Hi Steakster. What tube amp are you using?
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Many professionals/manufacturers recommend 5 minutes between off and on and discourage constant recycling. Perhaps your manufacturer knows thier product better than anyone here and knows of a problem. Or, they might be overcautious. Ask them. I've adhered to the 5 minute rule and have had no problem with any tube device.
FWIW, I would not recommend that decisions about cable be made based on short term A/B'ing. That will only show up gross differences. The differences between high quality cable and IC's should be small and discernable only when you have had lengthy sessions with specific reference materiel for comparison. Short A/B comparisons may result in decisions made on particular aspects which are dramatic, but not enduring, such as cables which have a tendency to showcase 'detail', in the short run attractive, which becomes just plain overly etched/bright in the long run.
Does anyone know why the amp should fully cool down? Does it have something to do with discharging capacitors?
I would think that full cooldown is undesirable. If a tube is still warm when it is refired, the thermal stress to the tube filament would be reduced. Also, the warmer the filament, the greater the resistance, which would also slow the in-rush current, and again, result in a gentler restart.
Any technical guys have a reason for this advice?
find quality mono recording(s) and hook up each channel to diff. cable. place speakers in same small area of room. use balance control and listen long enuf to make it meaningful. repeat, rinse. :) fwiw, i once accidentally turned my tubes A/B UL off and on quickly and the resulting surge and noise did not make me want to do that again! i'm no no electrical engineer obviously but the manufacturer did not issue that warning for no reason. as noted above a/b cable comps can be done in a more helpful way anyhoo.