That's exactly what I get with my cj premier 14 so I don't think your crazy..
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I have found that a certain amount of time of warming up will make most systems sound better, and especially the very good ones. Tubes need to be played to get them sounding where you want them to be. I find I usually have to listen to at least 1 LP side before things are really getting right. Of course, this includes getting the cartridge and everything else warmed up by the playing. I think it is normal.
Have you ever given any thought to the fact that the human ear/brain processor is a very adaptable system and that your are the one adjusting to the sound regardless of what the equipment might be doing insofar as warming-up and, yes, breaking-in are concerned? I didn't think so, because it takes out so much fun factor from audio does it not? I know, I know: you can distinctly hear it so it is there. Funny how you do need positive reinforcement from other audiophiles though. Seems one can never be too sure whether that phenomena picked-up through casual listening actually does exist, right? Can't go all the way, however, and have anything confirmed by a panel using some kind of procedure offering repeatable results. Certainly not as this would go against the central tenet of subjective audio which holds: "to your own ears be true" and its sub-paragraph which reads: "to be confirmed only by other true believers". Yes indeed, electronics that have not played music in a while are out of practice and need to go through the paces prior to the stage lights being shone upon them. Nothing short of music will do. Did you notice that if you are listening to chamber music, a warm-up with any other type of music just does not do it? The soundstage is just not right, the individual instruments cannot be correctly located and PRAT is negatively affected? I have found that if a recording uses a Gibson guitar, warming it up with a recording of, let's say, a Fender, Hamer or Guild will not do it? For the genuine Gibson sound, insist on a Gibson warm-up piece. Equipment is so sensitive these days that you should never, ever say anything within earshot that could affect their sentiments, as the price to be paid is a loss of emotion in its musical presentation.
Idle or stand-by may not warm up the tubes and other parts as much as working harder with a signal. Dont think your imagining the change but there are some people who will never accept differences without specs and graphs to back them up. I believe your brain can change the way you "hear" different aspects of sound, but thats not -always- the cause of a change.
Given that a cartridge is a mechanical device it would not surprise me that it needs a bit of wiggle time to get sounding right. It's just like warming a car engine. The difference here is a car engine will warm if idling but that does not seem to be true of tube gear. Tubes seem to need to actually have more electrons flowing from the cathode to the plate than is possible with just the bias current. I've heard that a "cloud" of electrons will develop inside the tube. I wondering if listening to music either creates the cloud or does it "burn off" the cloud ?
Just as a FYI... I've been away from audio for some time now and have just gotten back into it... I use to be into fairly serious amplifier tweaking (all the basics cap, resistor, and PS upgrades plus full circuit redesigns). During one of my mods I built the circuit completely wrong and before the amp thermally shut down I was convinced I had made a huge improvement. To make a long story short I began to think that I was full of it and just hearing what I thought I should be hearing..
So now I'm in the process of setting up a HT system in dedicated HT room I'm less critical about HT.. how different can one explosion sound from the other.. for me HT is mostly about power. I get way too distracted with the video and the story to really listen to a movie. HT gear such as Rotel is fine for me. The bottom line was that gave me a chance to swap around some amps. The need for my wife and kids to have a nice place to watch movies is what brought me into the tube world. To be honest, (not to open another touchy subject) I've never noticed differences in many of the standard tweaks (interconnects, speaker cables, power cords, etc). From my standpoint as long as it is reasonably hi-end it is fine with me.
So back to the topic... for me to hear such a huge difference is really a little freaky. Over the last few years I've become a hardened (indifferent?) skeptic. I had way more important things to do with my time that fart around being an audio geek again :^) I went to the store mostly trying to decide on either a NAD or Rotel HT receiver. I then got the idea that I might as well go with separates and upgrade my two channel system in the process. In fact when I demo'ed the CJ amp I was not really that impressed.. My dealer had a once a year demo sale so I decided to take it home an return it if I did not like it. I bought my tube gear because I needed another amp and figured what the hell let's give tubes a shot they look cool and retro is so hip these days :^) Almost any reasonably high-end amp will sound great so let's just pick up another amp.. I was not even unhappy with my old amp! I was not on the quest for the ultimate sound I just wanted a new toy... so I did the typical research... reading ... listening.. etc. and decided on CJ . This has turned into a long winded response but the fact is if I actually hear it, it must be a huge difference... Oh no I've turned back into an audio geek... My wife would say why qualify that statement...
Newbee, I accept all criticism. I do not think I have denigrated anyone. My tone may not sit well with you or any number of participants for that matter, but I am used to rhubarb. Insofar as your dire warnings go, I thank you for kindly pointing out the fact that some comeuppance may be expected. Difference vs. no difference is all well and good. How one reaches the point where one can tell is the issue. Since I have gotten back to audio a few years ago, the strangest turnaround in beliefs that I have encountered is of this sort: the equipment is very sensitive, prone to great differences caused by the faintest external vibration, by break-in, warm-up, skin effect, etc., while the human ear/brain processor is such a marvellously stable system that any single individual, at any given time, can pick-up on subtle variations by casual listening. I see it in a very different way. As sure as humour affects the tone of my pronouncements on this fine site, it affects everyone listening to reproduced music through a sound system. That is just one unavoidable variable. If you believe that warming-up a tube amp by playing music makes your system sound better, go ahead; you certainly don't need my permission. If one puts this out as a statement and asks for corroboration, don't blame someone for providing contrary opinion. Like a few others on this site, you can decide that I am a nabob of negativism and a nasty, self-absorbed, uninformed, naysayer and curmudgeon and swear-off all of my posts. Since I don't get paid to write these bothersome answers, I will not lose much sleep. So long.
This was not intended to be unkind... I was poking fun at myself.. I started the thread because I'm hearing a huge difference. The fact is that ever since I bought my new amp I've spend every night staying up late listening to music. I'm getting back into a hobby I had abandon. I'll try not having any fun in future post.
Btrvalik, My post was directed to Pbb who posted above - from his post you may deduce that he is a founding member of the flatearth society, which has as a motto "If it can't be measured and if I can't hear it, it must not exist". What separates his post from other flatearthers whom i can easily ignor is his trying to be clever in his put down of you and your experience. I cannot condone this arrogance by being silient. You are doing just fine in your posts and i would not deny your experience. For the most part I agree that sending a signal thru a tube is better than just letting it idle. Its these miniscule differences that are so important to many in this hobby. It's unfortunate for Pbb that he has neither the equipment,or listening experience, or mindset to hear them. Frankly I doubt that he has ever tried - I think he is just trying to boost his own ego at your expense. There I've purged my self at his expense. Please excuse my rant.
Pbb: I will corroborate the observation. Furthermore, I will say that the reason that pbb can not hear this is because he doesn't hear as well as some other people, or rather, because the ear is merely the mechanism, his mind does not hear as well as some other people; he is not as receptive to musical meaning as others. In other words, like in all disciplines of knowledge, there exists a hierarchy of perception and knowledge therefrom-derived is state specific; meaning that those at lower perceptive abilities deny anything higher - pbb's radical subjective position above, notwithstanding its implicit performative error - while those higher see all those levels from whence they traveled through. To admit that there may be a place to go in his mind beyong mechanistic, scientific materialist assumptions, would, of course, entail potential change, and for the materialist-attached that is a potential within themselves that can not be tolerated (hence, the stone the witch tone from nowhere).
Argue for your limitations, regardless of your cognitive agility, and sure enough they are yours.
You are no nay sayer, pbb, but why don't you pick on someone your own size?
I actually thought pbb's post was kind of funny... I guess I'm to big and cocky to take it as a slam. As I stated above I really don't take these debates very seriously anymore. If this is a psychoacoustics effect that is almost cooler in some respect sort of a safe narcotic. Hey maybe tubes are telepathic :^) The reason for my original post was that I'm in disbelief of my own ears! Kids have no problem chalking things up to magic ... too bad we grow up...
ASA once again your writing and, I guess, thinking, is way beyond my comprehension. Most of your posts as far as I can tell are written in this stream of consciousness language. Briefly put: what the hell are you saying? Sorry if I upset your touchy-feely-higher-plane-and-mental-state side, at least Btrvalik understood that I was not taking aim at him in any personal way. I will not bore you with the heat and kitchen thing as you have bored me with the picking a size thing. Btrvalik you are a good man. I hope you enjoy your system as much as I do mine, and that it doesn't get in the way of the music. Damn it, now I have to look for an audio Guru...
Oh pbb, don't be a spoiled sport; talking about heat in the kitchen and then running away, as in, feigning I don't understand (with more stone the witch, looking for comrades as you go). It's interesting that your original posts were, basically, that other people are deluded in what they hear and they don't understand, and then when someone says you don't hear well enough to hear it, you feign lack of understanding. Interesting tactic...
The tactic is your Guru. I've sat around for months listening to your smart mind swoop down with your scientific materialist assumptions, telling everyone that they are deluded (read: irrational) to hear anything beyond what those assumptions limit you too, and I thought it was about time to call you on it.
If you want to say now that it was all fun, then OK.
btrv: if you doubt what you see, then see some more and then perhaps you will know, or know that it was only "magic" and that pbb is correct. Remember, however, as much as pbb cites wishfulness for "magic" as a delusional origin for twl's perceptions, the assumptions that he brings - that what you and twl experienced can not be real - are just as much a bias that leads towards not seeing what is.
It is a subtle thing, admittedly, that some tube systems seem to sound better with music driven through them rather than just glowing and sitting there. Its almost like when you first discover that different quality juice coming out of the wall late at night makes a difference (which, er, as you recall some years ago people of pbb's bent also accused of being a deluded perception, and then wires after that, and then after that...). I can't hear the effect in my lesser second system - even though its got $20K thrown at it - so I can understand why someone would doubt this position (and quite apart from scientific materialist attachments and their distortions of perception; pbb, see Kuhn, Popper, Freyerabend...). In my better system, and mostly with analog as twl points out, I hear it and the phenomenon is consistent over time (which is how, er, empiric experiments are conducted). Its not magic, but if your system isn't to that point, or, like pbb, your "brain" isn't (your initial inquiry, Btrv, although the brain matter itself is not what hears, but the mind willing to hear), then I can not confirm or convince you through language or thinking. You must conduct that experiment - or now, re-conduct it - to see if it is true or not. The "what is" has it rigged that way...
twl, slap me with a wet noodle. A few months ago I chided you for engaging the priests of scientism and here I am right back in there! Oh well, its the protector thing.