Ok so I just ordered a Blackstar HT-5S and am a total n00b when it comes to tubes. So any advice or tips on them would help... First off, How do you tell when the tubes need to be replaced? I've also heard that if you turn it on you should leave it in standby mode for a bit... do you have to do the same for turning it off? and Should you turn power or standby on first?


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the tubes should last for years. they will either burn out or the should will change dramatically.

turn on the power first and then leave it in standby for 20-40 seconds.

you can do whatever when shutting it off.
As far as replacing your tubes. If your crank them every night for 5 days out of the week, you're going to want to replace them with in the year or so. That said, if you play semi-volumes a few times a week, then they could last 5 years. Typically though, when your amp starts doing weird things such as breaking up too early or having a real sterile/bad tone, then it's time to get a new set.

Standby is something that is crucial to your tubes lasting. Turn your amp on, and leave the standby on for 30 seconds or so and then cut off the standby. This allows your tubes to heat up so that you're not sending electrons that are hot enough to degrade the tubes.

As for turning off your amp, I do turn my standby on for a number of reasons.

First of all, when you just shut down power, your tubes shut off. Putting them on standby allows the voltage to stop, then you shot the power and you're not cutting as much power from the tubes.

Second of all, I turn standby on before I turn my amp off because I like to put up my guitar and get everything settled in.

Finally, I find that when having the standby in the "on" position, when you turn off your amp, both switches will be in the same position. So when it comes time to turn your amp back on, you don't have to turn your standby on, just your power and you won't forget.
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