For those of you with tube preamps and solid state power amps...


Hi everyone,

Over the last year or so, I have ventured from integrated amps into a tube pre/solid state power combo a couple of times.  While the experiments didn't ultimately work out due to problems with some of the used gear that I purchased, I I came across the dilemma of needing to power down the amp before the preamp.  In my experience, solid state amps always sound better after being on for a while and sound best when left on all the time.  However, I obviously wouldn't leave the tube pre on all the time  Is there any way around this?  For example, amps that can be muted briefly while the preamp is turned off?  I appreciate any input from happy owners of tube pre/SS power combos.  Thanks!
smrex13
No, you should always turn off the amp first when powering down, and the reverse when powering up, especially if you have a tube preamp.

I run an Atmasphere MA-1 to Ayre MX_R monoblocks and have no problems whatsoever. The Atma has LED's showing DC offset, so I wait until they no longer glow and then turn on my amps.-Though the amps have DC protection and will go into standby if they detect DC.

FWIW, Any amp or preamp benefits from being powered on for around 30-60 minutes in order to settle the circuits.
B
I have a tube pre and SS amp. 
I don’t leave my amp on - I turn it off. 
The warm up period I actively manage is me!
yes there is a tradeoff/balancing act there to be dealt with

many better preamps have a soft-on function (like conrad johnsons), mutes output for some 45-60 sec before passing signal, starts up at low (but not zero) volume

but even so, i think it is a touch risky to power on a pre into a big ss power amp that is already on... best to power down...

that been said... most solid state gear gets up to full operating spec and performance within 20-30 min, an hour max
Doesn’t your preamp take some time to warm up too?  Just let them both warm up together and don’t sweat it so much. 
Is it safe to power down pre if you first put an amp in standby mode such as Pass Lab amps?
SS power amps do sound better when left on but i do not do it. You never know.
Still if your power amp mutes or disengages speaker output you can try.
Turning them on last and off first is a good practice.


I run a tube pre and SS amp in my main system. I turn preamp on,wait about 30 seconds,and then fire up the amp.  I will let them simmer for about 15 minutes before sitting down to listen. That being said,it still takes at least an hour for the amp to really warm up and sound "right". YMMV. 
I turn both off. It takes about 10 minutes for my preamp to sound it's best. It just takes a couple of minutes for my amp to sound at 100%.
Yes at times this can be an annoyance however for most music sessions I have lead time to allow both amp and pre to warm up. 
I leave both on 24/7.  The preamp has two tubes that are long lived and low cost to replace.
I now have all tube equipment but for most of the last thirty year tubed preamp and solid state amp. Solid state amp had a trickle off mode so warm up was not so obvious. My tube stuff has soft on. I alway, stop by and turn on my equipment, then make coffee, then sit down. Or turn on, then take a shower. But honestly my equipment sounds really good to start with... just a bonus it sounds even better after a little time.

Tube gear should not be left on, unattended. Power amps have a small chance of a tube blowing up... very small. The probability of a problem with smaller tubes is much smaller but still possible.
In my experience, solid state amps always sound better after being on for a while and sound best when left on all the time. However, I obviously wouldn't leave the tube pre on all the time Is there any way around this?
I've run into this as well but the solution is simple! Turn off your amp when turning on the preamp, after the preamp has warmed up then turn the amp back on. You'll find that the 'warm up' quality it has is related to component temperature and in the few seconds it will be off while the tube preamp is settling down, it won't lose that warmed-up quality.

Just for the record I should point out that with any amp/preamp combination, tube or solid state, the preamp should always be allowed to settle before turning on the amp. The biggest thumps created by a preamp that I've ever seen came from a solid state preamp- so this isn't a tubes/transistors thing, its simply a preamp thing.
@atmasphere Thanks - your solution makes sense - I have noticed that a quick shutdown/restart of a SS amp doesn't seem to impact sound quality much.  Of course it's a lot more off/on switching of the amp, but I imagine a well designed amp would handle it. 

And thanks to everyone for your input.  

Sincerely, Scott
Some helpful tips in this thread. Similar observations and practice here. 
atmasphere's suggestion is a good one, but just be careful that your own amp doesn't have its own turn on surge after it is shut down and quicked restarted -- many powerful amplifier have big banks of capacitors that don't fully discharge in a case of quick 'off-then-back-on' ... we want to avoid all potential occurrences of the ol' 'boom boom pow' delivered by amplifier into precious connected speakers!!!   

just make sure this method doesn't manufacture one...  
atmosphere, great solution!  jjss49,good point also. If I need to shut my system down,maybe to swap cables, once I turn my equipment off,I usually wait a minute or two before powering everything back up. 
@jjss49 Yes, a very important cautionary point.  It's easy to blow a fuse (or much worse) by switching the amp off/on too quickly.


I leave my SS Class D amps on all the time except if I know I will not be using them for awhile.  The product manual recommends this (Bel Canto) .   Class D amps consume very little power when idle so no issues with running up the electric bill either.

Pre-amp is tube Audio Research sp-16.   I turn that on only when needed mainly to preserve tube life.

So different things possible depending on details of exactly what gear is used.

Cheers!
I’m lucky I guess.  My Plinius SA-103 SS amp has a mute button which allows me to leave it on all the time and mute at start up of the tube preamp.