Power Amplifier is on last, and off first.
If you leave the amplifier on, any "POP" from another component, especially the preamp, will get amplified to your speakers. The same if anything is turned on after your amplifier.
Talk to Don at Fi and see what he thinks about leaving the preamp on 24 / 7. Now if it was a tube power amp, that would be a different story. I don't see a problem with leaving a tubed preamp on due to the much lower stress level on the tubes. Just make sure that you turn the volume all the way down when not using the system if Don gives the go-ahead. Sean
At the risk of committing heresy, I think that sometimes too much is made of the switching sequence issue. If you decide not to leave your preamp on all the time because of tube wear, then simply use your ears - and take off the speaker grilles to use your eyes as well - and hear/see exactly what effect switching off the preamp with the amp turned on has on the speakers. If it doesn't sound/look too nasty, then it probably isn't in reality bad for the speakers. This will depend on the preamp's switch itself, and also the amp's input sensitivity/gain as well as the speaker's sensitivity. Unless the transient produced is scary bad, I just wouldn't worry about this (even if it is an annoying sensation). However, if you're worried about even testing this result, then don't!
Thanks for the suggestions..
I've tried switching off the preamp while the Aleph 3 is on. Power up = annoying little 'buzz' (about 5-10 seconds) while the tubes 'engage'..(Can DC current hurt the amp?). Power down = two (always two) tiny pops and done.
I've been searching desperately for the source of 'hum' in my system and this compounds my frustration... I've tried cheater plugs on the components, cheater plugs on the 'surge protector', tidying up the interconnects and power cords, sacrificing a goat...
Although I don't know why you seem to suspect that DC is being passed to your amp, if the amp hasn't blown a fuse or shut down and is still working OK, then it presumably isn't being harmed by anything. As for the hum, you'll have to go through an elimination process to determine where it originates. For instance, try removing the preamp from the circuit by plugging your sources directly to the amplifier (no need to actually play them); if the hum persists with all sources, try listening to the amp with its inputs disconnected, etc. until you identify the guitly party. (And speaking of parties, I would suggest a nice Jamaican jerk sauce preparation for that late goat of yours...)
Good suggestion Jc. It may not even need to be a different brand, sometimes just a different cable can be enough to find the culprit.
I once bought a set of RCA based interconnects from a guy that was going crazy trying to find the source of noise in his system. He had bought various PLC's, purchased all new high dollar balanced cables, etc... As it turns out, the source of the noise was one of the cables that i had purchased. One of the factory soldered connections was poorly done and the result was noise. While he was upset that he had pulled his hair out and spent so much money trying to solve the problem without checking something as simple as this, he was glad to finally find out what the source of the noise was. Let's hope that is all that is wrong with your system, as it would be a quick and cheap fix. Sean
PS... Have you tried plugging all of your gear into one comment outlet ?