Author Topic: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?  (Read 830 times)

Offline Nick B

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solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« on: October 05, 2022, 09:02:15 PM »
I have an AVA SET 120 amp which is a sonic bargain. A few nights ago, I forgot to turn off the system (not good for my tube preamp) and only noticed it had been on when I was getting ready to listen in the evening. There was a significant improvement in the sound. I thought maybe it was just the different source material. But it was quickly obvious that wasnít the reason. I was getter improved resolution and additional soundstage depth and layering. I used music I was very familiar with. Additional voices appeared distinctly in choruses and instruments suddenly appeared where they hadnít been present before. The texture of violins, guitars, harps, trumpets was more natural and nuanced. It really was like getting a new amp. I emailed Frank at AVA and asked if I could leave it on 24/7 and he asked that I donít. He said heat and time are the enemies of solid state components. In conjunction with this, I had consistently noticed that after 4-5 hours of listening the sound improved. I thought maybe the AC was just super clean after 1:00 to 2:00,  but I had Daveís UberBUSS which was supposed to filter out AC grunge. So now it all finally makes sense. Things sound so improved that Iím going to leave it on 24/7.

So Iím wondering if you leave your solid state amps on or turn them off. Do you pay attention to the manufacturerís recommendation or just do what works best for you? Also, regarding the design of a solid state amp, can it be designed to run cooler vs being run hot? Does bias fit into this? Do all solid state amps have bias settings and, if so, are some set at the factory and canít be adjusted?
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Offline ejk

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2022, 11:49:29 PM »
My Sphinx has a power switch in front and a master switch in the back that Rogue recommends leaving it on to keep it warmed up. They say it has no effect on the tube front end. 
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Offline James Edward

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2022, 04:18:48 AM »
I always left them on for the reason you discovered- they just sounded better. With my current amp, I canít really do that- itís a class A amp and draws considerable juice even at idle. Your AVA is class A/B, and draws minimal power at idle.
Others feel that after 20 or 30 minutes their sound no longer improves. Iím in the other camp.
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Offline Nick B

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2022, 11:06:01 AM »
My Sphinx has a power switch in front and a master switch in the back that Rogue recommends leaving it on to keep it warmed up. They say it has no effect on the tube front end.

I wish the AVA amp was designed like that. Are you getting any current at all running thru the tubes in standby?
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Offline Nick B

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2022, 11:15:19 AM »
I always left them on for the reason you discovered- they just sounded better. With my current amp, I canít really do that- itís a class A amp and draws considerable juice even at idle. Your AVA is class A/B, and draws minimal power at idle.
Others feel that after 20 or 30 minutes their sound no longer improves. Iím in the other camp.

The magic timeframe for me has always been at 4-5 hours. Iím just going to leave it on 24/7.
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Offline ejk

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2022, 12:44:34 PM »
My Sphinx has a power switch in front and a master switch in the back that Rogue recommends leaving it on to keep it warmed up. They say it has no effect on the tube front end.

I wish the AVA amp was designed like that. Are you getting any current at all running thru the tubes in standby?

I don't think so on the current. I wouldn't know how to measure that. I think the rear panel just keeps the class d modules warmed up from what I remember reading somewhere.
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Offline Nick B

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2022, 05:21:49 PM »
My Sphinx has a power switch in front and a master switch in the back that Rogue recommends leaving it on to keep it warmed up. They say it has no effect on the tube front end.

I wish the AVA amp was designed like that. Are you getting any current at all running thru the tubes in standby?

I don't think so on the current. I wouldn't know how to measure that. I think the rear panel just keeps the class d modules warmed up from what I remember reading somewhere.

I didnít think so, but thought Iíd ask. Iíve always been curious about the Rogue equipment, but have never been able to hear any at shows or friends homes.
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Offline Jack

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2022, 06:37:16 PM »
The twin switch was how my BHK amp operated. Back switch turned on the Mosfet section and front switch the tubed input stage.  Amp still warm to the touch with front switch off.  All SS amps always on including the SET 400.
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Offline steve

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2022, 09:07:16 PM »
I agree, it takes my system at least 3 hours and preferably 4 hours before it sounds optimum.

Two downsides I see.

1. power bill might raise a couple of dollars.

2. Electrolytic capacitors degrade faster as the temperature rises. The rule of thumb used to be
half life for every 20 degree rise. A better way of putting it is for every 20 degrees below the caps
maximum rating, life was doubled.

So if the cap is rated 85C (185F), at 165 doubled, at 145 four times, 125 eight times, and 105F, 16 times.
Below maximum repetitive current also plays a part in cap life, but one usually doesn't know what that figure is
for a cap in a particular circuit. However, we do know that in preamplifiers, the repetitive current is generally
quite small compared to the max repetitive current rating for a particular electrolytic cap.

Another idea is the change the power switch for double throw, so when the switch is turned off, a power
resistor(s) would heat the component to a certain temperature. Multiple resistors around the chassis
would be even better for even heating. But then, the electrolytics would begin to suffer, depending upon
the temperature set.

cheers

steve
« Last Edit: October 06, 2022, 09:09:46 PM by steve »
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Offline Nick B

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2022, 09:20:52 PM »
I agree, it takes my system at least 3 hours and preferably 4 hours before it sounds optimum.

Two downsides I see.

1. power bill might raise a couple of dollars.

2. Electrolytic capacitors degrade faster as the temperature rises. The rule of thumb used to be
half life for every 20 degree rise. A better way of putting it is for every 20 degrees below the caps
maximum rating, life was doubled.

So if the cap is rated 85C (185F), at 165 doubled, at 145 four times, 125 eight times, and 105F, 16 times.
Below maximum repetitive current also plays a part in cap life, but one usually doesn't know what that figure is
for a cap in a particular circuit. However, we do know that in preamplifiers, the repetitive current is generally
quite small compared to the max repetitive current rating for a particular electrolytic cap.

Another idea is the change the power switch for double throw, so when the switch is turned off, a power
resistor(s) would heat the component to a certain temperature. Multiple resistors around the chassis
would be even better for even heating. But then, the electrolytics would begin to suffer, depending upon
the temperature set.

cheers

steve

Thanks, Steve. The sound becomes very good at the 4-5 hour mark, but outstanding at 24 hours. I would rather have outstanding sound all the time. Iíve never kept an amp longer than 4-5 years or so, so longevity isnít a concern for me. Can I ask what recommendations you made to clients on your products if they inquired?

Nick
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Supratek Chardonnay preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
iFi Zen Stream & Mojo Audio lps
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Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline ejk

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2022, 12:12:03 AM »
My Sphinx has a power switch in front and a master switch in the back that Rogue recommends leaving it on to keep it warmed up. They say it has no effect on the tube front end.

I wish the AVA amp was designed like that. Are you getting any current at all running thru the tubes in standby?

I don't think so on the current. I wouldn't know how to measure that. I think the rear panel just keeps the class d modules warmed up from what I remember reading somewhere.

I didnít think so, but thought Iíd ask. Iíve always been curious about the Rogue equipment, but have never been able to hear any at shows or friends homes.

Here it is in the manual


Powering up the System - After all proper connections have been made, you are now
ready to turn the Sphinx on. The main power on/off switch is on the rear of the amp.
This ďvacation switchĒ can be left on at all times and keeps the solid state portion of the
amplifier in a standby state. The Sphinx uses very little power while in standby and will
sound its very best if you leave this switch on at all times. If you are going to be away
for an extended time period (vacation) you can turn it off. The yellow LED on the front
panel indicates that this switch is turned on. The power button on the front panel
energizes the tube section and takes the solid state circuitry out of standby mode. The
blue LED indicates that the amplifier is in fully operational mode

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Offline rollo

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2022, 08:30:04 AM »
On 24/7 for me.
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Offline GDHAL

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2022, 06:56:20 PM »
Leaving solid state equipment on 24/7 is definitely no good. It's not going to improve the sound quality one bit. I'm pretty sure you will never find any properly conducted blind test that supports any theory that it does sound better. It's certainly easier to find measurement data which is of course objective that will show that there's no difference from measurement perspective when the unit is first turned on within milliseconds of measurements versus it being on for 30 days straight. Besides the fact that you have an additional electric bill to deal with it also disintegrates the life of the components. By this I mean all components resistors capacitors transistors etc etc. Ask some folks who are in the business who do electronics repair what they think and I'm pretty sure they'll tell you the same response that I'm giving here.

Now of course there's a caveat to this which has to do with the in rush of current once a unit is turned on. And by turned on I mean from a completely off state, I'm not talking about coming out of standby. Suppose you wake up at 10:00 in the morning and you intend to listen throughout the day until 10:00 at night. In that case you'd want to leave your unit on for the entire 12 hour duration. So even in the middle of that time frame if you step out to go to the grocery store for 2 hours you don't want to turn your unit off and then turn it back on again. But when you're going to sleep at 10:00 at night and you're not going to wake up until sometime in the next morning - which presumably you will wake up - then you turn your unit on if in fact you intend to listen to it that day. Otherwise leave it off.

I'll give folks here another tip and of course this is all having to do with solid state it's not as easy to do this with tubes and admittingly I have no experience with tubes so I'm speaking strictly of all solid state. Once the unit is off and has cooled down enough you want to cover the ventilation holes of the unit so as to prevent dust, or at least try and prevent dust insofar as minimizing the amount of dust, that will enter the unit. If your a person that swaps out gear every one two three four years it doesn't make a difference. But if you're the type of person who likes to hang on to a piece of gear for 20 years it definitely does make a difference.

Best

Hal

EDIT: I mention covering to mitigate dust because that is in fact related to powering the unit on or off. First of all covering the unit not only helps prevent dust it also helps prevent little creepy crawlies like spiders from getting into your equipment as well. Again, dust and spiders will not be completely prevented, but it can be minimized. If you're insistent about *not* turning off your equipment, even when the equipment is in standby mode (assuming your gear has a standby mode), there is some amount of heat that needs to be dissipated. The heat sinks just aren't enough and you need unobstructed air vents. So by leaving your equipment on, in a sense it prevents you from covering the air vents which in itself has advantages as I've indicated above.

Look, those of you who insist it sounds better when left on 24/7 , by all means do what you got to do. If there's any way for you to test that in some type of a blind test which I realize would not be easy to do in this case but if you did have such an opportunity I think you'd be surprised with the results.

Yes , everything in the way of electronics does have a thermal equilibrium that needs to be obtained. However , the thermal equilibrium occurs within moments not hours or days.

YMMV

« Last Edit: October 07, 2022, 07:34:37 PM by GDHAL »
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Offline S Clark

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2022, 07:30:12 PM »
"...........is definitely no good. It's not going to improve the sound quality one bit"
You can fill in the blank with most anything you want when it comes to audiophilia.  But I suspect that around here, it meets with the same attitude as saying "Chocolate malts are proven to be better than vanilla malts".  Double blind test, brain scans, and conformations by Ouija board still don't matter... if you like vanilla, you like vanilla. 
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Offline GDHAL

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Re: solid state amps - always on or turn off when done listening?
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2022, 07:40:23 PM »
"...........is definitely no good. It's not going to improve the sound quality one bit"
You can fill in the blank with most anything you want when it comes to audiophilia.  But I suspect that around here, it meets with the same attitude as saying "Chocolate malts are proven to be better than vanilla malts".  Double blind test, brain scans, and conformations by Ouija board still don't matter... if you like vanilla, you like vanilla.

Audio sound all boils down to your own "distortion profile".

Besides the equipment being on or off you also have to contend with how long your ears have been listening and your brain has been processing the sound.

Everything matters at some level.
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