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jdm56
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amps on all the time?

I have returned to separates for two-channel for the first time in a long time and an old question has come up again. That is, since my pre-amp has no switched outlets (and they probably would not be heavy-duty enough anyway), what is the best way to manage turning the power amp off and on. Just leave it on all the time? I'm not against doing that but it seems to generate a lot of heat even when idling. The pre does have 12-Volt triggers, but there is nothing on the power amp to connect them to. I have a cheap Radio Shack "power controller" surge protector, but apparently the pre does not draw enough current to activate it. The power switch on the amp seems kind of cheesy, so I'm afraid if I switch it off and on all the time it will give trouble. Anybody know a good inexpensive solution?

Elk
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Re: amps on all the time?

There are many good quality basic power strips that have a built in switch that you could use. My only concerns would to make sure that the power cord to the strip was reasonably beefy so that the amp is not ever starved for current - but this will be easy.

You can use this switch to turn on both the pre-amp and amp at the same time if you would like or use it just to power the amp while leaving the pre-amp on.

If the amp doesn't draw enough power to bother you to leave it on this is another option. Almost all amps get a bit warm when on and most sound better after given time to warm up.

What kind of amp is it? Perhaps someone here has specific info for you.

Jan Vigne
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Re: amps on all the time?


Quote:
I have a cheap Radio Shack "power controller" surge protector, but apparently the pre does not draw enough current to activate it.

To "activate" what? You should never know a surge protector is operating. However, I would ditch any cheap surge protector for use with anything more important than a coffee maker. Cheap items inserted in the AC line usually do more harm than good. Do line protection and conditioning well, or not at all. You will very likely hear an improvement in sound quality with the surge protector out of the AC line.

I wouldn't worry about the power switch, it should withstand its fair share of use. Unless you keep your car in your garage to avoid wearing out the tires, use your power switch.

If your equipment is solid state, I would say power it down when not in use and give it about 1/2 hour warm up before any serious listening. You can try leaving the equipment on for a few days and listen for any improvments wrought by such long periods of temperature stabilization. But I doubt you'll hear anything if your gear is well designed. If the equipment is tube based it should have a standby mode, this keeps a trickle voltage running through the tubes at all times and you don't want to power the unit down with an external switch.

I would turn on the equipment in a specific order. Source, pre amp then amp. Turn off in the opposite order to avoid power thumps.

jdm56
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Re: amps on all the time?


Quote:
To "activate" what?

The power controller/surge suppressor has a "control outlet" designed to sense current draw, which then turns on the "controlled" outlets. But either my pre-amp (Adcom GTP-602) doesn't draw enough current to activate the sensor, or the sensor is not working properly. My amplifier is also an Adcom, a GFA-5500, and it stays quite warm when idling with no input. If not for that, I would just leave it on all the time, but I don't want to wear it out prematurely.

Since posting, I have looked at power management devices and I have seen some that appear to do what I need, which is accept a 12 volt trigger input in order to control power to connected components. I've seen Panamax and Monster brands for $350. Maybe that's my best bet?

Thanks for the help!

Jan Vigne
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Re: amps on all the time?

Probably not. The Panamax would be my lowest cost choice for the source and pre amp, if you require protection. Do not use a surge protector on your power amplifier. There should be a noticeable improvement in sound quality by simply plugging the power amp directly into the AC outlet. If you require serious protection from electrical storms, buy serious protection. The Monster units are to be left for someone else, they look nice but do not perform well.

You will not wear out switches or your power amp by using them. Why do you think you might?

I wouldn't bother with a 12 Volt trigger. Does your power amp even have such a facility? Just switch the components on and off in the order I listed above. That is the safest way to power up and down.

ohfourohnine
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Re: amps on all the time?

When low cost units like the Panamax and Monster don't perform well, Jan, what is it that they do or don't do?

Elk
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Re: amps on all the time?

I didn't appreciate that you were considering something more complicated than I was suggesting.

I agree that the switch on your Adcom amp is not going to be an issue. Thus, if your primary concern is simply turning the equipment off and on, I would plug everything directly into the wall and simply use the switches on the equipment.

If you want good quality "inexpensive" power filtration and surge/spike protection I suggest that you look at PS Audio's Duet. It is $300.00 and works wonderfully well. It does not have a power switch so that may be a deal breaker for you. Clicky Here

Jan Vigne
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Re: amps on all the time?

To be honest, I don't know what the Monster units do other than look expensive.

I recommended and sold Panamax for my clients around Dallas since we live in an area well known for its storms and tornadoes. Many of our communities share distributed power which places your neighbor's HVAC unit in line with your service panel. Being a largely urban community Dallas also suffers from more than its share of RF problems. I sold Panamax mostly to my video clients and gave them the option to bring the unit back if they felt it did not improve their picture quality. I never had one unit come back from a video customer.

However, products such as the Panamax are not meant for the current draw of modern, high end solid state power amplifiers. The VOM's (a form of varistor) clamps when excessive current is drawn through the ciruit acting to suppress surges. These VOM's cannot detect a difference between current being drawn to recharge supply capacitors and line surges coming from external problems. All get treated the same way and that is to limit the amount of current draw to a safe level. Listening to a power amp with and without these current limiting devices shows a distinct draw down in dynamics and low frequency power when the surge protector is in the AC line. Very low priced units can add noise from their own internal circuitry or simply not perform well at the task they were intended. Their clamping capacity is too slow to protect from the second surge which typically follows a lightning strike and most large surges. Most units have poor construction meant more for low current applications such as office equipment and computers. If you've spent time and money replacing AC outlets and cables, these are the worst items you could place in the AC line.

Using a good AC conditioner is more beneficial to high end components than using a "surge suppressor". Most conditioners of high end quality have sufficient capacitive storage to act as a filter for minor surges while providing a buffer for disruptions across the line. AC supressors and conditioners aren't created equal and sticking with lines tested in Stereophile and other such sources would be the best recommendation. And, of course, try before you buy any line conditioning product.

bobedaone
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Re: amps on all the time?

Jan, since you seem to have a lot of experience with power products, I'm wondering if you have an opinion on Furman's product range, specifically the PST-8/8D. I've been considering investing in power protection/conditioning for awhile, and my favored dealer carries Furman. I'm using a power strip of undetermined quality (but with a metal chassis, which gives me some hope) right now, and figure my system deserves something more substantial. What's your take?

RGibran
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Re: amps on all the time?

Yep, he's probably better off sticking with one of these $700.00 Shunyata Hydra 4 highly reviewed and recommended high end rip offs.

RG

Elk
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Re: amps on all the time?

I have experience with Furman's rack mount products which I use on my recording gear. Reliable, nice stuff that don't do any harm while offering solid over-voltage protection. I haven't played with their newer filtering products.

I have found Monster's small, less expensive filter power strips to work well on video, but to restrict dynamics on audio. The bigger units work no better - but are bigger!

bobedaone
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Re: amps on all the time?

haha! Thanks, Elk!

Elk
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Re: amps on all the time?

I forgot to mention that the recording gear takes very little current (mic preamps, a disc based recording deck, etc.). Thus, I don't know if the Furman power distribution unit I have would restrict power to an amp. I experimented with the equipment with and without the Furman and heard no difference in the sound - exactly what I wanted in a power distribution unit with some surge protection.

RGibran
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Re: amps on all the time?


Quote:
If you want good quality "inexpensive" power filtration and surge/spike protection I suggest that you look at PS Audio's Duet. It is $300.00 and works wonderfully well. It does not have a power switch so that may be a deal breaker for you. Clicky Here

But you forgot to mention it doesn't come with a power cord, which will set you back...whatever. What a concept, hey? A power filter and surge protector with no cord! And it just so happens this manufacturer sells power cords!

RG

Jan Vigne
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Re: amps on all the time?


Quote:
But you forgot to mention it doesn't come with a power cord, which will set you back...whatever. What a concept, hey? A power filter and surge protector with no cord! And it just so happens this manufacturer sells power cords!

I'm sorry, did I miss the notice? Are we auditioning for "naysayer of the month" while dup is away? I guess there are no application forms to fill out; eh?

Participating Stereophile forum member requirements: knowledge and a willingness to help others. Good at spelling "the". Some typing skills.

Naysayer requirements: one finger.

jdm56
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Re: amps on all the time?


Quote:
You will not wear out switches or your power amp by using them. Why do you think you might?

I wouldn't bother with a 12 Volt trigger. Does your power amp even have such a facility? Just switch the components on and off in the order I listed above. That is the safest way to power up and down.

Back in the 70's I owned a Hafler DH-500 amp. Every time I powered it on or off, it was a crapshoot as to what kind of fireworks I was gonna get. Smoke, flame, sizzling, a pop, I never knew. So I've been gun-shy about power switching on big amps ever since. Sure, I suppose there was just an issue with that particular switch on that particular amp, but still...

As for the 12Volt trigger on my pre, it would put a voltage to the power management device which in turn would then power up any devices plugged into the switched outlets. Looks like a pretty good system to me.

Yeah, I know I could just power everything up sequencially(sp?), but I am lazy and would like to have my power amp come on when I turn on the pre-amp with the remote. I'm not really comfortable leaving it on all the time either, due to the heat and power use.

I know you generally get what you pay for, but there is no way on earth I can shell out thousands of dollars on some high end power conditioner. In my neighborhood, a $300 Monster or Panamax IS high end!

Jan Vigne
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Re: amps on all the time?

Buy the Panamax with the knowledge it will impede the dynamics of the sound. You need not fear the switch on the Adcom.

I don't remember, are there other questions that haven't been answered?

Elk
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Re: amps on all the time?


Quote:
But you forgot to mention it doesn't come with a power cord, which will set you back...whatever. What a concept, hey? A power filter and surge protector with no cord! And it just so happens this manufacturer sells power cords!

This is wrong. It comes complete with a nice quality, heavy power cord. Nothing exotic but nicely up to the task.

Now go to your happy place.

RGibran
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Re: amps on all the time?

Elk,

My bad and apologies if I have incorrectly assessed this product. I could find no mention that it included a power cable on the manufacturers website and the pictures show it without. Your apparent hands on experience indicates otherwise and this is good to know. I thank you for the correction.

RG

Elk
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Re: amps on all the time?

No problem!

Actually it would be nice if PS Audio sold their "stock" power cords. They are nice and heavy, flexible, friendly, easy to use. They are what should come with all equipment.

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