Tube amplifiers require a great deal of proper care and maintenance to keep them sounding awesome for a long period of time. Many amplifiers come with a “standby” switch to use when powering them on and off, that allows the vacuum tubes to warm up when powering up and to cool down when powering off.
When powering on:
- Flip the standby switch to ON
- Turn on the power
- Wait 2 – 3 minutes for the tube to warm up
- Flip the standby switch to OFF and begin using the amp
When powering off, the tube generally needs another 2 – 3 minutes to cool down.
It’s helpful to flip the standby switch when powering the amp off, mainly to save you a step whenever you return to the amp. If you’ve got roommates or family members who like to play with your gear, it’s also helpful to keep them from accidentally creating a surge or loud pops of volume without expecting it.
If you’re only stepping away from your amp for a short amount of time, you can leave it in “standby” mode which will allow the vacuum tube to maintain its temperature state without an excess waste of electricity or risk of feedback.
The longer you’d like to maintain the life of your vacuum tubes, the longer you’ll want to let them warm up and cool down each. Additionally, each type of vacuum tube has its own optimal warm up and cool down time. Take a moment to determine what type of tubes you have, and look up what its optimal warm up and cool down times are.