Avoid the Heat Wave
Summer is officially here, and with all the fun and sun comes added heat. Overheating is the root cause of most failures of tube & solid state electronics, but it’s an avoidable trap. Generally, the best way to keep audio equipment out of the danger zone is to make sure it’s properly ventilated, and isn’t sharing space with other heat generating electronics. Your cable TV or dish receiver box is a particularly nasty culprit… I have mentioned before how Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) have staggeringly high memberships, and provide cheap disposable hardware so they can accommodate their myriad of clients. These cable receivers generate a lot of heat, and it’s not uncommon to see them in the same cabinet as home theater hardware. If your entertainment center furniture isn’t properly ventilated, you could already be suffering some sort of overheating problems.
Try to select furniture that’s been purposely built for electronics. Companies like Salamander, Plateau, and Sanus make A/V furniture solutions that include cable management, customizable lighting, variable height shelves, integrated electronics fans, and ventilated side and rear panels. The last two being the most important. I realize that not everyone wants their A/V system on full display in their home, so if you prefer to have your audio equipment stashed away in a cabinet, that’s ok. You just need to be conscious about what else is occupying space in it, and hopefully put in some sort of ventilation system like a fan.
Another situation I see quite a bit that can cause equipment failures down the line is stacking gear. This poses a whole host of problems beyond heat stress, such as electronic interference, microphonic distortion, and harmonic distortion. This is very apparent when comparing integrated amplifiers to pre-amp & amp separates. If you dug deep in the pocketbook for the money to buy a separate amp/pre-amp system, it would be a pity to stack them on each other and loose the benefit of having separates. Try putting them on individual shelves, or if that’s not an option, use wood chucks to give them a little space between each other. This will give you superior sound and help dissipate any heat generated.
Hopefully this article gives you the tools necessary to keep your system running well, for a nice long time. That way, you’ll save enough money to make an even larger improvement in the future. Wilson Audio has the equipment you want, and the knowledge you need, to get the most out of your home entertainment system. Our installation technicians are expertly trained in heat management, and can ensure your gear stays cool even when the music starts to get hot.