Griffin Twenty Digital Audio Amplifier Review

Testing
Listening tests are always subjective, so I will go through how well Twenty worked with different sets of speakers, and reliability of Bluetooth with a range of devices.

JBL 2500 Bookshelf Speakers
Normally, this set of JBL 2500’s are surrounds in my home theater setup, but their size makes them an ideal candidate for Twenty. After unhooking them from my Yamaha receiver, I prepared new speaker cables and got all of the pieces connected. I was pleased with the amount of power Twenty was able to push to these speakers. They were loud enough for a decently large (15 – 20 person) gathering, and Twenty didn’t break a sweat while playing music at loud volumes for hours.

Griffin Twenty Digital Audio Amplifier

Altec Lansing Ultimate 641
Debuting in the early 2000s, Ultimate 641 included 4 satellites, and 2 6.5” subs. I’ve owned this set since 2002, and it has been my daily computer speakers set since its purchase. I don’t think most people would use Twenty to power their 10+ year old PC speakers, but I decided to give it a shot. Luckily, Ultimate 641’s satellites are 8 ohms, and Twenty’s sub out could go directly to Ultimate 641’s 3.5mm analog input. After hooking everything up, I was able to really fine-tune my ancient setup to make it sound better than it ever has. I believe the quality improvement is because of Twenty’s optical input, and its quality crossover. Again, Twenty was able to push Ultimate 641 to loud volumes for extended periods of time without any heat issues.

Bluetooth
Unlike other Bluetooth receivers, Twenty is always discoverable, so there’s no need to hit a ‘discovery’ button on the unit every time someone wants to connect. Despite Twenty’s ability to always be discovered, Twenty supports two simultaneous Bluetooth connections, and only one at a time can actually send data. If a third device needs to be connected to Twenty, one of the previous two has to be disconnected, but not unpaired. This system makes it really easy for multiple devices to quickly connect or disconnect from Twenty. Once a device is connected, getting sound is as easy as playing a song, game, movie, or anything else with sound. Twenty worked well with Windows Phone HTC 8X, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad Air, and MacBook Pro (non retina). Sound was clear from each device in every application, and audio/video lag was unnoticeable in FaceTime calls, or while playing videos or games. Twenty’s range also lived up to its spec, even when it wasn’t placed in ideal locations. I was able to go between floors, and a couple walls without losing connection or severe quality degradation.

Power Consumption
I’m providing these numbers solely for a rough estimate of how much power Twenty can consume. All of the following numbers were recorded from Kill A Watt EZ and are not officially provided by Griffin.

power-con

One Problem & One Wish
The only real problem I noticed with Twenty is if two devices attempt to play audio over Bluetooth at the same time, the stream that is playing will start to stutter and skip. The remedy is simple, pause the playing device, and the second device will work just fine. However, a better solution might be if Twenty completely ignored the second device until the first was paused.

My one wish for Twenty is a visible representation of its current volume. To achieve a specific volume, you can turn the volume to absolute minimum, and count how many volume knob turns have been completed once you’ve reached a desired volume. But it’d be completely easier if the volume could be immediately set to halfway, three-quarters, one-third, max, etc.

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