The Griffin Twenty Will Turn Any Speakers Into An AirPlay Compatible Sound System [CES 2012]



LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – One of the challenges facing audiophiles these days is keeping their cherished old speakers while still taking advantage of your iPhone, iPad or Mac’s advanced AirStream capability. The Griffin Twenty is a sleek new accessory that lets you keep your old warm, room-filling speakers and make them AirPlay-compatible. And it looks damn nice to boot.

Looking every bit like a piece of kit designed by Apple itself, the Griffin Twenty is a low-profile digital amplifier that hooks up to an AirPort Express and any existing speaker to give them AirPlay compatibility.

And it sounds pretty good, too: the Griffin Twenty features a 2.1 channel sound system with 20 watts output per channel and also supports a powered subwoofer with an automatic active crossover at 80 Hz.

We were pretty impressed by the Griffin Twenty. It’s sleek, and the way it integrates with the AirPort Express is just tops. If want to make your old speaker system Spotify or Pandora-compatible, or just steam to them from your Mac, this is an easy and sexy way to do it.

No availability or price yet, unfortunately, but we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, you can check out more information here.

  • Jackson

    Maybe I’m missing something but why not just plug your speakers into the Airport Express directly?

  • Georg Chiari

    It’s an AMP for passive speakers (those you connect with two wires).

    You can only plug active speakers into an airport Express.
    Or an AMP for passive speakers, which is basicly what this is….. :-)

    Funny Design. You plug the Airport Express to the device and then connect it, using an audio cable, with “itself”^^  

  • Jackson

    I see, but couldn’t you take your passive speakers, get an amp for them, and then find some sort of adapter to plug the output of that amp into 1/8″ connector on the AP Express? 

  • Georg Chiari

    Sure you can.

    This new device is just an AMP with an “Airport Express – Powerplug”. That’s it.
    The design makes it special, not the function :-D

  • tiresius

    Part of the reason you feel you are “missing something” is that this is yet another example of a poorly written, incomplete article from the desktop of John Brownlee, who doesn’t yet seem to have mastered the Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why that is taught in most people’s very first Journalism course.  
      But now all it takes is a laptop, an idea, and a platform (e.g. blog) to pretend you are a journalist.

  • timborama

    Totally ghetto concept/design. Especially with the audio-in cable hanging from the device(s).  Why didn’t they just license AirPlay and build it in to the hardware. :(

  • Alex

    I’m still trying figure out what if anything  John Brownlee has mastered…

  • SalishSeaSam

    From the iMike to this? It’s useless. Been running my sound system through Express for years. Crazy.

  • penguinstorm

    I’m not at all sure what this thing does. The only connection looks like power: that’s a TOS cable coming out of the standard port, and there’s nothing special about that. The cable is running out of the picture, and not connecting to anything in the Griffin product.

    Does this have a DAC built into it? Is it any good if it does? Based on the photo it’s not obvious: the cable should be plugging into something on the amp if it does.

    I’m so confused and I’m sticking with my Cambridge DAC Magic which I run through a Rotel amp.

  • penguinstorm

    If it is, it’s not apparent from the photos. The audio is coming out of the cable visible at the top of the photo. Whether it’s coming out analog of optical that cable would have to run to the Amp for the Amp to do anything. It’s not, so it makes no sense.

  • campirecord

    Look people, it’s very simple, it’s an amp for airplay. I desperately want this for my unpowered B&W speakers ! Anyone know if it can handle 4 speakers ? in 4.1?

  • Georg Chiari

    Look at those pictures from griffin:

    As you all can see, the ApE is connected with an optical cable to the AMP. That’s the cable you see above.

    This is nothing else then a digital AMP with an ApE power socket. You can put your ApE next to it in a normal socket and just connect it with the optical cable, it doesn’t matter.

    As far as I can see, it will only support 2 speakers and one subwoofer. Each channel has 20 watts into 8 ohms.
    But you can connect also 4 10watt speakers as 2:2. It depends how big your speakers are and how much power they drain.
    That’s the beautiful thing about old, analog signals. Take two wires, twist them together and boom, you have a connection^^

  • Georg Chiari
  • penguinstorm

    The DAC in the Airport express isn’t very good. I listened to it for a couple of years, mind you, but when I finally upgraded to optical out I was SHOCKED at the quality difference.

    I did, mind you, spend $500 on a DAC so it wasn’t just a random move.

  • penguinstorm

    apparently, judging by his last paragraph, he’s master the art of steaming to his speakers.