Standby mode or switching off ? Which one is recommended and when ?

I’m wondering what the pros and cons are of simply putting a Bartók in standby mode, versus switching it off completely. I suspect the reasoning must be about what is less stressful for the electronic components : letting them continuously at more or less at the same temperature, versus having them alternating between cold and warm states. And a relay (or more) is also activated each time the unit is switched off.

I do listen to music in two-hour sessions (approximately) every morning and every evening on week days and for most of the day on weekends. I’m really perplexed about this issue. I’d like — of course — my unit to stay healthy for as long as possible and I’m wondering what would be the best option in order to minimise the stress upon the electronic components and the relays :

  • letting the unit always in sleep mode while not listnening ;
  • always switching it off ;
  • switching it off from time to time — if so, at what interval ? Maybe it depends on the ambient temperature ?

Thank you very much in advance.

Olivier :-{)

PS : Unless it’s me who didn’t find it, there isn’t, in Mosaic, the possibility to switch OFF Bartók, as there used to be in the dedicated app. Maybe it’s an omission ? On purpose ? Maybe it could be added ? [Should I put this question/suggestion elsewhere ?]

Heat cycling is less of an issue in today’s electronics as it was in the past so there aren’t significant concerns for component longevity. Furthermore, the design of the Ring DAC makes it immune to the typical tolerance fluctuations that electrical components go through as they age. All things being equal there’s no benefit to powering the unit down vs. leaving it running constantly.

Temperature is an issue when it comes to the performance and stability of certain components when they are below their ideal temperature. This is especially true of the clock oscillator and certain parts of the output stage. These parts perform their best when at a constant and stable temperature.

Unlike a power amplifier your Bartók doesn’t generate a lot of heat, but it does have a very high thermal mass so it can take a very long time for internal temperatures to stabilize to the point that it’s in a state of equilibrium. Overall performance isn’t at its maximum level until the temperature of the unit has fully stabilized. Depending on the ambient conditions this process can take many, many hours.

Unfortunately, electricity isn’t free, nor is it in unlimited supply so there’s a real cost to leaving the unit fully powered-on all the time. Standby mode attempts to balance this by reducing the overall power consumption while allowing the operating temperature to remain close to normal operating levels. There’s still a warm-up time, but it’s greatly reduced when compared to a cold start.

If your unit sees frequent use (daily) then it’s worth leaving it powered on all the time or using the standby function. That way you’ll always be getting the best and most consistent audio performance. If it’s only used periodically (weekends) then it’s worth powering it down completely during periods of non-use, but being sure to power it back on well in advance of any critical listening.

This was an intended omission. The issue with having the power-off command in the app was that there was no way to power it back on remotely since the network processor was completely shut down. This created a minor inconvenience at times and was generally poor user experience.


Thank you very much, Andrew, for your — as usual — very informative and complete answer!