Powering on head w/o a load... T/F question

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by jhayat, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. jhayat

    jhayat Member

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    Hi all

    So, my understanding has always been that you never power on a head w/o it being plugged into a load (cab, etc.).

    Now, I am being told that it's ok to turn the power on if the head is not plugged into a load, so long as it's still in standby.

    Is that true, or not?
     
  2. Jon C

    Jon C Well-Known Member

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    Why would you do that ??
     
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  3. jhayat

    jhayat Member

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    I wouldn't, and I am not going to. I am simply asking if this is true or not.
     
  4. Sustainium

    Sustainium Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn’t think standby would hurt anything.
     
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  5. GIBSON67

    GIBSON67 Well-Known Member

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    I'll flip my amp to standby when I switch cabs...
     
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  6. EADGBE

    EADGBE Well-Known Member

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    Just to be safe I wouldn't have the amp on at all without a load.
     
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  7. MonstersOfTheMidway

    MonstersOfTheMidway Well-Known Member

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    :agreed:
     
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  8. RLW59

    RLW59 Well-Known Member

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    In standby, only the heaters and indicator lamp are powered up. No signal flows. No problem having no load in standby.
     
  9. Ken Underwood

    Ken Underwood Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    The output stages are not operating in standby as there is no HV being applied to them so you cannot do any damage at all, but to make sure always connect you load first before you even plug your amp into the mains supply, that way you will be doubly sure not to damage your amp.
     
  10. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's just say it's not good practice. You can turn on an amp (in standby) w/o a load. But... If you are always doing it, chances that you'll (accidentally) flip the switch wrongly go up, especially the more comfortable you get doing it.

    Probably best bet, if you're going to do a silent studio session, pull the power tubes & use it as a pre-amp. When you're ready to use it normally, put the tubes back in, bias it up & let her rock. Easiest to mark the tubes & put them back in the same order.
     
  11. MaskingApathy

    MaskingApathy Well-Known Member

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    Yes
     
  12. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member

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    With my Bugera r G5 Infinium, the manual says when using the DI out, the amp should be in the stand-by mode and it doesn’t need a speaker load when using.

    Let me tell you something, the DI out on this little Bugera is soooooo much better than my Marshalls,... it’s quite unbelievable! I use it for silent playing and recording late at night
     
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  13. ampeq

    ampeq Well-Known Member

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    If I unplug a cab from a head to use with another, I also unplug the power cord from the amp. This gives me a margin of error in case I'm stupid that day. I have 3 amps & 3 cabs and sometimes I like to switch them around, so I'v got in the habit of looking over the top and checking the hook up's. I also use color coded ends on the speaker wires, red, blue and clear which helps me keep track of things.
     
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  14. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member

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    This is a good practice.
     
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  15. jhayat

    jhayat Member

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    Thanks all :)
     
  16. jchrisf

    jchrisf Well-Known Member

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    I've heard from an amp tech that you don't need a load if there is no signal going through the amp.
     
  17. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    It depends...
    If the amp has a solid state front end, then you may be able to use the preamp with the HT turned off.

    If the amp has a tube valve front end, then the HT needs to be turned on.

    I would go for a microphone on a speaker cabinet. Crank the amp to saturate the speaker.
    I think DI sounds pretty poor for guitar compared to the speaker.
    But DI works OK for bass keyboard it world work fine - just not for guitar.
    The guitar benefits from saturation of the speaker and this is a chunk of the tone reproduction, it's like a crunch-factor in the equation.
     
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  18. RLW59

    RLW59 Well-Known Member

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    That's true, BUT...

    There's always some hiss. There can be pops from channel switching. A defective amp can make scratchy rustling noises, pops, hums, buzzes, howls and/or squeals with nothing plugged into the input. All of that counts as "signal".

    Normal hiss probably won't cause damage. Abnormal self-generated noises don't always cause damage.

    But there is a little risk running no load, even with no input signal. Because the amp may be creating its own signal without you knowing it.
     
  19. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member

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    If you just have to run the amp with no speaker at a bare minimum use a dummy load.
     
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  20. MickeyJ

    MickeyJ Active Member

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    You don't need to plug a speaker in if you're just gonna turn the amps power switch on and leave the standby off.
    In actual fact, and it is a fact ( despite what people who have no idea about what's going on inside your amp will tell you) , you can turn the volumes off, leave a speaker unplugged, and turn both your power and standby switches on. Output transformer aren't like digital chips, the tiny hiss isn't going to build up in the secondary of your output transformer and burn it, never in a million years.
    It isn't good practice to do any of this because one day you will ( unless you have good practices) leave a speaker unplugged and open up with the volumes full up, and that will be the day you fry the output transformer.
     
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