Bryston 4B gets HOT. Should I leave it on?

My 4B is 25 years old and gets smoking hot. I sherk my hand when I touch it. Is this seem normal for an old amplifier? It's off the ground and I'm going to add a fan near it to help ventilate...

My entire room gets warm because of it! I would rather turn it off when not in use to 1) save power and 2) reduce the heat buidup. However, I've been told that leaving it on is both better SOUNDING and EASIER on the components (less wear and tear). What do you guys think? Can I turn this oven off?
Bryston's are not biased high enough to get this hot during normal operation or at idle. As such, your amp is in need of attention. I would contact Bryston USA and send it in for service. While your unit is no longer under warranty, Bryston is phenomenally good about standing behind their products and doing so at very reasonable rates. Sean
Sean's advice is on the mark. A good friend has the same model Bryston amp as yours (he's using his in a second system), and his amp never gets terribly hot, even when being driven hard. While it may be easier on the internal components of solid state amps to leave them turned on, it is NOT good for those components to be continually exposed to high heat levels at idle.

You could send your amp immediately to the Bryston repair facility in Vermont, but you might first seek the advice of James Tanner, the technical expert at Bryston. You can send an E-mail to Tanner by going to Bryston's home web page, and clicking on the link at the bottom that reads "Technical questions please click here". On business days, Tanner normally responds to questions within 3-4 hours.

Until you get your amp checked, I'd recommend turning it off when not in use. When you plan to use it, turn the amp on about 20 minutes or so before playing music.
I feel like since I cannot afford to send it back right now, that I should turn it off and on until one day it breaks. Then, since Bryston charges fair repair costs, I'll send it back...?
Yes, you could wait until the amp quits working to send it in for repair, but by then you may face a much more expensive process due to deterioration or failure of other internal components. Like the Fram air filter ad used to say: you can pay me now (probably cheaper), or you can pay me later (almost certainly to be more expensive after a major problem). I'd send an E-mail to James Tanner and ask his advice -- that costs nothing, and may yield some very useful information.
I, too, owned the 4B for 10 years. Heat 'twas never a problem. Good advice above. peace, warren
If the amp is as hot as you state it is, you are going to increase the rate of failure of capacitors, possibly shorting out the transformer and / or bridge rectifiers when they decide to let loose, etc... This is not to mention that extreme heat will cause the value of other parts to shift, altering not only the reliability of the parts but also the sonics of the circuit.

If it were my amp and i liked it enough to want to keep it, i would either turn it off and leave it off until i could afford to get it fixed and use something else to listen to music through or "make the money appear" and send it in before something REALLY bad happens.

The guy that i dealt with at Bryston USA ( this was several years ago ) in their service department was Dennis. He was GREAT to deal with. You might try calling him up and asking his opinion about what he thinks since he is familiar with these products inside and out. Sean
Turn it off now! Heat (read excessive heat, above normal operating tempatures) convert into an inverse quadratic equation. That is each time the temp goes up "x" degrees over its intended operating temp, the wear factor is something like four times the norm.
There is probably something about this none of us know, so just be quick about getting yourself and your gear out of possible danger.
Bryston has a stellar reputation for customer service. Call them asap.
Good luck,
Most Bryston amps I have ever owned even when on 24/7 never get any hotter than just warm to the touch. I wouldn't leave YOUR AMP on till you get it repaired/inspected by Bryston.
Interesting... Bryston USA told me that they don't recommend keeping it on all day. I guess I'll keep it off most of the time, and hopefully it won't break :)
A) Bryston's are not high bias amps and therefore will not benefit as much as other amps that experience wide temperature swings between normal operation or being turned off.

B) Your amp is defective if it is running as you described it. While i hope that it does not "terminate itself" on you ( it's already broken according to what you stated ), i'm sure that it could sound better and pull a LOT less power than what it currently is.

Good luck... Sean
I've owned 4B's over 23 years, they depend upon lots of unrestricted air movement for cooling, put one in a closed in area and it will get too hot to touch! they produce a lot of power, and summer, heavy use, restricted air all can and do add to the heat. However that said, if it is getting as hot as you describe, and its got lots off available air [I always put mine on at least 2 inch tall 2 inch wide 12 inch long blocks running front to back, always placed with nothing above or below] I have had this occure more than once, if its the same thing you have a slight service problem. the remedy is easily preformed by any qualified tech. it is a simple adjusment of bias, usually one side gets hotter than the other, bingo. However whatever the problem, do yourself a favor, take care of it asap, I have twice had post warranty repairs to 4B's the bills were in Can.$110.00 and $130.00 I have a Bryston preamp and 8 Bryston amps in my system, and I'm damn glad I do.
p.s. a favorite way to place a 4B is alone on top of a milk crate, the kind that used to make good record holders, that proclaim property of so-and-so dairy, non-dairy ones are available from wall-mart type retailers, painted black, and with lots of the sides cut out, the 4B fits like it was made to, and placed behind a speaker. after all the less speaker wire the better. [i use almost none even though crossed over 5 ways, using 8 amps] Lastly, this set up has actually cured me of a never ending desire to upgrade that had lasted over 25 years, since the first day of 2003 over 7½ months, and still absolutely satisfied.
vetteman: What are you doing, mono-blocking with one amp feeding the treble ( or something similar ) ? Sean
I didn't think anyone was interested. I'll try to make sense; I have 6 mono amps and 2 stereo amps total. Each side has ½ the above [3 mono and 1 stereo] this gives 5 ways times two channels* [*commonly called- stereo, right and left] i call the 5 ways sub-woofer, woofer, lower mid, upper mid, and tweeter they are amplified by way of [all amps are Bryston] sub-woofer- 7B NRB, woofer- 7B ST, lower-mid- either side of a 3B ST, upper-mid- the other side of a 3B ST, tweeter- PP120 [Power Pac 120] all is wired with nearly no speaker wire, and has large gage wire from the amps output directly to the terminals of each individual driver, with the amps either mounted to the back of the speakers cabnet [3B ST, PP120] or placed on modified milk crates a few inches from the back of the cabnet.
also mounted directly to the backs of the main cabnet [consists of all but sub-woofer] are mono 5 way electronic active crossovers [including time adjustment]
all interconnects are balanced, two are long [from pre-amp to crossovers] all the rest are 2 - 3 feet except the crossover to subs [cause the subs are permanently installed attic mounted twin 18 inch drivers per side, infinite baffle] and of course the subs amps are also in the attic. I hope that answers your question completly and without much unasked for extra filler.
after rereading this thread i realized that i need to add this bit; I had used 4B amps for over 23 years, but within the last year have switched to 7B and 3B and PP120 [witch is ½ of a 3B]
The mind boggles at just the thought of using 8 amps for "two" speakers!
By the way, I take it that the Bryston folks aren't too concerned about a dangerous failure? If it's smoking hot and not supposed to be, I'd worry that it might actually cause a fire, especially if it were left on all the time.
Vetteman: Sounds like you are running something similar to what i'm doing, just in a different manner : )

I've got six stereo amps and am running all 12 of their channels. They are arranged so that each amp runs only one frequency range of one channel i.e. dual channel mono-blocks set up in an active tri-amp arrangement. Due to the multiplicity of drivers, low sensitivity, low impedances and high reactance, i chose this route so that each channel sees a reasonable load. On top of this, i now have twice the power for each channel to "combat" the efficiency / reactance problem. None of the amps are ever strained using this approach. I also remain in Class A operation for most use. This is primarily due to the reduced power levels required resulting from the limited bandwidth of operation that each amp is responsible for. As a side note, all the amps are biased relatively richly and idle somewhere between 130 - 150 degrees at the the heatsink.

To try and put this in English, i have one 2 channel amp running the line array of tweeters on the left and another identical 2 channel amp running the tweeters on right. I have another 2 channel amp running the mid panels on the left and another 2 channel amp running the mid's on the right. I have yet another 2 channel amp running the woofers on the left and another 2 channel amp running the woofers on the right. The signal is split between the two channels of each amp for each frequency range and each amplifier channel then feeds an identical number of multiple drivers.

Due to all of the cabling involved, the system looks like a "cluster" to say the least. I've got 12 speaker cables, tons of interconnects and a power cord for each component. On top of this, i have to have a power cord to run each of the tweeter arrays and mids, adding four more to the list. While i've tried to arrange this as neatly as possible, there's just SO much going on that it really CAN'T be "neat" and keep cable lengths reasonable :(

I am currently working on replacing my electronic 2 channel crossover with two separate mono units and i need to get my dual mono / dual chassis preamp repaired. I've got to talk to John Curl about sending this out to him and do it soon. Once i can get all of this straightened out, i'll be able to have a central rack for all of my sources and two identical racks for each channel consisting of the mono preamp, mono crossover and three amps per side. This will give me the benefit of being TRUE dual mono from the sources back. As it is now, the preamp and crossover that i'm running are stereo units and are located in the central rack with the sources. Sean
I agree with the previous posts, my Bryston 4b never gets hot even if I leave it on all day. However, the Pass Aleph 3 I auditioned, and the BAT VK200 I currently have both get very hot. Fast!

Turn off your Bryston when not in use and get it looked at when you can afford to.

Good luck!
Damn! I need to get more amps!
Pops: Keep your money and your sanity. Your probably better off with what you have : ) Sean
If indeed your amp is not working properly and if something in the amp were to fail during operation the amp could go DC. This would destroy any speakers hooked up to it. Then you would not only be out an amp but a a set of speakers also. A Bryston amp going DC would de especially bad with it being a class A amplifier. There is no reason for a bryston to get extremly hot unless they are out of normal working order. I have 3 Bryston 4B's in the theater I work in, They are on 365 days a year and work fine. But then again I have had a bryston get so hot inside it turned the fiberglass pc board into ash from what looked like a small fire. If suspect a problem with any Bryston I stop using it and send it in for service. An ounce of prevention is worth apound of cure!

Just the thread I need. I've got a pair of 7BSTs which I've had since 1996. One of them gets so hot you cannot keep your hand on the front let alone the top without burning it after about 30 seconds. It has always been too hot but now that I'm using it with my home theater it is over the top hot. After being on and driven for three hours it is bad.

Should I just sent it back to Bryston? Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance.
Yes Hugh, send it in for service!

I run a pair of 7B-ST's & after a 2-4 hour listening session they only get warm to the touch.

I would stop running it, you may wind up doing more damage if you don't.
Agreed, I haven't turned it back on after it did that twice. Warm would be fine but not this. Hopefully I don't already have damage.

Send it to Bryston. That is indeed atypical behavior and as such is in need of a competent tech's attention. I doubt you'll have to worry about any repair charges. They are a top flight company that takes customer service seriously. (I know this from personal experience.)
Sean...My God! No wonder interconnects are critical for you.
El: I can hear cable changes in all of my systems, not just this one. This one is tough though as one cable change means changing at least two at a time and possible up to eight all at once. That's why i either buy used or build my own. So far, i've been lucky enough to find phenomenal deals ($0.10 - $0.20 on a dollar ) on very long runs of high quality cables. Since i'm handy enough to cut and terminate them myself and have so many systems and cables, i'm thousands and thousands of dollars ahead compared to what i might be if buying new.

As far as Bryston goes, they have what is probably the best customer service / warranty in the industry. B&K also does a very nice job handling product problems, but not quite in the same league as Bryston. Obviously, the Bryston warranty speaks volumes in itself. Sean
The Bryston warranty is excellent and when I dropped a note to the company explaining my problem the CEO of Bryston, Christopher Russell, sent me a personal note and told me to send it back. That's service above and beyond and I will continue to support this fine company.