Published on March 5th, 2015 | by Greg0
Griffin Twenty: A Gorgeous Bluetooth Amplifier
If you already have decent speakers, you probably have quite a few sources of audio as well- a turntable, perhaps, or a home theater system with a media streamer, console, Blu-ray player run through an audio/video receiver. You might use your computer occasionally too, but if you have a laptop then it can be a hassle to wire everything together. AirPlay offers a partial solution for some scenarios, but only for those with OSX or firmly in the iTunes camp. If you have an Android smartphone or tablet, or any device with Bluetooth, then you might appreciate a method for connecting sans wires.
The Griffin Twenty is a digital audio amplifier that offers 20 watts per channel, hence the name. There aren’t many buttons, nor a touchscreen- no screen of any sort, in fact. Instead, they’ve pared it down to a minimalist aesthetic that feels nicely balanced in between being a futuristic sci-fi prop and a somewhat retro feel. Part of it is the weighted aluminum volume knob that anchors the entire unit, and part of it is the glow of blue lighting that keeps the industrial design firmly in the present.
For those who want or need wired inputs, there are S/PDIF optical, TOSLINK connector and a 3.5 mm adapter. Rear outputs banana plug-style left and right channel connectors along with an RCA subwoofer connector as well. Griffin is using the Bluetooth 3.0 specification, which includes full support for the high-resolution apt-X and AAC codecs. That way, if you carry around a library songs with you like most of us, you can play them back through the Twenty with excellent quality without worrying about a single cable. Once paired, your device will automatically reconnect, and it will even allow you to have two different devices connected at the same time- though audio can only play from one at a time. If you try to play from both simultaneously, it can cause issues, but you can quickly trade off with friends if you want to take turns being the DJ. Even cooler, you can press the only button the Twenty and it will try to pair with the last-connected device and immediately start playing.
The Griffin Twenty sits nicely and low-profile and should complement just about any decor, and offers enough power to satisfy the party. If you need speakers as well, a bundle is available that adds in well-respected bookshelf models from NHT along with a subwoofer. If not, then you’re looking at a pretty reasonable investment of $150, available in stores and online now. Elegant and simple, the Griffin Twenty is a perfect way to give old speakers a new lease on life.