Audiophiles never gave up on tube electronics. Sure, there's no shortage of great-sounding solid-state amps to choose from, but tube amps are still a hot commodity in the audiophile world. As good as solid-state amps can sound, they never sound like tubes.
Thing is, tube electronics are more expensive to build than solid-state gear, so when I hear about an affordable tube amp, I want to hear it.
The Miniwatt N3 Integrated Tube Amplifier uses a single ECC83 twin-triode tube feeding a single EL84 output tube per channel, and the amp features a switching power supply. The N3 delivers a healthy 3.5 watts per channel; it was designed in Hong Kong and it's built in China.
Yeah I know 3.5 watts doesn't sound like much, but the N3 made its presence known with a range of speakers, running from my Audioengine P4s ($249/pair), to Dynaudio Contour 1.1s, up to the mighty Zu Audio Essence towers ($3,600/pair). I can't tell you the N3 will work with every speaker, satisfy headbangers, or fill your loft with high-decibel sound. But those 3.5 watts will play louder and sound better than you would have thought. At night with your room lights turned down the tubes' soft orange glow will look way cool. … Read more