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    ST-120 Burn in: How long and what happens?

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    Disles1

    Posts : 17
    Join date : 2010-12-21
    Location : Calgary, Alberta

    ST-120 Burn in: How long and what happens?

    Post by Disles1 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:07 pm

    Howdy, I completed my ST-120 a couple of weeks ago and have been pulling LPs off the shelf to listen with a wide grin. I don't have many hours on it yet - life intrudes - and I'm still learning about electronics, especially tubes. I have read quite a lot about "burn in" so am wondering how long it takes (for the major changes) and what differences can you actually hear when the equipment moves from "new" to "burned in"?

    Bob Latino
    Admin

    Posts : 2411
    Join date : 2008-11-26
    Location : Massachusetts

    Re: ST-120 Burn in: How long and what happens?

    Post by Bob Latino on Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:29 pm

    Disles1 wrote:Howdy, I completed my ST-120 a couple of weeks ago and have been pulling LPs off the shelf to listen with a wide grin. I don't have many hours on it yet - life intrudes - and I'm still learning about electronics, especially tubes. I have read quite a lot about "burn in" so am wondering how long it takes (for the major changes) and what differences can you actually hear when the equipment moves from "new" to "burned in"?

    Hi,

    You need at least 100 - 200 hours on your ST-120 before the amp is fully broken in. During that time changes occur on the molecular level in all the parts in your amp that are hard to "quantify". In other words you can really measure any difference in the amp's parts but the amp's sound seems to smoothen out and become more "effortless". New tubes also need a little time on them to sound their best.

    Bob

    Disles1

    Posts : 17
    Join date : 2010-12-21
    Location : Calgary, Alberta

    Re: ST-120 Burn in: How long and what happens?

    Post by Disles1 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:02 pm

    Bob Latino wrote:



    ... the amp's sound seems to smoothen out and become more "effortless".

    Bob

    Thanks Bob, your description of "smoothen out" and "more effortless" explains a lot so would you say that, for example, violins have less edge (I'm not sure that's the proper word) when equipment is burned-in or that the twang of an acoustic guitar string is more relaxed? Will I actually be able to hear the difference?

    Bob Latino
    Admin

    Posts : 2411
    Join date : 2008-11-26
    Location : Massachusetts

    Re: ST-120 Burn in: How long and what happens?

    Post by Bob Latino on Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:16 pm

    Whether you will hear much of a difference depends on your hearing and also your associated equipment. *Most* audiophiles will hear some type of change (for the better) after the amp has 100 - 200 hours on it ..

    After the amp has broken in you can also try tube rolling. Different driver and output tubes influence to some degree how the amp sounds. One of the best (and relatively inexpensive) upgrades for the VTA ST-70 and ST-120 is changing out the center 12AT7 for an NOS Mullard CV4024 (12AT7 equivalent) tube. I have heard many 12AT7 tubes in these amps including NOS Telefunken and RCA black plates. I still feel the Mullard is best in the center voltage amplifier postion. This center 12AT7 is the initial voltage amplifier for BOTH channels. The two side phase splitter/phase inverter 12AT7's seem to have less influence on the sound of the amp.

    Bob

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