To turn off or not to turn off

That is the question. I have always left my components on, because I heard that they would pay me back with greater reliability. The theory goes that electric/electronic hardware takes a big hit every time it is turned on.

However, I don't listen to the equipment through the night. And the equipment is using electricity and converting it to heat while idling. Besides the waste, would it be better for the equimpent to be turned off when not in use?

What do you think?

Dan C.
For the last two months I've owned the Blue Circle BC21 and BC22 preamp and amp combo. During this time I have always left both pieces continuously powered on. I can definitely notice a sonic benefit. However, I became concerned with safety, cost and the actual necessity of this. I contacted Blue Circle and this was their response:

"We don't recommend to keep the components turn "on" all the time. It will shorten the tube life and some other circutry will not like to be kept on all the time. Not to mention if you are not listening and not at home, if there is a lighting hit, the very first thing will get hit is the power amp. Since the surge usually goes to where the power is being drawn the most.

Usually, we have found turn the components about 15 mins before doing any listen is good enough. Eventhough, it will get better if it's been kept on for longer, the disadvantage is not enough to take over by the risk."

But I still leave my transport on. I hope this helps.
I read somewhere that all electronics can benefit from being left on. The article (cant remember where but it was about 8 years ago) said that amplifiers will warm up quicker than a cd player so they recommended leaving the cd player on also. They went on to comment that the power consumption of a cd player & other components when idling is far less than that of the amplifier. Other than hooking up new interconnects, speaker wire or moving, my lowly NAD 7225pe has been turned off since less than 10 times since 1987.
High powered solid state amps pull lots of power even idling, so I turn my amps off. Tube gear takes a long time to warm up. I have a CJ PV12 preamp and it takes about 2 days for the tubes to truly warm up sonically. I used to leave it on all the time, but the tubes burned out quickly. I used to have to replace them every 4 months. I've moved to solid state, and most of those preamps have a standby mode to keep the transistors up. I think even my CD player keeps the electronics warm in its standby mode. Leaving everything on all the time, yes, I feel that your electric bill will show it. Some Class A amps might work as good space-heaters during the winter, but I feel that extended use of a product will shorten its lifespan.
I have a Forte 1a (fifty watts a side class A) and I have never been able to really tell that much difference between cold and hot running. It did sound lousy when I first bought it until it broke in, however.
Good posts ... interesting subject. I leave my equipment (amp, CD, DAC) on all of the time. The DAC has no power switch, the amp's switch is hidden around the back (hint hint) and the CD player has such low idle power consumption I don't worry. I think it sounds better, and I think that the lack of thermal cycling will help extend its life. I have also heard that electrolytic caps like to be left powered.

During an electrical storm I not only switch off I also unplug the equipment from the outlets, since a little on-off switch may not protect against the sort of surge a lightning strike can deliver. If any storms are in the forecast then I leave the equipment this way and revert to the portable CD player. If you have an FM tuner and an outdoor antenna I would also unplug the antenna during a storm ... even if it's not struck it can still reach high voltages and damage the tuner due to the electrical potential differences in the atmosphere. Paranoid ? Perhaps, but I have lost a TV to lightning, and I'm a lot more attached to my hifi than my TV.