Griffin Technology has given visitors to CES 2012 a quick preview of a new audio amplifier that uses Apple's Airport Express to offer untethered digital playback from iTunes through existing non-powered speakers. The low profile amp captures streaming audio from any AirPlay-enabled source, decodes it and then sends the lossless, amplified sound through the speakers.
Those who are pained to dole out hard-earned cash for an AirPlay-enabled streaming audio system when there's already a working set of quality speakers in the room, can relax a little. Griffin has announced a 20 watts per channel, Class D stereo amplifier that will connect to your existing non-powered setup and enable wireless streaming of high-fidelity, Apple Lossless audio from any AirPlay-enabled iOS app (such as Pandora, Spotify and last.fm), as well as from iTunes.
The company says that its Twenty Audio Amplifier for Airport Express boasts a zero-configuration audio setup, and comes with a power connection and mount for Airport Express. It also features a 2.1 channel sound system, and can support a powered subwoofer with an automatic active crossover at 80 Hz.
Physical connectivity to the device is via an included S/PDIF optical, TOSLINK connector, spring-loaded right and left channel connectors, and an RCA subwoofer connector. Both driven output channels are said to offer a total harmonic distortion of 0.08 percent, a frequency response of between 20 Hz and 20 kHz, a signal-to-noise ratio of 95dB and crosstalk of -71dB.
The device auto-switches to subwoofer output when a powered unit is detected, with an 80 Hz 2nd order Linkwitz-Riley High-Pass Filter applied to left and right channels and an 80 Hz 2nd order Linkwitz-Riley Low-Pass Filter applied to subwoofer output.
At this stage, there's no information of pricing or availability. Readers interested in receiving news as it happens can sign up for product updates at the Twenty web page.