Leaving tube amps on all day?

wabashslim

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I thought this was going to be about tube amps - not "tube" amps.
My solution for my old AD60 V-tronix was to turn it off & leave it off until the next owner faced that decision.
 

Synchro

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As an earlier post, mentioned, there were plenty of electronic devices in the tube era that kept the filaments heated 24x7. There were TVs advertised as “Instant On”m as one example. I shure wouldn’t worry about that harming tune life, and the filament of a lone 12AX7 probably draws less than a night light. That having been said, I can’t think of any reason to leave it on all the time.
 

Ronkirn

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OK.. what many are overlooking is WHAT leaving it on is supposed to do.... Perhaps a review of the past 20 years of the Audiophile's "bible" "The Absolute Sound" would help.. https://www.theabsolutesound.com.

In that world the ultimate Stereo sound system, (these easily cost $500,000.00 and up) will recreate a number of effects not really related to "sound quality". Among those are things like imaging, or being able to hear the different Rows of Clocks in Pink Floyd's recording... That's a fascinating experience..

It also allows you to hear the position of the first Violin, or a Cello in a Corelli work, or any of the other instruments in an orchestral presentation... IF the recording is "up to snuff". That usually eliminates CD's and Mp's..

If listening to a vocals you can hear where Peter, Paul, or Mary are standing.... Or where Lindsey, Stevie, Christy or Mick are positioned on the stage in a live recording..

Or it enables you to hear the "slap" of a Bass Drum Pedal as it hits the skin... the transients of the Hi Hat or a cymbal.

and YES you can indeed hear such definition... you just can't hear it listening to an Mp3 on your iPhone... or on some skanky home entertainment system.. it takes a room engineered for sound, and the quality "gear" necessary to duplicate such an experience.

In such, the gear is left on because it enables the gear to articulate 100% of whatever capacity it's capable of... and remember those systems reproduce sound across the full bandwidth of sound, 20 to 20,000 hZ . Your guitar's amp has a "governor" built in.. the speaker . . . where the better drivers only reproduce from around 30 to 6000 hZ.. hardly enough of the spectrum to matter much...

I might mention.. in the past 20 years, digital tech has gone far to reproduce such sound from stunningly simple appearing speakers.. but still nothing compares to something like a couple of Mono Block Audio research Amps being pumped by an AR Preamp.. while spinning a 180 gr master recording on a SME turntable.. with a VPI Tone arm fitted with a Clear Audio Goldfinger... feeding a pair of JBL Everests ( to pick a brand recognizable to many) .. and add 15,000.00 for the cables to hook 'em up... not to mention the 100 grand to re-do the whole room in which such a system will be installed...

Now swallow hard.. for anyone brave enough to look up what that stuff costs.. that represents ONLY the most BASE of an entry level system... or, . . . that's nuthin'... To reproduce the London Philharmonic as heard from center row 7 . . . in your listening room would easily cost what a really fine Home would set ya back...

and that's why so much of the "arguing" about guitar tone in the forums is much like a bunch of 7th graders arguing about video games in a school yard... they just have no idea about what lies beyond...

So as I said... turn it on when needed, and off when not, and practice... that'll make a real difference in how ya sound..
 

Telekarster

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Personally, it would make me nervous to leave a piece of high voltage equipment on all the time... Let's face it, it's a box full of stuff that could fry and if it should happen to fry when you're not around, bad things could happen. I say turn it off when you're not using it. Also, I read that it's not even a good idea to leave an amp plugged into the socket i.e. a power surge could fry the amp. Therefore, I not only turn mine off but I unplug em from the wall as well.
 

northernguitar

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Personally, it would make me nervous to leave a piece of high voltage equipment on all the time... Let's face it, it's a box full of stuff that could fry and if it should happen to fry when you're not around, bad things could happen. I say turn it off when you're not using it. Also, I read that it's not even a good idea to leave an amp plugged into the socket i.e. a power surge could fry the amp. Therefore, I not only turn mine off but I unplug em from the wall as well.

Nice to know I’m not the only one. ;)
Power bar with surge protection will make that moot.
 

Ronkirn

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A lightning strike could jump the gap between a powerbar’s switch contacts.
yep.. sure 'nuff can... back in the 90's I did a lotta volunteer work helping the United Way Agencies with their computers... They're all grossly underfunded.. so they would buy the least expensive "power strip" they could find...

Every Summer as one of those good old afternoon thunder storms rolled through, someone would call .. their computer got blown across the room.. (that's an euphemism for the pedantic out there) but got zapped out of commission..
 

jdl57

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I just reread your post, and looked up the circuitry of your amp. It is a solid state design that uses a 12AX7 as a preamp tube to drive the amplifier section. 12AX7s are cheap and common. Do not worry about your tube. I leave solid state on all of the time unless I will not be using it for a while. Further explanation below:

People are way over estimating how much power an amplifier uses. I have an old Fender tweed Princeton. Single ended Class A circuit, one power tube, which means it is drawing full power all the time it is on--amplifying or not. A Class AB push-pull circuit, 2 or more tubes, pulls significantly less power when not amplifying. My 5 watt Princeton uses 22 watts of power when it is on, a little less than 2 night lights. Do any of you worry about the cost of running night lights? I have a pair of mono power amplifiers on my stereo. They are Class A and draw 400 watts each when they are on. I figured it out once using my kilowatt hour price at the time, probably more now, and I came up with 15 cents an hour to run the two amps, 800 watts total.

A tube works by heating up the cathode, thereby producing a field of electrons. They are drawn to the anode, which has been positively charged. This flow is on whenever the amp is on. The flow from the cathode to the anode is controlled and modulated by 1, 2, or 3 grids between the two, depending on the type of tube. the center grid(s) are powered by the input of your signal from the pickups, which are actually tiny generators.

Since electrons are being produced all the while the tube is powered, and there is a finite amount of electron producing material in the tube, yes, it will "wear" out. While that doesn't shorten the life of the tube, it will use up a lot of that life when you are not using the amp. The other side of the coin is that tubes need to warm up and become thermally stable to sound their best, usually a couple of hours. This is mainly and audiophile problem. Your amp will sound just fine when you first turn in on, it will sound better a couple of hours later. What do I do? I turn off my tube gear when I am not using it. Some of my power tubes cost hundreds of dollars. On the other hand, I have a Fender Jazz King solid state amp that I never turn off.
 
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Telekarster

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A lightning strike could jump the gap between a powerbar’s switch contacts. Unlikely? Absolutely — but possible.

(I make a living devising worst-case scenarios)

Sure can... I had this happen once and it fried my stereo receiver! I was ticked.... LOL!!! :eek::oops:o_O
 

JIMMY JAZZMAN

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BTW, Those instant on TVs from the past, seemed I was always going to the drugstore for
my dad, to check tubes and purchase new ones. Oh, instant on for sure but a pain, plus
it weighed more than a Vox.....maybe 2 Vox's.
 




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