In What Order Do You Turn On/Off Gear Separates ?

I know this was addressed in the last month or so but couldn't find the thread. In what order do you turn on/off the following gear:

Primary Preamp
Power Amp
Phono Preamp
CD Player

I appreciate your consideration, and apologize for the repetitive question. I am new to the idea of separates, having been an owner of only integrated amps or receivers in the past.

Think of the path the source signal takes when turning on:

Think of working your way back "upstream" from the speakers when turning off:

amp>preamp>source components

Or to simplify since it's the amp that is the most important part of this order: on, amp-on last; off, amp-off first (use the fffs as the mnemonic)

Thank you for your response. What should be done if I want to keep the amp (SS) on all the time as well as the CD player (SS)? The preamps ~ main and phono ~ are both tubes so I would like to turn those off after each listening session.

Thanks again,

While Steve is right, some systems are more, and thus some less sensitive to this issue. I leave my SS amps on all the time, and have found my pre doesn't cause me any problems to turn on or off, so order for me doesn't matter. Try your system out and see, it might not matter.


It did matter with the equipment I am demo'ing. Last night I turned off the pre and there was a small "pop" noise through my loudspeaker. I cannot remember which order I was turning off the components because I was extremely tired and wasn't paying attention. But, this had never happened before. So, I was curious which is the preferred method, particularly when leaving the CD player and power amp on (both SS). Thank you.

Unless your tube preamp has a muting circuit, I would probably turn off the power amp before turning off the preamp, and turn the power amp on only after the preamp is turned on and fully powered up, to reduce the risk of damaging the power amp and/or speakers. Exactly as recommended by Stevecham.
I apologize that this thread is getting lengthy because of my lack of information. The amp (SS) takes at least 24 hours to warmup and sound its best. Consequently, I would just like to leave it on 24/7. The CD player (SS) manufacturer recommends that it remain on 24/7.

However, the manufacturer of the tube gear ~ 2 separate units: primary preamp and phono preamp ~ recommends that the tube gear be turned off after each play. So given these facts...

Which order to turn on/off?
Sounds like you only have one thing to turn on/off - and that is the tube preamp. You can always turn on your phono preamp with the tube preamp set to something else, which effectively mutes any "pop" the phono preamp would create. So it sounds like there is no question to answer here. If you can't turn the amps off momentarily to avoid the "pop", you have to just turn on the linestage preamp when you are ready to listen and suffer the pop.

My preamp (Hovland HP-100) must have some sort of internal muting circuit that turns off once the preamp is powered up, because I always turn my amps on first and never hear a pop. However, I pose the following questions:

How bad (i.e. loud, sudden, forceful) does a pop need to be before it risks damaging the downstream equipment? Can an amplifier be damaged by a "pop" (we hear pops when playing records...). Is the loudness of the "pop" associated with powering up a tube preamp at all dependent on the setting of the volume control? If a pop occurs in an empty room with nobody there to hear it, does it really make any sound? (whoops, I'm getting too zen here)...
Stevecham's advice is a common practice and this is also recommended by some surge protection manufactures. Some Panamax and Monster's models offer " sequential on/off". To turn on: source(s), pre, amp and to turn off: amp, pre,sources. The logic is source(s) and pre need to be on first to be stablelized before amp being turned on. You can find some explaination about sequential on/off feature in Panamax surge protection.
Peter -- the "pop" can be many things, one of which is some dc... a low volume "pop" isn;t going to damage the spkrs, it's the unexpected eventuality of a loud pop that we're talking about here.

Mary: your only option is to switch OFF the pre first (because, when off, it cuts all upstream signals going to the amp) and switch ON the phono first, then the pre. As a precaution, let the gear lie without music for a minute before switching off.

Please note, however, that there shouldn't be any loud pops... (i.e. if there are, s/thing is slightly wrong).
Mary, please tell us what preamp and power amp you have. That may help you get the correct response for your situation. Some preamp manufacturer's absolutely recommend turning off the power amp first (and on second) because there can be a risk to your associated equipment. If your preamp has a muting circuit, you should be ok if you mute the output first then turn only the preamp off. I don't believe stuff on the input side should be affected. So, I would say either let us know the specific equipment you have, so someone here with directly related experience can answer you, or maybe more suitable in your case would be to call the preamp manufacturer directly. BTW, is any of this covered in your owner's manual?
I have a similar problem. I have a Bel Canto power amp that should be left on at all times. I also have a Rotel CD/HDCD player and a modified Dynaco Pas tube preamp that should be turned off. I turn the CD player off, and then when I turn the preamp off, there's a small pop, and then a slight continious buzz that won't go away while the preamp is off. The buzz does go away when I turn the preamp on though. I assume the slight continous buzz is ok for the speakers?
Very simple

First off...always mute and/or turn down the gain control on your preamp

After that the golden rule which is etched in stone..."amps last on and first off" Anything in between doesn't matter