Solid state should be left on all the time. If you have not tried it do so tonight and see if tomorrow it does not sound more liquid and effortless.
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Oh yeah! Go through that stuff we do. I find my system sounds its best after being on for at least 3 to 4 hours, and really liquid and flowing when it's been on for about 8 hours and the amps are as hot as the core of the sun.
I have solid state B.A.T. monoblocks (VK600se's), and I had big Krell's before that. Both of them you could fry eggs on after about 4 hours, which is when they are/were in their groove and all is right with the world!
Currently i leave my electronics on 24/7/365.
When i did turn it off, with both the prior equipment, and my current stuff, it would take at least several hours for it to sound better.
Then if it was left on a full day, it sounded even better than if just for a few hours.
So, even though it costs money for electricity, I leave it all on all day long... As the sound is worth the added costs.
We also leave our solid state stuff on 24/7/52. When we leave the country for a vacation and power everything down it seems like most of the gear comes on song after a few hours, but the power amp doesn't smooth out for 24 to 48 hours. The cost of leaving things on hasn't made any noticeable difference on our power bill. My dealer also mentioned that the equipment will last longer if powered up constantly.
It really depends on the gear. Solid state gear takes far more time than tube gear, one reason why most people leave solid state gear on all the time.
My CD player, in particular, takes a long time to sound good. The manufacturer says that it should be powered up all the time (they claim it takes at least 24 hours to be fully on song).
I have found, in the past, that solid state amps take a good half hour to forty-five minutes to sound decent whereas my tube amps take about ten to twenty minutes to sound good.
My stuff generally sounds good from teh start but warm up does not hurt. Its important to me to be able to sit down and enjoy without a wait. Even the ARC sp16 tube pre-amp, which has a relay that turns on once the device warms up after power on in a matter of seconds, is 100% listenable out of the gate. Also I leave my SS DAC and power efficient Class D power amps on most of the time. You can't do that generally with most tube gear without reducing tube life.
Rok2id yes it does travel at approx light speed, but it does not mean that the equipment is performing at its best! Like I said in regard of my Rotels Ra-1090 without a couple of hours of warm up time the highs are ear piercing and the bass notes lack punch, slam and definition. I believe what is happening during this warm up time is that all the components inside the amps are dissapating heat (and they continue to do so) until they stabilized to what is called "steady state." Thank you all for your comments!
"Mapman, Your SP-16 is not warmed up in a matter of seconds. It has merey stabilized enough to be used."
YEs, perhaps I did not say it clearly, but it warms up enough so that the relay switches on and "good" listening is possible as per ARC design. It only gets better from there. I would not rule out additional "Warm-up" as a likely contributing factor, but I cannot say for sure.
Regardless, I tend to leave it on during the day if I know I will be listening again soon, otherwise I turn it off until the next time to save tube life. Them good performing tubes are rather expensive!
As long as we're on the subject, does anyone warm their equipment up slow like a cold car engine? Or just crank the piss outa' it until you smell the dust frying? I let it warm up with an album/cd or 2 first. Im always paranoid of frying anything in my system. I absolutely despise sending broken stuff out for repair.
And yes I agree with you Tiofelon, my Krell 300cx does sound a lot better after being warmed up. Really mellows out the highs and makes the bass more pronounced.
My two solid state preamps (one of which is used as my phono stage, via its tape outputs) are on all the time, in part because they have no power switch. For critical listening I allow 2 hours for my CDP to warm up, and about 1 hour for my tube amplifier. That seems to be sufficient with these particular components.
I can't envision any reason why a component should take longer to sound its best than it would take for all of its internal components to reach thermal equilibrium, unless some kind of re-breakin is occurring following a significant period of non-use. And I would expect that for just about any component thermal equilibrium would be reached in a matter of hours (or less), not days.
Sounds very good at the start when cold, just a touch thin and a slightly compressed soundstage. Sounds excellent after about 45 minutes running music at low volume, and then a slight improvement over the next hour or so. I leave all my solid state gear off when not in use. I would feel uneasy leaving it on unattended for long periods.
I think the longer my SS amps stay on the better they sound...so over 4 hours is good. Hard to say about the cdp and the tubed pre amp. I don't want to leave that tubed pre amp too long since those early 60's NOS tubes are expensive.
I have a friend that tried leaving his big Levinson amps on all the time until he got his power bill..then he stopped that practice.
In general I find tube gear sounds best after 1-2 hours. SS gear I leave on 24/7 unless it is a Class A power amp. Though I do admit that when I run track 7 on the Ayre/Cardas burn in disc, the rig sounds pretty damn good within 20-30 minutes.
Peter_s, I've also heard that cycling any piece on and off is best for capacitors. Many modifiers recommend cycling on/off so that caps break in quicker. It seems like this keeps capacitors "in shape", it's a good work out for caps. However, powering on and off does have negative affects on other electrical components, as switches, relays, resistors, etc are exposed to in rush currents. Since the component seems to sound better being left on 24/7 and the electrical components are split on the positives and negatives, I leave all SS on all the time unless it is a Class A power amp like my current CODA Model 11 amp.
My kit is never off -- but a friend/professional sound engineer recently made the argument that the single most important important bit to "warm up" in any system will be the magnets and actual moving bits on the speakers. After about an hour, he argues, the coherence among the drivers and general timbral accuracy will "gell", while before it can be hit or miss, and basically just a lot less than seamless. There is something inherently sensible about this proposition to my mind, I must confess.
So there we are, talking smack and listening to the system, when about an hour in, he give the old hold everything sign, and says there it is, it just came together. And, I'll be damned, but with a pro to put a sign post on it, it seems pretty obvious. So, these days, I usually run the TV or other nonsense through the speakers for an hour or so before tucking into anything serious. Can I get a witness, or is it just me?
Most SS Class A power amps can draw 600 to 700 watts each. To leave them on all the time, lots of heat and utility cost. Some of us most own a power company. All my gear is left on less my power amps. One to two hours for casual listening , four to six hours for critical listing. Lots of Red wine is also required.
My CD player is left on 24/7/52 as for the rest I turn on the phono preamp, turntable motor and preamp two or three hours before listening then go for the amps. If I leave town for a day or so I unplug everything. Turning on the preamps and motor seems to let the system come together more quickly and yes it does mean buying new tubes about once a year. Sigh! My amps are class A and they get put on when I am ready to listen and it only gets better from there.
I never understood the logic to leave equipment on all the time. However I do appreciate the posters that state that their sound is wonderful if equipment is left on. Life is short enough and if this helps make life better and your music is great and this is painless for you, then by all means, leave it on. Except for tube equipment which does have a specific life. equipment that does not have heat issues (class A amps, etc.) really won't have a drastic effect on components. Don't misunderstand me, there will be a long term effect by leaving it on. equipment life will be shortened. But, if it sounds good and it is worth it to you, the by-all-means. It takes my system about 20-30 minutes to have great sound. However, I really haven't noticed bad sound with 10 minutes warm-up. it still sounds great. I typically turn my system on when I know I'm going to do quality listening, go do something else,like cook, open a good bottle of wine and let it breath, get a good book. by then, it is good to listen. experiment. Turn the system on and listen immediately to your favorite music. Take notes. Is it flat, no dimension? how's the sound stage (assuming there was one in the first place), etc. Then next day, turn it on and listen after an hour, to the same music. take notes again. Then, leave it on all night and day and then go back the next day and listen again and take notes. Compare and see if there were major differences. That is a true test. Also, if you can get others to help with the listening test, that would be better.
But, unless you want to replace tubes more often, I would not leave tube equipment on.
Minor1, you say that leaving equipment on all the time will shorten equipment life. Do you have proof of this or is this just your theory?
I ask because I know some capacitor manufacturers who recommend cycling (turning equipment on/off) to help speed up break in and extend the life of their product. On the other hand, many other electrical components like switches, relay's, resistors, etc are more prone to failure due to the in rush currents that come from cycling. So it would seem to me that leaving equipment on 24/7 may shorten or may extend the life expectancy of your audio gear. I have no charts or graphs to back up my theory, just my $0.02.
I leave solid state components on 24/7 whether in stand-by or full on. SS phono pre is 'full on' 24/7. SS CDP is in standby 24/7. Tube pre-amp and mono-block amps get turned on about 30 min before listening to music. After 1-2 hrs. playing music, something magical seems to happen. Acoustic levitation, I call it.
I suppose it depends on the particular components and the particular environment based on the specific implementation. If you look at specification sheets for capacitors, transistors, diodes there is always a difference in life expectancy based on the exposure to heat. Heat shortens life considerably. If one has equipment that runs hot, it is best not to keep it on continuously.
You do have a good point about relay and switches--life time is specified for the the number of on off cycles.
I keep my cd player on all the time because that is what the manufacturer recommends. I am sure that is based on sound quality and NOT a recommendation for extended life (the separate power supply stays fairly warm all the time). The manufacturer says it takes more than a day for the equipment to sound its best if it has been turned off for any significant amount of time. I do, however, turn things off and unplug them from the wall when I am away or when there is an electrical storm in the area. I turn off all tube gear when not in use (everything has a rectifier which means no great inrush current or a soft start cicuit).
The first 15 minutes or so sounds somewhat stilted, then my amps and preamp goes through a nice change and starts sounding like music. By the first hour there are no worries :)
I leave it off when not in use. The stereo gets turned on first thing when I get home. The amps are put in Standby if I step out for a little while. They will retained their warmed up character all day in Standby if need be. But if I am gone all day I turn everything off.
My systems sound seems to me to be optimum at about 24 hours. Have you ever walked in a room that is real quiet and you think you can hear the quiet. Well you are wrong you are wrong you are wrong. I just felt like I needed to say that. Well that is much like what my system does at about 24 hours so, the sound it puts out seems more colorful musically speaking(not colored tonally). SS amp and preamp, and cdp.