Big mistake to leave tube amplifiers on all the time.
Tube amplifiers have large and dangerous voltages in them, and leaving them on, unattended is very dangerous. They need to be under ones' watch as at anytime a power tube may 'blow' and start a fire, or just plain scare the hell out of you. You would have to be crazy to leave a tube power amplifier on all the time.
They do not blow up all the time, but often enough to be really dangerous to leave unattended.
There are PLENTY of great sounding solid state amps you can leave on all the time.
Elizabeth is correct. Although I'm using a large tube amp in my 2 channel rig with HT pass through, I would never leave it on 24/7 for safety reasons. Also electrical costs and pointless tube degradation play a factor. Go SS for this project.
At one point, I was using all ARC tube amps for my home theatre. (I didn't leave them on all the time, of course). The system consisted of a very old Dual 75a that I have owned since the early 70's, a Classic 60 that was relatively new, and a large monoblock that I purpose bought to use as a center channel amp. (the woofers, a pair of velodynes, were self-powered).
The system sounded great with Snell speakers, but it was HOT after a few hours in the viewing room. I have slowly migrated away, first switching to solid state for the rears, then eventually all channels. I now use a large McIntosh multi-channel amp with oodles of power, and, at least for home theatre use, it sounds great. (My music system is not part of this theater system). I still use tubes in the audio system, but that's another story.
Have you priced power tubes lately?
Thanks and I will now skip tubes. I assume a Hybrid Amp would be in the same league. I will stick to SS and let the fun begin.
Actually a hybrid would be much less of a problem for continuous operation . Usually the hybrid is only one 9 pin dual triode miniature tube. I think that they rarely do much in terms of delivering the tube magic but others disagree. These small tubes run at much lower voltages use little energy and last a long while (10,000 hrs some claim). Still all SS maybe your best bet in terms of sound quality which is obviously your goal .
I have a pair of Class D hybrid monos, from Arion Audio (500w pc) in my stereo-HT system. Believe it or not, they replaced a BAT VK600SE (a formidable amp). I leave them on all the time and the sound is out of this world.
I was trying to read through your system list and figure out what you are
using as a preamp for music, is it the ARCAM processor? I'm not in any
way dissing ARCAM, or theatre processors in general (well, maybe a little
bit on the latter), but if you wanted to try see what effect some tubes would
have in your system, a tube preamp or line stage might be the ticket. I
never tried to integrate my home theatre and music systems, so i'm not
sure what that would entail.
I also found that multichannel audio can be very good for some material,
less so for other music. So, I'm not voting against having multiple channels
in your music system. However, you might have some fun trying your set
up (it looks like you could do this as an experiment), by just hooking up a
simpler two channel system, temporarily, and using a really good line
stage? (This may go against the grain of running digital sources 'directly'
into the amps, but if I am reading your system correctly, you aren't doing
that anyway, you are running your sources through the processor?)
Well i was looking at the Conrad Johnson ET250S. Any one have any experience with this amp?
Look into the Butler Audio TDB (Tube Driver Blue) 5150, 5 channels of 150 wpc with a 6SN7 tube (run very conservatively) driving SS output. I leave mine on all the time - about 6 years now - with no heat issues. Gives a nice blend of tube harmonics and SS bass grunt.
I like tubes in home theatre, but only with 90 db or higher efficency speakers. I have also used tubes just for the center channel to good effect.....input sensitivity was matched at 100k. I like to bi-amp as well with tubes driving the top end, SS on the bottom. After a few tube changes though, the Bryston amps sound very good again.
Thus, I have two HT systems, one for music DVD's, the other for movies. I don't need tubes to hear, a car crash or gun shots. Do the right thing.....two systems. Jallen
Whart- Thank you very much for such a detailed response.
I run my Cable Box and a Modified OPPO 95 to my ARCAM FMJ888 via HDMI for movies. So far I am very pleased with the results. I just bought a CARY 7.250 7 channel amp for multi channel listening. I decided to skip Tubes after reading opinions on this post. Plus I got a great deal on this Amp.
For two channel listening I go analogue from the OPPO to the ARCAM and select direct and the sound through my Dragons is very pleasing and again I am very happy.
I guess I could look into upgrading my mono Dragons to Hybrids when things settle down. That should be fun.
Ridom - How much were those amps? They look very interesting.
They were about $4,000. Google them. I am using them with planars (Analysis Audio Omega) and leave them always on. I did not open them, but I think they have one 6H30 each. Incredible sound. They are made by the Analysis Audio distributor
I also have the butler audio amp which replaced the most expensive Classe amp. I like the butler better. I am using electrostatic speakers all around with a JL audio sub.
Ridom - The spects say the MK1000 is a straight Class D amp not a hybrid. What model are you talking about?
The HS-500. Contact Mike Kallelis at Analysis Audio USA. He is the designer and manufacturer.
Anyway, I checked in Google and Arion Audio is there..