Adjusting tubes for bias and other tube hassles

OK I'm a newbie here and am thinking about jumping into tubes. (Have sent final tuition payemnt to last child's college.) Am concerned about the hassle of such things as "adjusting for bias," etc. that I've read about. Is it anything that a basically non-handy person has to worry about?
Adjusting the bias on the majority of today's tube amps is extremely simple. Quite a number of manufacturers now include "auto-biasing" circuits so there is nothing for the user to do. Where manually adjusting the bias is still a requirement, it's usually accompished very simply by turning a screw until an LED turns off or a meter shows a given setting. And biasing is only a very occasional maintenance task one new tubes have settled in a bit. In sum, for the majority of manufacturers today, this is not something to be concerned about -- easy to learn and then do.
I bought a pair of older VTL 300 Deluxe Mono Blocks and didn’t have a clue about biasing. Like you I asked a few questions here, which sent me to VTL’s home page. The instructions were posted there. I had to go to Radio Shack and buy a Digital Multi-Meter, I don’t remember the price but it was cheap. The instructions were easy to follow. It’s kinda like changing wiper blades on a new car. It look complicated but it’s easy.

I do it when I re-tube them and twice a year after that, takes 10 minutes.

Good Luck
I think the biasing and other hand-on "hassles" you describe, including rolling, testing, etc. are part of the allure of using tubes. Just like the experiences of LP playback (cleaning, setting up your table, etc.) make it unique. As they say, the journey IS the destination. If you don't hassle-free equipment. Stay away from tubes.
The above posters have had much better experiences than many of their tube power amp compatriots. Some tube amps are guaranteed to burn your fingers due to poor positioning of bias pots and will go out of bias like changes in the weather. Not all, mind you, but enough of them.

I also respectfully submit that there are not all that many tube amps which autobias. Many of VAC's amps do (my VAC Renaissance 140's do) and the Audio Valve amps do, both of which are exceedingly fine amps. As for manual bias amps, many are indeed well designed and rarely need adjustment (but not enough of them). One example at the outer limits of luck involved a friend with Sonic Frontiers Power 3's that never went out of bias and never blew output tubes, despite being run hard all of the time.

My experience is that an auto shut-down feature to stop failing output tubes is the most valuable feature for tube amps (this is another feature of my VAC tube amps). I would not leave a tube amp unattended unless it comes from a top-notch manufacturer and has a tube shut-down feature, as some output tubes can arc or explode (a few even Roman candle!) when they fail, and many, many tube amps use burn-up resistors to protect the output transformers that can literally flame out when output tubes go (not only is it a potential fire hazard, but it requires that new resistors be soldered in).

You also need to remember that you can't just sit down and listen to tunes whenever you want with a tube amp, as they need to warm up for at least fifteen minutes or so before listening, and you really don't want to be turning them on and off four times a day, as the resultant thermal cycles are destructive. High-end solid-state amps are left on 24/7 and you can catch a listen whenever.

Good tube amps are also relatively expensive, as they require high-quality output transformers and power supplies, which are VERY expensive and result in a very heavy amp (like $10K+ per amp retail price and 100 lbs+ weight). There are simply no shortcuts to a good tube amp (if it's inexpensive and you can pick it up by yourself, put it back down and keep walking), whereas good solid-state amps are cheaper to make.

Enough negatives -- one big advantage to tube amps (besides superior sound from the good ones) is that you basically have a brand-new amp after you re-tube them. Some of the better solid-state amps become unfixable because they use limited production output transistors that go out of production, rendering the amp worthless if output devices fail. Also, when a solid-state amp breaks, you can't just pop a new tube in and go back to listening -- it has to be serviced.

In any event, tube amps certainly have plusses, but they have minuses as well and are generally not hassle-free. For me, they are worth it, but lots of people just give up on them.
The responses so far deal with tube amps. I understood from posts here that preamps were less of a hassle and good place to enter the tube experience. The preamp tubes are subject to less stresses, run cooler, last longer, etc. So I have started with a tubed preamp and am happy with the easy of operation and the improvement of sound over solid state.
hey dherzog, fwiw, i switched to a int tube amp that was affordable, modified, and weighs under 50 lbs and it sounds pretty darn great to me. i adjust bias every few mos and it takes 10 minutes max. true they need warm up time but even ss amps should warm up a little. i was just like you, go out and get a decent affordable tube amp from a reputable name and i bet you will not go back to ss. don't let gloom and doom types scare you away... and don't believe you need a 90 lb. amp and $5000 to enjoy tube sound. if you can change a light bulb and work a screwdriver you can handle tube amps :) keep in mind vacuum tubes have been in home stereos for a lot longer than ss and our parents did not all die in house fires and freak explosions! i still have a massive vacuum tube in my new sony tv. just don't bath with it and you will survive.
Lots of tube preamps don't require manual biasing. If a tube gets noisy switch sides to determine which tube is noisy, and then replace.

Also typically you should warm up tube amps about 30 minutes before biasing.

Lamm recommends a Fluke meters (Specific models on their website) because cheap Multimeters are not accurate enough. My Music Reference RM9 has bias lights built-in which made life really easy!