Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Add Power to all your speakers - Griffin TWENTY Review

Awesome!  That's actually my summed-up feelings of the Griffin TWENTY Airplay Amp.  But before I close things up, let me unwrap my reasons for why it's awesome and hopefully outline a few places where it falls short.

Griffin has come a long way as of late, originally, a maker of third-party chargers, cases, and other various accessories, they've really started to enhance their offerings.  I've been using the TWENTY Airplay Amp now for about a week or so, and it's pretty amazing.  What does it do though?  What IS IT?  The Griffin TWENTY Airplay Amp is, well, an amp to power your better speakers and use Apple's proprietary wireless protocal (Airplay).  Say you don't want to buy an Airplay doc, or that you have some nice desktop speakers that are unpowered, but you'd love to run airplay audio to them...here is where the TWENTY shines.  It's an audio amp, that you plug an Apple Airport Express into.  The design was originally created around the last generation Airport Express, (but still works with the new Apple TV-like Airport Express), then you add a left and right speaker (and option for a subwoofer) and voila, you can stream your itunes library, or even your Spotify audio to the speakers of your choice.

It's certainly not perfect, but I like what they're doing here.  There are limitations, the biggest of which, in my opinion, is the lack of power.  The TWENTY only is pushing 20 watts per channel (hence the name), but most bookshelf speakers can handle between 80-110 watts, and the closer your power source to what the speakers are capable of, the better sounding the setup.  I'd like to see different versions pushing 50 watts or so, I mean, it's pretty standard to have 50 watts x 4 in most car stereos, lets push 100 watts x 2 here.  It would add a bit of cost, which leads me to my next concern...the cost as-is now.  At $100 retail, it's not exactly cheap to get into this, however where this differs from the investment into a really nice Airplay enabled speaker dock, is being able to use ANY speakers you choose.  I had some Mirage Nanosat Prestige speakers hooked up which sounded really nice.  Nice mids, and great highs - just throw a sub there, and you got a heck of a setup.  So, $100 for this unit, another $99 for an Apple Airport Express (or $69 if you go the last generation refurb route, which I highly recommend)...then the speakers.  I guess the point is this is for those who already have unused speakers and an airport express...

Again, for a 2.0 version, would love to see at least 50 watts (or more) per channel, perhaps even an equalizer built in at some point?  Oh, and since their design is based on the older generation Airport Express, any next version will likely factor in a redesign here for Apple's more "AppleTV-like" Airport Express currently available.

Overall, highly recommended, and will definitely keep my eyes on Griffin's products, as they're expanding out in some really creative ways.

1 comment:

  1. Quit spamming me, Mash Buttons. I am looking into where I can report you.