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Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

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Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Honch » Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:43 am

Hi all!

I used the search function to try to find something about this, but I have yet to find anything on it.

When lookin for Fluid Audios CX7 coax speakers, they told me that due to EU regulations all consumer electronics (since when are studio monitors "consumer"?) must sooner or later be equipped with that feature. I e that the speaker goes into standby mode after say 20 minutes with no signal present. And the most important thing, this feature can't be bypassed, turned off. :crazy:

I have yet to find any EU regulation document about it, other than that it's recommended.

However, on the "demarcation" side, depending on which ground one stands, I can find both online reviews of, say, studio monitors Focal Shape 65 that lists Auto Standby as a negative and drawback while others actually puts this as a positive thing. On the plus side. Others don't bring it up at all.

Which beats me.

So, does this bother you, you don't care, or is it a positive thing, or just a negative thing?
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:54 am

Anything that saves power when users are too lazy to switch things off has to be a good thing in my book!

I've reviewed quite a few (pro) active speakers with an auto shut-down function, and I've not had any issues with them. They shut down after a period with no input signal, and they wake up in milliseconds when there is a signal...

However, in my limited practical experience I've found that they can be prone to false power-ups if there is noise on the input lines (eg from interference or poor grounding arrangements), and false power-downs if the source gain structuring is poor.

At Robjohns Manor, all of my active speakers are switched on and off at the mains...
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Oct 17, 2020 11:05 am

I have KRK V series monitors which are on auto-power all the time - they're never switched-off in the conventional sense.

I've had them for about 6 years I guess; I've never had one instance of random switching.
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Honch » Sat Oct 17, 2020 11:22 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Anything that saves power when users are too lazy to switch things off has to be a good thing in my book!

I've reviewed quite a few (pro) active speakers with an auto shut-down function, and I've not had any issues with them. They shut down after a period with no input signal, and they wake up in milliseconds when there is a signal...

However, in my limited practical experience I've found that they can be prone to false power-ups if there is noise on the input lines (eg from interference or poor grounding arrangements), and false power-downs if the source gain structuring is poor.
.

SOS own Phil Ward begs to differ!

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/pioneer-rm-07

"The last remaining rear-panel feature is an auto-standby switch. When ‘on’, the RM-07 switches to standby mode after it’s been silent for a while, and switches back on automatically when it detects an input signal. I used the feature for a while but soon switched it off — I found it sometimes frustratingly slow to switch on."

Now, this monitor was really equipped with a "turn-off-standby-function" because it turned out more a nuisance than benefit.

You see, see for yourself, all of your gear is turned on at the mains. I see that too. There's nothing that turns off automatically there. I view ALL of my board/monitors/computers as one source of current draw, not the internal parts of it. They think it's like a computer running on rechargable batteries. To save current. You basically don't It's like a TV that turns off whenever there's nobody in front of it.

I can very well understand auto power off, for heat reasons, when something becomes to warm but that is rather a fuse relay, for safety reasons, so it won't catch fire.

Now the thing was that some reviewers puts this as a "con" only.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

My take on it all is the amount of saving energy is so subtle that it is neglible. I would even think like that the initial start up spike or spark from going from idle mode to active mode is more than leaving it on. They did this same thing with cars that "stops" at a traffic light, and have no engine running for 30 seconds. Then they "auto-start" and you hear the engine turn on just as if they'd turn the ignition key. They have found absolutely no changes in emission or gas saving at all. But here I think it's totally moot, and futile.

I have not heard of anyone saving on their electric bills, thanks to auto standby on their studio monitors.

If there should be an auto-standby it would include all the rest too. Computers, mixers, keyboards, guitar amps (especially tube ones, and class A amps) all at the same time.
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Honch » Sat Oct 17, 2020 11:26 am

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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Logarhythm » Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:01 pm

Honch wrote:SOS own Phil Ward begs to differ!

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/pioneer-rm-07

"The last remaining rear-panel feature is an auto-standby switch. When ‘on’, the RM-07 switches to standby mode after it’s been silent for a while, and switches back on automatically when it detects an input signal. I used the feature for a while but soon switched it off — I found it sometimes frustratingly slow to switch on."


Seems to me to be a small gripe concerning the specific implementation in those monitors, rather than a general observation about all auto-standby functions?
It might be the case that it's a feature that you'd get used to in time anyway. FWIW I use passive monitors and there is a very noticeable delay firing up the amp that powers those...

Honch wrote:My take on it all is the amount of saving energy is so subtle that it is neglible. I would even think like that the initial start up spike or spark from going from idle mode to active mode is more than leaving it on. They did this same thing with cars that "stops" at a traffic light, and have no engine running for 30 seconds. Then they "auto-start" and you hear the engine turn on just as if they'd turn the ignition key. They have found absolutely no changes in emission or gas saving at all. But here I think it's totally moot, and futile.

I'm not entirely sure that this is still the case?
I recall being told that starting the engine used about the same amount of fuel as idling for 15 mins, but that was back in the 1980s (and didn't cite any peer-reviewed sources :mrgreen: ) - it's a very different question to modern engines designed specifically around this function. The Society of Automotive Engineers seems to be of the opinion that it does save fuel, and they seem well-placed to have a good understanding of the actual mechanics/thermodynamics behind the principles ;)

(I'm not sure the analogy translates all that well to electronics either, FWIW)

Honch wrote:I have not heard of anyone saving on their electric bills, thanks to auto standby on their studio monitors.

If there should be an auto-standby it would include all the rest too. Computers, mixers, keyboards, guitar amps (especially tube ones, and class A amps) all at the same time.
I haven't heard of anyone actually measuring the effect of auto-standby on their electricity bill specifically in relation to monitors either ;)
And lots of computers do exactly this - power management settings allow you to tailor when they go into "sleep" mode, turn of the screen etc. I dread to think how much (more) energy would be wasted in offices if they didn't do this!

In any case, just because we don't notice a few pence on our own electricity bill it doesn't mean that lots of devices needless drawing a few Watts that could be reduced via standby don't add up to a potentially useful saving in the overall power consumption of a society ;)

I have to say I'm with Hugh on this - it certainly wouldn't put me off a pair of monitors.
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby al_diablo » Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:13 pm

I have KRK and genelec monitors and have had no problem with the auto standby on either.

I can't really understand why anyone would have a strong negative opinion about it at all actually

My computers and some of my hardware units have similar features. I think it would be quite nice if everything had a power saving mode.
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:00 pm

Honch wrote:SOS own Phil Ward begs to differ!

He was commenting on the implementation of the facility in one specific monitor design, not condemning the concept as a whole!

You see, see for yourself, all of your gear is turned on at the mains. I see that too. There's nothing that turns off automatically there.

Most laptops do... and most computer display screens.

It's like a TV that turns off whenever there's nobody in front of it.

Oh yes... all the modern ones do that too... ;-)

My take on it all is the amount of saving energy is so subtle that it is neglible.

In one household, possibly. Across a city, a country, or the world it's far from negligible.

I would even think like that the initial start up spike or spark from going from idle mode to active mode is more than leaving it on.

Is that based on your extensive knowledge and experience as a designer of professional and consumer electronics, or just the story you've invented to make yourself feel better? ;)

If there should be an auto-standby it would include all the rest too. Computers, mixers, keyboards, guitar amps (especially tube ones, and class A amps) all at the same time.

Be careful what you wish for! :beamup:
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Watchmaker » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:15 pm

Having worked in the electric utility business for seven and a half years, at least in America, I can say that there is a large public interest lobby that presses the perspective that "ghost" or "phantom" loads, in aggregate, place a reducible demand load on the generation side and the idea is to alleviate peak load constraints on aging infrastructure. Some engineers in the US argue that having the higher baseline load in off-peak is better because it keeps turbines spinning which is better than having them spin down completely. Remember, generators have to spool up and down to respond to demand changes and the more dramatic they are, they greater the risk of low supply conditions when the instantly available voltage is lower than demand, so if you have to have your turbines shedding a small amount of load across the network, that may actually be more efficient that taking turbines on and off line rapidly.

While reducing baseline consumption is a worthy goal, the impact on specific pieces of gear are going to vary widely. That glowing switch on your power strip, the little LED on the faceplate of your speaker, etc. each draw a bit of current and when you multiply that by every household, it adds up. Because it is unrealistic to think that humans are trainable for any purpose other than self-interest, the deciders have been convinced by their lobbying brethren to remove one more opportunity for waste.

I'm a tepid supporter of this notion, as there are very good reasons to re-think the entire electric energy generation and distribution model in light of things learned since the early 20th century when the vast majority of the fundamental infrastructure engineering was implemented.

My concern is really in implementation. One more feature means one more possible point of failure. Personally, I defeat anything auto on or off because I want granular control. Like Hugh, I switch off at the mains. Even my guitar pedal board and studio lights are switched off at the mains every night when I lock up.

But there is no way - and who wants to live in such a world anyway - that the population at large can be trained to care about such things.
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Folderol » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:17 pm

There is 'no switch on spike' when returning from standby. The main filter caps remain fully charged (with infinitesimal leakage current) all through the standby period. It is the switching transistor circuit that goes dormant. Indeed, this potentially extends the life of the kit, as there are far fewer real switch on surge events.

There is just a very low demand monitoring circuit that watches for input signal.
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Honch » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:32 pm

see what I did there. I sparked an interesting topic of debate.

I was more interested in that the reviews (some) actually labeled it as a con (negative) some as positive (plus), and I even see those who doesn't bring it up at all or think it is of totally insignificance.
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:58 pm

Honch wrote:I was more interested in that the reviews (some) actually labeled it as a con (negative)...

I think Paul listed it as a con in that specific review because that particularly speaker was slow to respond and didn't behave as he expected it to. It wasn't a condemnation of the facility per se.

I even see those who doesn't bring it up at all or think it is of totally insignificance.

I'm in the latter camp. It is an increasingly common facility, so other thahn mentioning its presence I'd only comment further upon it if it worked particularly poorly (or particularly well!)
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Honch » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:00 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
I would even think like that the initial start up spike or spark from going from idle mode to active mode is more than leaving it on.

Is that based on your extensive knowledge and experience as a designer of professional and consumer electronics, or just the story you've invented to make yourself feel better? ;)

No I did actually measured it, which was easily done, on another friends of mines autopowered off studio monitors. On the contrary, we made a bet. He bought them JUST for that apart from sounding great of course. For whatever bizarre rationale behind it. He's a phD in electrical engineering and acoustics and works for a cell phone company that develops mics, and sound part of cell phones. All of them, and then licenses them out. Not specific brand but subcontractor. He knows stuff. The units examined was Tannoy GOLD 7" actives. The new ones. NOTE : With SELECTABLE automatic standby mode.

He brought home meticulous measure equipment, not your regular voltmeter, and we measure the power grid wire to one speaker, with the standby function activated. It read in mA or A or microAmpere if you'd want to. We found no difference in three digit accuracy on the stream when the moniotors actually were in standby mode. I mean only then connected. There was absolutely no difference in "downstream" actually, the current reaching it. So, when we moved the signal to actually produce som signal, it woke up, and a very very slight surge was detected, but it still was within mA spike. Measurable though. How long a monitor should be active in order to make up for that, so it becomes an even wash, we didn't test. We just found a spike, no matter how slight, on this particular item.

I have very well slightly more understanding if it was a lightweight switching high powered amp or a complete fully compliant Class A toroid transformer amp active monitor. For generating excessive heat. However, it was SELECTABLE. It wasn't measurable with those things we had as a measurement or with these specific speakers. So for conserving energy it is a waste or a "hyped" environmental thing only. But in this select case, there must have been something to it whenever they add "selectable" option, that one can use it a a whim, or chose not to.
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Honch » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:06 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Honch wrote:I was more interested in that the reviews (some) actually labeled it as a con (negative)...

I think Paul listed it as a con in that specific review because that particularly speaker was slow to respond and didn't behave as he expected it to. It wasn't a condemnation of the facility per se.

No, Paul did, but the other one at Music Radar, just listed it as a negative con, without mention it in the review. I e neither that it worked properly nor was a flawed designed one.
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Re: Your opinon on Studio Monitors with Auto Standby function that can't be turned off

Postby Honch » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:18 pm

Here's another one on those Tannoys.

https://bandrecording.at/artikel/tannoy-gold-8-review/

"Above the Inputs is an Auto-Standby switch which can be toggled on. This engages a mode that will shut down the speakers when no audio is being played back. In this case the power LED at the front panel will turn red. The speakers will automatically turn back on when playing music. This takes about 4,5 seconds, so I don’t recommend it when actively working on a mix."

At least, this one is selectable, and may turn out an unnecessary inclusion since most people will then (if above start up in 4,5 seconds) use it in non-standby mode.
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