does your system "warm up" and then sound better?

I leave my amp on all the time but I'm wondering if all the other components warm up too. Speakers, pre amp, cd player, cables, ears? It seems that my system sounds better after an hour or so. What gives?
I leave everything on 24/7
You can do this with SS components which have insignificant idle draw- when leaving them on all the time. They generally do sound better than cold components
You can't do this with with tube gear because even the lower current on the tubes will still age the tubes and you'll burn thru them at an unacceptable rate. I have good NOS preamp tubes in my amps which I hope to preserve for as long as I can, so I never like to see my amps on when not in use. I have mistakenly gotten distracted and found them on much to my chagrin.

The Answer is no for tubes Yes for SS.
Mechans, the answer to the OP's question would be yes to both SS and tube amps sound wise, would it not? A good 2 hour warm up for tubes is a must anyway. Lots of class A SS amps are better off with a warm up period also, cost wise. Unless you double up your amp as a heat source. Any component will sound "better" fully warmed up. More like at it's "best".
I think Mechans meant its not a good idea to leave tube gear on 24/7. I have to agree. Tube gear, just like solid state, usually benefits from some warm up time before listening.

To the OP; leave everything on that you can. If you leave your CD player and preamp on all the time, you should notice a nice difference. I have a CD player that takes several days to sound right after its been powered off.
Yes, I find especially when listening to vinyl, that the cartridge requires one album side to come out of it's hibernation mode. I feel that the amps and pre-amp get better as they reach operating temperature as well.
I leave ss components on 24/7 (in low power "sleep" mode if available). Tubes I fire up at least 30 minutes before I start listening. I do think things sound better after listening an hour or so. Theo's observation about cartridge performance is interesting. I'll have to try and see if I hear a consistent improvement listening to the 2nd side of the first LP played in a given evening.
The 'no for tubes' is not true for preamps.
I have left my VAC Standard on so far, with used tubes on 24/7 for two years now with no deterioration.
Many tube preamps can go for a very long time before replacing tubes..
Not so tuube amps.And you should never leave a tube amplifier unattended anyway..
(My tube preamp is sealed, so I am far less worried about a fire in it)
All mine has are (2) 12AU7 and (2) 12AX7
So do you recommend that leave my pre amp and cd player on too? Also, do speakers "warm up"? What about cables? If so, how long does it take? Thanks for the info everyone! :-)
I leave my CDP on all the time. It draws little and never heats up. Same for my DVD player. My integrated gets too warm for my tastes if I leave it on for a day or so, so I only turn it on and try not to listen for about 30 minutes as I can really tell the difference as it warms up from a cold start.

A small sacrifice to pay to the audio gods and my patience.

All the best,
Yes. Speakers. They have bits that move. It's the moving bits that make noise by vibrating. We call this noise music. Vibrating bits vibrate differently at different temperatures. Different kinds of vibrating will make different kinds of noise. It's, like, science. You could call it, "warming up." It's not (just) in your head. Things just start to come together and cohere just so-ly after about an hour with every set of speakers I've ever met.

As for the electronic bits that just sit about and pass electrons, all passive and not moving like, folks'll tell you warming up matters. I leave mine on all the time 'cause it's easier than wondering why I've never heard any difference. But, been years since I've really turned any of it off, so what do I know.....
I also leave my stuff on all the time but it still sounds better after I play a CD or two.
Anyone want to take a stab at an explanation?
Rja. Me too. I leave my whole system on all the time. If you look out your window on a clear day and you see an electrical vortex well that is where I live. After about twenty minutes it sounds better to me. I often go back to the song first played after twenty minutes it sounds more like I like it than on the first play. Only my dog knows why.
I turn my stuff off after use. I have found that the caps and the transformer are fresher in the morning and perform much better becasue they are well rested. And as pertains to the speaker crossovers, it's night and day!!
Speakers. Let me take another stab, in case I was being too obtuse.

Think of your car. The mechanical work of making a car go happens in the engine. Engines tend to work better once they've warmed up to operating temperature. You know, friction and tolerances an expanding and contracting materials at different temperatures. Often, the higher the performance, the stricter the mechanical tolerances, and the more warming up matters. Your engine doesn't give a damn if you leave your lights on all the time. Sure lights'll be all warmed up ahead of time, good on ya, but you still have to actually run the engine to warm up the engine.

So, barring a few gross over-generalizations, what's the fundamental difference about warming up speakers even if the standby light on your CDP has been on for nine years? There isn't one. Yes?
Mezmo, nice point.

I think that the warm up period would be shorter, in the mechanical sense (cones, drivers) but when it comes to cross overs, I guess they'd have to warm up like any other electronic device.

Heck, has anyone (hopefully not) considered how long it takes to warm up cabling?
(I'm only kidding!) :-)

All the best,
I could be dead wrong about this, but I think a passive device performs best when cold. I still have no conclusion as to why there seems to be an increase in performance after pausing my CDP. I still suspect it could be the crossovers cooling down a bit in the interim. They can and very often do, get sizzlingly hot. After all, a super conductor has theoretically zero resistance. I leave my SS amps on 24/7 also. But I think the reason they sound their best warmed up is because this is when offset and bias become stable. Not because the flow of electrons is optimal.
I turn my equipment on a few minutes before listening and turn it off when I'm finished. The cdp stays warm to the touch in standby so I don't think it needs any warm up time. The amp warms up in 10 minutes or so.
My car is at operating temp in about five minutes.
I used to own a 1973 Cadillac Deville. It had a motor. This pig simply would not warm up until I started actually driving. No matter how long it sat idling!
I turn my equipment on for a minimum of thirty minutes before listening and and leave it on for thirty minutes after I've stopped listening. I don't know what gives but my system works much better after it's be on at least an hour !!!!!
hmmm, now Im a bit confused. Should I leave my pre amp and cd player on all the time in addition to my amp? If so, does it wear out my components (caps and whatever else) sooner than if I didn't leave all that stuff on? If I do (and I have been) leave my ss amp on all the time, is it heating up my crossovers in my speakers even when I'm not listening to music?
why there seems to be an increase in performance after pausing my CDP
The player resets, that;s why you get a marginally better sound.

B_limo: I think that you're OK if you keep your pre & cdp on. Keeping your amp on all the time may be costly!
Okay, but why does it then fall off again? And is there a way to prevent it from happening?
When I had solid state amps and linestages I left them on all of the time (except when I was at home and a thunderstorm approached). I currently leave my CD player on all of the time. Solid state gear does not suffer as much from being on all of the time than is the case with tube gear. Solid state gear also takes much longer to warm up and sound its best after being turned off.

I turn off my tube gear when not in use because tubes have a relatively short lifespan as compared to other components. It takes about 15 minutes for the tube gear to warm up and sound decent.
Larryi, you said " solid state gear also takes much longer to warm up and sound its best after being turned off." I don't understand what you are trying to say here. Please elaborate :-)
Most of the solid state amps I've had or heard in my system took MUCH longer to sound their best. The latest that I heard in my system was a friend's First Watt J2. It sounded very good from turn on, but delivered better dynamic shading and a large soundstage after it had been on for about 45 minutes. While that amp runs a little hot, I think it is one that I would turn on at the beginning of the day and leave it on for most of the day.

A friend's Krell, which operates in class A (so it naturally runs very hot) took much longer than that to sound its best, which would be a problem because that amp is one that should not be on all of the time.

The various solid state linestages I have owned, such as the Placette Active and a Levinson No. 32 stayed on all of the time. Both would sound lifeless if not fully warmed up. The Naim folks said that their CD players should be left on all of the time and take a minimum of a whole day to sound decent if shut off for a long period. They claim that optimal performance is reached after one week of full time operation. I think that is really overdoing the warmup bit, but, I don't turn it off because it is intended to be left on all of the time. My solid state FM tuner is never turned off even when the switch is in the off position (off turns off the display only) because the manufacturer thinks that it takes a long time for the tuner to become stable after it is turned off.

I know there are tube gear people who also don't turn off their equipment because they think it sounds better that way. But, for me, that would be WAY crazy, particularly since my amplifier runs four tubes that now cost $1,000 each and the linestage runs 4 tubes that are closing in on that kind of money too, and the phono stage. . . you get the picture.
Larryi, cool, thanks! It's sounding like I should just leave all my gear on 24/7.
Anyone who said warm tubes would sound better is correct. They sound much better than cold tubes. I was thinking of the leaving them on all the time part of the question,
Even with solid state gear, there is some debate about the disadvantages, in terms of equipment longevity/reliability about leaving gear on 24/7. First, there is a possibility, however remote, of failure that could cause a fire. Second, there is the issue of lightning strike or other powerline calamity (some people unplug gear completely when not in use to prevent that kind of damage). The third concern has to do with heat--high heat will shorten the life of any component. If you look at specifications for parts, such as resistors, transistors and capacitors, the lifetime projections show shortened life expectancy for higher heat conditions. Some people will say that certain parts, such as electrolytic capacitors are actually better off being charged all the time, but, the flip side of that is the heat issue. One should check with the manufacturer about this sort of thing if ultimate longevity is a big concern; in terms of sound, fully warmed up gear, whether tube or solid state, sounds better.
I very carefully experimented with a Unico hybrid. It would take two days to sound its best, with significant changes at 2/4/6/8 hour marks. Even swapping hot tubes with cold, the amp otherwise fully warmed up (i.e. on for at least two days), took four hours for the sound to stabilize (and improve). I tested over several weeks, rolling my fair collection of 12AU7's. Speakers were Fostex F120A single driver augmented with electrostatic super-tweeter.
-- William
Everything warms up Dude!!
Larryi, Electrolytic caps are worse with temperature. ESR increases with temperature sometimes even causing thermal runaway when capacitor heats itself by ripple current times ESR (mostly old dried-up caps). On the other hand electrolyte eats dielectric - aluminum oxide over long time storage. Voltage rebuilds layer of aluminum oxide keeping breakdown voltage up. Temperature is causing also electrolyte to dry-up cutting life of capacitor by half for every 10degC increase.

Temperature also changes viscosity of ferrofluid used mostly in tweeters but sometimes even in midrange. My speakers (Hyperion HPS-938) have 6.5" midrange without suspension (spiderweb) using ferrofluid as a suspension.

Yes, parts (including semiconductors) are getting worse (fail) with temperature but it is very small effect until you cross about 100degC where numbers of failures starts getting very high.
Timrhu brings up a good point.

"I turn my equipment on a few minutes before listening and turn it off when I'm finished. The cdp stays warm to the touch in standby so I don't think it needs any warm up time. The amp warms up in 10 minutes or so."

A lot of equipment goes into standby mode when you hit the power button and not turn off completely. Its like a best of both world approach. Some parts stay on and some shut off completely. My Ayre amps do this.
I asked the question "do speakers warm up too?" a long time ago in the forums.
i "preheat" my amp, preamp, & cdp for 30-45 minutes before listening just like many people do. but after listening to a cd for the hour or so of music on it, i strongly feel that the last 10 minutes or so seems more involving, fuller; the illusion of real musicians playing becomes more powerful. So this can be related to a psychological factor where my senses and/or brain receptors become more acute over time, or the system does indeed seem to reach an equilibrium after going through its paces for a prolonged span of time. perhaps BOTH factors are at work at the same time.
Eating chocolate cake results in enjoying it less and less after you've had two pieces, but listening to music gets to be more fun over time (for me anyway).
i have ALSO discovered (which is true for just about everyone i think) that music
I didn't understand at first (and therefore didn't like very much) is now material i reach for again and again. Brahms for example- couldn't get into it for a long time. Now i don't understand why that is. Our brains and our musical sensitivities improve more and more with every listening. Along with our tweeters and woofers...maybe....
Totally! I have a tube amp and pre-amp. I turn all system power on, except for the turntable, pour some beer, choose some records, clamp down the first record onto the platter, turn on the turntable, and start listening. Somewhere in the second record, the system settles in and sounds really sweet and focused.

It is uncanny; I can hear when my system gets warm, and starts to sound really good. It becomes really involving at that point.

As I have tubes, I don't leave the power on 24/7. If I had solid state, I might depending on the warm up time, or how long it takes to sound really sweet and involving. When I worked in the high-end shops, we left solid state on 24/7. Speakers with power supplies, such as Quad ESL-63s got left on, too. My only concern if I had solid state would be paying for electricity to run the amps when I am not listening.