I'm sorry if this is a super noob question><. I recently got my hands on an electronic kit and the store reminded me to always turn the kit on before the amp and the amp off before the kit. Is this being overly cautious or necessary to prolong the life of the amp?


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It's a good precaution. Your mileage may vary. High quality equipment tends to be designed (or amended) in a way where its output does not go nuts when turned off. But that's not a hard/reliable rule. You can turn the amp volume down to "almost off" to make a first try if the convenience of switching order is important to you. There are also power socket lines that switch on/off in sequence in order to automate the procedure.

I also have an old amp with builtin coil reverb where you have to wait for 10 seconds after turning it off before touching the "reverb" pot: if you don't, horribly loud noises come out. Apparently when switching off, the powers die in an order where you have some large DC value on the reverb pot and any movement/scratching of its wiper is horribly amplified.

It's a good idea to learn the quirks of your equipment in non-catastrophic settings first. So I'd try switching the kit on and off with the amp at almost zero setting first and see what happens.

Note that the results may not be representative when you pull the power plugs and don't put them in in exactly the same orientation with respect to the wall plug next time. Different orientations may make for different ground offsets/capacities.


The most pronounced effect is usually a DC (direct current) thump as the output kicks positive or negative due to the rapid shut-down of the (drum-kit) power supply. If this is passed into the powered amplifier and the volume is turned up it gets passed to the loudspeakers. The bass unit will get a hard push or pull (depending on polarity) and if undersized relative to the amplifier may be damaged by excessive cone excursion.

In reality, you have more risk of damage to reputation (by sounding unprofessional) than damage to equipment. My nephew tells me, "a sound engineer dies somewhere every time you pull out an input jack with the volume up".

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