Does your audio system sound better after it "warms up?" Do you have an idea why?

Does your audio system sound better after it "warms up?" Do you have an idea why?
No. It always sounds the same.
17% (47 votes)
It does, but the difference is the listener.
6% (18 votes)
Yes. Here's why . . .
36% (100 votes)
Yes, but I have no idea why!
41% (114 votes)
Total votes: 279

Have you ever noticed that your audio system sounds better after it's been on for a while?

Craig Copeland's picture

I have solid state electronics and the Amp is in a semi ready low powered state at all times while plugged in to the AC. As near as I can tell it sounds as good when first "turned on" for listening as it does later. Some times the system sounds better then other times but that improvement does not seem to corollate to having the system on for any specific length of time.

tony esporma's picture

My audio system is tube based so yes, it does make a big difference. I've also noticed that my Linn LP12 sounds better after it has been turning for a while. So I usually turn the table, preamp and amps (4) an hour or so before listening.

Mike Molinaro's picture

Here at the Luddite Society, it takes the tube amp about one LP side to sweeten up, but then we boogie all night, well past the time the digital "ones" have fatigued their ears. Why? Because the tubes need to warm up, that's why. "You can't hurry quality!"'s picture

I have a Tube DAC, so it really makes a difference. I do think it is 80% listener and 20% electronics.

Guido Roemer's picture

Yes indeed my system sounds better when it is warmed up. But I also think the difference is in the listener. I think people adapt to a sound.

Robert Lowe's picture

It's like a car, it runs better after it have warmed up.

Robert's picture

My guess is that the internal components eventually reach thermal equilibrium and, hopefully, internal adjustments (eg. bias) have been set in this state. Thus the equipment sounds best in this state.

John Crossett's picture

Frist off, I always turn on my stereo at least 1/2 hour before listening. Why? Because it always sounds better after some juice has run through it for a while. But a more important part of its sounding better warmed-up is that during that 1/2 hour I get warmed up too.

Stephen Curling's picture

my stereo warms up faster than i do. and i have no idea.

Howard Strader's picture

Yes, very definitely! Tube gear needs warm-up time to sound it's best. I've found that it takes about two hours to peak.

Jim Merrill's picture

Yes. It enjoys better dynamics and a smoother midrange response. It's probably because the circuit components are designed to work better at higher temperatures.

Tony P., Washington, DC's picture

It's all solid-state, and I don't think the resolution of the system as a whole is high enough to make the difference noticeable. Or maybe I just don't know what to listen for. In any case, it's not something I worry about too much.

Joe Hartmann's picture

I own tubes and they are always better after 30 to 60 minute warm up. That is a non playing warm up.

Keith Myers's picture

Electrical characeristics continue to change until thermal equilibrium is reached.

Roger Lawry's picture

My theory is that resistance changes as the equipment warms up, and therefore, its temperature changes. This affects everything in the equipment chain--phono cartridge, amps, wiring, speaker cones, etc.

L.  Peelering's picture

If you think it does, then it does.

TDA's picture

It sounds the same all the time because I leave it on all the time. When I used to turn the gear off, it always sounded harsher at turn on. I have no idea why that is.

RON NAGLE's picture


Matt's picture

It's tubes.

J.L's picture

My system is always on!!

Joel's picture

Yes because I have a McIntosh C-20 tube preamp. The solid state components (especially the amplifier) sound better when they're cool.

Ed Strnad's picture

I assume it's the ear's audio acclimation mostly. ...Similar to the way your nose becomes accustomed to an at-first noticeable scent. But there is also some stabilization of electronics involved, especially with tubed equipment, no doubt about it.

Bob L.  (aka "Holos")'s picture

My system sounds different at different times. It usually sounds better after warmup for several hours and has reached sufficient temperature stability, but some days it just sounds better than other days. I know that power contaminants are worse during the day. I also know that atmospheric conditions play a role in acoustical propagation which could make a far field speaker act more like a near field speaker. I know that when I'm really tired, nothing sounds very good. Worse still, there are audio magazines that claim that everything they audition sounds good. I wish that I had the time to figure it all out!

Call me Mister's picture

Yes, my audio system does sound better after it warms up. When I first start it up, it sounds like a cherub wiping the sleep from its eyes. So I play some heavy metal to blast away the eye-boogers. Assuming I can hear after that, I'll put on a recording of Brahms' Sextet, and the cherubs are wide awake and singing beautifully. Spare the rod and spoil the sound!

Aaron Trocano's picture

My Audio Alchemy OM-150 amplifier sounds much better after it warms up for a day, or so (12 hours+). The amps seem to sound dry and grainy until they get "hot." I think the reason is probably psychoacoustical. With more emphasis on the psycho than acoustical. ;-)

tabaca's picture

really I shouold leave it on but I am being a conservative the reason why it sounds better is that all the transistors an other little electronic gizmo's are operating at the temperature they were designed to operate at and the other reason is sounds better warm than cool is "CUZ I SAID SO!"

Clueless Non-audiophile's picture

No, it always sounds equally bad on my mid-fi (Yamaha/Infinity) system.

Anderson's picture

The only part that changes are the speakers. Speakers that have been "broken in" sound much better than new ones. Your magazine should test this theory: Get 2 pairs of identical speakers. Put one pair in a sound isolation booth such as (, connect it to a high end system and drive at full blast for a week. The isolation booth will keep you from going deaf. Leave the other pair unplugged that week. After that week of continuous blasting (168 hours), have a panel of listeners blind A/B/X test with the 2 pairs and see if the blasted "broken in" pair sounds better.'s picture

It takes about 15 to 20 minutes for my amp to get to the proper operating temp and stabalize. Could this be why Class A amps supposedly sound better? Because they are already at the proper operating temp.

W.O.'s picture

I got tubes, I got transistors, they have to be hot!