ok so I have done some more reading and I think I can aviod the pop by engaging the remote speakers, but I know there is a problem under the hood. Any ideas?
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Not sure how loud the pops you are hearing are but I have owned several amps that made loud thumps when turned on/off. Rotel RB-981, Adcom (three different models) and a Portal Panache all made annoying thumps. The Rotel also hummed through the speakers. I owned two of the Rotels and they were identical so I figure it was their nature. Basically the issue is that these models don't have a circuit which mutes the the output until the power supply has settled.
It shouldn't harm anything but it is annoying. Unfortunately the only solution is a different amp. Ask the seller questions concerning operation before buying.
No its not bad to turn up an amp, and leave it on all the time because you can............it wont hurt anything, it will sound its best when warm and ready and uses very little power when idle. Many leave Solid State amps and gear on at all times, tubes are different because they will die faster when always left on but I even leave my tube pre amp on at all times, I just replace when needed as my tubes are too expensive.
I'm just guessing but when you turn your Sony receiver on you probably have to wait a few seconds for it to actually produce sound and also before it produces sound you will hear a soft click. That click is the protection circuit ensuring the power supply is stable before providing current to the speakers. Not all amps have this. Your Rotel doesn't have it.
My Portal Panache would thump when turned on and it would also keep producing sound for 5-10 seconds after it was powered down if the cdp was still playing. This is caused by the power supply capacitors keeping the amp operating while they discharge. As I said before it's not harmful but it can be annoying.
As for leaving the amp on, it's your electric bill.
I have an old Sansui receiver that does the same thing. I put a larger wattage resistor across the "B" speaker leads, then before I turned it off, I just switched to the "B" speakers. When I power it up, it's on the "B" speakers, the load is absorbed by the resistors, then I switch to the "A" speakers, where my speakers are hooked up. Never a pop!