PSA Stand-by mode "duty cycle"?

I have a question regarding the stand by mode on my BHK300’s, BHKpre, DSD-DAC, NPC and DMP which are all powered by a P10. I also have a separate P5 powering my REL subs and main electrostatics. Over the past 4-5 years I have listed to my system almost daily. But due to “life” changes I’m starting to go multiple days between listening sessions. I’m wondering what folks recommend for a duration in standby before it’s better to just do a complete shutdown knowing that ultimately heat is the enemy of electronics and the heat remains during standby vs. shutdown. So if I go 2 days, or 3 days, or 4 days or week between listening sessions, at what point is it better to just shutdown for long term life/performance.

Many maintain start-up causes the most wear, but at some point leaving a unit on causes as much deterioration.

I turn everything off after listening, regardless when I will listen again. I simply dislike leaving anything on I am not using, be it audio equipment, lights, etc. I have yet to have anything audio fail as a result.

Any difference in sound between equipment on for days versus just turned on does not trouble me.

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I’m on the other end of the spectrum from Elk…the only time I power things down completely is if I’m connecting or disconnecting cables. Otherwise, I leave everything in standby.

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The only PSA piece I have in my system is the BHKpre and the only concern I have about degrading lifetime and performance is leaving tubes biased 24/7. The purpose of stand-by in high-performance audio electronics is to power down high power dissipation (and heat generating) sections of the circuit while leaving the most sensitive low bias sections powered (e.g. the first gain block on the input side of an amplifier). I have zero concerns about degraded performance leaving components in stand-by for days between listening sessions. In fact, stand-by is intended to ensure long-term thermal stability of the sensitive parts of the circuit and to put the component in a mode that keeps it sounding best during every listening session. I will say that I do turn everything off whenever I have to be absent due to business travel. Has nothing to do with worry about degrading my gear and everything to do with not wanting to pay extra on my electric bill for that idle time.


Generally speaking, the PS gear doesn’t pull enough current thus doesn’t get that hot when in standby. So you don’t really have to worry about the heat diminishing the lifetime. I sit somewhere in the middle where for the most part, my gear is in standby. If I know I’m going to be gone for 4 days or more, I’ll generally shut everything. It’s kind of wasteful otherwise.


I have pretty much all of the BHK gear and more PS Audio gear. I’m similar to James. If it’s a week or more that I’m not using the system, It gets shut down. A few days in between and it stays in Stand-By mode. Stand by takes very little power and it keeps the temperature of the internal components close to ideal operating temperatures. I still feel that powering on puts more stress on a component than standby.


Thanks all for your thoughts and opinions on this topic. It sounds like I might go for the “one week” time frame and shut everything down if I know it will be that long. Cheers!

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I do not think there is any “wrong” way.