Leave solid state amps on? Or turn off everytime?


My system consists of the following:

Slimdevices Transporter -> Bel Canto REF1000 Mono block amps -> Anthony Gallo Ref3.1 Speakers

I was wondering, should I be switching the Bel Canto amps on/off every time I listen to music? Or should I just leave them on permanently and only switch the transporter on/off (which i do anyways)?

Leave them on.

Leave the Transporter on, too.
On baby, On.
Absolutely- Leave them on.
Forget the Ecomentalists on this one...leave it on.
Recycle every bottle, can, and scrap of paper. Turn off the lights and replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. Tighten the faucets. Turn off the AC and open the windows. Trade in your SUV for a hybrid. Practice enlightened environmental stewardship -- and, as a reward for your higher consciousness, enjoy the music from the system that you leave ON all the time (except when you hear of an imminent thunderstorm!).
I will raise this point again, partly as I don't know the answer. Ask a fireman in the UK the commonest cause of house fires, it is TV's left on standby. In theory then, electrical equipment on standby, is a fire risk. I have never heard of a fire from this cause, has anyone else?
As an aside, I am not convinced that most equipment takes more than half an hour to get to optimum performance, at least mine does'nt.
"As an aside, I am not convinced that most equipment takes more than half an hour to get to optimum performance, at least mine does'nt."

Yes, but if you only have time for one album or CD, then you're screwed.
09-18-08: David12
In theory then, electrical equipment on standby, is a fire risk.

How do you explain refrigerators, which are either in standby or running 24/7, and which use more power than a TV?

I don't buy the argument that TV's left in standby are the commonest cause of house fires. Rather, I suspect it's TV viewers who fall asleep while smoking that may be the commonest cause of house fires.
Bel Canto if they are digital is no problem on... But then again turning them on 2 hours before helps too if you want them off most of the time.
Turning a ss power amp 24/7 may not affect the life of any electronic components?
Even with an amp like a pass that runs very hot you should leave it on?
Pass Labs even states in their manuals that the more often an amplifier heats up and cools down, the lower the life span of the amp. Capacitors also have a longer life if they stay charged.
My Pass Labs manual does not mention anything about on/off cycles. It does mention leaving them in stand by mode 24/7, but turning them on to listen and turning them off when not listening.

IMO, it's terribly wasteful of energy to leave Class A amplifiers powered up 24/7.
Its only wasteful if you cant afford it, if you can stand the heat then leave em on but know your gonna pay for it monthly.
>>Pass Labs even states in their manuals..............<<

Please cite the manuals to which you specifically refer.

Thanks in advance.
FWIW my Pass Labs x2.5 pre-amp does not have a power switch. The only way to turn it off is to unplug it.
09-18-08: Chadnliz
Its only wasteful if you cant afford it.

That's the kind of greedy, selfish attitude that caused the present
mortgage/housing crisis, and will be the cause of further problems in the
area of energy cost and availability.

Folks, consider a larger viewpoint beyond yourselves.

09-18-08: Mrmikesmail
FWIW my Pass Labs x2.5 pre-amp does not have a power

Considering it uses only 35 watts, it's not a power hog, nor is it comparable with
leaving a Class A power amp powered up 24/7. By comparison, Pass Lab's
smallest Class A power amp, the XA-30.5, uses 225 watts power...nearly 10
times as much as the 2.5 preamp.
Give me a break Grant and spare me the lecture, I have always liked you and respect you but to equate a desire to leave an amp on for best sound with the mortgage meltdown fuled by irresponsible purchasers and lenders and a lack of proper requlation is way off base and I know for a fact you are smarter than that so please dont pretend not to be.
As far as I know the only perishable component inside is electrolytic cap. The most influential factor on the life of electrolytic cap is temperature. Every 10deg Celsius increase in temperature means cutting life of capacitor by half. 10 degrees Celsius is about luke warm temperature inside of your cool running Icepower (capacitor also heats up from the ripple current thru its ESR)

I have similar amp and turn it off at night and back on when I am back from work. That way for the time I'm sleeping or are not at home amp is cooler and protected from spikes in power line.
For class a SS or tube gear turn off heats up fast no need to leave on. But some gears designed to be left on. I find turning these off requires a day or so to come back up. But if your kit heats up fast why leave it on?
My Pass Labs XA100.5 manual states "when not actually intending to play music the amplifier should be left in standby mode, where it draws only a few watts of bias on the output stage." I turn my amps on (via front switch)about an hour before I plan to listen to music.
Chadnliz, the overall concept is the individual believing he can do whatever he wants because he can afford it, and everybody else is on their own despite how his actions might effect them. It's a selfish and greedy point of view totally lacking any sense of social responsibility.

I am doubtful that many, if any, readers of this thread who leave their Class A amps on 24/7 will change their approach and turn them off at night to start saving energy.

I'm sure you understand now, and I'm glad to know where you stand on the issue.
Tvad - Class A amps consumes about 8x rated output power per channel. Leaving on 100W class A amp will waste 1600W of power. I don't even leave on my class D amp because I don't see any good reason for it. It doesn't take long to warm up the amp - maybe 30 min. max and keeping it powered down extends the life of the amp (in my opinion).
Wow and I thought this was an audio related site, I never expected to get lectured, called greedy or socially iresponsible and from what I read nowhere was anyone asking that such issues be brought to the forum.
Is there an electrical engineer out there who can shed some empirical information as to wether any damage/accessive wear can occur to ss gear being left on as opposed to on and off an a regular basis. Also, how would you compute the cost (per hour?) of audio components.
...from what I read nowhere was anyone asking that such issues be brought to the forum.
Chadnliz (System | Threads | Answers)

The unnecessary use of electricity is pertinent to the question posed.
My house was in a power outage that affected 200,000 homes in Ohio (thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Ike). For a whole week my house was without electricity. (no computer, no fridge, no lights, no nothing) It was one of the truly bad experiences of my life and my family's. (not as bad as those poor folks in Texas). I missed the internet, Audiogon, my music, and threads like this one. There was quite a bit of electricity to this thread literally and figuratively, if you catch my drift!! When I have power, I leave my Blue Circle BmPH integrated on.
How obsessed are we when common sense fails??

Yes,a good system will sound better if left on 24/7....but....if you own a "heat driven design" of any type,do you really feel comfortable leaving the darn thing on all the time?...Does the system sound all that bad from a cold start?...Does the warm up period last all that long,before really good sound takes place?....You cannot enjoy "music",as opposed to hearing a bit too much of the "equipment" in the first few minutes of a listening session?

Some of my components are in standby mode,by design.The system seems to sound superb,from an almost cold start.It does get better with a few hours,but "that" is a bonus,because I like to concentrate on my recent "finds" in music....My friend(a former TAS reviewer,and with a sane hobby approach,in general) has a superb set-up(tubes)that is NOT left on(obviously)24/7.

The system is always superb,at first blush,and the improvement with a couple of hours is a nice reward...but..it still sounds more than acceptable,without jeopardizing the family,when not in use.....Sheeesh!

.....The unnecessary use of electricity is pertinent to the question posed.

So I guess the insults and lecture was just a bonus? It must be my lucky day!
Chadnliz, it's time for you to retreat. It's clear you never had the ammunition
to defend your theme of "It's only wasteful if you can't afford it" in
the power consumption debate.

None of my comments were intended as insults, nor were they personally
directed at you.

However, if you are among many who leave their audio equipment on 24/7,
and if it’s not low energy consumption gear, then it’s *my opinion* that
you’re being wasteful of electricity, and that you’re showing lack of concern
or care about the overall use of energy in the USA and how it impacts us all.

If you find that insulting, then perhaps it’s because you recognize some
personal truth in what I am saying.

No insult. Just observation.

G'Nite Gracie.
there seems to be 3 questions here that are getting confused.
The question of the ethics of leaving kit on all the time, in terms of global warming, use of finite fossil fuels, etc etc. Now I am in the camp that says you should take cognisance of that, but I am not lecturing anyone else on this.
Second, does it make a real audible difference? For most kit, is performance really degraded in turn on? I have to say, I am not convinced, but that is just me and my setup.
Third, does kit last longer left on or switched on and Off? As someone else said, I am not qualified to comment, but I suspect it differs from amp to amp
If you guys where really green you would run vintage hi-eff horns off class D;)
I turn my solidstate amp off when I don't use it. (unless I intentionally use it as a heater in Winter)

It is not because I can't afford it.

I'm doing it for my beloved child, and his children ...

FYI, I switched to tubes and part of the reason is the much shorter warm-up time. and Yes, for SS, it takes a long time to warm up and it makes quite a difference.
If we all went with battery powered amps, none of this would matter ;)
"If we all went with battery powered amps, none of this would matter ;)"

But what would become of the batteries once they have to be replaced or can't be recharged anymore? ;) j/k
As to a response from a EE - here it is - When power is first applied to a circuit,or cut off, all sorts of transient events occur that never reoccur as long a the system is on. Very high currents and voltages are present that die out quickly. Even aside from the thermal changes that everyone is concerned with, once a steady state is reached there isn't a whole lot of difference in the stress on the components that if the system was off. For this reason, you probably will extend the life of the individual circuit components by leaving a system on all the time - more true with solid state than tubes.
you probably will extend the life of the individual circuit components by leaving a system on all the time - more true with solid state than tubes.
Musicnoise (Threads | Answers)
In practical terms, how long are we talking?

For example, if the life of a solid state amplifier that's turned on and off is 20 years (pulling the number out of the air here...), then how much longer would it last if it was left on 24/7?

I know there are solid state receivers from the 70s that are still going strong today, 30+ years later.

For an audiophile who typically swaps out gear every five years or so, does the extended life have any real meaning?
Musicnoise - Power-up transients don't do more harm to electrolytic caps than constant ripple current, but increase by merely 10 degrees Celsius of temperature inside will cut capacitors life by half. I addition we won't be able to unplug during thunderstorm when we are not at home.
Tvad - In practical terms - it really doesn't matter. You will extend the life by leaving the system on, but, as with most questions that come up on this site - it is likely a meaningless difference. Well designed solid state equipment lasts a long time. As to your example - you may only get 40 years out of an amp that you turn on and off everyday - but get a whole 41 years out of the equipment if you leave it on all the time. What is most likely to wear out will be electromechanical components - for eg. a power on relay. Transformers, transistors, resistors and, despite everyones obsession - caps both electrolytic and otherwise, will outlast the em components. I too have seen an awful lot of equipment that was around unrepaired and unmodified for decades.
Musicnoise- that's very useful information. Thanks.
Yes, Musicnoise. Thank you.
Hm... this is all very interesting. In regards to power usage, if you leave a SS amp on, isn't it not using very much power if it is just sitting idle vs. actually playing music? I would think that if it isn't playing music it shouldnt be using very much power... I have a kill-a-watt meter and I will see what my Bel Canto 1000W uses at idle and let you all know.

Also, re: power ripple / surges etc. Is it worth getting some kind of power regular to regulate this?
Solid state is too broad a category. My Pass Aleph 30 (class A) at idle used far more juice than my JRDG 102 (Ice Power) will wide open. If your Bel Canto amps are Class D as I suspect they are, there is no reason to even think about this topic. Just leave them on all the time. You can tell a lot by how hot your amps get. If they stay cool, don't shut them down.
Danyal711 - Ref 1000 idle power should be in order of 15W. Average power when playing music won't be much higher - usually few percent of peak power (maybe slightly more if you play heavy orchestral pieces)
Danyal711: I can give you an example of the measured difference in a mcintosh MC400 - on but with no signal applied it draws around an amp. Driving speakers on big orchestral pieces with peaks reading 400 watts on the front panel meters the draw goes to around 6 amps.

As to your question about power regulators. First, ripple is not something addressed by a power conditioner. Ripple is the quasi ac component left on filtered dc after rectification, a more proper description is the charge discharge waveform; at twice line frequency for full wave rectification. Power conditioners are used to filter EMI riding on the ac line - and typically to compensate for undervoltages and protect against overvoltages. Check the specs on your equipment - my guess is it will work fine over the range of fluctuations of your line voltage. For example, if your line voltage fluctuates 10 percent or less around the nominal. Do you need one? Depends on your power but probably not. It is wise to have catastrophic surge protection - for dealing with induced lighting for example. But you don't have to buy a power conditioner for that.

If you have a lot of power problems - and they are fewer than the number of line conditioners sold, then you may want to look into a power conditioner, particularly if you have a lot of momentary drop outs. But to really get the benefits - choose one that is sold by a company to businesses to protect data equipment or from such same company for audio use - but get one with fast catastrophic protection and one that will quickly produce a clean ac waveform from batteries in the event of say a 2 to 3 second power drop out - an event not uncommon during high electrical usage times in the summer months. Otherwise just get an inexpensive surge protector. I have never had the need for more than an inexpensive surge protector. One imporatant aspect, if you have your equipment hooked up to an antenna or cable leaving the house, particularly if the cable goes overhead, protect against induced lighting on that antenna or cable line - such catastrophic potentials are much more likely to enter your system via such routes than via your ac.
Musicnoise, thanks again for your valuable input on elec. matters!

This forum is amazing. Thanks for all the valuable advice! My amps run cool and I believe they are class D so for now I will go with leaving them on.
I even leave my tube pre on, unless out of town or a storm is in the works.
Someone asked which Pass manual refers to longevity based on power cycles. This quote is from the X25.5 manual:

"So how long will this hardware last? It is our experience that, barring abuse or the odd failure of a component, the first things to go will be the power supply capacitors, and from experience, they will last 15 to 20 years before needing replacement. Fortunately these components die gracefully; typically with years of warning and are easily replaced. After that, the longevity will depend on the number of operating thermal cycles, but we can attest to having had amplifiers operating in the field in excess of 20 years with no particular mortality except capacitors."
How many operating thermal cycles could be regarded as "normal" within let's say a year? --> 300 times? 600 times? --> 3000 or 6000 times/10 years. Btw, does the "on" cycle have the same effect as the "off" cycle?