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Heat, And All Of The Concerns...

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by savatage1973, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

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    Yes, as we all know, or have been brainwashed with, heat is the "enemy" of everything audio.

    But in reality--are we "right"? I know, I know, the lower the operating temperature, the better--I drank the Kool-Aid too.

    Some things just don't sound good "cold". I have an all tube-ARC rig that doesn't sound good until it gets "warmed up". I also have an all Krell SS rig (pure Class A) that doesn't perform up to its potential until the amps have been on for at least a half hour, and you could cook eggs on them (at idle).

    Sure, proper ventilation is an issue, but the overall heat level--is it really that big of a deal? Are we trying way too hard to make something run at room temperature (with the addition of fans, etc.), and defeating the original intended design? IDK--tell me.
     
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  2. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    If it has to get that hot to sound good, I'll choose something else. To each his own.
     
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  3. nj pheonix

    nj pheonix AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'd wager, your tube amp and the class A krell need to be hot. They were designed to operate at those temps.
    There are amps that are biased too hot, used inadequate heat sinking, went out of spec over time, were kept in an unventilated space and couldn't cool naturally as they should.
    Also there are pieces where the thermal compound has dried or have never been cleaned and the heatsinks are insulated with dust.
     
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  4. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have a less than a month old Marantz NR 1608 and even at idle, the sucker gets pretty warm. I have it sitting on the top of the cabinet so the air will circulate better but other than that I am not too worried about it. On the same cabinet I have a 2230 in a wooden case.....on top of that case I have a tablet with mini keyboard and a small av switchbox. Those two items sit on top of the grate which sits about 1/2 inch over the metal case below. Another member saw that and had a cow over the air flow. Most quality brands from back then were well designed and over engineered and were designed to have components sitting directly on top of them.

    Unless one runs an item close to its maximum limits in a very confined space over a long time, I doubt most quality items will have any problem.

    20180716_194624.jpg
     
  5. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

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    This was kind of my point--some things just run hot and for a reason. All of this discussion regarding adding cooling fans, etc, to get something to run at room temperature (to me) is questionable.
     
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  6. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

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    The gear shouldn't be cooled to where it is below designed operating temperature. Getting it down to the low end of this is fine but most gear was designed to have heat in it.
     

     

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  7. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

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    Tubes and Class A always run hot. IME/O both sound better when warmed up.
     
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  8. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    So long as you're following manufacturer's recommendations for adequate cooling, I would say no. Blocking vents though is never a good idea.

    I have an ARC/VTL based system and agree that it sounds best after two hours of operation. That's not, however, due to high temperature per se - rather sufficient time for the active devices to reach optimum bias which I've measured. I choose to leave the amp covers off in summer to help reduce heat retention.

    I use a fan for the garage system in the summer because it lives in a closet where ambient alone reaches 95 degrees on some days. Despite the fact that the amp is a switcher, case temp still measures about 105 degrees on those days with the fan on. I took care of my toys as a kid and today like to think of myself as being mechanically and electronically sympathetic. :)
     
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  9. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    I found out I don't want tubes (nor would I want class A either) because of heat, as well as maintenance. I like the sound, but good sound doesn't require excessive heat, imo. Or I should say, doesn't have to be that inefficient. Not for me, I mean. Whatever rocks your chair.
     
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  10. 91r100gs

    91r100gs Lunatic Member

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    My Dual 1219 runs smoother after a side or two, the Carver M500t likes a good warming, just about any cartridge I have owned just sounds better after the 1st side is done. Not complaining or praising just an observation. YMMV
     
  11. nj pheonix

    nj pheonix AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Just getting the system to operating temperature furnace.png
     
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  12. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

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    With the age of some of this gear it is worth a look inside to see if anything has gotten too hot. Charred boards are common and may indicate a problem with the electronics or a less that ideal thermal evaluation when the unit was designed. Either way, going in and correcting the issue by replacing the ailing parts or upgrading the units that produce the heat so they don't overheat is good insurance.

    I have seen many Luxman units with overheated boards. One, nearly burned through when a 2W resistor was dropping about 2.2watts of power. Then there is the tuner power supply in a Sansui 9090DB, dropping resistors again overheating the board. New larger resistors, dialing in the voltage for the circuit resolved this issue as well as the early demise of the caps in that circuit which were being run at their voltage rating.
     
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  13. nj pheonix

    nj pheonix AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The old dynaco boards cooked pretty good ST70,
    The Mcintosh driver boards in the 2100-2300 cooked pretty good too
     
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  14. Powertech

    Powertech Active Member

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    So there are a number of issues here. Like many of these things, it isn't simple. As a general rule, electronics prefers a fairly constant temperature. Oscillating between temperature extremes can cause creepage problems. This is akin to metal fatigue and can cause material breakup of components and junctions, even causing solder to component failure in bad cases. Electrolytic capacitor life will be considerably shortened if they are subjected to high temperatures. Expected life against temperature is usually given in their specs. Obviously, if transistors are run at a temperature approaching the junction maximum they are likely to fail prematurely as this takes them to the edges of their SOAR envelope. So heat is always going to be an issue with electronics, heatsinking between active components and their respective heatsinks being the critical point. Adequate heatsinking is a design issue, but certainly from a user's point of view, adequate ventilation is important. Some equipment does run hotter than average, class A amplifiers being an example, but by design should be capable of running for the expected life of the component in a domestic environment provided that it is used as instructed by the makers. If it won't, then surely it is not fit for purpose.

    On the question of equipment sounding better when warmed up, this is possibly subjective. Does response change with differing temperatures? Does an amp sound better in the summer or the winter (differing ambient temperatures), can't say - possibly. I don't think it should, but hey I could be wrong. Maybe some things do and some things don't.
     
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  15. nj pheonix

    nj pheonix AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Not mentioned.
    Class A equipment runs same current balls to walls or idling so its operating point is its operating point. Not the same as AB which idles low and can cook when pushed.
     
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  16. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

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    Trust me, I know that one--my Krells (KMA 160 monoblocks) draw 8A current each at idle.
     

     

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  17. triode17

    triode17 Super Member

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    And, Class A tube amps.actually run cooler the more you push it !!
     
  18. triode17

    triode17 Super Member

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    You have to understand that heat is a byproduct of inefficiency. Until we have room temp. superconductors, we have to deal with the heat. They don't design amps. to run at a certain temp, the temp. is what it is for a given design so engineers have to dissipate the heat enough to keep it running but not over design the 'heatsink' as to make the device too expensive, large and heavy. It's always a compromise. You can cool parts down to room temp. and they'll run fine, tubes included. But much below that and amplification factor becomes an issue. I've seen what a filter cap. CAN'T do at 55 deg.c. below zero ! They're action is almost non existent !
    So don't worry too much about heat, just be sure all SS has at least 1" of free air around all sides and tube gear have about 6" around it and everyone's happy.
     
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  19. Powertech

    Powertech Active Member

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    Yup. That's pretty much it.
     
  20. Zygmo

    Zygmo Super Member

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    Since my Pioneer 707 is getting so long in the tooth and has never been worked on, I am considering adding a fan. The deck does produce quite a lot of heat. IMHO, cooling it down would have to be good for it.

    My desktop computers have what looks like small CPU chips....I think they are South Bridge chips. (Some computers do have heat sinks on those from the factory) They get so hot you literally cannot keep your finger on one. So I always make an aluminum bracket with a small fan mounted to it, and bolt it to the frame so it is blowing on those chips. They now stay at room temperature. I have never noticed any change in the computer's operation so I am certainly not hurting anything. I just don't believe any electronic component should get too hot to touch if you can help it. (With the possible exception of glass tubes, of course. I guess those might have to get hot to work correctly)
     

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