Techie Question: Can amps operate on their side?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Aram, Sep 11, 2003.

  1. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Can my QSC RMX 2450 power amp and Demeter '201s operate normally when the rack is on its side (meaning the rack would be vertical, rather than the conventional horizontal placement)?

    Is there any reason why it might be bad practice to do this? I'm asking because the rack is a little too big to sit on top of my Acme B-1.

  2. fourstring44


    Jul 22, 2003
    St. Louis
    I've done this off and on for years, with no problems, but I've often wondered if it was actually OK to do this. So if anybody out there knows, I would be interested in knowing to.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Why should it matter? There are no moving parts, like in a harddisk for example.

    Just make sure the ventilation can work.
  4. Yes, but it will cause the sound to be 90 degrees out of phase with the other instruments.
  5. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Thanks for the replies.

    I wasn't sure if it would matter...I was mostly concerned about the Demeter, though, because I thought I remembered something about tubes having to be a certain way to operate properly or something. Maybe that was power tubes? or not...

  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
  7. I'm with JMX.

    (previous post j/k ...):)
  8. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    I know :D

    Seriously, though, anything to that tubes thing, or am i delusional? I could swear i read that somewhere...

  9. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    I hope not, because I've been laying my Aguilar DB728 on its side. :)

    I haven't noticed any problems with it that way, so I wouldn't think there's anything wrong with doing it. ;)
  10. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Are you suggesting that electron flow differs if it is horizontal or vertical?

    My computer has the mother board mounted vertically, n'est pas?

    The key issue has been nailed, adequate ventilation.

    One of my fave amps is an old Heathkit mono.
    Huge transformer and exposed tubes. Looks great.
    Looks like NASA 1969.

    So cool. Mount it wherever you need to.

  11. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    My dad had a Heathkit -- I never got to hear it though. I think my mom threw it out :(

    I really don't know anything about EE, so I'm definitely not suggesting anything about electron flow. I just thought i had heard something about the orientation of tubes being a problem...maybe it was chinese tubes that had a problem? Crap, i really can't remember -- never mind. :cool:
  12. I don't think the tubes care which way they go. lots of old amps have the tubes hanging down froma chassis, most hve them standing upright, and I think there are stomp boxes and 1 sp rack units that have them sideways. Assuming you have the amp/preamp "right side up", they go every which way.

    Ventilation would be the only thing I can think of, but that shouldn't be an issue unless you have an amp with a fan mounted on the side and it covered up the hole.

    Stay Low,


    p.s. - my first stereo was a heathkit! 9 W/chan!
  13. Actaully you need to be carefull turning tube amps on their side. Throwing off the center of gravity of a tube can make for intermittant socket connections, VERY bad. Also regarding upside down and sideways, you need to be careful that the internal parts don't short under heat expansion and gravity. Part of the "STR" designation that Sylvania made for Fender in the 70's was that the tubes could operate upside down without shorting, a serious problem encountered because the then newer Fender designs ran at much higher voltages than their previous ones.
  14. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    YAY -- I'm not (completely) insane! Thanks Psycho -- does this go for my Demeter pre too, or just power amp tubes?
  15. Usually just power tubes, but VERY badly made preamp tubes will short, too.
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Since your RMX 850 has no tubes, it should be fine on its edge. I've always run my QSC MX1500a on its side with no ill effects. That amp has been a major workhorse for at least 8 years.

    Also, if it were me, I wouldn't sweat running the Demeter on its side, either. PBG is right, of course, but as long as you don't bounce the danged thing around, those little preamp tubes oughtta stay put.
  17. Aram


    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Cool -- thanks everyone for your help!

  18. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    An amp on its side? No problem.


    Mar 12, 2003
    USA, PNW
    It'S OK to run a solid state amplifier on it's side. Just make sure it is stabalized so it won't tip over and fall to the floor. The 90 degree phase issue can be cured by playing all gigs on your side. Then when you get profiecient at that you can rotate your rig vertically to 180 degrees and play on your back :D

    Tube amps are a bit tricker. You probably should resort to the owners manual for position situations. But, I do have this California made Audimetric AM441 400 watt feed-forward MOSFET amplifier that I use for surround speaker: this amp doesn't have cooling fans at all. The heat dissipates out of the top and side grill work so placing it on it's side might reduce the natural tendency for heat to rise up. And so forth,...

    Another thing that you might try is to make a custom cabinet or rack to put your amp into and set your other items on to of that.

    Hope this helps dude.
  20. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Maybe that's why Fieldy plays with his bass pointing at the ceiling?