Turn on the tube(s)
Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies
Looking more like a miniature robot monolith than audio componentry, the WOO Audio WA7 Fireflies ($999) is a convenient (ideal) solution to poor desktop sound. As both a high-grade vacuum tube headphone/speaker amplifier and a state-of-the-art USB digital to analog converter, the Fireflies puts everything serious audiophiles crave in a 5-inch cube. Its two 6C45 tubes encased in a thick block of glass are gems, both for eyes and ears; capable of up to 32-bit/192k sampling rates, the converter transmits through a USB 2.0 interface.
The WA7 also boasts a headphones impedance of 8-600 Ohms and a frequency response of 11Hz to 27kHz, +/-0.5dB. Core output transformers are nickel alloy and the chassis is all aluminum — with no visible screws to muck up the spartan design. Orders received now, for either silver or black colorways, will ship in March of 2013.