X-Tube: Hanwa's USB dongle makes PCs DTS-compatible

Vacuum tubes are usually used in tube or valve amplifiers (electronic amplifiers) to boost the power of a signal. The technology has been around for decades, and vacuum tubes seem to be pretty enough for Hanwa Japan to announce [JP] the X-Tube today, a USB dongle that looks like one of those tubes and allows you to upgrade your computer with DTS sound.

Also dubbed AS301DTS, the dongle glows in blue when in use (see above). You’ll need two more things to enjoy DTS sound on your computer: “DTS Headphone Deck” (a piece of software) and DTS-compatible headphones (AH-516), but Hanwa throws in both items when you buy the dongle. Option-wise, there’s music or movie mode, voice clarification, and bass enhancement.

The X-Tube can only be used with Windows machines (XP, Vista or 7). It went on sale in Japan today for $45 (including the headphones), but you can ask import/export specialists Geek Stuff 4 U if they can ship one to you if you live outside Japan.