 2006.

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  1. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Is it bad for a tube amp to be turned on and off relatively frequently (say for 15-30 minute playing sessions)? Does that damage the tubes much?

    If so, how much damage does it do?
  2. I don;t own a tube amp but don't you have a standby switch?

    (600 posts! yes!)
  3. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    If you're going to do it that frequently, i'd leave it on standby until you're done playing for the night.
  4. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I haven't bought one yet, but I'm considering it, as I like the sound a lot and weight is not an issue for me. My problem is I often only get to play for a short period of time (15-30 minutes) at night, after the wife gets home and before the toddler goes to sleep. A nightly session for me might only be 15 minutes of playing out loud before I'm forced to go back to the headphones. :(
  5. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I don't see why turning it on and playing for a half hour then turning it off for the night would mess it up. Now, if you turned it on-played for a bit-turned it off-waited 15 minutes-turned it on-played for 10 minutes-turned it off..repeat... etc.... THEN I would guess that maybe something might fry out or something.
  6. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Having done some more research, it seems like tube amps are a little high maintenance. I would have the advantage of not moving it (and I would isolate it from the cab with some Auralex material), so that might help. However, I read a lot on biasing, etc., and it started to get really complicated.

    Fortunately, my wife has a Ph.D. from Stanford in Electrical Engineering and works with a bunch of geniuses at the world's largest microchip maker, so I can probably find help if I need it. :D
  7. Theonestarchild

    Theonestarchild Artfully lost

    Aug 23, 2005
    North Carolina
    Tube amps aren't the magic alot of new players make them out to be ("let me go get a marshall, and I'll be faster, better sounding, and more accurate"), but they do deliver a rich and warm tone. Often times the ss amps are a little too sterile. If you do grab a tube amp, make sure to let the tubes warm up before you turn on the standby. Otherwise, *boom* "Honey, lets go order some tubes!". It won't hurt them terribly much to turn it on and play for a bit, just give it time to warm up and then leave it on standby for a bit before you kill off the power. Tubes (or valves) last for quite a while, and when they do need replacing, it can get expensive or hard to do. But in my opinion, well worth it if you have the scratch. Too bad I don't.
  8. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Thanks for the info. I'm pretty sure I can sweet-talk the wife into letting me score a used Mesa 400+ if I do the taxes for her and play my cards right. I've lusted after a Mesa 400+ for a while now, and the fact that my current amp is failing gives me some confidence that I can talk her into it. :D
  9. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Dig around and search on this board and you'll find "expert" opinion on how to turn on and off one of these amps. You got your volume control, standby, power and got to get them in the right order. It's like starting up the old tractor i... pull the choke unless the engine is warm, but if you flood the cold engine push in the choke ....

    You figured it it's that important it would be part of the turn on circuitry - every other amp I have has a delayed turn on, and isn't harmed by turning off or required a complicated standby switch operation (it's a mute) - or maybe tube manufacturers should clearly printed in there manuals the recommended turn on/turn off steps. Naw - they wouldn't know better than the "experts" or the persistence of folk lore.

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