Hi all. Would there be any point in trying to integrate a line level Miniwatt N3 tube amp, 3.5 watts, into a turntable/Marantz 2226b setup, to get the advantage of a little tube warmth? The N3 is a little anemic to sufficiently drive my inefficient Smaller Advents on its own. But could I plug the Marantz preamp or tape outputs into the N3's inputs and wire the N3's speaker banana jacks to RCA plugs that would plug into either the Marantz's Auxiliary or Tape In jacks? Thanks for any advice on what is probably a ridiculous idea . . .
If not you could look at a tube buffer like the Yaqin CD-1 or CD-3, the Grant Fidelity B-283 or B-283 MkII, or the Tubalizer from audiocostruire.com
If you do have the N3 it is not advisable to configure the units as you describe. You could use the N3 as a preamp into the Marantz by using a speaker level to line level converter. This would use the Marantz as a power amplifier, its entire front end including the tuner would be out of the loop. You would remove the preamp out/main in bridge and connect the converter to the main in jacks.
You could also use the N3 in the tape loop (again with the speaker level to line level converter) and it would become essentially a tube buffer. This is closer to what you described and would allow full use of the Marantz front end and amplifier.
Thanks for that advice, jackfish, and helping me avoid a mistake. I did not know about line level converters; it sounds like your second option would probably be the way to go since I need the phono stage of the front end of the Marantz. I wondeer if the N3 buffer stage is worth the trouble and expense of the converter, but I guess there's only one way to find out . . .