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Tube Warm Up Time?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by bgmacaw, Mar 8, 2021.

  1. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    How long do you let your tube amp "warm up" to get the best sound from it?

    I've seen conflicting information on this so I was wondering about what other peoples' experiences have been. I know you can get a sound from them in seconds after switching it on but how long does it take for the tone to sound good to you, especially for amps that don't have a stand-by or if you don't use stand-by.

    What I've noticed with my Monoprice 5w is that it takes about 5 to 10 minutes before it starts sounding its best. Before that, it's less warm and thinner sounding.
     
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  2. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    Wow..Most of mine right after power on , which
    usually takes under a minute. The mono could
    be part pc board, part hand wired.. I don't know..
    that could effect some things possibly.
     
  3. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    Mine sound fine after a minute or so too. Never really noticed anything different after the initial warm up.
    Other peoples results may be different.
     
  4. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    ~10 minutes. The heaters have to work their magic over time to get a uniform temperature within the glass. The cathodes are as arthritic as I am and reluctantly give up their tonelectrons until they've had their wake up call and caught up with current affairs.

    Most of the above is silly speculation of course. I believe it takes a few minutes to get the temperatures stabilised and that's what makes the difference, but equally, during those minutes, my fingers are warming up too. Six of one, a half dozen of the other.
     
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  5. figuiere alain

    figuiere alain NEW MEMBER!

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    Bonjour,
    Le temps utile pour une bonne écoute ne dépend pas que du chauffage des filaments. Les filaments seront chauds en 15 ou 30", temps qu'il faut pour obtenir un son. Ensuite il faut que la cathode du tube chauffe suffisamment. Plus la cathode est chaude (avant claquage) plus il y aura d'électrons envoyés. Chauffage par rayonnement.
    Ensuite il faut le temps pour que tout le tube soit chaud. On parle surtout des lampes de puissance. Pour que les tubes soient équilibrés en température sur l'ensemble des éléments. Anode (plaque), grilles. Pour cela il faut compter environ 10 minutes. C'est le temps que vous constatez pour obtenir un son plus chaud.
    N'oublions pas que le vide est fait dans le tube et que la chaleur se diffuse surtout par rayonnement, c'est plus long.
    Et en théorie, en pratique aussi, il faut un temps de rodage, qui peut durer environ 1 mois d'utilisation, pour que le tube soit opérationnel à 99,99%.
     
  6. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Afflicted

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    Mine can take quite awhile (Fender amps). I plug in and play right away when I'm practicing or playing at home, but the sweetness really appears fifteen to twenty minutes in. When I'm recording I always make sure to get the amp up and running first, while I set everything else up.

    My experience is exactly as the OP describes... Sounds thin at first, then gradually everything thickens and warms up.
     
  7. Chester P Squier

    Chester P Squier Tele-Meister

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    Mainly bedroom player here with a hybrid amp, a Vox AD15VT. It has a 12AX7 in the preamp stage and SS output stage. It takes a minute or less for the tube to warm up.

    Question--are y'all talking about the output stage tubes. or all of the tubes?

    If my amp starts to sound better, I've always thought it was my hands and fingers warming up. "They" DO say that tone is in the hands.
     
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  8. wulfenganck

    wulfenganck Tele-Afflicted

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    My main amp doesn't even have a standby-switch. It takes less than a minute until I get a steady tone.
    I haven't noticed any change in the tone.
    When I thought I'd hear a difference, it was always during long rehearsals or gigs and I guess it was more that my ears got tired - I'm not playing with high volumes, but after 2 hours of rehearsing or gigging, your ears will be tired.
     
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  9. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd say power tubes more than preamp tubes but it could be the whole circuit.

    As for old fingers warming up, they sound OK if I switch to a modeling amp setup.
     
  10. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    I thought this might be the case too, ears being tired or getting adjusted. But, the reason I posted this question was because of something I noticed over the weekend.

    On Saturday night, I accidentally left my amp on. I noticed it was on when I started to play on Sunday morning and it sounded better than it usually does when I first start. After I was done playing, I turned it off. Later in the day, I turned it on again and noticed how it was less warm and more thin sounding at first, then warming up after a little time had passed.
     
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  11. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    Per the RCA tube manual, tube warm up time is only a matter of seconds. But as for best sound, I find my tube guitar amps to really come alive after 20 minutes.
     
  12. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I guess it depends on the equipment involved. Spent some time in the U.K. in the early 80s and was reading some reviews of some really high end stereo equipment, the kind of stuff sold in shops that had separate listening rooms for each set of speakers. Anyway, some of the amplifiers being reviewed had no on and off switch, (electrical outlets had a switch), the only control was volume, the only input was for phono, 1 set of speaker outputs, etc. Most of the reviews talked about the sound quality really coming alive after the amp had been powered up for over 36 hours.
     
  13. darkwaters

    darkwaters Friend of Leo's

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    Received wisdom says 30 sec. For me, I switch on the amp first, do my hand warmups, set up pedals and tune, so I would guesstimate 10 mins.
     
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  14. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Not sure there’s a lot of science to ‘best tone warm-up time'. RCA says 30 sec? Merlin tells us standby is unnecessary and even a bad idea. The thermal mass of the tube and all its bits can’t be very large. OK, it *might* be that other parts of the circuit (caps? resistors? etc.) take time to 'limber up'.

    But there’s a ton of science saying our perception of sound definitely changes over time, short and long time. And hey, if it's more psychoacoustics and less physics, we can each choose our own right answer. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
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  15. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Tele-Afflicted

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    For the sweetness...15-20 minutes. It will play fine in 30 seconds.
     
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  16. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Tele-Meister

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    If you mean optimal Tube temp it will depend on how the tube is biased. Bias them hotter and the time will lessen but you could get more distortion/gain, Bias them cooler and it will take longer but you will loose distortion/gain. 30 sec to 1 min to get sound 20 to 50 min to full temp.
     
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  17. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've always powered the amp up and then go pour myself a drink and settle in to play...probably 5 minutes or so. I don't know if it makes any difference really, but it has become a habit.
     
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  18. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    Definitely about 30 seconds.. with the caveat my amp is only 4 years old and it's a 2017 design Orange. (12ax7/EL84)

    Maybe it gets "sweet" after 15-20 minutes.. but it's really hard to tell. And after 15-20 minutes my fingers are warmed up too.

    I think by the time you get warmed up as a player you're going to sound so much better there's no way you can make an objective judgment.

    Maybe if you did something with the looper, but they often don't sound as good as actually playing.
     
  19. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Monoprice 5w I'm using right now is a single power tube class A (essentially a variation on the Champ circuit) so biasing wouldn't enter into it (I guess). I'll be getting my SFPR back from the tech later this week so it will be a good/better test.
     
  20. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Turn it on. Tune your guitar. Take it out of standby.
     
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