Whats the downside of leaving ones amps on allways

I have Lp12 table/Arcom CD front--Naim guts--Linn loudspeakers. Is leaving my amps warm(I know they sound best) make for more problems over the long term?
What caps?--How often? Please talk to real tech freaks that have no axe to grind!
Hi. I am by no means a tech, so I posed exactly the same question directly to Blue Circle Audio when I purchased their BC21 preamp and BC22 amp late last year.

Their advice was to leave the components off when not in use to reduce wear on tubes and other parts, and to reduce the chance of damage during a lightning strike. They said a 15 minute warm up period was all that was necessary for good results.

On the other hand, in the manual for my Kora Hermes they specifically say that the DAC was designed to be left on all the time, because their circuits economize the life of the tubes so they last 10,000 hours.

I guess the best thing to do is to consult your manual or contact the manufacturer. Good luck.
i leave my system on all the time, unless i leave towm ,or their is a major storm. i would think that off and on would be harder on most systems. if a tube amp or preamp is not designed properly, then they should also be turned off.
Your electric bill goes up.
Transistor gear, leave on all the time. Tube gear, I usually leave on, unless I know I won't be using it for at least 24 hours. In addition, many tube amps have a plate voltage switch which can be turned off while leaving the filaments powered up. This can add many hours to the life of the power tubes (I usually shut down plate voltage if the amp won't be used for several hours). DON'T TAKE A CHANCE WITH A RANDOM LIGHTENING STRIKE!!! If there is the possibility of electrical storms, shut down an UNPLUG EVERYTHING! Contrary to popular belief, a surge protector will not help if you receive a direct lightening strike on a power line going into your home.
I'm not sure what Naim gear you're running. However my Nait5 sounds terrible when it's cold. After A hour or so it sounds better, and it gets better over the next day or two.

sugarbrie hit the mark dead on!
and oh yeah, just turning it off will NOT protect it from any surges.... it's gotta be unplugged....
I just let my gear "warm up" for a little bit before I plop down to seriously listen. -aj
Digital gear takes several hours to stabilize in most cases. If possible leave this on. In most cases, it draws little to no power, even when running. Tube based DAC's obviously pull more power than most SS DAC's, but the added expense would probably not be noticeable.

SS line level components "should" come up to operating temperature rather rapidly and sound close to optimum within a relatively short period of time. I'm talking less than a few short hours here. This can vary from product to product though. A few of my preamps can not be turned off even though they have power switches on them. Those switches simply energize the accessory power outlets on the back of the preamp. Obviously, the designer knew what he wanted for his circuitry and designed that feature into the product. Once again, take into account that these components typically draw very little power and the effects of leaving them on would probably not be noticed on your bill.

SS amplifiers will vary with appr warm up time due to biasing levels. The higher an amp is biased and the hotter it runs, the longer it will take to sound good when going from stone cold to operating temperature. Even after an amp has come up to operating temperature, it will still undergo mild fluctuations for a period of time. As such, amps that run anywhere from cool to room temperature while operating ( like digital amps making use of switching power supplies ) will sound closer to optimum performance right off the bat than an amp that is Class A or richly biased into AB when first turned on. High bias amps tend to sound best after being on for extended periods of time in my experience. If you are going to leave one of these amps on though, you BETTER make sure that it have VERY adequate ventilation.

Tube products need to be judged on an individual basis. I think that most tube based power amps should probably be turned off or put into "standby" or "idle" when not in use. Turning them on and letting them "warm up" before being put to use is recommended. Since output tubes tend to run pretty warm, they should reach operating temperature relatively quickly. To help prolong tube life, one should let them "heat down" after heavy use before killing power. This is done for the same reason that you should let them "warm up" before applying any form of major signal to them. This is EXTREMELY important with devices that mount tubes horizontally and will help prevent premature sagging of the plates.

Line level tube gear is an "iffy" situation. Since the tubes are not "cooking" themselves to death nor drawing major amounts of power like an output tube, some people like to let them idle. Others want to save the tubes in terms of eating up their operational hours of life, so they turn them on as needed. Only trial and error will tell you what works best with each component. They should at least be put into "standby" mode if not being operated if you don't turn them off and on as needed.

My basic beliefs are that most devices last longer and sound better when being left on all the time. Most of the electronic equipment that is see come in for repair goes dead during "off time" or at "fire up". As far as i'm concerned, "in-rush current" and temperature variations take a HEAVY toll on electrical devices. Personally, all of my SS gear stays on 24 hours a day and my tube based system is energized as needed. Honestly, i don't use the tubes that often so there would be no sense in letting them run for nothing. I haven't gotten that system to where i want it to be, but i am working on it. Besides that, i have more fear of tube gear creating a fire hazard while unattended than i do of SS gear doing the same. THAT is something to think about. Sean

PS... These are strictly my opinions, so take them for what they are worth. Since they aren't even printed on paper, they may not be worth that : )

I shut my SS amps off. They do indeed sound better after being on for awhile and if I know I will be listening later on I try to turn them on several hours earlier but I can't in good conscience keep them on. They are hi current amps and I feel materialistic enough already having these monsters let alone using up the power that they take while not listening.
That doesn't mean I think everyone should do like me. For different people there are different things that bother us and this happens to be something I am concious of.
I wonder if it is also irresponsble for a manufacturer not to take this into account when he makes this gear.
A for instance would be my own Spectral gear which lacks any kind of standby mode whatsoever. They say right in the manual that it will not stabilize until about 24 hours. Would it really have affected the sonics that much to have built in some kind of standby mode even if it is only partially useful? Would the same manufacturer have made it the same way if we were living in Europe let's say where power is more expensive?
I say to manufacturers who do produce wasteful products that have do not take into account their effect on the environment that we do not own the earth.
Jerry, now climbs down from the soapbox....
Having said that, does anyone have any estimates about how much it actually cost to run our gear?
Could start a fire.
Jdwek - when I bought my first Bryston amp back in 1989 I remember reading something (in the manual) about leaving the amp on all the time as it ensured that the amp was in its optimal operating condition when "warmed up" - they advised that when the amp was sitting idle it was drawing the equivalent power to that of a 100 watt light bulb. Is that alot - I guess it depends on what one pays for power...
The downside, is the wear on your amps occur, even when, you are not listening, and the cost of electricity. The wear, is minimal, with solid state gear, but with tube power amps, it will reduce the time, of tube replacement, to approx. 1/4. If the tubes lasted 2 years, listening 6 hours a day, then they will last only 6 months, listening 24 hours a day.
The electricity costs, will vary, with type, of amp. Class A, will definitely add considerablely, to the costs.
The cycling on, and off, is definitely hard, on gear, both solid state, and tube. Manufacturers, had added a lot of features, to minimize this, such as "softstart", to gently apply the inrush currents.
I use tubes, on the midrange, and high frequency, and solid state, on the bottom. I shut the tubes down, whenever I am not listening. I leave the solid state on, continuously. Lightning strikes, is the only reason, I shut it down, and unplug it. I even use, a little trick, of coiling the last 2 feet, so if a huge surge hits it, while I'm not home, it will melt the cord away, at the coil, and hopefully prevent the juice, from getting to the amp.
I hate to leave any piece of electronics on for an extended period - especially if I'm gone - I have a McIntosh MC-2100 amp and it gets fairly hot(enough that you can only touch the hot spot for a few seconds) - it doesn't have a power switch, so I plug it in to a power strip and shut it down every day - I don't think it makes a difference in the sound that much - but heck, I'm over 50, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.