AVA Van Alstine SET 400 amplifier -- burn in?


I am not trying to spark a debate about burn in. I purchased an AVA SET 400 amplifier and will give it a listen for 30 days and decide if it works for me.

If you’ve owned this amp or other solid state amps from AVA and have noticed any changes to the sound over time, can you please describe for me?

I asked Mr. Van Alstine about this and his reply was "No burn in time, it’s running up to speed within a couple of minutes."

What’s your experience? It arrives in less than a week. Thank you.
8700e65e 845e 4b1b 91cc df27687f9454hilde45
Its been a liong time since I've owned a SS amp. But I'm pretty sure  they had a break in period. Not that long but maybe a week at the most. AAMOF, burn in is the very reason many a'philes leave their amps powered up 24/7/365. I did. Thats the one advantage that SS has over tubes. Its always ready to sound its best. Tube amp 20 min minimum for sound to open up.
Yeah, some think burn is a farce, some a must. 
  I’m the “there is a warm up process for better sound”

    As soon as they arrive, set up, plug in and power on, leave the amps pushing power via CD player preamp etc , listen right away for a while, then leave the cd on repeat, or stream (if that’s ur thing) continuously and see if you notice a difference. 
   I can very much hear a laser effect from initial turn on, versus being on for 10 hours, before I give a good listen.
    I turn on my amp, preamp, source, the night before I listen,
  I usually start some tunes about 4-5 pm after work, after being on from the night before for warm up.

    There is a definite difference, when first powered up, the bass is just tight  and with little depth, same for the midrange, but after that warm up of give or take 10 or 24 hours, I can very much hear a difference in the beauty coming from my speakers to my ears.       The bass is deeper, with more depth, and the midrange is like a laser beam of perfection. It’s more fluid like, with a better sense of each guitar chord or power chord , solo. 
    I know, it sounds dumb, I can hear a difference.Teflon takes longer to get to temp I have been told. 
Enjoy.
leave them on, and let us know what you hear......from initial power up , and after a week of being powered up.
I would give it at least 30 hours of play time before critical evaluation of any new amp. I do not own the AVA Set 400, but a good friend does and he felt it opened up more after a while.
Break In, not burn in..

The manufacture probable lets them percolate for 1-200 hours before you get it. EVERYTHING breaks in.. Period.. He just may have bench tested enough that YOUR changes will be very subtle. Usually after the first 45 minutes to an hour, thing quit sounding wonky and settle in. In about a week you'll get use to it. That's when I notice if something get messed with..  Tone control (the wife will change the tone control.. :-)

Teflon caps I have to leave the room 200 hours.. at least.. I quit using them because of the long break in times..
I went to copper foil. Night and day..
I have two of the AVA SET amps - I think they do settle in a bit with break in, but both sounded great out of the box.
The caps in my amp were switched out to Teflon, which is the 24 hour warm up time. 
  The odyssey amps are crazy nuts with break in or burn, or whatever it’s called.  They did take several hundred hours,....very odd, but the reward was worth it, I was so excited each day to listen, I was met with a different sound every other day it seemed,
   After a couple months of continuously on, it was a truthful strange ride to get where I’m at now, the real transformation in sound is something I’ve never done before. 
 I do shut them off , and t takes about 2 days for them to get back to that kismet tone-sound.  
 Even my aging yammy receiver I use to record LP’s to my computer I warm up for a day to warm up. 
Thanks for the replies so far. Very helpful.

Looking forward to hearing it! I will let it "break in" and give it a bunch of time. I'll post some initial and some later observations, if I can. The manufacturer does not run them as far as I can tell. I asked but he only said what I relayed. Somewhat hard to know what he meant.
Most AVA enthusiasts are over on AudioCircle.  Might be worth asking the same question there.
leave it on playing music a day or two - should do the trick

sound change if any will be pretty minimal i suspect
Very interested in your findings, this was a amp I was considering before getting my class A amp.
Owners of AVA amps usually really like the sound.
@gryphongryph I’ll post them. I have tube stuff and thought, I should try a solid state just as a possible alternative -- for variety, for backup, etc. I researched Sugden, Pass, Belles, and some other Class A stuff, but since I put my system together recently and my speakers require a bit of oomph to drive, I decided on the SET 400. Apparently, it’s made to sound fairly "warm" (I know, vague word), and that it runs in class A for the early watts. And, it’s $2k rather than much more than that. Seemed worth a shot.

My room is just recently (like, yesterday) about as dialed in as I can make it, and so this weekend I’ll listen to my tube stuff with the bigger tubes (KT88’s rather than 77’s) to set that impression in stone (with the room settled) and then I’ll try the SET 400 initially and then run it in a while, and compare. At its price point, it seems hard to beat, but if I don’t like it, I’ll send it back.

FWIW, I've been listening to a relatively new podcast with Duncan (of TMR) and Darren (of P.S. Audio) and one of them made the interesting comment that as their system has improved, some tracks which sounded ok now sound great, where others that sounded great now reveal flaws. They both understand recording and mastering, and since that part of the equation is all over the map, the "dialed in" nature of any system is fluctuating from both the gear and recording side. This seems like something audiophiles know already, but the way they described it helped solidify the ever-heterogenous nature of "the" sound of one's system. That helps me chill out with tracks that tempt me to blame my system too quickly. It also makes a powerful little argument to always have a tweak (a different bit of kit or an equalizer) handy.
i personally dont want to get opinions from members on how something should sound out of the box or after a few days of run time. 
  i think that when you do this, you are setting expectations and if those expectations dont happen , then one is disappointed .       

 how something sounds in another members system is not going to be the same as another member as there are to many variables to consider (other equipment  / cables / room, etc. )

one should be able to know pretty quick if something is a keeper or not.
@riley804 Your caution is appreciated.

I'm confident enough in my abilities to listen for myself. But one help for me in this hobby has been to hear about what others have heard -- especially if they have heard *any* change at all. Same as when I go to a new city -- I ask friends about what they heard, saw, enjoyed there. It primes me to be alert to things, but it doesn't force me to prejudge things. Anticipation and conditioning are different for me. Sounds like you feel differently. To each his/her/their own.
@hilde45   Years ago I auditioned this amp.  I paired it with Magnepan 1.7's.  On paper I thought this would be a perfect match.  During the 100 or so hours I listened, it's character did not change much.  I found it a bit flat and lacking in bass.  In fairness, I did not have their matching preamp (which was discontinued after a very short production run) so some blame might have been placed there.  After that I auditioned a Marantz Reference intergrated which I found much more pleasing to my ear--more subtle, smooth, spacious, with shockingly good bass relative to the AVA.  Really wanted to like that amp but could not deny what I was hearing.  
Also of note were a couple of small scratches and a buzzing transformer.  So back it went.  Cancelled the preamp order as well.
This is not to discourage you.  Systems are all about synergy as you already know.  But more to your question, I did not note it to change much in character over 100 hrs.
@corelli Thanks for your experience. I don't know how long it's been out. I cannot find reviews for the amp prior to 2018, so I suspect that "years ago" meant within the last three years. Unless it just didn't get a review for a while after it was released. 

I won't be driving Maggies, but I admit that it's capacity to drive something like Maggies was in the back of my mind. I am driving Salk speakers with it.
@hilde45 Forgive my haste.  I actually auditioned the  FET Valve 400 amp, a step above the SET 400.  Good luck, look forward to your impressions.
I look forward to hear your thoughts on this amp. AVA is generally thought to be great value products. 
@corelli -- thanks for the clarification. This is solid state. I think Van Alstine's marketing technique of using SET for a solid state amp can be confusing.

@mesch  Thanks -- will relay. I've been using both Atoll and Adcom solid state which, as I understand it, are similar but not nearly identical.
you have salks now, that right, dave?

should be a very very nice match

enjoy!
@wjob I
have two of the AVA SET amps - I think they do settle in a bit with break in, but both sounded great out of the box.

Before sending them out, I wonder if AVA leaves them powered on for say 48-72hrs, re-checks specs and re-adjusts bias if required. Pass does this before shipping them out worldwide. If so, this might partially explain the "sounded great out of the box" comment a bit more. I’m with others about giving it at least a week of good run-in before making judgement.

For warmup, with every good Class A/AB MOSFET SS amp I’ve ever owned it took at least 1hr minimum warmup just to get started, and even better at 3-4hrs when transformers were good and saturated with heat would any type of wonder-wall of 3D type of magical sound kick in.

Your updates @hilde45 will be interesting. Should be fun.