It shouldn't affect system gain. Its job is to add even order harmonic distortion (tube colorations) to your system thereby making it sound warmer and "more musical"...
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Tantra, that's a good way to do it. I used to have mine set up that way and it worked well. I think it puts the buffer between the source and the preamp; I don't believe it can put it in front of the source component.
In one of my systems I found that components plugged into my tape monitor (not the loop, just the input) sounded better than those selected by the rotary selector switch. That could be worth exploring. Also, if you like the sound of your system better with the tube buffer, you could try putting it between your preamp and amplifier; but that way you wouldn't have the option of switching it out.
The main thing is to experiment and have fun!
Wow, not very complete answers here. A buffer, be it tube, or transistor, presents the driving component with a very high impedance, making it super easy to drive, particularly for the IC based output stages of inexpensive CD players and DVD players. In addition, it has a very low output impedance, which makes it very good at driving the input of the receiving component, as well as minimizing the effects of long interconnect runs. I beleve that the MF has one db of gain, which is incidental, but it will make it a tich louder. As mentioned, there will be a change in the distortion spectra, though these are generally pretty low distortion devices. Any active device, and the extra cable required to implement it will change the sound.
It fully inverts a signal i.e. adds 100% feedback and has no gain.
It certainly compresses and makes the output more linear.
One piece of equipment or even played recording mignt or might not benefit from this device depending again on the quality as it was mentioned above about inexpencive CD-players or any other components.