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need help with tube amps

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I just bought an Antique Sound Lab MG Head Tube Amp from head room to go with my HD 60s and I LOVE the sound. I have a few questions about tube amps. 1. Should I leave it on 24/7? Some one told me that I should always leave the head phones pluged into the amp, is this true? Or will it damage the headphones?
post #2 of 7
It's debated to this day whether or not tube amps should be left on all the time. Here's my stance:
leaving it on...
1) uses electricity, which pollutes and costs you $$
2) wears out your tubes faster, which causes inconvenience and costs you $$
post #3 of 7
I have the X-Canv2 and it is designed to be left on all the time. To me, it sounds the best after being left on a few days.

I also leave my Senns plugged in almost all the time with no problems to speak - the thing is there is a school of thought that leaving your cans plugged in all time can loosen the jack, I have not not had a problem with the jack after leaving my cans plugged in for months and then unplugging though.

There is also a fear by some that electrical surges may damage your cans. People have reported that that their cans were damaged after being left plugged in.

At any rate, get some sort of surge protection strip or look into a brickwall filter(do a search in the power forum).

The cost of electricity, pollution, and the life of tubes should be considered, as Joe said. Signal tubes can last about a year or so if left on all the time.

* You can do a test to see if the amp sounds better after being left on for a few days (with the cans plugged if you want too).
post #4 of 7
The Xcans are different, though. They are a hybrid amplifier and put very little voltage through the tubes and some people quote getting 10,000 hours out of them. For "full" tube amps, the life is only 2,500 hours or 100 days...

Try it out yourself and see which you prefer. On my Melos it warms up after 15 minutes or so and doesn't get any better after that. Of course, it couldn't possibly be much better anyway
post #5 of 7

Tube life

Tubes suffer most from the voltage surge that occurs at turn-on.
This is mainly seen in high voltage tube power amps where the plate may typically operate at 400 to 500 volts. Tube amp makers get around this by designing soft start circuits into their gear. This can be accomplished by using a simple thermister but the circuit can be more elaborate. The 6BQ5's found in the MG head
run at lower voltages probably somewhere between 200 and 300 volts the filament or heater if you like runs at 6.3 volts for this tube.
Take a look at the amp in the dark when you turn it on if the tubes come on very gradually then there is some kind of soft start being used. At any rate 6BQ5's are cheap and can be had for around $10.00 at New Sensor. As far as leaving your MG head on all the time I think you would do just fine turning it on an hour before you do your listening. That is plenty of time for all the voltages to stabalize and may keep your electric bill down as well.
post #6 of 7

Re: Tube life

Originally posted by Jrook
...6BQ5's are cheap and can be had for around $10.00 at New Sensor...
What is "New Sensor"? I don't have an MG Head (yet, already have too many amps, need to get rid of a couple), but I enjoy EL84/6BQ5's in my speaker/integrated -based rig, so wouldn't mind a few more choices. TxIA for any info...
post #7 of 7

New sensor/6BQ5

New Sensor is the North American distributor for Sovtek tubes. they also sell various other makers at very atractive prices.
Here is the link www.Sovtek.com

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