Apogee's USB headphone amp is an audio boost in a tiny package

If you're looking to improve the sound coming from your laptop while working on the go, Apogee may have the fix. At this week's NAMM trade show, the company announced Groove: a small USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and amp that aims to boost quality without taking up a considerable amount of extra room. In fact, the unit appears to be about the size of a thumb drive. Groove works with both Mac and PC, tackling up to 24 bit/192kHz audio for both headphones and powered speakers with on-board controls for muting and volume adjustments. The add-on is USB powered, so there's no need to worry about batteries or changing, and the aluminum frame houses Quad Sum DAC tech that uses four converters per channel to keep tracks crisp and clear. There's no word on pricing just yet, but the accessory is set to arrive this spring, and when it does, we'll be taking it for a test drive.