Leave a DAC on, all the time?

Vinshine Audio rec that you leave the Ares II Dac on or on Standby all the time and I believe Golden Sound says the same about the Holo DACs and other R2R DACs.

But is this the right thing to do.
Normally the lifespan of components minimize the longer it is kept warm. So what to believe?

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With most higher end dacs even sigma delta or chip based r2r I’d just leave them on, some of them have significant warm up. I wouldn’t worry too much about component life as one could also argue that power cycling them often puts more wear on them than being just powered on, but regardless of that with a dac I wouldn’t worry about it, I wouldn’t expect it to shorten their life to any appreciable difference (unless you plan to keep a dac for like 20-30 years perhaps, but most people don’t expect their dacs to have that long of a service life lol. Anyways that would more likely just be down to caps wearing out rather than other component failures which might happen anyways regardless of usage, and that also depends on the type and quality of caps as well)

Really the only real concerns I can think of would be if it’s a dac with a tube output stage (in that case I would not suggest leaving it on all the time to preserve tube life), or if you are super concerned about power surges or something of that sort. Or power usage but really most dacs don’t use that much electricity. So I’d just say for something like a denafrips or holo I’d just leave it on and not worry about it, sounds better that way.

How is the new spring btw?


The Spring 3 KTE is an amazing DAC and I am just 1 day into using it. I know it is a cliché, but I have songs, I have listen to for years, where I now hear details that are totaly new to me.
I had a thought last night about it, that I need to listen to all my albums again, to know exactly how they ACTUALLY sounds like :joy:

I can rec it, but the price is the posterboy for deminishing returns as a concept. You pay big money for the last extra percentage of quality. And this is still a relatively affordable DAC.
But I am very happy (thx for asking :wink: ) and it was the right buy for my chain at this moment in time.


And I live in Denmark, so last time we had a power surge or something similar was… ehm… never!
So in that area, I’m good :wink:

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I have been keeping my Bifrost 2 energized at all times now. Been doing it for a month or so. There has been no appreciable rise in the electric bill that I can see, which was really my only concern. I agree with @M0N that constant power cycling will cause more wear and tear than just letting it sit happy and idle when not being used.


I’ve noticed that at this point my main streamer + dac setup for desk is around 200 ish watts which is higher than I’d like it to be, but it’s really not all that bad, and it takes too long to warm up to bother turning it off each day. But overall that’s pretty high for just a dac setup, the mass majority of dacs are going to be much less than that. Bifrost is likely around 10w which is nothing to be concerned about. Pretty sure when I had the may kte that was around 50w on my meters. But there are some dacs that will really get up there, specifically some of the tube driven dacs, the pacific was around 100-120 watts depending on the tubes in there on it’s own, and currently I’m pretty sure the kassandra is a fair bit higher (but not much concern since they are tube and you don’t leave those on)


Component life is actually longer if left powered or on standby.
Everytime you turn it on there is a large initial power surge and it’s that surge cycle that does the damage.


some dacs don’t even have a power off option so unless you unplug those they are always on
I think as long as it isn’t that warm it won’t hurt it much

I don’t own any non-portable DAC that isn’t “on” all the time, and this isn’t even fancy R2R stuff. Definitely.

I reached out to Magni-Hifi where I have bought my Spring 3 and to Vinshine Audio, where I got my Ares II. Their remarks about this topic are:

I do not recommend to keep the unit on all the time. I would put it to standby, it is keeping some components on standby for quicker startup time.

Keeping it on all the time does shorten the lifespan and also it consumes unnecessarily power.

Normally it takes approx. 20-30 minutes to warump the Spring.

Vinshine Audio:
*DENAFRIPS DAC benefits from burn in and turned on all the time. I’d suggest you to keep it on 24/7 if you listen to the music daily. *

The designer said it will not degrade/reduce the lifespan.

So two different views on this. But the Ares II goes into Standby by itself, when there is no input of data, so setting the Spring on standby is doing the same thing. The cheaper one of the two units just do it automatically :wink:

Interesting, I don’t know if I’d personally agree with the 20-30 min warm up on the holo stuff, I feel like for both the spring and the may it was a solid few hours before things settled in, after that wasn’t as noticeable. Not too long as some dacs take much longer, but that’s still long enough to potentially become an inconvenience depending on how/when you listen to music (assuming you are past the run/burn in phase)

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One thing to notice is, that Magni-hifi is the local distributor, so not the manufactor. Maybe they would have a different view.
No matter what, in this hobby we all like to change gear on a regular basis, so it is easier to get the WAF in order, if something breaks :wink:

Now I wonder if you contacted kitsune hifi which is another distributor/dealer if they would give you a different answer from that or not

I wish it wasn’t the case, but it’s too hard to not get caught up in something new from time to time lol


They were first on my list to contact, but to get the tech support, they needed my order number… So that idea died quickly :wink:

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No need for an order # - this is where I first reached out to Tim with questions before ordering. It may not be an immediate response he’s basically a 1 man shop, but he will reply.

FWIW - I leave the Spring3 KTE I have on 24/7 (on, not just in standby).

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This is only true if the component is going outside of it’s rated temp spec. It’s the repeated heating and cooling, and the expansion/contraction that comes with it that would be more detrimental to it’s total life-time.

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This seems to be the agreed mode of action around audiophiles. I have done it with my Ares II, but I am still not quite sure re my Spring. At least it will be in Standby, perhaps also on…

Some types of circuit require some warm up (Oven controlled Oscillators, reference voltage sources, etc.) Depending on how stable such circuits are expected to be, 30 minutes to 24 hours of warm up are normal.
Leaving devices running reduces stress on solder joints since there is less thermal cycling (unless there is a temperature controlled fan in it).
For poorly designed circuits lacking start-up delays and current limiting, there may also be reduced stress from power cycling.

Powerd up electronics running warm can shorten the lifespan of electrolytic capacitors significantly, especially when 85°C rated caps are positioned next to linear regulators or other power components with significant heat output.
Leaving devices running that are not rated for 24/7 operation (home-gamer gear is at best an 8 hours per day, most are way less) will lead to reduced life span.
There is also an increased fire risk when leaving electronics run unattended.

Note: Some Lab-Gear has an internal section that is always on (reference sources) so device startup is quicker. I am yet to see such designs in any audio gear (professional or home use).

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