Tips for Tube-Based Equipment

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Tips for Tube-Based Equipment

Tube based audio equipment requires special care during installation ...and then ongoing maintenance to preserve its audio quality and integrity.

Please observe the following common-sense tips:

Installation

  • Before the first signal connection, check and re-check that all the tubes are correctly installed on their support, especially the power tubes, it is possible that they have moved during transport.
  • Avoid marble substrates, glass or metal as mounting surfaces.
  • Allow unobstructed ventilation grills and make sure to leave enough space above the amplifier (minimum 30 cm) for efficient cooling.
  • For Power or Integrated Amplifiers, use a thick (2cm) wooden support base using bamboo or beech without spikes.
  • For the DAV, CD Drive and Preamp, use a thick (2cm) wooden support base using beech or bamboo with spikes.

Power (AC Mains)

  • Tube electronics benefit from correct phase (polarity) of power connection - and normally this phase is clearly marked on the power cable IEC receptable.  Using a portable phase tester, please ensure the correct match of phase (polarity) of the wall outlet with the equipment power cable.
  • Power conditioning is not recommended for Amplifiers due their need to draw high instantaneous current during signal transients.  However, it is imporatant to avoid using the same AC power line for polluting devices like dimmer lamps, wi-fi terminals or heater units.
  • Amplifiers have power transformers with selectable mains voltage settings.  Settings may be 100V, 110V, 120V for North America and 220V, 230V, 240V for Europe. To ensure proper operation and to avoid premature wear of the tubes, it is recommended to measure the mains voltage with a voltmeter and to adjust the position of the power transformer accordingly.

Break-In

  • Most manufacturers break in tubes prior to shipping.  Ideally, the mininum break-in period is 25 hours with some high end equipment may have a break-in of 150 hours.  This guarantees operating stability and detection of faulty tubes.
  • Prior to critical listening, a longer break-in period is strongly recommended.  For Amplifiers, a break-in should be a period of 150 to 300 hours of active operation. For DACs, CD-Drives and Preamps, a minimum period of 300 hours of active operation will be necessary.

Everyday Use

  • Normally, when starting up the system, the digital or analog source is already switched on. If this is not the case, first turn on your source first and second amplifier.  For power-down, proceed in reverse.
  • Do not leave the Amplifier run unnecessarily as in "class A slippery mode" the power tubes wear out in practically the same way whether you are listening to music or not.  Conversely, leave your other equipment (DAC, CD-Drive, Preamp) permanently powered on, because even once broken in, it will need at least 48 hours of operation (after stopping for over an hour) to stabilize again and work at their best.

Cleaning

  • To avoid damaging your product finish or risk introducing grid or grime into surface details, do not use abrasive elements, use only a lint-free cloth.
  • Avoid getting moisture in any openings whatsoever, do not use aerosol sprays, solvents or abrasives.
  • Do not use liquid subtances or spray cleaners directly on any device.
  • If liquid seeps into a device, disconnect your device from any power source and contact your dealer.

Tube Replacement

  • Every 2500 hours we recommend a systematic replacement of the output stage (power) tubes.  Most amplifiers have automatic polarization so no adjustment will be necessary and the user can change the tubes easily. Suffice it to implement correctly matched tubes.
  • For the replacement of input stage tubes, which last 4 to 5 times longer, require an adjustment setting between floors and an end against the feedback adjustment (which is very important for the musicality).  It is good practice to have these adjustments performed by your dealer at least every second time you change your power tubes.
  • Only use replacement tubes which are an exact reference match to the original - with which the amplifier was developed and optimized.

Do not hesitate to ask your dealer's assistance in any regard to your tube equipment.