Opinions about leaving gear on

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by oakman, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. oakman

    oakman Guest

    I hope this topic hasn't been covered already. I couldn't find a thread.

    Electronic gurus,

    What are people's opinions about leaving your gear on 24/7, vs shutting it down every night and restarting every morning. When I was at the big studio in Houston all the gear cooked 24/7 and there didn't seem to be a problem. Now that I work out of my own home studio that has been built with my own sweat, I am starting to worry about the life span of my more expensive pieces and have heard varying opinions on the issue.

    Outboard gear, consoles, power supplies, computers....

    What do you guys say?
  2. Bhennies

    Bhennies Guest

    I don't know what you're actually "supposed" to do, but I leave on my converters, powered monitors, and I sleep my computer. I spend the majority of my time working "in the box" so when I need to track, I just turn my gear on and go...it's rigged up to a separate power conditioner. My guess is that if you work with your outboard gear very frequently, which I don't, it would probably be best to just leave it on, unless you know you're going to be away for an extended period of time.
  3. Extasy Jones

    Extasy Jones Guest

    For digital equipment, I would suggest leaving it on. Power spikes wear on the equipment.
    Though, solid state (vintage gear with tubes and such) should be shut down when not in use, in my opinion, because of the heat factor.
  4. oakman

    oakman Guest

    Tube stuff off-digital on... Makes sense. There is some gear I leave on all the time and it doesn't seem any worse for the wear. I do shut my tube processors off whenever I can to save the tubes.

    What about my analog console and power amps?
  5. kinetic

    kinetic Guest

    Remember that every time you turm off gear and then repower later there is considerable cooling and heating of components and their connections. The argument is that the associated expansion and contraction and general stress with powering off and on reduces the life of the components. I tend to agree and leave everything on all the time (unless I am going away for a few days or more). However with valve based gear, where the life of the valves is precious I would power those down and keep them off until I need them.
  6. It's a hard thing to say for sure.... It is the power up/power down cycles and the associated heating and cooling that will most likely cause equipment to fail early, whether it is valve, solid state, digital or a PC, so ideally everything should be left on, in a climate controlled room.. But that is going to waste huge amounts of energy and probably shorten the life of any equipment that would otherwise only be turned on rarely...
    The perfect way is to leave everything on 24/7/365 and then make sure your studio is operating the whole time, bring in engineers in rotating shifts, have really cheap graveyard sessions etc etc... ;)
    But back to reality, anything that you're using every day should be left on as much as possible, if you only use it sometimes, turn it off after use, and give your tube gear a 1/2 hour or so to warm up before using it...
  7. tofumusic

    tofumusic Guest

    I was also going to mention the expansion/contraction thing but I saw it posted. My brother mentioned that to me a while back but we were talking about computers and this confirms that so I agree. Especially with computers but then there's the cache, memory and stuff like that so of course the occasional reboot is probably necessary. Is sleeping kind of like shutting down since things cool off after 7 hours or so? Maybe just having some good fans and a good cooling system that will keep everything cool is best, that way you can just leave it (the computer) on always?
  8. radioliver

    radioliver Guest

    Computers are actually made to be left on 24/7 and surprisingly take much less power than other home appliances. It is good to reboot it maybe once a week or so just to refresh everything but other than that, your computer shouldn't be running to hot so leave it on. For the other gear, well, the others answered.
  9. oakman

    oakman Guest

    I have had trouble with one of my TC Electronics boxes. When I turn it on in the morning, it takes 15 or 20 minutes before the operating system will load. Before that the display just has confusing symbols, etc. I have since been leaving it on and no problems.

    After reading this, I am going to start leaving the other, more expensive gear on too. No worries about overheating. The studio is ice cold and I have noisy fans. :)
  10. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    The only thing I'd like to add is directed at gear that has fluro and plasma type displays.

    They do wear out and will get harder to rplace for the older gear.
    If there is a DIM for the display, it might be a good idea to use it if you do choose to leave it on all the time.

    Over the years I have gone through both methods and there is good and bad in both. The worst case is probably when a unit starts a fire and there is no-one on site to do something about it.
  11. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    ...and that could be fatal to your studio...
  12. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    If you are using older gear like an analog console (does anybody remember those?) I would leave it on 24/7. Everytime time you power-down older analog gear, you're asking for it.

    My studio stays on all the time and the only time I have maintenence issues is when I shut something down. I think keeping things at a constant ambient tempature keeps it stable.

    My tech seems to think that keeping my console on all the time, just shortens the life of the capacitors but, when he came in last time to check out a noisy channel, he shut the console off and caused all kinds of havoc.

    Little Dog Audio
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    The power down / up cycle creates is what is known as "thermal shock" ..

    In a pro studio that runs most the time .. it is probably best to keep the gear on ... not much of a down side to this.

    In a home studio it depends on how often the studio is in use .. If you run your home studio 12 hours a day, 7 days a week .. I would leave all the gear on. If the studio is only used occasionally, then powering down when you are finished seems to be the more cost effective approach.

    The electricity wasted to keep your gear running 24/7 probably exceeds the expense of repairing any items that may die due to thermal shock effects. An average computer pulls 400 watts sans monitor .. .. that a lot of juice used everyday and extrainious heat generated. In the summer, you may be cooling your studio and re heating it at the same time :D

    Modern equipment is a lot less likely to suffer from thermal shock because most of it doesn't get as hot as older gear did.

    All things to consider.. as with everything else in audio, ymmv ...
  14. oakman

    oakman Guest

    My studio is in use every week day for at least 8 hours a day. All comments considered, I'm thinking of leaving it powered up all week and shutting it down on weekends. It's a home studio, but a very busy one. Yet, I am not rich enough to have the freedom to be oblivious to loosing gear to the enemy heat or "thermal shock". It really is important to me that it last a little longer.

    Years ago I had a custom built Wheatstone console. It was left on for years. When it was finally shut down and moved, it never came back on again... that is, not until some caps were replaced in the power supplies and even after that most of the channels went haywire.

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