Laptop sound cards are often complete junk. So, if you need to actually use your computer's audio output for something the demands crisp clear sound, you need an external solution—and Apogee's new external digital-to-analog converter could do the trick.

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Just launched at this week's NAMM music trade show, the Groove is designed to be as portable as possible while also providing far better sound from your laptop. About the size of a thumb drive, the little box contains four Quad Sum DACs per channel to offer a high dynamic range and minimal distortion. It pumps out audio in up 24 bit/192kHz, and can provide an output of up to 225mW into a 30 Ohms. It's also designed to provide an "ultra-smooth frequency response for any headphones."

It's powered by USB, is housed in aluminum, and features hardware buttons for in-line volume control. Pricing is yet to be disclosed, but the device should be available this spring. [Apogee via Engadget]