Why should I leave my amps on 7/24?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Henry W, Aug 17, 2001.

  1. Henry W

    Henry W Stunt Coordinator

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    A lot of people are telling me to leave my Bryston 4B ST amps on 7/24. Why? I do not understand this. Should I really do this? It doesn't make sense to me.
    Best regards-Henry
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  2. Brian_J

    Brian_J Second Unit

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    I guess the simple response would be when do you normally see a lightbulb burn out?
    Brian
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    Zed's Dead Baby...
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    unless bryston tells you to, i can't think of a reason although some believe keeping the electronics warmed up serves to prolong their life. i'd imagine the the opinions are 50/50...
     
  4. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I would not. I have a technics integrated amplifier. No its not exactly audiophile grade, but its been fairly good sounding to me all these years. I have been turning it on and off for 12 years. No problems. If it brakes, then too bad. Leaving your amp on 24/7 is a waste of energy. That constant heat it generates at idle is wasting power for no reason. Those parts in there are supposed to be high grade and should handle the expansion and contraction of on and off cycles just fine.Energy is not free. I switch ALL my components off when not using them. If a product can't handle being turned on and off, then its not good in my eyes. Save electricity and turn it off when you are not using it.
     
  5. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    The reason you hear people say that you should leave power amps on all the time is much the same reason alot of computer techs say you should leave your computer on all the time.
    When you power your amps up, it sends a tremendous surge of power through the amp. This tends to really tax pretty much everything in there to a certain extent.
    Granted, they are made to handle this, but even so, after some time.....could be a short amount, could be 20 years....something is sooner or later going to pop in there.
    Leaving the power up all the time saves your equipment from this surge.
    Whether it's a good idea or not.....who's to say. I know from personal experience with professional amps in installed sound systems (churches, conference centers etc.) I've found that amps that stay on all the time tend to last longer.
    The system in the conference center at my business uses 4 amps, and they've been on for 12 years straight. We've had 2 that have burned out the fan motor in all that time.
    On the other hand, at my church, the power is turned on and off for every use, and a couple of the amps there have been in the shop more times than I can count.
    This may or may not be attributed to them being turned on and off.....I haven't been responsible for that equipment long enough to know.
    Personally, my amp at home is kept off since I really don't use it that much. If I use it during the day, I usually will leave it on all day (or weekend if I plan to catch a few movies),but for the most part I power up when I use it.
    So it really could go either way. You may never have problems with turning them on and off, but then again, one day you might flip the switch only to see a flash from inside.......
     
  6. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Henry,
    Why don't you send this same post to Bryston and get the manufacturers response.
    I don't mean to sound rude, but with a nice piece like the Bryston that you have, I would be on a first name basis with them if I had any questions, or issues, with their amp.
    BOK
     
  7. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I work in the electronics industry. Keeping your amp(s) on all the time keeps it (them) hot. Pure and simple: heat is bad for electronics. (Exactly why when accelerated lifetime testing is performed, ICs are heated up and larger than normal current is passed through them.)
    As for power surges through them when they are powered on? A good amp will be designed such that it is a non-issue.
    Also increases your power bill! [​IMG]
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  8. Marty Neudel

    Marty Neudel Stunt Coordinator

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    Henry,
    another good reason for NOT leaving any equipment on 24/7 is the transformer. Almost all transformers get noisier with age.* Allowing the transformer to remain on permanently will cause it to become prematurely noisy.
    Marty
    The only transformers in my experience that are immune to this are the ones designed and mnufactured by McIntosh Labs.
     
  9. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    From Bryston's website containing 4B specs:
     
  10. Henry W

    Henry W Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for your responses-you have been very helpful.
    Best regards-Henry
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  11. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

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    And don't even get me on that "it sounds better" gig. If you think your ears are that reliable and repeatable- well, then, I've got some oceanfront property in Kansas to sell you.
    Really, maybe I need to sign up. Can I surf?
    I did not believe in warm up. In fact, I do not beleive that I now firmly believe in warm up since its against all my normal instincts, education, and training. But, I swear my system sounds better after 20 minutes or so of playing than it does for the first 20 minutes. Everything becomes much smoother and musical, as opposed to during warm up it can sound digital and harsh.
    I asked about this on another forum and was told there are some electronics in an amp designed to work optimally under a heated condition. Or maybe its actually my ears that adjust. Whatever it is, its there.
    Having said all that, I turn my amps off. It seems in my system this effect is not about being on or off for 20 minutes, but actually driving a load for that time.
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    http://www.sdiver.org
     
  12. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Power usage aspects aside, which aren't insignificant, the most likely time an electronic component will fail is at power up.
    Everyone is ignoring thermal equilibrium as well -- keeping a piece of electronics, depending on the piece naturally will keep it at a more constant temperature, which in my experience is a good thing. The cycling cold to hot to cold to hot isn't necessarily a good thing.
    I have a Bryston amp that was left on 24x7 for years, with no ill effects whatsoever.
    Just relating my experiences.
    Regards,
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    John Kotches
    Contributing Writer
    Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
     
  13. Joe Casey

    Joe Casey Stunt Coordinator

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    I listen during the weekends only (mostly), and as such power them up Friday morning/evening, and leave them up till Sunday night/Monday morning. They sound better to me warmed up. Are they going to fail on me by power-cycling them twice a week? I don't really care with a 20 year warranty. Just my $.02.
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    Q
     
  14. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    I doubt it Joe. Remember Bryston would not warranty them for 20 years, if they didn't think that very few of them would come back with major problems.
    Regards,
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    John Kotches
    Contributing Writer
    Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
     
  15. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    I've also read accounts of design engineers voicing amps after they've warmed up. By 'voicing', I mean listening to them to fine tune the capacitor/resistor/etc. values to give the amp the sound that the engineer wants for it. Of course, this only applies to manufacturers where the designers actually listen to the amps - I've heard accounts of people talking to designers at mid-fi AV receiver manufacturers, where they said they didn't have the time to listen to their equipment, they just designed them and built them.
     
  16. Ken Situ

    Ken Situ Stunt Coordinator

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    It has to do with temperature change. All things will expand when heated up, and contract when cooled down. Constant switching on and off will result in a constant expansion and contraction, which will result in damages over time. This is more of a factor than surge itself. MHO of course.
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  17. DaleB

    DaleB Stunt Coordinator

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    Much less a factor, but to be considered is the power switch if not remote controlled, which most power amps are not. It will wear out too.
    Another way to handle this is to leave the amp in standby if it has 12 volt trigger capability, and let the preamp turn it on.
    Another, is a power sequencer like the Panamax 1000+ which is not only a line conditioner, but has delayed AC sockets that come on about 10 seconds after your preamp is powered up.
     
  18. PomingF

    PomingF Second Unit

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    Some very interesting observations indeed. I think the proponents argue esp for stereo amps like the 4B is the time it takes to warm up to perform at spec levels for both channels but for home listening, as long as it's not going to hurt the gear I for one really rather save the energy. Now if it's winter in the NE, that may be another reason to leave them on continuously. [​IMG] Bottom line is if it's something important they would have highlighted that on the manual plus making the 'on-off' switch very difficult to get to like on the bottom instead of in the middle of the front plate anyway. Like others said one reason to turn the amps off is if you are to switch off other gear in the chain you hate to hear the 'pop' if the amp is on while switching others.
    I've been doing what Joe does, turn mine off by the end of each weekend since I hardly use them during the week except recently since I've been using them to break in some speakers hence have been having them on for more than a week now without any problem. Well, I guess the utility bill at the end of the month will tell. [​IMG]
    Btw Dale, I don't power mine off anything but the wall sockets.
    PF
    [Edited last by PomingF on August 19, 2001 at 10:37 AM]
     
  19. Tor Arne

    Tor Arne Stunt Coordinator

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    Like Ken Situ says.
    It has to do with the expansion and contraction of the components during temperature changes. This is bad for electronics, worse than constant heat. Also, changes in temperature can cause moisture to acumulate inside the amp if humidity is high.
    I do not keep my equipment turned on however. If it can't take being tourned on and off once or twice a day I don't want it. [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Tor Arne Hustvedt
    Norway
     
  20. Robert A. Willis Jr.

    Robert A. Willis Jr. Second Unit

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    Leaving electronic equipment on for the sake of reliability harkens back to the days before solid state devices. Tubes typically fail at power up (like light bulbs). Also tubes took some time to become stable and required some warm up time. Some devices had continuous filament current to alleviate this, but it was still a significant current drain.
    Modern devices do sound better a few minutes after warm up. Oh yes, many modern power amps do have a standby mode to keep "critical systems" stable. I have Aragon, Anthem and Mark Levinson amps. The Anthem and Mark Levinson amps have standby modes and the both manuals state that if fully powered down it will take some time for them to reach their best sound. They both recommend leaving the units in standby mode. The Aragon has circuitry to handle the massive power surge. I have spoken with Aragon's techs and they recommend turning their amps off.
    Like many folks here my amps are constantly on from Friday evening until Sunday evening on most weekends due to extended listening.
    rw
     

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