Everything worthwile has a price! I know of folks who use good SS or Hybrids as substitute amps during the really hot spells - I just use a smaller tube amp and am careful not to overdrive it.
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I don't use A/C and keep the tube gear in a hall closet. I could vent the closet to a second bathroom (or the spare bedroom), but have never felt the need. Maybe if we have an especially hot summer I will try it though.
If your gear is placed next to an outside wall you might look into installing a wisper fan close to the ceiling in order to vent the heat to the outside?
There are really two issues: tube life and room comfort. To assure long tube life, you need to have at least a foot of clearance above the amp for ventilation. I remove the top plate from the amp when in use for extended periods. This helps the amp run cooler, extends tube life and improves the sonics. Next, I have two very quiet ceiling fans. Works well enough.
I live in New Orleans and we have an expression: It's not the heat, it's the stupidity. (There are other expressions like a 12 step program consists of two six packs of Dixie.) You learn down here to simply accept that there's going to be some exposure to tropical weather. Rather than suffer emotionally we simply eat, drink, enjoy music, take it slow, wear light cotton clothing and shower a couple times a day. Keep 'em glowing and have yourself a party!
Hey, Paulg805, I'm in Seattle too! Love the climate here, though the grey winters get old quickly. Got tubes and keep most in the closet where they heat my shoes and motorcycle helmets. At work the space is pretty large so don't have much of a problem there. I can't recall who it was on another thread...but I thought it was an interesting solution: Someone had their amps hung in the rafters in the basement down below their listening floor with the wires coming up through the floor. This would work to warm a perhaps otherwise cool basement too! Sorry I can't recall who posted that one or I'd certainly give credit.
I completely agree with you; I love looking at my amps too Paul, but my wife is not as much of a fan. Since my listening room is our living room I agreed to compromise (my marriage is more important than my system, shocking as that may seem). In fact, I think that was the subject of the thread where the gentleman posted about hanging his amps in the basement (though I don't recall that was his reason for doing so). They were Pass Labs Aleph 2's as I recall....out of all the BORING looking Solid State ("boat anchors") out there, I must say I do like the look (and the sound) of those Aleph's as well (used to have an Aleph 5). I prefer tubes though, and wouldn't mind looking at Cary 805's myself. I've brought this one up before, but if you want to see works of audio art above and beyond anything you've likely seen before;
So, as a further response to Paul's observation: I guess you could have some really great photographs done of your 'hot' components (contact myself or Albert Porter for that), and frame them and hang them in place of the real thing (which can then become the space heater for your basement or closet)!
Although I've never been bothered by the heat of my tube amps in the summer - the AC's usually on anyway here in DC*, where it's almost always hot and humid during July and August - I would be wary of keeping my amps in a closet; I'd much rather that they make me a little hot, than for me to allow them to run in an environment even hotter still, which will rapidly degrade their operating lifetime. If the amp(s) can raise the temp of a whole listening room a few degrees, think how much higher they'll raise it in a small confined closet. Ventilate, ventilate...
*[Good grief, I can't believe it took me two long years to arrive at that inadvertant bad pun of abbreviations for air conditioning, The District of Columbia, and alternating- and direct-current!}
I love the smell of tubes in the morning.....it smells like victory!
PS My closet actually has a tiny window in it I can use as a vent if it gets too hot, but it really never does get that hot in there. Now I'm just running my pre-amp and front end out of the closet while the amps are out in the room with cages on them. But when the amps were in there it was still no problem...never had to open the tiny window. Mind you these are 300B sets and not not one of those christmas tree amps with a bakers dozen EL34's though. I'd imagine the later may turn any closet into a sauna....hey, there's another idea!
You gotta figure that heating up the closet won't make the tubes all that much hotter. On their surface they are so much hotter than ambient, that a warmer ambient won't change the surface temp all that much. A vented closet is a good idea though. In the Pacific Northwest, a great place to drive out th moisture! Jax - what've you got running in your studio these days?
Hey Peter - Your Aleph 5 has a new home in Vermont with a very happy new owner! I loved the amp...closest I've heard SS come to tubes, and had nice qualities of its own. Ultimately I prefer tubes though and went back to that at the studio. I downscaled to a pair of Quicksilver Mini-Mites which are amazing little amps! At 25wpc (push-pull) they seem to put out just as much power as the 60wpc of the Aleph5(!?). But I think the Aleph is a bit soft on power while the MM's pack quite a punch for their rating. Still, that Aleph 5 is a damn fine amp! Initially I was a bit dissappoined with the Mini Mites as the soundstage seemed rather restricted. Swapping out the Chinese 12x7 with a Sovtek 12AX7LPS was a big improvement, but then swapping that out with some Tungsram 12AX7's and those puppies really throw a wide and deep stage. Really quite wonderful. I'm told that going to KT88's improves it further still (I'm running JJ Tesla EL34's - early 90's vintage). BTW, the heat of the Aleph was no problem at all here in the Pacific NorthWet...then again it was winter and the space is pretty big. I can see how in AZ it may be a problem though! When I tried touching it running full-tilt boogie I couldn't help but think of that beginning scene in the Kung-Fu TV series where David Carradine tattoo's himself by embracing the scalding hot iron pot with raised icons! You could give yourself a similar "Class A Aleph" tattoo...kind of like a bar code! I exaggerate here folks, it's nowhere near that bad, but a funny image that came to mind! What did you end up with for your amplification Peter ....or is it still a work in progress?
Funny you suggest that Markanetz. I tried to post a parody that had that very title here on the Gon'. It is the only thing that has ever been bounced back to me by the moderator as being 'unsuitable' for Audiogon. I guess it is pretty racy, but as I recall I was blowing off some steam at the time. If anyone would like to read it, it's pretty funny and has entertained more than a few Audiophiles I've shared it with. Just post me using the link with your email address and I'll be happy to forward a copy with the warning that the contents may not be suitable for everyone!
Some good suggestions here, especially locating the amps outside the listening room. Most often that's not an option, so make sure there's adequate room around them for ventilation. Some big tube amps throw off a lot of heat - a friend had two pairs of Atma-Sphere MA-2s behind his speakers for years, until a few months ago he replaced them. I imagine his air conditioning bill this summer will be quite a bit less. Other amps that come to mind as putting out a lot of heat are big Audio Research amps such as the Ref 600's - 'how much heat' is the number one question they get on them - and Tube Research Labs amps. The TRL 800's could just about heat a house in the dead of winter, being class A, as I recall feeling the heat from them at the '92 WCES from 15 feet away...
I can't wait to see what the heat output is from the Atma-Sphere MA-3's to be introduced somewhere down the road, with 42 output tubes each, running full bore...might set a record and make people want to live in Minnesota and leave the windows open just so they can listen to them without roasting...
Peter, it's not necessarily the tubes that suffer most for being run in a hotter ambient environment, though it's good to keep them cooler as well - it's also many of the other electronic parts inside an amplifier, especially capacitors, which will have their rated operational life exponentially shortened by running them in a marginally hotter environment. Similar laws do apply to the tubes (and actually transistors as well) - that's why there are tube-cooler tweaks for sale - but at least tubes can be easily replaced (well, maybe not some NOS...).
Yup, I know exactly what you are talking about. We use a pair of Bel Canto Set80 monos. They're great in the Winter. Our Dachshund loves it when we turn them on. He curls up in front of one and goes to sleep. We call them our "auxiliary dachshund heaters". We don't use them in the summer though--way too much heat. My solution was a pair of "summer amps"--Quicksilver Mini-monos. They're not the equal of the Bel Cantos, but they are still very good. Being small (25 watts per channel) they do not warm the room at all.