Is there a "warm up period" for SS gear?
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markl

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I've been leaving my Melos Maestro tube headamp on almost all the time for a few weeks now (trying very hard not to think about those expensive Siemens tubes burning up their lifespan in there
), and the degree of sonic improvement over a cold start is quite dramatic in every way. I'd say improvements peak on day 2 or so. I know this phenomenon is related to the nature and function of tubes and tube gear.

My questions relate to ss gear and warm up periods, in particular my source (SACDP). Should this be left on all the time as well, or are there no benefits from long warm up periods for SS gear? Is it "bad" to leave your source on all the time? Do you shorten the lifespan of any of the parts inside if you do?

markl
 
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kerelybonto

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Generally there's no warm-up required for solid-state gear. Tubed equipment needs the time primarily to heat up the gasses in the tubes, which takes a while. Now, there can be slight sonic benefits in letting solid-state components equalize to their operating temperature, but that usually occurs within minutes.

There's no reason not to leave your solid-state equipment on all the time, unless you just want to avoid always drawing power from the wall. The only components in a solid-state source that can 'wear' with use are the mechanical parts -- the spindle/motor, the tray, etc; but all those parts are only in use when you're actually playing music, not when it's just sitting there.

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Calanctus

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Some SS manufacturers DO recommend leaving their stuff on all the time. Examples: Plinius, PS Audio (both for amplifiers). I'll take their word for it.
 
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markl

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Kerely,
Thanks for the info about the internal parts. But, while I'm sure that from a cold, hard engineer's perspective (no b.s. subjectivist audiofool nonsense), there is no measurable sonic difference between a warmed up and cold-started CDP, but what about a "golden ears"
like me?

What do the subjectivists have to say on the issue, that's what I'm interested in...

Cal,
Absolutely, yes, I've read that you are to leave on your mega-watt power amps all the time (mine's always on). But I don't think that has much to do with improving sonics as it does with protecting the parts inside from constant switching on and off and surging power through the massive torroids, caps and such. Is that the case?

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kerelybonto

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Well, I was just letting you know that there actually is some basis to the phenomenon of tube warm-up. And a tiny bit for a minimal effect in solid state gear. I can't remember ever hearing anyone say they've noticed a difference in long-period solid-state warm-up ... but if you're interested in finding out for your "golden ears," you might as well just try it for yourself.

And I think you're right about why manufacturers tell you to leave stuff on, especially the high-current components. There's similar reasoning for leaving tube gear on. I guess it comes down to this: is there any reason you should turn off your solid-state stuff? No. And if there's some benefit from leaving it on, well, all the better.

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kelly

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Burn in and warm up have both been somewhat case by case for me. My Sony ES receiver sounds noticably better after it's been on for a while. The modded Corda sounds better after its been on for half an hour or so but not night and day. The RKV sounds considerably better after half an hour, but never sounds bad to start with. The Sugden, I can't tell--I wouldn't be able to tell a new one from an old one or a warm one from a cold one.

There are parts that wear out by being powered on. Any LEDs and the PSU especially--but chances are the life on these components will be longer than your desire to own them anyway, provided they don't get zapped by a brown out or surge.

As a side note -- I used to do a lot of graphics work at a video game company I worked for (childish, I know, I was embarassed to tell the "lay-deez") and colors definitely do shift when a monitor has been powered off versus after it has had an hour or two to warm up. Because of this, I turned all of the environmentalist crap off on my computer. I shot a Democrat in the head and ran over a hippy for good measure, but that didn't seem to help the color. Leaving the monitor on all the time did.
 
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There is a warm up period for some solid state gear. My amp sounds noticeably better after it has been one for half an hour, as does my DAC which I leave on all the time now. Calanctus is correct many companies do recommend their stuff be left on whenever possible. To add to the list of companies that say implicitly in the manual to leave their components on: Simaudio, Classe, and Mark Levinson. Sim Audio says in their manual that their amps and preamps do not reach peak performance until several hours after they have been on.
 
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Aside from the equipment warming up, has anyone considered what sitting in a chair for half an hour listening to your favorite tunes might do for your disposition? Perhaps relaxing helps your hearing abilities too. I know the first few minutes after I sit down the music sound kinda edgy. This time period would also coincide with the equipment warming up. After a few minutes I'm more relaxed, I no longer hear my heart pumping in my ears, and I stop worrying about things from real life. Having a clear mind helps. Any ideas for or against?
 
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When I auditioned the Maxed Out Home on the Headroom Educational program, it did not reach full performance for about a day. Warmup was faster after that, however, leading me to suspect that cooldown takes a long time too, whatever that may be.

My Electrocompaniet preamp prefers to be on all the time (like the X-Can, the manufacturer did not include a power switch, although the Electrocompaniet is a wee bit higher end). It takes at least a day to reach full performance if I unplug it for a long period of time. The ZOTL can reach full performance very quickly...it can be run within seconds of turning it on, and is singing in five to ten minutes. Go figure.

Incidentally, I tried Siemens tubes in my SHA-1 and liked them...but I'm now using Sylvania 7308's while my Siemens and Amperex tubes sit in their boxes. My Melos has finally arrived at a sound I really like with certain headphones (HP-1 and W2002). The 7308's should have a longer life than 6922's as well.
 
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kelly

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Quote:

Originally posted by bundee1
Aside from the equipment warming up, has anyone considered what sitting in a chair for half an hour listening to your favorite tunes might do for your disposition? Perhaps relaxing helps your hearing abilities too. I know the first few minutes after I sit down the music sound kinda edgy. This time period would also coincide with the equipment warming up. After a few minutes I'm more relaxed, I no longer hear my heart pumping in my ears, and I stop worrying about things from real life. Having a clear mind helps. Any ideas for or against?


Trying to convince this crowd that what they're hearing is purely psychological may not be the best way to make friends. The last poor guy who did that showed up on IRC a couple weeks ago trying to convince us that resistors and caps were all the same.

When I discover that one of my components has a warm up period, I typically try to turn it on prior to needing to use it. Ie, I regularly turn on an amplifier the minute I walk in the door, before doing other things like walking the dog or getting a drink. So um, no, it's not just being more relaxed -- at least not in my case. And it would not account for the fact that some of my components have a very audible warm up period while others do not.
 
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Calanctus

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markl, my personal practical experience is limited to my receiver (which I've just dropped in favour of a better amplifier). Despite its mid-fi character, it definitely did sound subtly better after warmup.

There are posts on Audiogon fora, Audioasylum, etc. stating that owners of SS amps prefer their sound when they are hot.
 
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All solid state audio gear other than power amps I leave on 24/7, they consume very little power (10-20 watts each)

Power amps are a different story beacuse of power consumption even when idle, I turn them off at night after listening and on again 1/2 hour before listening next day by which time they sound good. This allows my amps to be off @50% of the time and saves me a sizeable amount of money in electric bill each year.
 
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markl: There was a debate about your question in a german hifi mag recently - and the result seemed fairly similar to my own findings: Once SS stuff is properly burnt in, a warm-up period of about half an hour should be enough to get the best results. I've also found, that room temperature seems to make some difference for certain components - phono cartridges for example sound better to me with 25 °C than with 20 °C in the room. But that may also have to do with the temperature sensitivity of the listener...


Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
 
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The STAX SRM-717 and Arcam CD23 both have a warm up period in that the CD23 get's mildly warm after about an hour, and the 717 gets untouchably hot after half an hour. Given the temperature changes taking place and the stabilizing that follows, I'd like to think that it does matter. Audibly I'd say the CD23 doesn't sound much different, but it's been said that its analog circuits are always being fed power to keep them warmed up at all times anyways. The 717 sounds slightly less sterile and has more bloom and warmth and smoothness once it's heated up.

Quote:

Aside from the equipment warming up, has anyone considered what sitting in a chair for half an hour listening to your favorite tunes might do for your disposition?


I agree that mentally and physically settling down does help and does occur, but I think that's a seperate story. I know my tinnitus flares up big time right when I put my headphones on to the point where it almost blocks out music, but once the music flows, it'll actually simmer down to almost nothing.
 
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I think that it is just as relevant to discuss the "warm-up" period of the headphones (or speakers) with moving drivers from which the sound ultimately eminates. It seems to me that devices that require movement in order to work, work better after, at least, a small warmup period. Such devices are subject to environmental factors, as well as the physical laws describing how they shall go from "rest" to "moving". Larger headphone drivers seem to benefit well from such a warmup.

I wonder if some of the experiences described here reflect that aspect of the systems involved?

Personal experience also seems to indicate that headphone cables, and possibly IC's benefit from a warmup period as well. Although I have less of a mental concept of how this actually would happen.
 
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