Dismiss Notice
We are making some updates and reconfigurations to our server. Apologies for any downtime or slow forum loading now or within the next week or so. Thanks!

Solid state warm up time?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Uglyversal, Sep 7, 2020.

  1. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Just wondering what most people here consider the threshold of when their equipment starts sounding best or near. I know some will never switch off their stuff but this is for the ones that do every day.

    30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours.

  2. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    Sounds great when I turn it on. Any difference that might exist I don't notice. So maybe 10 seconds at most.... or the time it takes to power up and produce sound.

    If there is a "warm up"time for an SS system to "sound its best" it's closing the 1% gap IMHO.

    There are certain things I leave running 24x7 but my preamp / amps I shut off nightly.

    I'm sure you'll get the typical "tube vs SS" inputs with wild claims, but most of it is hyperbole to support what they own. Warm up time, like SS "break in" is a topic that gets wild and disparate claims all over the map. Which usually means much of it is not based in truth.
  3. edwyun

    edwyun Well-Known Member

    In my case, the amount of time it takes for the bias current and heatsink temp on my amps to stabilize.
    Bruno Primas likes this.
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

  5. edwyun

    edwyun Well-Known Member

    Sounds about right.

    Amps can take some time to reach their steady state bias current and temperature. As an example for some vintage Threshold SS amps, the service manual states...


    Of course, the particular power amp you are using will vary.

    Preamps, I leave on 24/7. YMMV.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
    Mad shadows likes this.
  6. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks, what brought this up is that today I switched on everything and started playing a record immediately. Normally I don't pay much attention but today I started with a record I know quite well and things didn't seem as clean and exiting as they normally are. It seems to have settled now.
  7. TubeMon

    TubeMon Well-Known Member

    Monterey, CA
    1-2 Hours.
    As with Tube Amps, the input transformer (and output transformer for tube amp) needs to reach cruisin' temperature....
  8. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    The mind is a very powerful thing, and that tiny gap in sound quality can become a expansive chasm for some.

    For those that put a timeframe on it - what does that mean? How much "sound quality" gap are you closing with that passage of time? 1%? 10%? 25%? More? That's the real heart of it to me...

    Turn it on, queue it up, and enjoy.... if you overthink it, you're probably listening to the gear and not the music....

    Quantifying it with one number that covers all levels and types of gear is not something that passes the logic and reason test in my mind.
  9. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SUDACA ROÑOSO

  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    SS takes even more time than tube gear. Heck, Kevin Gray warms up his SS cutting amps for at least 2 hours before mastering anything with them.

    Best would be to leave the suckers on all the time. Best sound that way but obviously we can't all do that. Some do though, their amps have been on for years..
    Bananas&blow, Ro-Go, ultron9 and 11 others like this.
  11. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Ok, but that is for serious stuff that will affect a lot of people buying records.

    I am just trying to play Alan Parsons while doing other things. Generally I don't think I can notice much difference but this record is embedded in my brain and the sound just wasn't right, I thought, what's wrong now? It did take a bit more than 1 hour but it sounds normal again.
  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    I will forgive you your condescending tone if you do this for me one day:

    I assume you have the Audio Fidelity CD of James Taylor "SWEET BABY JAMES?"

    Turn your gear on, put FIRE AND RAIN on at a realistic volume. Note how the dynamics, tonality, etc. sound. Note the "grain" that you are hearing, sort of an edge to the tone.

    Play nothing else for two hours, leave everything on, go eat breakfast, mow the lawn, take a bath and at the end of the two hours, go back in and play FIRE AND RAIN again, same volume.

    Hear the difference? How the dynamic range has increased, the tonality, 3D imaging and overall effortlessness of the recording shine out unlike at startup? From a recording to lifelikeness in two hours of silent warm up. The grain is gone, realistic sounding music is the result.

    Report back.
    ultron9, Ro-Go, rem 600 and 14 others like this.
  13. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    The OC
    It takes about 24 hours for my Stasis III to stabilize when I last had it on the bench and monitored it. After discovering that I assumed that explained what I was hearing. Consequently, I used to keep it on 24/7 and did so for decades, but a few years ago I started cycling it off to save electricity. I do keep my preamp and monitor controller on 24/7.

    Now it takes a good two hours for it to sound decent, and it does get better sounding if it's been on for 24 hours. It's hard to explain other than to say it's a bit crystalline at first and the depth doesn't really open up until it's had some time.

    Interestingly enough, I recently got a new vehicle with the Mark Levinson system. It's actually my second, but this one is a larger vehicle. I've been listening to my music in it while in the garage, and it definitely gets better sounding after about an hour, and it's a fairly significant difference. The differences between it and the main rig while they're not yet stable are somewhat similar.
  14. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    I'll also forgive your singling out my opinion too :) if you tell me how much "sound quality gap" you're talking here. (the question I asked).

    Kevin Gray does it for a living and 1% matters, plus he might be more of a perfectionist than some... so I can understand his pursuit of perfection. Those of us who put on the Beatles pre-morning coffee though could be over-thinking it though... but imagine that.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    I told you what to do. If you do it, you can tell us how much the sound improves. It will be much more than one percent. If you don't want to do it, that will expain a lot.

    It's not a punishment, you will really dig it.
    ultron9, Tim 2, Monty12 and 2 others like this.
  16. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    The story I've told before, I was to do a series of lectures at CES in the room of a gear maker. On Friday (the SS amps had been on for one day), I tried FIRE AND RAIN and it sucked, pinched, no dynamics, grainy, mechanical sounding, etc. My heart fell. How could I do a musical lecture like that? I did, faked it. BUT, by Sunday, OMG, playing the same song, it sounded like a different mastering, heck, even a different mix. It sounded glorious. Nothing had changed, the gear had been left on long enough to make a difference. So the show on Sunday sounded truly amazing.

    Of course, by the time the stuff started sounding good, the CES was over and everything was switched off, packed up and removed. Too bad. But four days it took to get those giant SS amps to sound decent. Too long..
    ultron9, Dignan2000, Tim 2 and 2 others like this.
  17. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    The OC
    As I stated my amps were on 24/7 for several decades, but I did have a problem once.

    About 4am one morning I was awakened by a god awful loud noise and the house was shaking. At first I thought it was an earthquake, but I quickly realized it was coming from the sound room.

    Sure enough I ran downstairs and the subs were pumping out 60 Hz at nearly full volume. I cut the power to the amp, and believe it or not the subs were fine. But that was the end of that amp. Fortunately the main amp was. just fine.
  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    I cannot leave any gear on overnight. It's just against my religion. So I never really hear anything at its absolute peak of sound. Still OK though, just will never have a three day gear on experience at home.
    ultron9, Tim 2, Monty12 and 1 other person like this.
  19. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    20 minutes (at least that's when I notice the biggest difference).
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
    rednedtugent likes this.
  20. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Syracuse NY
    When I first got my new amp I noticed the Yamaha had a noticeable difference from when I first turned it on and after it’s been playing for A couple of hours. After playing around with the concept of warm up I noticed the sweet spot was hit after about 30 minutes at the hottest temp the top of the amp got to. So right around 90 minutes. It’s really hard to quantify the improvement in a percentage but Since it’s noticeable I’d say Somewhere between 5% and 10%. I did leave it on all day once, about a solid 10 hours after I had already warmed it up. It might have been a little smoother and more open sounding but nowhere near the difference that first hour and a half made.
    Bill Why Man likes this.
  21. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    OK, I have my orders I guess.... aye, aye captain! :tiphat::whistle:


    Again, to me it's down to the degree of difference we're talking - 1%? 10% More? That question still has gone unanswered. That is the heart of the matter to me, and whether it is really something that deserves more than just a passing mention or if it is something substantial and worth debating.

    I have experimented in my own way before, that's why I responded like I did to this point. It's not like I am responding without data or experience, I've even seen this particular example you quoted before. I've left my gear on for weeks and months before, off and on over the years, based on what I thought would be a huge difference based on all the varying opinions. But now don't worry about it as much after finding out, at least for my gear, I was just forking more money out to the power company I didn't need to. The difference is just too small to worry about.

    Sorry if my findings don't agree with yours :) especially since it so happens you're the host of the forum. :winkgrin: Then again, I am not sure we're disagreeing because I'm not sure how large % wise you think the "issue" might be.... we might actually be closer to agreement than disagreement! I think it is less than 5% if I were to "sum total" a guess of all my varying equipment over the years.... nothing to write home about. And certainly not something that warrants leaving my three different systems, multiple amps, TT's and preamps on in different areas of my house.

    Plus, consider a $250 used 40 year old integrated will probably yield different results than a $100K Accuphase system....no? Or a tube system?

    By the way, I've read the threads on this topic in the archives. I've seen your responses on this before, it's not like I didn't already know your feelings on it. I even recall you saying it take a half a day, but my recollection could be off. I just don't think it's that big of a deal %-wise in the case of mid-fi level gear on up, it's more about quantifying how much than whether it exists or not.

    Peace out, said my piece, it's more about "how much" than "what if" to me. Audiophiles can get hyper-sensitive about minor things and turn them into large "issues" that sometimes are just worth a passing mention over morning coffee.

    I am starting to view this topic the same way I do cable and power cord threads.... opinions all over the map and facts elusive because nobody quantifies how much, only share a perception that it exists. For both tube and solid state.
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Some people hate that their gear has to warm up to sound its best. I am one of them. I really, really hate that I have to wait while my stuff warms up. It's a waste of my time and electric power, not to mention wear on the tubes. But I'm not one of those people who, because they hate it, pretend it doesn't happen.

    As I mentioned above, I just listen to everything immed. upon turn on. On my Audio Note UK gear, the warm up starts after about 10 minutes and slowly gets better until about 2-4 hours, it's the best. I don't even wait 10 minutes. Don't care that much. Don't care at all, actually. But just because I don't care doesn't mean that the warm up isn't happening. I just choose to ignore it. But if I'm demoing my system for someone, I'll fire it up an hour before showtime. But when it's just me, no friggin' way. I fire it up and play music.
    ultron9, George P, gakerty and 8 others like this.
  23. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    Would this work on a 1972 Sansui SS amp? Or would I be wasting my time? I don't have the Audio Fidelity CD of James Taylor. I just have a Greatest Hits type CD. I do have an audiophile studio quality recording of Kenny Rankin's "Because Of You" CD album on Chesky Records label.

    I've never tried this. I always shut my amp off after playing an entire CD album which is under an hour. I'll give it a try tomorrow and report back. Probably will have to leave it on all day. I have no idea how long it would take for the Sansui to warm up. It never even gets warm when I play it for one hour.

    Interesting experiment though.
  24. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    The OC
    I don't either, anymore.

    So now I make sure to turn on the amps at least 2 hours before I plan on listening. Often I never do decide to listen and end up shutting them off before going to bed, but better to do that than to want to listen and discover that the amps are cold.
  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Since my stuff is vacuum tube oriented room heating material, two hours would be just too much here. So, I just plow right in upon turn on. I can actually hear the system warm up if I'm playing a long jazz number. The beginning is dodgy, getting better as the minutes go by. Actually quite fascinating. Still, the heat of my gear is too much in summer to do any warm up.. When it gets colder, yes, I'll give it 1/2 hour..
    George P, Tim 2, Mad shadows and 2 others like this.

Share This Page