Chord Electronics Mojo

Rating:
4.67105/5,
Tags:
  1. Rhamnetin
    Excellent bang for your buck, Hi-Fi in your pocket
    Written by Rhamnetin
    Published Jun 30, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Great sound in a tiny form factor.
    - Great bang for your buck.
    - Solid physical construction and easy to use via three buttons.
    - Nice array of input options.
    - Dual analog outputs.
    - High performance dedicated DAC.
    - Surprisingly decent headphone amp that is able to deliver respectable performance to low impedance, rather inefficient headphones like Fostex T50RP variants.
    - Long battery life.
    Cons - Not really a con but just a warning: it runs particularly hot when playing and charging at the same time. And don't even use the device if using the optional leather case, it needs to be exposed when in use due to temperatures.
    The Chord Mojo seems to be one of the hottest items in the high end audio world today. It can be found in the $500-600 range (I paid $500 for mine from Amazon), is of a very small form factor (it measures approximately 3.2" x 2.4" x 0.9") and is battery powered, it is both a DAC and headphone amp and supports high bitrate files including DSD, features advanced technology that everyone likes to talk about, and has an attractive aluminum chassis and cool buttons to control it. So the Mojo is certainly designed to meet first impressions, as are all Chord products with their distinct looks and impressive physical build quality.

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    The Mojo next to a big brother, the Hugo 2.

    The Mojo accepts micro USB (768 KHz/32-bit), optical TOSLINK (192 KHz/24-bit), and coaxial 3.5mm (768 KHz/32-bit) digital inputs, and has two 3.5mm headphone jack outputs which are active simultaneously. It also features a micro USB charging port, and supports DSD256 (4x) and DSD via DoP. Note, I absolutely do not care about DSD because hardly any music is true DSD (much of it is converted from PCM and even then, the amount is small). Here is a phenomenal article on the subject:

    https://www.mojo-audio.com/blog/dsd-vs-pcm-myth-vs-truth/

    I have used the Chord Mojo as a portable DAC and amp, and also as a dedicated DAC connected to various amplifiers via 3.5mm to dual RCA cables (it has a line output mode). It has a distinct sound signature: somewhat laid back, it sounds as if it results in a reduced lower treble response than most other DACs. This does not cause any recession, just less up front upper mids/lower treble, reducing fatigue on fatiguing setups and reducing perceived 'energetic sound' so it isn't a perfect match for all systems.

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    As a portable amp and DAC, I have primarily used it with two headphones: the ZMF Blackwood and ZMF Ori, both modded Fostex T50RP MK3's, so I will focus on these. These are 50 ohms rather inefficient headphones; the stock T50RP MK3 is rated for 92 dB/mW, the ZMFs are probably even lower.

    Despite that, the Mojo does an admirable job with them. They can get plenty loud long before maxing out volume on the Mojo, and the Mojo brings no obvious bad sound quality to these headphones. Only when you use a powerful, decent dedicated amp like the Schiit Lyr 2 or 3 (which I've used hence me naming them, as I would recommend a Dynalo over either of those), or step it up to a Hugo 2, do you notice the Mojo's relatively minor deficiencies: reduced bass impact and fullness (but bass of course isn't thin with the Mojo and these headphones), less refined upper mids (to the point where some harshness is introduced when just using the Mojo, can be detected in some songs that emphasize female vocals), and less detail retrieval.

    Still, for such a small portable device to do this well with modded Fostex T50RPs is very impressive. Exceeded my expectations.

    I did also use the Mojo as a standalone DAC and amp with two other headphones: Audio Technica ATH-W1000Z and Sennheiser HD 6XX. Both of those systems sounded poor to my ears, though I don't blame the Mojo specifically. The ATH-W1000Z is just a terrible sounding headphone, the most unrealistic, unbalanced tonalities I have ever heard. It sounds terrible out of everything because it just sounds terrible, period. The HD 6XX + Mojo just lacks synergy, they are a bad matchup for one another to my ears. It just sounds dull and lifeless, although I think the HD 6XX/HD 600 sounds dull and lifeless out of everything but really colored tube amps (not even tube hybrids) so that's just me.

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    As a dedicated DAC, I believe the Chord Mojo can hold its own against any 'traditional' delta sigma DAC that uses common DAC chips. I base this on my experience directly comparing the Mojo to my former Bel Canto DAC 3 with a Stax SR-007A + KGSS system. The Bel Canto DAC 3 is a massive, heavy DAC with balanced outputs and used to cost over $2,500, but with my Stax SR-007A + KGSS system, the Mojo gave up nothing! Technical performance seemed identical between them, but the Mojo's sound signature was preferable; more musical and less sterile is how I describe it, no doubt caused by the Mojo's slightly laid back sound presentation.

    So yes, the Mojo can compete with desktop DACs, particularly generic delta sigma chip designs. This is not just a portable device, this is a serious audio product for anywhere.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, I cannot yet directly compare the Mojo's performance to a modern high end DAC. As you can see, I do own a Chord Hugo 2, but I am not yet ready to compare them as dedicated DACs because I keep changing primary system components. Once I settle down, I will compare them and update this review accordingly.

    As a standalone DAC/amp combo unit, the Chord Hugo 2 does outclass the Mojo considerably as the price would suggest (though the Hugo costs around 5x more, I would not say it is anywhere near 5x better). The Hugo 2 delivers better clarity, instrument separation/layering (though even with the fully closed back ZMF Blackwood, it has no issues with sounds overlapping when they shouldn't), more refined upper mids/lower treble (the slight harshness with just the Mojo is gone), loses the laid back character for better or worse, fuller bass, much more bass impact. I will be reviewing the Hugo 2 as well of course.

    Nevertheless, I think the Chord Mojo will compare favorably to any non-Chord portable DAC/amp. It is very impressive both for portable and at-home use, being able to compete with devices far larger and more expensive. My experience with Chord has led me to believe that their DACs are the only delta sigma DACs worth buying these days, their FPGA implementation is impressive both on paper and in practice.

    So while I rate this product 5 stars, that is considering its price and functionality, not just its sound quality. Keep this in mind.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Adu
      Adu, Jul 7, 2018
    3. gazzington
      Is this still the best portable or should I consider something else?
      gazzington, Aug 22, 2018
    4. Rhamnetin
      The Chord Hugo 2 is the best portable but that's a totally different price range. For the price I think Mojo is king, sounds much better than any FiiO device I have used (have not tested newer iFi stuff however but I'd bet on the Mojo).
      Rhamnetin, Aug 22, 2018
      Adu likes this.
  2. Drewminus
    Mojo & Poly a pair for all occasions
    Written by Drewminus
    Published Mar 11, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Amazing detail, separation and articulation
    Cons - Bit pricey (especially with poly), polys still needs some fine-tuning
    Chord Mojo & Poly Review
    So I admit that this is a little. Later than I had originally planned to have this review out, life getting in the way and all that, but finally here it is, my review of the Chord Mojo & Poly.

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    I purchased these myself as a pack that also includes a case (more on that later), I was hoping that gofigure (the poly configuration app) would be out by the time it came to publishing this review, but as I understand it’s still stuck in approval limbo, so I’ll have to update this review after it is released, though for the most part it doesn’t affect my opinion of the Mojo-Poly combo.

    Chord Mojo

    The Mojo comes packed in a fairly small box, the box has a picture of the Mojo on it as well as the usual specifications, overall while full gloss colour its nothing too over the top.

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    Inside the box you will find the Mojo held securely in place with some foam packaging and a very short USB cable……and that’s it, now I like minimalism as much as the next person but I do feel a manual could have been included, still I guess everyone has the internet and it’s hardly a difficult product to use.

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    Design

    Onto the Mojo itself, its design, like 90% of dac/amps is a rectangle, though in this case it is a rounded rectangle and the volume and power controls are significantly different from anything else not made by chord, but more on that in a sec.

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    So on the top of the device you get three buttons, the leftmost button is the power switch and shows the source quality being played via a colour coding, next you have the volume up in the middle and volume down on the right, again using a spectrum of colours to show what the volume currently is. Adjustment of the volume is very easy, the increments are quite small so you can fine tune it for sensitive IEM’s, you can also hold both buttons in on power up to set the device to line out volume.

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    On one end of the device you have two 3.5mm headphone jacks, not sure why they decided to put two in but I guess you can share with a friend if your phones have similar sensitivity/impedance. On the other end there is a USB in, USB charging port, optical in, and coaxial in. Under the USB charging port there is a LED which shows the battery status, again using a colour code. The Mojo also has four rubber feet that keeps it in place on your desk.

    Sound

    The first thing that stood out compared to other DACs/AMPs/DAPs when listening to the Mojo was the superior separation and its presentation of micro-detail. The sound produced is incredibly articulate, its very easy to pick out the individual instruments and vocals in a track, the definition and detail is simply amazing.

    In addition to the detail I was stuck by the crispness presented, the sound of cymbals is near perfect, they sit above the music, completely un-muffled and clear. This is potentially the Mojo’s strongest trait. Now I’ve harped on about detail so I should clarify, I wouldn’t describe the sound as analytical, the amplification section has a slightly warm feel to it, making the Mojo sound alive, not at all sterile.

    While the Mojo is incredibly detailed, it thankfully isn’t too harsh on lower-quality sources. So stuff like Youtube still sounds quite good with the Mojo bringing out the best in it without ripping it to shreds. That said, there is a limit where bad is bad.

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    My predominate listening to the Mojo has been with the Chord Poly as a source and my Campfire Audio Jupiter’s, which have a fairly laid-back sound, but offer incredible detail. I have also done a bit of listening with my Sennheiser HD650’s and more recently Campfire Audio Cascade’s (impressions with these will have to wait for later).

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    I was not initially impressed with the pairing of the Mojo and the HD650’s but on further listing I’ve found the articulate crispness starting to come through. I can also hear much greater separation than I normally hear with Modi 2 – Vali 2 stack. The micro detail I heard on my Jupiters is there, but not nearly as obvious, the 650’s are simply not as resolving.

    The soundstage on the Modi/Vali feels, if not better, more realistic than the Mojo, but the Mojos is preferable to the Opus #1′ so it might just be the Vali’s tube injecting a little more life into the music. I did however find the bass on the Mojo to be tighter and cleaner than either of the other two.

    On the whole I really can’t fault the Mojo, there might be some features I’d like it to have and it could probably be slightly cheaper, but it’s really at the pinnacle of truly portable audio, I give it a 9/10.

    Chord Poly

    Just like its partner in crime the Poly comes in a reasonably sized gloss box. Inside the box you will find Poly packed in the same sort of foam as Mojo, however unlike Mojo Poly comes with an instruction manual (and rightly so, as its certainly less straightforward) as well as a configuration pin, a slightly longer yet thinner USB cable and, a Roon voucher for a two-month free trial.

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    The Poly has the same rounded aluminium shape as the Mojo, but has no buttons save for a configuration pin hole and also has a plastic corner to allow for greater wireless reception.

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    On one end Poly has two male USB connectors and a couple of plastic pins to connect it to the Mojo, on the other end you get a USB charging port (this also charges the Mojo while its connected to Poly), a micro SD card slot, the small configuration pin hole, and a light-pipe and LED that shows the batter status of the Poly and Mojo (the Poly’s LED also shows its connection status, flashing if there’s no wireless connection).

    [​IMG]

    The Poly feels fairly solidly attached to the Mojo, but it doesn’t take much force to connect or disconnect, so if your planning to use them together on the move then you will probably need a case (which my pack came with, but more on that later). To use Poly all you need to do is power on your Mojo and the Poly will automatically power on shortly afterwards.

    To set up the Poly you use a pin to push the configuration button on the end and then connect to its network, doing so opens up a web page where you can enter network details that Poly will then automatically connect to in the future. In this set up screen there are also some other options including setting your Poly to Roon mode. In future all of this will be replaced by the Gofigure App, the greatest benefit to this being the ability to easily swap between normal and Roon mode as well as being able to add networks on the fly, which currently is inconvenient to say the least.

    Now to actually use the Poly you need a smartphone (or computer, but I think that defeats the purpose a little) and for Poly and your control device to be on the same network (I haven’t filled with it too much but there is also the possibility to stream to the Poly via Bluetooth as I understand it). Now there are a few options when it comes to playing music usingt he Poly, you can use it as a Roon endpoint, you can stream music from your device to it (I use an iPhone and as such stream to it via airplay, it currently does not have chrome cast support but hopefully will in the future), or you can access music on the internal SD card and either play this music on another device (the Poly acts as a DLNA server) or set Poly as the output and play directly through the Mojo. This last method is why I bought this combo as I thought this was a great idea, the ability to store and play music on a portable dac/amp but control it from my phone really appealed to me.

    On usability I find for the most part its very reliable, I control Poly using Glider (there a few apps available that will control Poly, but this was the best one I found) which is fairly seamless and easy, but occasionally I simply run into an odd bug somewhere (Poly, Glider, the network? no real way to know) but even then it only means your playing of music takes 30 seconds longer than one would like, not massive in the scheme of things but slightly annoying.

    I find the Mojo-Poly combo manages its 9ish hours of battery life quite comfortably, the bigger issue being the drain of power on my phone from being in hotspot mode (I should add, if your willing to sacrifice the ability to use the net, you can connect to the poly’s network instead which is probably a little kinder on your phones battery)

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    A further point on usability, a case to hold them really is essential to use them on the move. The one that was included as part of the combo is very nice, it’s made of a rubberised plastic of some sort, nice and solid and but nice to touch, and is lined with a kind of fabric to keep Mojo & Poly pristine. Chord also makes a leather one which looks really nice but has a price tag to match.

    Conclusion

    The Poly is an interesting device, it has more features than I’ll ever use and this is probably my main criticism. I feel a more focused and potentially cheaper device might have been a better choice, and I can’t help but worry about the reliance on 3rd party apps. That said it is a really impressive device and for me personally it does exactly what I want, its a bit useless to score it on its own so I give the Mojo-Poly combo 8.5/10.
  3. ZGojira
    Good device, but bigger the hype, bigger the fall
    Written by ZGojira
    Published Aug 15, 2017
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Detailed sound, Great form factor, Solid build quality
    Cons - Easy to accidentally power on device in pocket, Gets very hot! , Overpriced (depending on where you are)
    There are enough pictures of the mojo from every possible angle, even internals, on the internet. There is nothing amusing about my particular about my unit, aside some scratches here and there, so I won't provide any photos. :wink:

    Background
    I have a nice enough desktop system for all my critical and detailed listening, so my portable (transportable) system is mainly for travel and office use. Currently my mobile DAC/Amp is an XDuoo XD-05 with Burson V5i opamp. My travel IEMs are a pair of Final Audio F7200, and Sony XBA-4, and my office can is a pair of Fostex TH-X00 with E-MU ebony cups and ZMF cowhides, and sometimes a pair of STAX SR-001Mk2. I don't require my portable setup to be the most detailed, only for it to be engaging and not out of control.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with the XD-05, I just want something more refined and controlled.

    The Mojo
    The Mojo has received a lot of attention in almost all headphone and audio sites, the overwhelming number of them are very positive. Users also consider it to be anything from "best in price bracket", "drives HD800 well", to "desktop DAC killer". All these bold claims had lead me to be interested in not only this wonder device, but also it's bigger brother Hugo.

    My interest in this device reached it's peak when I had to chance to try out a Hugo2 with my F7200. It was some of the most beautiful sound I have ever heard coming out of the F7200, but that's a discussion for another time. Anyway, I was thinking if the Mojo was anywhere as good as the Hugo2 I would be happy for it to be an upgrade to my XD-05.

    Cut along a few weeks, I found myself in a (different) shop with both the Hugo(1) and the Mojo. Did some quick tests, after failing to hear any drastic difference between the two, I walked out with a Mojo in hand.

    Sound
    Here comes the most important part, the sound. After a couple of quiet listening sessions here is what I come away with. The Mojo is able to produce detailed sound, and sadly not too much else.The imaging and separation seems below average. Whilst it certainly drives my HD800 better than other portable DAC/Amps and even some desktop DAC/amps I have tried, it is still a far cry to say it drives them well. Adequately, would be a much more realistic description, not to suggest that it is an easy feat :wink:.

    Somehow, the Mojo manages to make everything sound intimidate, regardless of track. Separation, although better than entry level options such as Fiio E17K and E07, it is no better if not worse worse than cheaper options such as the XD-05 and Oppo HA-2.

    With most of the negative points out of the way, time for positives :smile: The DAC is very clean, adding an amp afterwards usually degrades the signal. Signature leans towards the brighter side, with medium attack and impact. I.e. in bassy tracks, you can hear the bass but not feel them. Mids are liquid smooth, with hints of harshness on both ends. Overall, this is great for a portable device of this size, but maybe not at the given price.

    Other Notes
    • The Mojo retails in Australia for anywhere between $800 and $900
    • The lights.....I was able to remember the light codes after around 3 uses.
    • I find find that the device was turned itself on every time I was carrying it in my jacket pocket.
    • I was charging the device, whilst it was off, and notice that it got dangerously hot (to the point where it was too hot to hold, and I would be very concern about the internal battery)
    Summary
    • The sound was nice, but not really as outstanding as the hype would let you believe. Especially given the high price.
    • As a portable DAC, the power button is very easily pressed accidentally
    • The device can get dangerously hot (read: NOT warm)
    • I am going to sell it
      axw and .Sup like this.
    1. axw
      Fully agree, this thing is a bit overpriced
      axw, Jul 10, 2018
  4. Deftone
    Chord's Phenomenal Little DAC
    Written by Deftone
    Published Apr 6, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Exceptional Audio Quality, Solid Build, Musicality, Price.
    Cons - No Auto Shut Off
                                                                                                                             20160313_221725.jpg          
     
     
    Every now and then i try a product and instantly say to myself "Wow"
    Chord Mojo has impressed me from the first minute of playback and still does everyday since buying it February 2016.
     

     
    Packaging
    The box itself is small and compact, Mojo comes tightly packed in some foam and short micro usb cable is supplied. A simple package but i would of like to see a standard 8 inch micro to micro OTG cable with a clip on ferrite choke in the box.
     

     
    Build & Design
    The design is perfect in my opinion, solid metal black box with illuminated acrylic balls for adjusting the volume and power on/off. The power ball LED changes colour depending on the sample rate fed to Mojo, simple but effective. Build Quality is also exceptional, a really solid feeling unit.
     

     
    Power & Battery Life
    Mojo can power almost every headphone available from 8ohms to 600ohms and i no problems driving many iems and headphones with it. Two of my favourite headphones to use with mojo are Sennheiser HD650 (300ohms) and AKG K612pro (120ohms) 
     
    I have found that battery life is around 7-9 hours which is good enough for me personally but what i would of loved to see on this device is an auto shut off feature, maybe 10minutes after not receiving any signal from my smartphone when using OTG for music playback for example. this wont be a problem for everyone but for me who sometimes goes to sleep listening to music this would save another charge in the morning.
     

     
    Music & Listening
    98% of my music genre is metal and rock with the occasional acoustic album.
    Sources used; 
    (1) Windows 10 PC - Jriver 22 - ASIO - 16/44.1 WAV CD rips
    (2) Archos 55 Diamond - Android 6 - Usb Audio Player Pro - Bitperfect mode - 16/44.1 WAV CD rips
     
    Beyond Creation - Omnipresent Perception (Techical Metal)
    I like to use this track for testing transients as its got a lot of layered instruments played fast. Mojo shows its exceptional speed and effortlessness, instruments are well separated without any smearing or blending.
     
    Horrendous - The Vermillion (Acoustic)
    A stand out instrumental piece from an otherwise chaotic and intense album, the twang and plucks from strings are rendered beautifully, a timbre and realism i have not heard in a DAC before.
     
    A Perfect Circle - The Package (Progressive Metal)
    This is a track i like to use for testing out LF response on a system. if there is a focus on bass this song will simply sound bass heavy and overbearing, not with mojo, the bass guitar is very tight and clean with a ton of detail and texture.
     
    Machine Head - Bite The Bullet (Heavy Metal)(Live)
    A live track which can show how wide and deep the soundstage can be with just headphones, with mojo im getting an impressive full 3D soundstage not just wide or deep. 
     

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    Conclusion - Mojo is very well built, simple but effective design, musical, smooth and very detailed sound, easily the best DAC/Amp i have heard under £1,000.
      cpauya likes this.
  5. mswlogo
    They kept saying more musical, they were right !!
    Written by mswlogo
    Published Feb 24, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - More powerful than you might think, Musical
    Cons - Get's pretty hot (normal), not great for a straight DAC because it has no true line out, Much prefer a Volume Knob (especially if you are in a hurry)
    Equipment to compare.
     
    iFi iDSD Black Label AMP/DAC (returned)
    Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Gen Headphones (returned)
    Meridian Explorer 2 AMP/DAC (returned)
    Beyerdynamic A20 Amp (returned)
    HiFiMan X V2 Headphones
    Chord Mojo AMP/DAC
     
    When I received the iFi I thought for sure that it was the winner.
     
        The bass boost feature was very nice (very mild boost) and had lot more power than Explorer 2.
        The iFi has 3 gain settings, Eco, Normal and Turbo.
            On Eco it was slightly less power than the Explorer 2.
            On Normal it had quite a bit more power than Explorer 2 and similar power to the A20.
            On Turbo it added like another 25%. It had the detail of the Explorer and the Bass of the A20.
     
        iFi iDSD also could function as my USB to SPDIF/RCA for the DSP 5K's (eliminating my need for M2Tech Hiface2). Really nice package.
        The ifi driver behavior was also flawless. Where when I bounced around a lot between apps and bit rates with the Explorer 2 it would occasional get wedged.
     
    When the Mojo arrived I almost didn't open it.
       How much better could it be in such a small package 1/3 the size and spec of 35 milli watts into 600 ohm.
       Also to top that off the slimy place I got it from had a ribbon around the box with 20% restocking fee if opened.
       But I had to know and knew I would not bother ordering another without restocking fee since I was so happy with the iFi.
       So I opened it. I am so glad I did.
       So many reviews kept saying "more musical". Well I have to agree. It is more detailed, without being bright or harsh. The bass is awesome without any boost.
     
       The whole package is a bit odd. I really prefer a simple volume knob instead of the quirky buttons. But it sounds too good to not keep it.
       The Mojo also has PLENTY of power to even drive 600 Ohm headphones. It is probably around the "Normal" range of the ifi.
       The iFi would be more Musical and engaging if I turned it up fairly loud, like some speakers.
       But the Mojo was engaging at modest volumes. Kind of like Meridian speakers do (I have ton invested in Meridian)
     
    #1) Mojo ($529)
    #2) ifi iDSD BL ($400 on sale at Adorama)
    #3) Explorer 2 ($200)
    #4) Explorer 2 ($200) with A20 amp ($350 for A20)
     
    I could have tried every combination because they can all function as an Amp or DAC Only (Except Explorer 2 cannot act as an Amp only).
    I really wanted the iFi to win because I really liked the features, package and price.
     
    I heard way more improvement with both iFi (on 600 ohm cans) and Mojo (on both headphones) than I strained to hear with MQA.
     
    iFi participates on Head-Fi.org but I believe it's a marketing person and is a total turn off. Blabbing about # of cores and the credentials of the developer. He then starts babbling about Ada programming language that the Developer used years ago, with Wikipedia links, so bizarre, so weird.
     
    Anyway to Quote John Atkinson of Stereophile Review
     
    All I can say is "Wow!"
     
    P.S. If buying on from FatWyre, avoid them due to 20% restocking fee. Always buy from "Fullfilled by Amazon" when possible.
    1. Hooster
      Well done. The Mojo sets a very high bar. Well done by anything that gets close.
      Hooster, Mar 11, 2017
  6. Sil3nce
    Chord's Sensational Mojo
    Written by Sil3nce
    Published Jan 22, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - One of the best value all-in-packages, Musicality, Comes close to the Chord Hugo, Build Quality
    Cons - Runs extremely hot, Battery-life not the finest, Included USB cable useless
    *This review comes from my Portable Amp / Dac Shootout.
    Posted as a reference for users. For the full review, see: 
     
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/798562/portable-amp-dac-shootout-ifi-micro-idsd-vs-resonessence-concero-hp-vs-chord-mojo-vs-ifi-idac2-vs-hrt-microstreamer
     

     
     
    Manufacturer: Chord Electronics Limited U.K.

    Model: Mojo

    Price: $599 at moon-audio.com

     
    Volume Control: One “+” and one “-” volume ball button.

    Power Connector: USB, Micro B

    Battery Life: 4 hours to fully charge, 8-10 hours of operation.

    Inputs:

    1x TOSLink optical capable of playing 44.1KHz to 192KHz PCM and DSD64 in DoP format.

    1x 3.5mm COAX SPDIF capable of playing 44.1KHz to 384Khz PCM (768KHz special option) and DSD64, DSD128 in DoP format.

    1x micro USB capable of 44KHz to 768KHz PCM and DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 in DoP format. Driverless on Mac, Android, and Linux OS. However Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10 will require a driver which can be found on our Mojo webpage.

    Outputs:

    2x 3.5mm stereo jacks for headphones capable of 8 ohm to 800 ohms playback.

    1x 3V line-level output (Both volume buttons must be depressed while Mojo is turned on)

     

    Specifications:

    From (http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/mojo)

    1. [​IMG]Output Power @ 1kHz
    2. [​IMG]600 ohms 35mW
    3. [​IMG]8 ohms 720mW
    4. [​IMG]Output Impedance: 0.075 ohms
    5. [​IMG]Dynamic Range: 125dB
    6. [​IMG]THD @ 3v - 0.00017%



     
    Build and Finish: Machined aircraft-grade black aluminum, finished with a soft anodized finish. Built like a tank, with clean-cut corners. Phenomenal build quality, feels like a solid work of art.  
     
    Accessories: Comes in a small box. Don’t throw this away! On one side, it displays what colors show up on the Mojo, pertaining to what sample rate is currently detected.
     
    Comes with: 1x Micro USB Male (Type B) to USB Male (Type A), 1x Quick Start Guide.
     
    Note: Mojo works with the Micro USB, not the commonly used Mini USB. In case you accidentally order the wrong aftermarket cable.
     
    Technology and Design: A+ design and extensive interior technology behind a spartan exterior. Comes with Chord’s exclusive designed FPGA DAC that is engineered for USB playback of 32-kHz/768-kHz PCM and DSD 512. USB input is the preferred connection, offering the highest playback and quality. Volume control buttons light up different colors to reflect different sample rates, and the device includes an auto-sensing memory for the last utilized volume upon turning the unit off.

     
    Sound / Comparisons:
     
    The Chord Mojo. A tiny black-box that recently received widespread attention from audiophiles everywhere. Does it outperform other portables and set a standard of quality for what you can obtain nowadays for $599?
     
    Upon first listening, I really didn’t want to analyze the sound characteristics of the Mojo.
    It just sounded so comprehensive and involving that I didn’t feel any particular characteristic of the Mojo that stood out. Call it a clear and musical corridor to your music.
     
    There’s a startlingly good sense of space with instruments and details suspended softly in the foreground. Don’t get me wrong. While musical and easy to listen to, the Mojo is extremely resolving and can be a razor-thin tool that reveals every tiny nuance in the recording.
    I can definitely hear the influence of the Hugo’s sonic character. It’s this trademark Chord quality where the music is not only hyper-detailed/accurately portrayed, but it sounds darn good too.
     
    But while the Hugo can tend to sound a tad sterile and lean, the Mojo somehow manages to provide ample enjoyment in a smoother signature.
    I’m not sure if this is due to the changes of the amp section on the Mojo, but it somehow seems to seamlessly blend music together and inundate you with its energy and power.
    The Mojo also brings out the best of the Ethers; the Mojo sounds so realistic and natural with classical and vocal tracks in an expansive landscape. I had hours of listening pleasure on highly technical songs where there’s a need to portray ambience and atmosphere.
     
    The closest to the Mojo is the iDSD, both have excellent details and speed while maintaining a naturalness to the music that just can’t be achieved by the Microstreamer, ODAC, etc.
    But in terms of space and dynamics, the Mojo is closest to the Concero HP. Both have impactful tight bass, and well-extended treble that is never sibilant or hot to the ears.
    The standout feature of the Mojo, however, is the super sweet mid-range that just always sounds melodious and tonally right--without hints of odd coloration or artificialness.
     
    The Mojo is a huge hit in my opinion, providing the dynamics and resolution of a full-size desktop setup in a bite-size package. It’s miles ahead ahead of lesser offerings, and this becomes immediately apparent when you listen to it extensively.
     
    Pros: Musicality, Expansiveness, Detailed, Performance lives up to expectations!
    Cons: Gets hot, Simple overlay (like it or not), Volume control lag, Stock USB cable hiss
     
    Overall Score: 9.5
     
        -Bass: 9
        -Mids: 10
        -Treble: 9
        -Transparency: 9
        -Dynamics/Transients: 10
        -Resolution/Details: 9
        -Soundstage/Presentation: 10
  7. bpandbass
    The Portable DAC/Amp to Beat Them All
    Written by bpandbass
    Published Jan 14, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - outstanding sound quality, plenty of power, unique, made-in-England design
    Cons - Not cheap, accessories come separate
    Putting the Mojo into Perspective:
     
    The Mojo competes more with high-end portable DAC/amps like the Centrance HIfi-M8, the Cypher Labs Theorem 720 (now discontinued), and the considerably more expensive Sony PHA-3. So when considering those competitor prices, the 600 dollar MSRP of the Mojo does not seem as exorbitant. In addition, it is about 1/4th the price of the Chord Hugo, and while it may not have as many features like RCA line out, the Mojo is a great compromise.
     
    Build Quality:
     
    Made in England, The Mojo is about the size of a stack of 52 playing cards or a pack of cigarettes, so it fits perfectly in the hand. It is heavier than one would expect considering its size, at 0.4 lbs, or 182 g. The Mojo is made from a single piece of black-anodized aluminum, with the Mojo name and Chord company name laser etched onto the finish. There are also four soft silicone feet affixed to the bottom of the Mojo, which prevents the Mojo from sliding around on the table or when attached to a phone, and having its underbelly scratched. The only slight rattling you may hear is from the acrylic marbles, but other than that the Mojo is as solid as a volcanic rock. There are also divets on each corner of the top of the Mojo to help secure rubber bands to it. It’s a precisely made yet elegantly simplistic and modern-looking device. Importantly for Astell and Kern AK100 and AK120 users, the Mojo is about the same height and width of those devices, so it should strap together nicely.
     
     
    Connectivity:
     
    The Mojo can be connected via three different digital connection ports: Micro USB, 3.5 mm Coaxial, and a standard TOSLINK/SPDIF Optical input. There isn’t a dedicated line-out jack, but you can switch the Mojo to a fixed-level line-out 3v mode by simultaneously pressing the up and down volume buttons once while immediately after powering on the Mojo. Line-out mode is indicated by the two volume marbles turning a lilac purple color. While I have not connected the Mojo to my Schiit Lyr 2 Class A hybrid tube/solid state headphone amplifier yet, I have a friend who runs the Mojo out via line-level to his solid state Violectric HPA-V200 headphone amplifier, and he is more than satisfied with the synergy. Some users have complained that they had experience clipping issues while plugging their Mojos in this mode to a stereo system, so your mileage may vary. Also, the Mojo will automatically switch out of line-level out mode when you turn off the device and turn it back on again, to prevent users from making the mistake of connecting their headphones and blowing out the drivers/their ears. To set the Mojo to remember line-out mode, simply press the minus volume button once, and then immediately press the volume up button once, while the Mojo is in line-out mode. This is useful if you keep your Mojo plugged into a desktop amplifier and do not want to have to keep switching to this mode every time you power on the device. Also, keep in mind that the Mojo, unlike the Hugo, does not have a manual input source button, so it automatically prioritizes the USB input, then the coaxial and optical inputs. If you have the Mojo connected to a coaxial or optical source, make sure you disconnect any Micro USB cable from the digital-in port. The Micro USB power socket is an entirely separate port from the Micro USB digital-in port, so it won’t affect the source connection.
     
    I recently discovered that my 2011 MacBook Pro 13 inch has SPDIF optical out via a Mini Toslink connector built into the headphone jack, so I have been running the Mojo that way. In my opinion, if you have a laptop with USB ports that have power issues and distortion problems, then see if your computer supports optical out, because running the Mojo on optical for me not only cut down on distortion and interference noises from a USB DAC, but it also brought back a ton of bass impact that was lost when I ran it off the USB ports. 
     
    Volume Adjustment and Controls Explained
     
     
    The Mojo is rated at 75 miliohms, so the output impedance is ideal for use with super sensitive IEMs and 600 ohm full-size headphones alike. Unlike the OPPO HA2-SE or Centrance HIFI-M8, the volume adjustment on the Mojo is digital and not analog. This means that although adjusting the volume can be a somewhat slower affair, the FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) chip on the Mojo is able to recall the last volume setting you set on it prior to switching it off; something the Hugo did not have. This is an immense help if you need to fine tune the volume setting on a sensitive headphone/IEM that you frequently use, and do not want the frustration of having to constantly readjust the volume every time you switch the Mojo on and off. While I do not own a highly sensitive IEM, I did try the Mee audio M6 Pro’s, and the background was dead silent on the Mojo. This is a tuly capable device. The headphone impedance is adjusted to by the Mojo, so there is a great deal of electronic wizardry going on under the hood of the Mojo, certainly more than what meets the eye.
     
    The volume level is indicated by the volume marbles changing colors. And volume range is indicated by a color gamut that follows the spectrum of the rainbow. For the lowest volume level, the color is a reddish-brown. This switches to red, then orange, then to yellow, greens, blues (such as cobalt blue, electric blue, cyan, etc), then to purples near the top of the volume range, and then finally to white. At the lowest volume range, you enter a low gain adjustment mode, where the volume up button stays a pinkish red, and the minus button descends through the rainbow from white down to red before both button LEDs switch off. The top of the volume range is high level, and is indicated by the minus button lighting up white, and volume up button starting with pink/red and ending in white. While unconventional and requiring a little getting used to, this in fact is a highly unique design, and becomes intuitive in no time at all. It’s a detail that adds a special compliment to the Mojo’s design, while being a standout feature that as far as I can tell, no other company has done with a device like this before.
     
    Accessories:
     
    If you buy the Mojo and you do not have all the accessories you need to get it started and hooked up to the devices of your choice, then consider investing 100 dollars in the Mojo Cable Accessory Pack.
     
    In it you get:
     
    *Two sets of silicone bands of two different sizes for strapping the Mojo to your device
    *A Micro USB Cable
    *A Micro USB Cable with two Micro USB jacks to both connect and charge the Mojo at the same time.
    *A 6.3mm to 3.5mm adaptor to run ¼ inch jacks of headphones off the 3.5mm jacks on the Mojo, similar to the adaptor you get on the Sennheiser HD650.
    *A 3.5mm to standard Optical cable
    *A regular optical cable
    *An OTG Micro USB to Micro cable for plugging into an Android phone
    *A Micro USB to female USB A adaptor
    *A Ferrite Suppressor for fitting around one of your USB cables, in other to cut down on signal noise.
    *And most importantly for iPhone users, the USB adaptor module. I will further discuss this in the iPhone connectivity section.
     
    While 100 dollars might seem like a steep price to pay, it is convenient to get everything you need for the Mojo, and I think in the grand scheme of things is worth the investment. Keep in mind, though, that you will have to still buy the 30 dollar USB Female to Lightning adaptor from Apple, called the CCK.
     
     
    Charging the Battery and Usage:
     
    Now I have not been able to find any information on the Mojo’s battery size, but Mojo rates it as 8-10 hours of battery life when powering most headphones. The battery life is indicated by a small LED next to the charge port that lights up blue on a full charge, turns green below 75 percent, yellow below 50 percent, red below 25 percent, and flashes red when the battery is less than 10 percent, and is about to die. From my usage, the maximum 10-hour life seems spot on and consistent; I can easily get through a full day from the battery. The Mojo charges off a standard micro USB cable, which uses its own separate jack from the digital-in USB jack, in order to lessen USB bus power noise. The Mojo will charge off any power source at least 1 amp, and takes 4 hours to fully charge. Plugging in the Mojo to a higher output power source like a larger Anker external battery does not seem to speed up the charging time, so Chord likely limits the Mojo to a 1 amp input maximum; no quick charging here. Judging from the time it takes at a presumably 1 amp input limit, I would hazard a guess to say the Mojo has anywhere from a 3,000-4,000 mAh battery. This means it takes a while to charge the Mojo, but a 1 amp input limit is probably meant to save the longevity of the lithium polymer battery, which is a technology that is susceptible to degradation of life extreme heat. The Mojo never became hot enough to cause me any alarm, though. The Mojo has no problem being charged from a variety of Micro USB cables and external batteries, so the mobile user who likes to use an external battery to charge their devices will be happy here.
     
     
    Connecting to the iPhone:
     
    In a previous post comparing the Mojo to the OPPO HA-2SE, I was rather a bit harsh toward the Mojo for its pairing to the iPhone. Allow me to be a bit more nuanced here.
     
    The Mojo, does not have a USB A input, so you cannot use it with a standard Lightning to USB cable. To connect it to an iPhone, you need to plug the included Micro USB cable into the iPhone CCK USB adaptor, and the Mojo will automatically connect to the iPhone once you turn it on, indicating this by the power/input source marble lighting up red. This pairing is a little less elegant looking, but there are a number of alternatives you can choose.
     
    One of them is to connect the iPhone to a Lighting-to-Micro USB OTG-style cable. FiiO makes one called the L19, and it is a short cable that retails for 30 dollars US.
     
    If you have bought the Apple CCK Adaptor and Mojo Cable Accessories kit, then you can use the USB Adaptor module that comes with the accessories. This unit basically is a module that plugs into the 4 digital connection slots of the Mojo, extending the length of the Mojo to about the same length as the iPhone 6/6s/7, and replacing the USB digital input with a recessed USB A male slot. This slot is perfectly drilled out for you to plug in the CCK Adaptor, and now you have a fairly streamlined device to strap to your iPhone. The Module still has rubber feet, much like the Mojo, and still has a USB charge port and battery indicator light. My only complaint is that it is made from plastic, and not metal. Also, keep in mind that the Micro USB to female USB adaptor that comes with the accessories does not fit into the adaptor module as snugly as the CCK does, so there is a bit of wiggling.
     
    The Mojo does pick up signal antenna noise if is connected to a smartphone and in close proximity to the phone. A solution to this is to switch the phone to Airplane mode, in order to disable these antennas. If you use Pandora, Spotify, or Google Music, then run your smartphone from a Wifi signal. I wish the Mojo did not have this problem, but unfortunately there are technological limits with USB connection technology.
     
    This is what the Mojo looks like while it is connected to an iPhone 7.
     
    DSC02482.jpg
     
    DSC02490.jpg
     
     
     
    AND FINALLY, THE SOUND
     
    This is the best way to describe the Mojo: relentlessly detailed, yet beautifully polished.
     
    The Mojo has an overall slightly warm, while neutral and powerful sound. While the sound may not immediately pop out at you because of the slightly warmish tint, the minute you listen to brighter, less detailed and refined DACs, you will appreciate the sound of the Mojo. Compared to an OPPO HA-2SE, the Mojo may sound less sparkly and less open, but this is not a bad thing. Because firstly, from my perspective, it is better to have a slightly dark system than a slightly bright system. More often than not, a brighter amp can make bright headphones overly bright and harsh to listen to. The Mojo’s sound signature never clashes or makes a bright or picky headphone sound harsh. You can run it on the pickiest and most unforgiving of headphones, and it won’t sound harsh, nor will it sound distant. This is because the Mojo does not have to restrain its vocals and treble in order to sound detailed or engaging. They are present and are unstressed on their own. This is where a naturally detailed DAC and a refined amp section come into their stride. Soundstage may seem a little more intimate than some other DACs that are brighter, but by no means does this equal a constricted or inaccurate imaging, because imaging is excellent. Bass is also a strong suit, with plenty of quickness and thud when you need it, while staying unobtrusive when you do not. The DAC is 32 bit and has a maximum sampling rate of 768k on USB, and supports DSD 256. S/PDIF has a maximum of 32 bit 192 kHz.
     
    To give you all an idea about this flexibility, I auditioned a Mojo at my local hifi audio store here in Chicago. I listened to two headphones on the Mojo: the Sennheiser HD800 and its newest sibling, the HD800S. The Sennheiser HD800 is notorious for being a relentlessly unforgiving headphone when it is not amplified right, or when it is plugged into an insufficiently powerful, dry, harsh or bright amplifier. This usually entails spending much more than the HD800’s value on its own just to get a suitable DAC and headphone amplifier. And often this will mean getting two different devices that are only meant for desktop use. One would think the picky, 300-ohm impedance of the HD800 would bring the tiny, battery-powered Mojo to its knees, but not so. The Mojo tames the dragon that is the HD800, and not only does it do that, it makes the HD800 absolutely sing. This is how the HD800 should sound: musical, unstressed and full bodied. No, the Mojo will not give the absolute best performance to the HD800 like a more expensive desktop balanced headphone amplifier, such as the Eddie Current Balancing Act or Woo Audio WA22, will do, but it is darned impressive on its own. Having a Mojo is more than enough to give a satisfying sound experience to the HD800 that will not make you think you are serving the HD800 an injustice by feeding it from an insufficient source. If you have an HD800 and you do not want to sell your other kidney to buy a good amplifier and DAC, then consider getting the Mojo. The HD800S is the same story, but it sounds even better than the HD800 to my ears, and takes on a brilliant sense of musicality with the Mojo.
     
     
    Audio-Technica ATH-M50:
     
    Now I've had my M50s since 2012, and I have never liked them then and I still do not like them to this day. I thought they are harsh, grating headphones with an obnoxious, spikey, rough, grainy treble; recessed and dull mids, and a muddy and loose bass. I thought that nothing would make the M50s sound listenable, and the Mojo proved me wrong. The Mojo improved the M50s, and I mean a night-and-day difference. The treble was cleaned up considerably, the bass became tighter with better impact, and the mids became more pleasurable. That is something I have noticed about the Mojo: the ability to sound great regardless of the headphone.
     
    AKGs:
     
    One of the most source-unforgiving headphone model ranges from my experience is the AKG K7-series. Their dry, lean bass, combined with their often shouty upper-mid-to-lower-treble frequency boost makes them sound dull and at times incredibly harsh and obnoxious on many otherwise good-sounding DACs and amps that have a hint of brightness or lack of refinement. The Mojo, once again, comes into its stride, pairing beautifully with my K712 Pros.
     
    In more ways than not, the Mojo’s sound signature reminds me of another British digital audio product: The Meridian Audio Director (Direct DAC), only with its own amplifier stage, and with a better detailed and smoother sound.
     
    Conclusion:
     
    While not cheap, the Mojo is absolutely a top-flight, world-class audio product, and easily the best portable DAC/amp on the market right now. There are little to no compromises you need to make, and the Mojo can pretty much power anything you plug in into, except for maybe the most power-hungry planar magnetic headphone. If you are looking at an all-in-one device that can drive IEMs and full-size headphones alike, while playing double duty as a desktop amplifier or DAC, and a hifi portable system on the go, then look no further than the Chord Mojo. And now that Chord has just come out with the Poly, which is a module that supports wireless streaming from a source device, and can store songs on its own SD card expansion slot, you can have a modular, truly all-in-one hifi system that will fit into your pocket. 
  8. snellemin
    Audiophile Basshead grade.
    Written by snellemin
    Published Dec 2, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great sound. Reveals all the little details in your music.
    Cons - Looks like a kids toy
    It would of gotten a 5 star rating, if it wasn't so expensive.
     
    So I got to listen to the MOJO yesterday through the JVC SZ1000.  Total different animal of an amp.  Nice clean subbass, while staying musical.  MOJO sounds like the good stereo equipment from the 70's and 80's with the JVC's plugged in. You can hear all the little details in your music.  I think it's worth 350,- , but not the current asking price.  Looks like a child's toy, but feels solid. 
    Still amazes me how well the JVC responds to EQ and on different equipment.  I've been "remastering" some of older music and been using the JVC's for that.  When I listened to the MOJO, my old music sounded like they were remastered by me.  Stereo image is a tad wider, has a bit of BBE/sonic maximer effect going on.  Mojo for the win.
     
    I used the MOJO as a dac only most of the time.  Didn't like the sound signature as much, which is a personal thing.  So I used line out mode and send the output through the FIIO's and Parasound equipment of mine and liked it way more.  The biggest difference in sound quality for me, is when playing my music from the Iphone through the MOJO.  Huge difference in sound quality.  Mojo for the win again.  
     
    Subbass is really really really clean.  Sounds like a pair of 18" EV horn loaded subwoofers.  MOJO for the win yet again.  
     
    Hearing all the little details in my music with the MOJO, reminds me of when I use my old Luxman C12 preamp.  The Luxman is a big dinosaur and the MOJO is the evolution of it.  So with the MOJO you get the T-Rex sound,  from a unit the size of a house lizard.  Mojo for the WIN!
     
     
     
    WP_20161201_12_04_18_Pro.jpg
     
    WP_20161201_12_55_47_Pro.jpg
     
    WP_20161201_13_20_31_Pro.jpg
     
    WP_20161201_13_24_16_Pro.jpg
      Hawaiibadboy and hqssui like this.
    1. Hawaiibadboy
      Nice review bro!
      Hawaiibadboy, Dec 3, 2016
    2. pbui44
      Dang, just another reason to possibly set up another local meet in the coming months. ;+)
      pbui44, Dec 3, 2016
    3. snellemin
      snellemin, Dec 4, 2016
  9. kydu
    big bang, little box
    Written by kydu
    Published Nov 30, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - musicality, size, battery life, build
    Cons - micro B connector is too fragile for pocket use
    IMG_3903.jpg
    IMG_4383.jpg
    IMG_4513.jpg
    Chord Mojo is hands down, the most fun portable dac to listen to under $1000.  It plays all genres equally well, and turns all my music from my phone into a sound I can feel engaged to hours on end. I cannot recommend this product enough! it pairs very well with my Venture Electronics Zen2.0 earbuds and Runabout 2.0 amp. This combo is a game ender for me for quite some time! 
    1. DoctaCosmos
      Where'd you get it for $400?
      DoctaCosmos, Nov 30, 2016
    2. kydu
      audiigon
      kydu, Nov 30, 2016
    3. fezzyness
      great review, and also had to comment... I have that same Himalayan crystal lamp XD
      fezzyness, Dec 1, 2016
  10. Ike1985
    Mojo on the Go: A Review of Mojo and It's use from a Portable Perspective
    Written by Ike1985
    Published Oct 7, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Small, Natural/organic reproduction of sound, Incredible resolution and detail
    Cons - Lack of included adapters, Lack of case, Battery Issues (I had a warranty replacement)
     ​
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    Review Contents
     ​
     
    Introduction
    Review Approach
    Technical Specifications
    Under the Hood
    Hands On/Operation/Aesthetics
    Charging/Battery
    Sound Quality
                Signature
                Depth
                Sound Stage
                Resolution
    Mobile
                Mojo’ing on iOS
                Mojo’ing on Android
                Mojo’ing on Mac
                Mojo’ing on DAPs
    Protecting Your Mojo
    Conclusions
     
    Introduction
     
               I am both a stereophile and an audiophile.  I am an audiophile so as to further my enjoyment of the music I consider essential in life.  Life without music isn’t much life at all, when I’m able to hear details I couldn’t hear before in a song I’ve heard hundreds of times or said song is brought to life even more via better reproduction, the reason for seeking higher sound quality and reproduction becomes self-evident.
     
               I have had Mojo since it was released in October 2015-approximately one year ago.  I listen to the Mojo around 5-8 hours a day, everyday.  I have been able to hear deep into the Mojo, I hope you’ll gain some insights into whether Mojo is right for you from my review.
     
    Review Approach
     
               I listen to Mojo using either my “old school” 2011 Macbook Pro or my “new school” Samsung S7 Edge.  I used iPhone 5 before I got my S7E, therefore I can speak to using idevices with Mojo as well.  When listening with my Macbook Pro I use Jriver Media Center 21 and a micro-USB to USB cable.  With the S7 Edge I use a micro-USB to micro-USB OTG cable and the excellent UAPP app(purchasable in the Play Store).  I prefer portable setups and use IEMs exclusively, in this review I’ll be using the ADEL A12 CIEMs.  You will find everything you need to know about using Mojo in a portable capacity in this review.
     
     
    Technical Specifications:
     
    Dynamic Range: 125DB
    THD: 3v – 0.00017%
    Power Output: 1kHz
    Amplification: 600ohms 35mW, 8ohms 720mW
    Output Impedance: 0.075 ohms
    Plays: Up to 768kHz & DSD256
     
               In my opinion the most important specification for you as an average user is output impedance.  Ensure that your headphones/IEMs match up well with the low impedance Mojo.  Audiophile level sources are low impedance for good reason, per Rob Watts:
     ​
    “…It’s much better if fed with a low impedance source - damping is better, giving a tighter and faster bass, and frequency response variations due to impedance change are better controlled.”​
     
               If your IEM’s sound better with a high output impedance source, I suggest you DO NOT look beyond Mojo but instead look to an adapter like the Ultimate Ears Buffer Jack($~10 via UE) or similar adapters that will increase output impedance.  The majority of audiophile level IEMs/headphones will pair well with Mojo-needing no impedance adapter.
     
    If you want to geek out, here is a link to detailed measurements/technical specifications:
     
    http://ohm-image.net/data/audio/rmaa-chord-mojo-24-bit
     
    Under The Hood:
     
               Mojo was designed by Chord as a programmable FPGA, per Rob Watts:
     
    "...an FPGA is not a DAC chip, it’s a sea of gates that you can connect together to make any digital device you like. You could make a PC processor out of an FPGA, or a device that controls a rover on Mars, or the digital parts of a DAC. I also create IP and designs for audio to make silicon chips. And my designs could be used to make a dedicated DAC chip, or it could be used to program an FPGA. The benefits you have using an FPGA are considerable, as you can have thousands of times more processing power than is found inside high end audio silicon chips. Indeed, Mojo has 500 times more processing power than conventional high performance DACs."
     
    It was designed to have as few components as possible as each component can color/influence sound quality.  Much of the magic of Mojo is in the programming utilized in the FPGA.  This programming creates the unique signature of Mojo and the type of sound people familiar with Chord products call the "Chord sound".  Central to Chords sound and indeed the main focus of their products is addressing the timing of transients.  According to Rob Watts, transients are responsible for pitch, sound stage, timbre and the timing (stopping and starting) of notes. Immense computational power allows Chord to address these timing issues and as a result Mojo sounds more lifelike than anything I've heard before.
     
               It wasn’t until recently that it was even possible to build a device as small and powerful as Mojo, the technology didn’t exist.  When the Xilinx Artix 15T 28nM was released, Chord turned their attention toward completing Mojo.  Mojo is a computational monster, upsampling 2048 times-that’s ~16 approximately times more than their competitiors.  Upsampling eliminates RF noise, noise floor modulation and jitter is eliminated by a factor of 64.  This creates an inky black background unto which Chord creates their signature sound.
     
               Mojo has a discrete transistor output stage, this means it can drive just about any power hungry headphone.  Chord had a battery custom made that could meet the unique requirements of the Mojo.  Using cutting edge chips, customizable programming and innovating where necessary is a hallmark of Chord.  This has allowed Chord to offer novel solutions to recreating a digital signal in analog form; improving sound quality by addressing the timing of transients, THD, noise floor and other technical aspects which cannot be addressed as effectively using traditional industry technology and methods to the extent Chord have using their proprietary progamming and FPGA approach.
                 
    Hands On/Operation/Aesthetics
     
                Mojo is very small-smaller than a pack of playing cards in fact-yet it is quite heavy: 6.1oz.  Holding it in my hand and pressing down on it with a good amount of force produces no bend or give anywhere in the high quality aluminum housing.  Eight tiny screws hold the case together into a solid block and four solidly-glued bumpers keep the device in place on your listening surface.  None of the bumpers have come off in a year of daily use, that's some serious adhesive!  Holding Mojo gives an impression of durability and quality not found in the hardware of other mobile devices.
     
    20161007_104126.jpg
     
     
    20161007_104158.jpg
     
               Mojo was designed such that it can charge while in use (even from total battery depletion) as there are separate data (middle left in the first image below) and charging micro-USB ports (middle right in the first image below).  This is an excellent feature as you never run out of sound so long as you can plug Mojo in.  The optical port is on the right and the 3.5mm coaxial on the left. 
     
    20161007_113951.jpg
     
    20161007_104958.jpg
     
     Dual 3.5mm headphone ports are on the other side:
     
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               Plugging into and out of the headphone port creates a solid reassuring click.  The micro-USB ports are also solid but care should be taken to avoid stressing them.  Invest in right angle micro-USB cords and avoid putting pressure on these connections, such as putting Mojo in your pocket while in use.
     
               I’ve recoiled in horror when dropping Mojo or believing I've scratched it, only to find it unscathed.  Rubbing a finger on the hairline scratches caused them to vanish and the solid metal body prevented any damage from the fall.  The finish and overbuilt design are very satisfying. I suspect Mojo is a device you’ll be able to listen to decades from now.
     
               Chord realized many of us will be stacking, thus they cut notches into the corners of the aluminum body creating grooves into which rubber bands can clasp Mojo more securely when stacking.  Stacking will increase RF/EMI interference, I suggest using ferrite devices (discussed later) or to eliminate RF/EMI completely use airplane mode when stacking.  When I'm listening at a desk and cannot use airplane mode I'll attach ferrite chokes as seen below and position Mojo as far away from the phone as possible.  Restricting background data to essential apps only like (text messaging, email, etc) will help reduce RF/EMI as well.
     
               Three buttons sit atop Mojo recessed into the aircraft grade aluminum case.  The lone orb is the power and sample rate indicator orb, the other two are the volume orbs.  The orbs do well to remind you of your listening settings.  Mojo will remember the last settings you were using when you shut it down so you don't have to scroll to your desired setting everytime you use Mojo.  The power orb indicates the sample rate of the music you’re listening to.  Note that the correct light will not be displayed unless the software you’re using is properly configured to output bitperfect data.  Scroll down to the Mobile section to see how you can do this on Android, iOs and Mac.
     
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    Charging/Battery:
               
                When Mojo arrives, open it and charge it immediately with a powerful wall plug charger (1A+).  If charging correctly Mojo will display a solid white LED below the charging port.  If charging incorrectly this LED will blink with a white light.  If it blinks switch to a more powerful wall plug.  Charging will take excessively long with a low powered (.5a and below), for example: Apple iPhone square block chargers or laptop USB ports.  When the charging light shuts off, Mojo is fully charged, taking approximately 4 hours.  Mojo may get hot while charging and playing at the same time, this is not cause for concern per John Franks:
     
    “Yes. The Mojo uses 1.7W of power, so it will get comfortably warm during use, and has thermal cut-outs that prevent it overheating, even if charged at the same time.”
     
               Mojo has a built in auto-off feature that automatically shuts it down when a certain temperature is reached.  This has never happened to me and I charge and listen with 12 driver CIEMs everyday, you shouldn’t worry about Mojo shutting down on you.  Mojo indicates battery status via LED under the charging port: blue is fully charged, green is 75% charged, yellow is 50%, red is 25%  and blinking red means the battery is critically low.
     
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               My first Mojo had to be sent back for warranty because I was getting 3-4 hours of use from a fully charged Mojo.  The Mojo I received back is getting 8-10 hours from a full charge as advertised.    Some have reported a buzzing/whining sound while charging Mojo, I have never heard this sound and I’ve used many chargers and cables.  This buzzing/whining was an issue with early run Mojo's that Chord addressed and remedied within a few months of release.
     
    Sound Quality
     ​
    Signature
     
                If you look at the website I linked under the Technical Details section you will see from the graphs provided there that Mojo has a neutral/flat signature with the highest highs slightly rolled off.  This echoes what my ears are telling me, Mojo sounds neutral with a hint of warmth.  Very slightly rolling off the highest high’s means your ears won’t get fatigued.  I can still clearly hear the highest notes without attentively searching for them-none of the detail is lost.  I can find no dips or peaks in the Mojo’s signature except the aforementioned sparkle roll off and it is very subtle.
     
                Sub-bass extends quite a long time, doesn’t bleed into mid-bass and punches fast and tight.  It hits with authority when it’s called for and takes a back seat when it isn’t.  There is no mid bass bloat or bleed to speak of.  Mid-bass is easily discernible even while the sub-bass is punching hard.  I can focus on the bass guitar and pick it out of the mix and follow it through the whole song without ever losing it.  The mids as a whole are full, rich and exceptionally clean.  Mid-highs standout nicely from the mid-bass.  Everything is balanced with an ever so slight emphasis toward the mids.  High’s sparkle without being harsh, grating or fatiguing. 
     
                Mojo produces the most natural realistic sound I’ve ever heard.  Upon hearing Mojo for the first time I said to myself:  “Studio recordings sound live! All my music sounds live!”  In my opinion it is the timbre and tone of the instruments as reproduced by the device that creates realism.  Mojo is off the charts with regard to realism.  This high level of realism adds transparency-the sensation of having everything else disappear and only the music remains.  If Mojo sounded unnatural, we would constantly be reminded of using it while listening.  This realism adds an energy and live-ness to the sound that other portable DACs/DAPs I’ve heard do not have and as a result the music produced by these other devices can sometimes feel tired and clinical.  I never get this feeling with Mojo, the energy is always there.       
     ​
    Depth
     
               Perhaps the most striking feature of Mojo is its’ depth of sound.  The layers and complete separation of each instrument is astonishing.  You can sit back and let the naturalness and effortlessness of the song wash over you or you can change powers on your mental microscope and peer into the layers of a song, hearing micro details and sometimes even layers you never heard before.  I have never heard anything like this before; total layer separation without a clinical, harsh or bright signature.
     
               Consider how a dog’s nose functions as compared to human nose.  When a dog smells a vegetable soup it smells every single ingredient separately.  The dogs' nose will single out every single ingredient as its’ own unique smell.  A human nose will smell the soup as one smell we call “vegetable soup”.  This is one of the strongest selling points of Mojo, its’ ability to single out every layer, place it accurately in-stage and get out of the way so you can enjoy the music.  You don’t have to try to separate layers, it’s there for you the same way a dog smells yet instruments won’t stand out and say LOOK AT ME in a distracting way instead they’re presented as “vegetable soup”; naturally and effortlessly with incredible separation imaging and resolution.  I suspect the inky black and utterly silent background in addition to Mojo's impressive computational power and Chords FPGA programming are the reason for this separation effect. 
     
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    Sound Stage
     
                The stage isn’t extremely wide or tall in an artificial way.  It’s a moderate stage except for depth which is spectacular.  To me this is perfect as I don’t want an artificially wide stage that is pulling me out of the experience of the music and distracting me, reminding me that I’m listening to a song instead of hearing and feeling it in the moment.  Yet I can still be treated to a good stage when I want to hear it.  For example, when I listen to a track with good sound stage width, it sounds as though the sound is coming from 1”-3” (depending on the track) outside my A12 CIEMs as it journey’s into my head.
                The imaging/separation discussed earlier aids in pinpointing the position of the instruments in the room.  I can tell the drum player is sitting on the back right of the stage or the singer is performing to the upper left front of the stage.  These effects don’t stand out and say LOOK AT ME but they are there as part of the experience and the extremely high resolution and separation of Mojo allows me to laser-beam focus on them if I wish. 
     
    Resolution
     
                Due to its’ immense computational power Mojo is able to produce a higher quality image than the competition.  Consider a massive uncompressed image, now imagine compressing it down into a 300x300 cover art image.  When you zoom in and look at the compressed image you will notice much of the detail is gone and the much larger image is much more resolute.  This is quite the accurate analogy for how Mojo renders sound.  You will hear things you’ve never heard before.
     
    Mobile:
               
               When using Mojo with mobile devices there three things important points to remember:
     
    1. Ensure data is being sent to Mojo bit-perfect (covered in Mobile section)
    2. Address RF/EMI interference
    3. Choose cables for the right reasons
     
               First when it comes to micro-USB cables, it would seem logical to purchase expensive audiophile cables, but as Rob Watt’s says this can often be counter-intuitive:
     
    “Does this mean that high end cables are better? Sadly not necessarily. What one needs is good RF characteristics, and some expensive cables are RF poor. Also note that if it sounds brighter its worse, as noise floor modulation is spicing up the sound (its the MSG of sound). So be careful when listening and if its brighter its superficially more impressive but in the long term musically worse. At the end of the day, its musicality only that counts, not how impressive it sounds.”
     ​
    and
     ​
    “A lot of audiophile USB cables actually increase RF noise and make it sound brighter, and superficially impressive - but this is just distortion brightening things up. Go for USB cables that have ferrites in the cable is a good idea - it may also solve any RF issues from the mobile that you may have too.”
     
               In my opinion, it’s best to purchase cables for connecting to Mojo based on:
     
    1. “Does the cable eliminate the need for a second cable?” (increasing transparency)
    2. “Does the cable have better durability and reinforcement than cheaper cables?”
    3. “Does the cable address RF/EMI interference?” (RF/EMI reduction can also be done by adding ferrite chokes to an un-choked cable)
    4. “Will the cable reduce stress on device ports by utilizing a right angle configuration?”
     
               I recommend not putting the Mojo in your pant pocket but instead using a belt holster and rubber bands if you wish to use Mojo on the go and don't want to hold it in your hand, this prevents you from putting pressure on the ends of the cable and more importantly the Mojo ports.  You can even use Mojo at the Gym easily if you’re so inclined:
     
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               Other than bit-perfect-ness, RF/EMI is the biggest factor that can affect the sound quality of your Mojo setup.  The simplest and cheapest way to completely eliminate RF/EMI is to put your device in Airplane mode.  The next best thing is to put ferrite chokes to the data cable feeding Mojo, making sure to get them as close as possible to the Mojo as you can as seen below:
     

     
               Some report differences between using a DAP or a phone to feed Mojo, I do not hear any differences.  In my opinion Mojo + android running UAPP is top tier mobile sound quality at an excellent value.  If you use a phone to feed Mojo you don’t have to carry around a third device.
     
    Mojo’ing on iOS:
     
               In order to connect Mojo to an idevice such as the iPhone you have two choices: an Apple CCK cable, see below:
     
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    or a simpler single-cable approach.  Lightning to micro-USB cables eliminate the need for two cables thus increasing transparency, they can be purchased from forum vendors.  You’ll also need to download Onkyo HF from the App Store in order play HD (FLAC or higher quality) music on an idevice.  You will need to buy the HD version of the app in order to play these HD files.  Once you have Onkyo HF HD, configure the settings accordingly to enable bitperfect output:
     
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               Now connect the device to your Mac computer via your phones USB charging cable, open iTunes, select your phone and navigate to Apps, select Onkyo HF.  Open a new Finder window, navigate to your HD files and drag and drop them into the box as seen below:
     
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               If you’re importing Mp3’s or similar non-HD music onto your device simply drag and drop them into iTunes as you normally would and Onkyo will recognize them and store them under the iPod header inside the app. 
     
               Onkyo HF often has difficulty displaying cover art.  I suggest naming cover art as cover.jpg, keeping files below 500x500 pixels for best results and keeping it in the same folder as the music files.
    Onkyo HF allows you to send data to Mojo bitperfect, which is essential if you want maximum sound quality.  I don’t use EQ but in playing with the EQ in Onkyo HF I have found it adequate.  Onkyo HF should sound no different than UAPP on Android since they are both sending data bitperfect to Mojo but to me Onkyo HF sounds slightly less alive and a bit more veiled/low energy than UAPP.  Onkyo HF is also quite inferior to UAPP in regards to features and capabilities.  Unfortunately on an idevice-at this time-you are stuck with Onkyo HF.  There are a few other choices like JetAudio or Capricio, but I find Onkyo to be the most neutral and it comes recommended by Chord.
     
    Mojo’ing on Android Phones:
     
                If you don’t have a micro-USB to micro-USB OTG cable for your Android device, you will need to use an adapter-again forcing you to use two components.  I use cheap micro-USB to micro-USB OTG cables purchased from Amazon and attach a few ferrite chokes to them as seen above.  I believe this is the best setup you can have with Android.  I have tested many Android music apps with Mojo and there is a huge gulf between the quality of these apps and UAPP.  UAPP is the undisputed king of mobile audio on Android in my opinion.  The sound it produces is neutral like Onkyo HF but sounds more alive.  There’s an excellent 64 bit equalizer and a purchasable parametric EQ as well as a plethora of tweaks, features and capabilities.  You can even link it with some streaming services.  It nearly always recognizes cover art and adding files to it is as easy as dragging and dropping into the MUSIC folder on your Android phone using Android File Transfer as seen here:
     
    Screenshot2016-10-07at5.26.38PM.png
     
    To setup UAPP to send bitperfect data to Mojo simply enable the following settings:
     
    Screenshot_20161007-131941.png
     ​
    Mojo’ing on Mac:
     
                I have experience on Audirvana, Jriver and iTunes.  For me, Audirvana was the most intuitive, but lacked a good library-like experience.  Jriver has a steeper learning curve but offered the best sound quality as well as library like experience.  iTunes was my least favorite, being stuck in the Apple jail unable to use FLAC and other formats without conversion was annoying.  Audirvana and Jriver can produce bitperfect output to Mojo and will play anything you can throw at them.  In my opinion the best experience with Mojo on Mac can be had with Jriver Media Center, here are the settings you need to get bitperfect output to Mojo in Jriver irrespective of file format:
     
     
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    Regardless of which program you chose to utilize with Mac, you will need to configure your Mac’s audio settings as follows:  
     
    Screenshot2016-10-07at5.27.21PM.png
     
     
    Mojo’ing on DAPs:
     
               If you want to connect your Mojo to a DAP you’ll need an optical or coaxial cable, because I do not use DAPs I cannot comment on them.  I have heard them paired with Mojo on occasion and see no use in using them as my Apple iPhone 5 or Samsung S7 Edge sound just as good if not better (assuming all the devices are transmitting bitperfect data).  Choosing a phone instead of a DAP means you don’t have to lug around a third device.
     
    Protecting Your Mojo:
     
                Chord now sells official cases for Mojo and they look very nice.  I just use an old camera case I had laying around, many others are using pelican cases and the official Chord case.
     
    Conclusions:
               
                Mojo may seem expensive but it is outperforming desktop and mobile setups that cost multiples of what it costs.  I do not think you will find a better price to performance ratio at this time in the audiophile industry.  I have had Mojo a year now and feel no need to upgrade to a more expensive DAC or DAP. 
      Khuramb, jsplice, bidn and 11 others like this.
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    2. Brian Coffey
      Very compelling review. Moved it to top of my wishlist ! 
      Brian Coffey, Oct 8, 2016
    3. Ike1985
      Thanks Guys!
      Ike1985, Oct 8, 2016
    4. Shini44
      this review should be taught in universities :wink: but seriously thanks for this super guide ^^
      Shini44, Oct 8, 2016