Can anyone explain in laymans terms why your gear sound better after warm up

I get burn in... should be called burn off just to get the manufacturing process off all the different manufacturers and parts to sweat off the packaging and sealants. But a light bulb is on or off. So SS gear in theory should sound the same. A light bulb does not get brighter after an hour. Is it your ears get programmed? Or is there and actual technical reason that it sounds better? Please pretend Im a four year old cause with Electronics I am.

"Temperature is a parameter that is fundamental to the physics of transistors, analog and digital integrated circuits, and other semiconductor devices. Consequently their behavior varies significantly as a function of temperature, and a competent designer will design the product to perform at its best when it has warmed up to a stable internal temperature, while being used in a room that is at a normal room temperature."

That’s pretty easy to understand.

Also please refrain from attacking those who offer sound detailed technical information relevant to the topic at hand just because you prefer to wing it and expect others to accept your opinions regarding little known, expensive and controversial products.

No engineers, no hifi. Cut and dry. Winging it alone won’t cut it. That should be pretty easy to understand as well. Or one might try smearing some expensive carbon goop on a pair of tin cans connected by a wire and find out how good things can sound.
My guess is its mostly about electrolytic capacitors. They're the staple on power supplies and they have equivalent series resistance (ESR) which is fairly temperature sensitive. Higher temperatures lower the ESR, improving the effectiveness of the cap in reducing power supply noise.

Interesting topic, though I am no electrical engineer....but....just so happens I received my ‘new’ mid-80’s Belles 400A amp this past weekend. All 60+ lb of it; two large torroidal transformers, eight huge Mallory caps, and a total of 24 Motorola MJ15023 transistors. Damn thing is a beast.

Anyway, removed my old B&K, hooked up the Belles, turned it on, and although somewhat impressed immediately, it wasn’t until an hour or two of listening that I said to myself, ‘damn this amp is getting better as I listen and it gets warmed up’. The soundstage seemed to be getting deeper, wider, more ‘lush’, and better overall imaging. After a time, I became more and more impressed. I hadn’t even thought about the fact that this should be happening or not with a solid state amp, but it sure seemed to be the case. At least that’s what my ears were telling me, or, was it just myself getting more immersed with this new ‘beast’? Dunno, but I did consciously think about it warming up = sounding better.

Since, I have turned it on at least an hour before I begin listening. I never thought about doing that with the my old B&K.


Thank you for your excellent layman’s terms dissertation.  I greatly appreciate you filling in the gaps in my knowledge base.

I apologize for straying from the subject at hand.  I recall a recent post of yours in another forum thread within which you noted that you apply a bulk tape eraser to your LPs before playing.  You related that doing such improved the sound quality, though you were without understanding of why this practice wrought such an improvement.  If you care to start a discussion thread concerning this subject, then I would enjoy sharing my knowledge with you and all who care to follow the thread.  I may not reply quickly, as a guy has to work to support the audiophile addiction, but I will provide a complete explanation with historical references.

Again, my apologies to all for straying from the thread topic.  Being new to the forums, I am not aware of alternate ways to communicate with individuals within the Audiogon community.  I would appreciate any education here.
Thank you and enjoy the music.
Wow, everyone ran straight past the teachable moment.  In person, I would have stopped you on "light bulb".  Will keep everything to an observation based explanation except for one ending point.

Decades ago, I worked in an academic facility where in the lecture rooms industrial lighting was installed.  As they wanted architectural appearances to be circa late 1800's, standard fluorescent lights were not installed.  But rather there were glass shells with recessed bulbs that had either sodium or argon or some type of gas that took its time before saturation.  This process took around 20 minutes and most said it was akin to sunrise and seemed to follow the same timing and perception of the increasing intensity of brightness.

If you have ever looked at streetlights, they take their time in achieving full brightness.  The same goes for most stadium lights.

Consumer LED "bulbs", actually cycle off and on rapidly according to the frequency of electricity and many would notice the difficulty of using auto-white balance on cameras or making videos in a setting were the only light source was common consumer LED fixtures.

For incandescent light bulbs, if you have a chance to view a slow motion video you will see that the tungsten filament (the thin wire metal "w" shape in the middle) "slowly" starts to slow motion of course.  Your statement was "off" and "on".  Now, why tungsten, it its because it has the highest melting point of pretty much any easily obtained metal.  So, it can glow brighter (without starting to melt) and be less an red/orange glow and more toward white.  Now, the more interesting fact is that as metals heat, they become more resistive to electricity.  The electrons are moving around much more so its harder for electricity to pass.  This is why supercomputers are often cooled to ridiculously low temperatures so the specialty types of metals in the processors, backplanes, etc. can "super" conduct.  Not all metals do superconducting but keeping lower temperatures generally actually assists the flow of electricity.  So why mention that I say.  If you have a metal in a light bulb and its resistance increases as its temperature increases, it means the brighter the bulb gets, even if it takes only 1 or 2 seconds to get to that point, it requires less electrical current.  Therefore, "light bulbs" are more efficient after they've been running for a second or two.  They require the most "electricity" (energy) in the first milli seconds after being turned-on...and then the requirement goes down, quickly.  Because, there is an inverse relationship between "current" and "resistivity" if you hold "voltage" (e.g. 120V or 115V) constant.  So, if a child is flicking a light off and on, it soaks more energy in its brief moments of illumination of flickering than if the bulb were just left on.  Now, I'm only referring to the energy consumed when it is on and producing light.  An "off" bulb obviously takes zero energy by comparison.  And, lights once they hit a steady state, wouldn't improve efficiency being left on for days compared to a couple of minutes.  I'm referring to the multitude of things that happen in the snap of a finger when you turn a light "on".

Now, in terms of audio and video electronics, there's alot more human engineering going on to make you think its quickly usable but if you actually count the number of seconds its already warmed up.  Pretty much what everyone said above is the explanation and analogies for electronics.  And yes, cooler is better, but in audio, 90% of energy is wasted in amplification as heat and then 90% of the energy going to the speakers is also wasted as heat.  So heat is unavoidable at a certain range of "warmth" but the ventilated systems are designed to work within those temperatures and unless its supercomputing, the lower operating temperatures likely would not improve the sound.  But, if you wouldn't slam the gear into 1st and stomp your foot to the floor of your $50K car the instant the engine turned-over, I wouldn't do it with a $10K or $50K collection of audio equipment.