How Long Do Amplifiers (Tube, Solid state) Last?

How Long Do Amplifiers Last?

An Amplifier simply indicates an electronic device that can amplify, increase or boost any power, voltage, current, or signal. Amplifiers are broadly used in audio equipment to boost up the lower audio signals.

The lifetime of an amp is not specific, as it totally depends on the type and quality of the amplifier device. Basic amps should generally last or be fully operational for 500 to 800 hours or 5 years of play hours.

However, in this article, we will discuss the average lifetime of the amplifier and what issues you need to face over time. So to get a proper idea about how long do amplifiers last, read the article carefully.

Do Amps Get Better with Age?

Do Amps Get Better with Age?

The direct answer to this question is no, and amps don’t get better with age rather, they may get worst (Except Tube Amps). You may get 500 to 800 hours of place back from a basic amplifier like preamps, power tubes, rectifier tubes, and other similar amps, which are got weekend over time, so they may not be usable after the period even if they are not completely destroyed as the sound output won’t be the satisfactory anymore.

Though some top-class amps have a better life, like the solid-state amp, which may last 30 years if you use it every day, the sound output or the quality won’t be the same over time as before when you bought it. You can also get a similar lifespan with the tube amps, but here you need to retube the amps every two years to maintain the audio output, but they actually sound better over time.

On the other hand, you may wonder if some old amps or antique models are still functional with proper sound output quality; it is because of their build quality and the materials used inside of these. Most of these old amplifiers have access to their full power, which is why they are called class A transistors amplifiers, which sound great but consume vast amounts of electricity or power.

Do Amplifiers Wear Out?

Do Amplifiers Wear Out?

The amplifier device is not a simple mechanism; instead, it is a combination of many electrical components that can quickly wear out over time or anytime all of a sudden. So ultimately, we can say the amplifier wears out too. The most common wear-out issue occurs because of the capacitor’s breakdown, especially the power supply.

Another reason for amplifier wear out can be overheating issues. Powerful amplifiers come with more heat generating issues, and to fix the issue, the amplifier may have an exhaust fan inside or air out the grill, which should be open when you place them anywhere; otherwise, your amp can be bunted out because of overheating as the air exhaust area is blocked.

On the other hand, the transformer inside the amps, which is a power supply, may easily wear out anytime unstable electricity comes through it. So if you are more concerned about the amplifier wearing out, you may use an electric stabilizer or a computer UPS to maintain a stable power supply.

In case of wear-out damage, you may still make your amplifier functional again from any repair shop, as the construction inside the amplifier is not that complex.

When Should I Replace My Amp?

When Should I Replace My Amp?

As we mentioned earlier, an amplifier should perform at its best for 500-800 hours or five years. So you must replace it after this period even though the amps are still functional, as the quality will decrease over time.

On the other hand, like most other electric devices, it can be worn out at any time without any notice. However, you can still repair it, though the sound quality won’t be the same, as the replacement parts won’t be as powerful as the original one. Still, if you decide to use the amp after repair, you can use it until you make your budget for another one.

On the other hand, if you are planning to upgrade your speaker, you may also need to replace your amps if the amplifier’s output power doesn’t match your new speaker’s power. Another reason to change or replace your amplifier can be the latest technology and features.

Most recent or latest amp models come with the latest technologies, which bring new abilities and features that defiantly change your listening experience. So to keep yourself updated and enjoy all the recent technologies and features, you must replace your amplifier.

How Long Should a Stereo Amplifier Last?

If we mean the last as an end of the stereo amplifier, it is not specific; it can last for 30 years or even die the day after you buy it. If we mean the last as a perfect working condition, then a stereo amplifier should last at least five years with its full potentiality; after that, it may lose its full power and gradually decrease the sound output quality.

A stereo amplifier has two-channel audio output options where you will get specific sound output from the specific channel and ultimately get a surround sound experience. This sound separation requires high sound processing, which also gets slow over time.

But most modern stereo amplifiers come with a more powerful processing unit, and better heat management makes their product more durable and ensures long-lasting usage. So if your stereo amp devices do not wear out because of unstable electricity or short circuits, they should last longer than we need.

Do Amplifiers Degrade Over Time?

Nothing in this world won’t degrade over time; even the rocks will decay over time. So your amplifier won’t last forever; it will also degrade its quality over time. Even the solid state or tube-based units also degrade over time though they have a better lifespan compared to most other standard amplifiers.

And with the tube-based unit, you need to replace the tube every two years as the tube loses its ability with time. The amplifiers are made of many electric components like a capacitor, transformer, transistor, resistor, tube, and many more, which lose their potential over time and ultimately degrade the amplifier’s overall performance.

Though some old amplifier models from 1980 still can perform better than these days or modern amplifiers, it is because of their top-class build quality; if we can go back to the time when they are manufactured, we will see they can perform more than they are doing now.

What Causes an Amplifier to Fail?

What Causes an Amplifier to Fail?

The amplifier is a complex electronic device that can fail anytime for various reasons. The most common reason fail an amplifier is operator error, where everything seems ok, but there is no sound on the speaker, which cause because of loose speaker connection or speaker wires breaking down.

Sometimes the input or AUX cables of the amplifier get broken too. If your amplifier doesn’t have these issue but is still not functional, check the fuse and replace it if necessary. The fuse of the amplifier gets blown anytime because of an unstable electrical power supply. If the fuse is ok too, then the amplifier may get damaged internally, so you need to either replace it or repair it from any nearest technician’s shop.

On the other hand, your amplifier may not deliver the sound even after it lights up, which may happen because of an improper speaker connection. You must connect the specific powered speaker that your amplifier can deliver, and if you connect more speakers than the amplifier support, it may not deliver the sound.

Do Amps Hold Their Value?

Everything decreases its value when it is used, even for a day, especially electronic devices. You may get a maximum of 50 to 70% of the value for your amplifier in the used or second-hand market if the amplifier is in perfect condition.

The value of the amplifier totally depends on its current condition. Scratches, spots, dents, and other physical damage decrease the value of the amplifier most as the looks create the first impression about how the device was used.

On the other hand, the value of a used amplifier also depends on the current market amplifier’s ability and features. If your amplifier doesn’t offer much compared to two modern and recent amplifiers, then you won’t get much value from your amplifier.

Apart from this, some old classic amplifiers even sound better than the new generation amplifiers, which may still get proper value than the modern ones. So actually, amps are not holding their value unless you have an antic and classic one.

How Often Should You Retube an Amp?

As we already mentioned, you need to retube your conventional tube amplifier every two years as the tube has about 10,000 to 20000 hours of service life maximum in the light-using condition. And if you use a power tube daily in heavy playing conditions, it may only last about six months or less.

Though you may get a better lifespan in light-playing conditions or occasional usages, it may only last for a maximum of 2 years or less. However, the lifespan of a tube totally depends on how long and how loud you are playing it.

Over time the tubes degrade the sound output, so when you feel that your tube amplifier won’t sound like before, just retube the amp; it will fix instantly, unlike other amplifier tube amp actually sounds better over time if you retube it time to time.

However, matching up the impedances correctly is also an important part of the tube amp; otherwise, your power tube will encounter a stain on it and wear down much faster than it should last.

How Long Do Amp Tubes Last? How Long Do Vacuum Tubes Last in an Amplifier?

Over time the tubes from the tube amps get degraded, and the sound quality decreases gradually. There are different types of tube amps in the market, and the lifetimes are also different for each of them. As we mentioned earlier, the lifespan of a conventional tube totally depends on its usage.

In general, tubes are not failed instantly; instead, they lose their potentiality gradually over time. In heavy-usages condition, you may have a maximum of six months of tube lifetime or less, and if you use the amp occasionally and use it maintaining standard loudness or volume, it may last for years. Lightest-usages may run a maximum of 2 years, but the sound won’t be the same as before.

On the other hand, If we talk about the vacuum tube, the answer will be changed as the vacuum tubes come with better lifespan ability where you may use the tube for about five to ten years on a couple of time usages in a weak with standard volumes.

In heavy usages condition at full volume, you may get two to three or fewer tube lifespans. Whatever the tube type is, always maintain 60 to 70% or less volume to ensure a longer tube lifetime.

How Do You Maintain an Amp?

Most of the time, Amps destructed because of excessive voltage input and overheating issues. So to ensure your amp’s long lifespan, you must first fix these issues. First of all, use an automatic voltage stabilizer or a computer UPS to protect the amplifier from excessive or unstable voltage.

It will be best if you unplug the power connection of the amplifier when you are done playing. Now to take care of the heating issue, you need to place your amplifier in an open surrounding. Please don’t block the ventilation grill or fan area so that it can vent out the heat that dissipates from its internal components.

The most modern amplifier has an automatic shutdown option when it gets too hot; keep it off for at least half an hour. Putting the excessive load and incorrectly powering up the speakers may also ruin your amplifier, so take care. On the other hand, if you use a tube amp, ensure you are retubing it from time to time.

And don’t forget to clean your amps once a week at least to keep them safe from dust. That is how you can maintain your amplifier to ensure a better lifespan.

Final Words

In this article, we tried to discuss the conjectural lifetime of different types of amplifiers and all related things, including maintaining so that you can buy the appropriate one according to your preferences and, if you already have one, how you can maintain it to ensure long-lasting usage.

For better understanding, you can watch related videos on YouTube and take expert opinions too. In our suggestion, whatever you are taking, don’t worry about the lifespan of the amplifier; instead, do proper maintenance and enjoy your music. To maintain your amplifier correctly, follow the instructions from the “How to Maintain” section.