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Chord Electronics Mojo

Rating:
4.66667/5,
Tags:
  1. Dobrescu George
    The Majestic One - Chord Mojo DAC/AMP
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published Apr 22, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - + Full Metallic Build Quality
    + Good ergonomics, nice aesthetics
    + Lots of inputs and two headphone outputs for headphones
    + Excellent battery life
    + Clear, clean, smooth, fun sound
    + Good musical note weight and good dynamics
    + Natural overall sound
    + Good price / performance ratio for a device that is used in lots of recording studios as well as by music listeners
    Cons - - Gets hot while charging
    - Charges quite slow
    - Portability is a bit of a question mark, it is very thick but short, you have to get creative if you're using it portably
    - Doesn't come with all the cables required to make it work, or with anything really
    - Smooth treble may not be for those looking for a bit more sparkle

    The Majestic One - Chord Mojo DAC/AMP

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    Chord Mojo is an interesting little DAC/AMP, as it relies on a rather different DAC technology than most, relying on a FPGA, or Full Programmable Gate Array, rather than a normal DAC, paired with a pretty clean power stage, to deliver what Chord calls "the world's most advanced portable DAC/ Headphone Amplifier". We'll be putting to test and see whether Chord's statement holds true in today's review of Mojo.




    Introduction

    Chord is a large company from UK, who is known for having created and designed some of the world's best DAC/AMPs, like the original Hugo, which left me quite impressed at the beginning of my audiophile journey, as well as the Hugo 2 they created now, and countless others. Chord is known for good warranty and customer support, as well as interesting sales going now and then. Locally, Chord is known to be a true workhorse, and people are using their products as reference, but more about that in the "Portable Usage" part of this review.

    It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Chord, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by Chord or anyone else. I'd like to thank Chord for providing the sample for the review. The sample was provided along with Chord's request for an honest and unbiased review. This review reflects my personal experience with Chord Mojo. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Chord Mojo find their next music companion.



    About me

    https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/about.html



    Packaging

    As I poited in my Youtube Video, Chord Mojo has one of the most basic packages out there, the stuff you get in the box being a really short USB cable. That's all.

    For a 500 USD DAC/AMP, this is lower than competition offers, but, most people may be interested in upgraded cables either way.



    What to look in when purchasing a high-end DAC/AMP


    https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/what-to-lookl.html



    Technical Specifications

    Inputs:
    1x Micro USB 768kHz/32-bit Capable Input
    1x 3.5mm Jack Coaxial 768kHz/32-bit Capable Input
    1x Optical TOSLINK 192kHz/24-bit Capable Input
    1x 1amp Micro USB Charging Port Input


    Output:
    2x 3.5mm Headphone Jacks


    Technical Specs:
    Output Power @ 1kHz – 600Ω 35mW
    Output Power @ 1kHz – 8Ω 720mW
    Output Impedance: 75mOhms
    Dynamic Range: 125dB
    THD @ 3v: 0.00017%
    Weight: 180g (0.4lbs)

    Dimensions: 82mm (l) x 60mm (w) x 22mm (h)



    Build Quality/Aesthetics/UI/Firmware


    The build quality of Chord Mojo is as solid as it gets, quite literally, this is one fully metallic device that looks like it will survive a 100 Meter drop, if you ever wanted to treat it to one. The aesthetics are on the cool and avant-garde side of things, with colored marble buttons. If you've ever had Chord Hugo before, you may think that the buttons of Mojo rotate, and they do, but to use the buttons, you need to press them.

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    There are two color strength options for the buttons, and the buttons colors indicate what level you are in with Mojo. The operation is quite basic actually, despite how difficult it may seem at first to operate Mojo.

    To open it up, press the power button for a few seconds. The volume buttons are marked with Plus and Minus, and the colors go from a variety of rainbow colors, depending on the volume and level you are in. To make the buttons dimmer, just press both the volume buttons at once.

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    To charge Mojo use the charging port, and to use it as a USB DAC, use the USB data port. Mojo also has Optical and Coax inputs, if you wish to use those, I actually have found myself using Optical most of times because it was more convenient to me, but the USB data port works just as well for using Mojo as a DAC/AMP.


    Mojo connects to pretty much any smartphone, as long as it is Android and more recent, at least it did with all that I threw at it. For windows, you need a USB DAC Driver.

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    Other things to keep in mind are that Mojo gets quite hot while it is charging, it can't use the same port for data and charging, so you will need two cables, if you'll have it stationed at your computer as a desktop DAC/AMP, it is backed by a one-year warranty from Chord, but if using it as a desktop DAC/AMP you may be churning its battery and its battery life quite fast, and it may not live very long.

    Mojo has two headphone ports, both in a 3.5mm single ended mode, and both work very well, are created equal and can be used at the same time, in case you wanted to share your sweet music with a loved person.


    Mojo has tiny rubber feed, but those may not be enough for strapping it to a smartphone, in case you wanted to take it with you, and a rubber band separator is recommended.

    The battery life of Mojo is decent to very good, and in normal usage I haven't managed to run out of battery in a normal day of usage, as it lasts for around 8 hours in my typical usage, which is in purple-ish mode in both balls, which is the maximum volume I can use with Mojo and any headphone, without running into distortions. This color, as far as it is explained in most sources, represents a voltage of 2 Volts, anything above simply enters clipping. Charging time is about 4 hours, which is considerably longer than most competitors, which have implemented Type-C USB interfaces and quick charging by now.

    Understanding the technology and why Chord decided to not use an industry-standard DAC, and instead developed their own is not necessary to use Mojo, or enjoy it as a DAC/AMP, and I think, would give more expectations bias than necessary to listen to it. I personally did not read the technical papers on why and how it was designed, because I wanted to provide feedback on its actual sound and performance more than about its theoretical design.

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    The driving power of Mojo is very good, and besides QLS QA361, DX200 and X7mkii/Q5 is one of the very few DAC/AMPs that can drive HIFIMAN Sundara to pretty much their full potential. Very few DAC/AMPs are capable of giving Sundy the dynamics, punchy, impact and detail it should have, and Mojo is one of those. Furthermore, Mojo can also drive IEMs without any hiss, and Chord has provided a good price / performance ratio for its actual driving abilities.

    Studying the circuits inside reveals that Chord used a very nice overall electronic scheme for Mojo, and it should provide a clean sound, along with good performance, no cheap electronics, and pretty well-thought design.

    Overall, it is a flawless DAC/AMP, without driver issues, no hiss, good noise isolation, but it charges a bit slow, and relies on microUSB, both things which may be a touch inconvenient. The battery life is long, the operation is hassle-free, and quite frankly, it is well built as well.



    Sound Quality

    The most interesting part about such a raved product is talking about its sound, because the design and operation have been talked about in-depth, but the sound is the most interesting aspect, and the reason you'd want to invest almost 500 USD in Mojo.


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    The overall sound and tonality of Mojo is quite interesting, as it is a warmer, more fun tuned than Hugo is, and Mojo feels like a more commercial version of Chord's main house sound. The detail levels are insane, and the treble is quite smooth in textures, but not overly cut out nor absent, or too smooth. The overall tonality is very natural, and musical notes have both good thickness and weight, although in all fairness, it may be a touch too smooth and too thick to be called dead neutral. Mojo feels like it has the details of an analytical DAC/AMP, without being analytical by itself, but rather being musical. It is interesting to try and describe it, but you have to imagine that a typical analytical sound extrudes details out of music, with a strong emphasis on textures and micro-detail, while Mojo has those details, but has more emphasis on a natural, thicker more smooth and musical sound, although it doesn't lose extension at either end.

    The bass is quite deep, and actually quick, despite my description of it being natural, the bass doesn't feel slow or sticky at all. In fact, this is one of the things I love the most about Mojo, that it has the speed to be quick, but also the power to deliver a healthy punch, so for EDM and Metal music, it can keep up even with aggressive music, while with Jazz the bass stays in a more natural speed. There's another thing about its bass that kind of differs from the typical DAC/AMP experience, the bass of Mojo just flows, it doesn't feel overly quick or snappy, with lightning fast decay, which is why it can stay slower for a Jazz experience, but also speed up for metal, it responds naturally to the music that is being played. For classical music, the bass provides both the authority, and the depth required, but also the texture in the bass needed for a more typical analogue experience.

    The midrange of Mojo is extremely natural and musical, it feels full and lush, without feeling too thick or boomy, simply, it feels natural. The tonality feels pretty spot-on, and with guitar solos, you can hear that juicy tone you want from a guitar, and the same can be said about male voices, which can sound deep and authoritative. Performance on stringed instruments is also very good, with nice amounts of detail and clarity, the midrange can feel snappy and quick, but once again, the decay of each musical note is on the natural side of things, rather than being set on fast, so you don't feel like music is rushing on your, but you don't feel like things are being too slow. There is a hint of vocal forwardness and the soundstage isn't expanded unnaturally, but Mojo doesn't feel congested, and the instrument separation is quite good, and in line with other 500 USD DAC/AMPs.

    If the bass and the midrange of Mojo are very natural, the treble is slightly too smooth to be called perfectly natural, instead, treble-lovers may not find what they are looking in Mojo. The articulation and detail in the treble are quite excellent, but Mojo doesn't have any hint of sibilance, and no grain either, so the texture in the treble may feel a touch too smooth. The treble has one of those experiences where you can't say you were unhappy, though, because it has all the detail you'd like, and it is one of those fatigue-free trebles that you would want to listen for longer.


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    I said in my video review that the dynamics weren't quite that impressive on Mojo, but after more listening to it, I notice now that I grew a bit too used to the dynamics of a 2000 USD system, and this is why I felt a bit underwhelmed by Mojo, now that I had more time to analyse it, it is in line with other similarly priced DAC/AMPs in terms of dynamics, like iFi xDSD and such. In fact, Mojo's dynamics aren't the highlight simply because it sounds natural, it doesn't lack dynamics, rather, it doesn't place a strong emphasis on them either, it simply strives to be as natural as possible, with a touch of smoothness and warmth, that enables a really long listening session, after which you can feel about zero fatigue.




    Potable Usage


    The portable usage of Mojo is more or less average, because although it has a good battery life, it has a long charging time, and it isn't the most easy to stack with a smartphone. Something like iFi xDSD can use a short, simple OTG cable that's easy to find in most shops, while for Mojo, you either need to look for a special Type-C to microUSB, or microUSB to microUSB short cable, to connect it to a smartphone.

    Furthermore, Mojo's shape isn't the most friendly for stacking, it is short, and quite thick, which means that with most smartphones, it will cover about half of the smartphone, although this leaves enough space for the headphone cable.


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    Now, the funny thing about Mojo is that a lot of people have been using it as a Desktop DAC/AMP. In fact, Mojo is the most widely used DAC/AMP for headphones, and even as a standalone DAC in music production, throughout Romania. Most music producers found that its versatility in driving both IEMs and Headphones, having a perfect phase, and the kind of smooth detail it has, being able to both reveal all details, and provide a clean sound at the same time, but without inducing fatigue, are all perfect abilities for a DAC in their setup. Indeed, I have seen a Mojo DAC/AMP on the table of almost all sound engineers / live mixing engineers / and music workers in general in Romania, and around the world, it looks like this is quite a nice reference DAC/AMP that they use for their process, and well, if they consider it both fit and perfectly fit for music production, it should also be nice for music listening as well.

    The thing is, most people seem to have taken it out of its intended usage scenario, and instead of using Mojo portably, as it was intended, it is widely used for desktop DAC/AMP setups. Even I have used almost half-half on-the-go and on desktop, simply because it has the power, depth, clarity and detail to make a nice desktop unit, but the physical thickness and overall shape, combined with the microUSB port makes it a bit less likely to be used as a portable unit.


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    As far as its driving power goes, Mojo can safely drive HIFIMAN Sundara, which is pretty much the hardest to drive portable I'd use while on-the-go. It struggles a bit with HIFIMAN Arya and HE6SE, but then again, those are not what you'd normally take while on-the-go. Mojo can drive Kennerton Thror really well, as well as Audeze LCD-MX4, and it pairs beautifully with Beyerdynamic Amiron, but with IEMs it shines just as bright, being able to give an excellent sound to Beyerdynamic Xelento, Dita Fidelity, Fealy and Dita Truth, Campfire Atlas, and many more.

    What came to me as a surprise is that it was able to handle also CrossZone CZ-1, which is fairly hard to drive well.


    This eans that Mojo isn't afraid of either hard-to-drive headphones with low or with high impedance, and this indicates that both its voltage is very clean and clear, and so is its current, both headphones that need a good voltage and which have a high impedance sound good, and the same can be said about IEMs and headphones with really low impedance that hunger for large amounts of current.

    All in all, the portable usage of Mojo is mixed with the desktop usage, but it is a very versatile and capable DAC/AMP, and the fact that it can be used equally well in both modes, and that it can drive pretty much all of the normal headphone under 1000 USD, and even headphones and IEMs that are true flagships or Summit-Fi makes Mojo a truly versatile product.



    Comparisons


    Chord Mojo has to stand well against three main competitors to be worth its asking price, and being a portable product, all of those are portable DAC/AMPs. The 3 products it has to stand well against are iFi xDSD (400 USD), FiiO Q5 + AM05 (450 USD), and iFi iDSD Micro Black Label (500 USD). There are other interesting DAC/AMPs out there, but almost all questions and inquiries about Mojo were about comparisons with those three, and so I'll be focusing on those.

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    ChordMojo vs FiiO Q5 (AM05) - Things start to get funny as soon as you start comparing Mojo to other devices, because, besides the sonic quality, how practical a device is, comes into play. Q5 + AM05 from FiiO is pretty much the versatility master of DAC/AMPs, it is pretty much the most versatile one, it has both the power and the abilities to be named as such, it has Line Out, Bluetooth, multiple AMP modules, and it has the shape that makes it perfect to stack to a smartphone. Furthermore, Q5 also comes with all the cables required to connect it to pretty much anything, making it a better package as well. Where things start to get interesting is at the sound level, because Mojo has a different sound, Q5 with AM05, which is the best configuration for Q5 will be wider, considerably more neutral, and have similar note decay to Mojo, but at the detail and micro detail level, Mojo reveals more details and micro details than Q5. Mojo is also more dynamic and deeper, but I'd say that Q5 is a touch more crisp in the treble, where Q5 is smoother and more fatigue-free.

    Chord Mojo vs iFi xDSD - iFi xDSD may take a few trophies home for its design and aesthetic, but when it comes to the package, it is also pretty nice, with all the cables and accessories necessary to use it included in the package. The battery life between xDSD and Mojo is quite similar if we're being honest, and so is the overall usage scenario, but xDSD has some tweaks, like the X-Bass and the 3D Soundstage tweaks that you can simply flick on or off with a button. When it comes to the overall sound, Mojo feels more detailed, more smooth, has a way smoother treble, but still with a natural amount of energy, xDSD feels a touch wider, while Mojo feels deeper and more layered, Mojo feels like it can expose certain details better, while xDSD feels like it has a slightly more versatile approach. The driving power is better on Mojo, and it can drive quite a few more headphones, louder, with better control, and can drive Sundara, for example, to its full potential, better than xDSD, although both Mojo and xDSD are pretty much dead silent with IEMs and low impedance headphones. It is probable, though, that users who invest so much in xDSD won't use the Bluetooth function on xDSD quite that much, so at the end of the day, the two features that xDSD has, and are quite important, are the 3D soundstage, and the X-Bass enhancements, and this is because sometimes just turning those on will make the EQ process of a headphone simpler. On the other hand, although for Treble, you may feel like Mojo is a touch smooth, for bass, its overall performance is smoother and yet more detailed, has more authority and is more powerful than xDSD, simply put, Mojo naturally drives headphones better (when talking about hard to drive headphones especially). Both xDSD and Mojo can be used as a full time desktop DAC, but only Mojo has 2 Headphone outputs. xDSD has a Balanced outputs, although the sound is very similar to its single ended output if you use it (they have a unique approach to balanced outputs). xDSD can decode MQA, while Mojo can't, but on this note, within my rather large collection of music, I have about zero albums available in MQA (including my Tidal library), so when deciding between the two, you should check whether you actually have any albums in MQA in your collection. At the end of the day, if you're looking for a more portable versatile device, that charges faster and which is a touch more versatile, then xDSD is a nice choice, but Mojo does overtake it in terms of overall technical detail, smoothness, and depth, and also in terms of driving power and control.


    Chord Mojo vs iFi iDSD BL Micro - iDSD BL Micro is actually the one device on this list that's actually less portable than Mojo, and by a rather good margin, because it is both heavier, and it is also larger physically, although, it does have more raw driving power than Mojo. The sound of iDSD BL is different from Mojo, iDSD BL has a very different approach to music, with less emphasis on dynamics, more emphasis on depth, and with a considerably less forward and a much much more laid back presentation. This makes Mojo stand out as more dynamic, more punchy and more forward, with more detail, and judging by the fact that most people describe Mojo as slightly laid back, you should get an idea of where each of them stands. In terms of micro-details, both have good micro-details, but with the very laid back character of iDSD Micro BL, you feel like those micro-details are farther away from you, while Mojo brings them closer, and makes them slightly more articulate. The driving power of iDSD BL is considerably stronger than Mojo, but by the point you need that driving power, you're most probably standing at a desk rather than using either of them portably. Overall, iDSD Micro BL is an excellent device for audio portability, features a true line out, 3.5mm Aux input, it features one of the best DACs seen in a portable, can charge a smartphone, and can also take Coax signal input, making it really easy to recommend as a portable DAC/AMP. Mojo, on the other hand, kind of completes it, with a more forward sound, also taking in Coax input, but optical as well, having two Headphone Outputs, Optical Inputs, and also having a really nice battery life, the two DAC/AMPs, at the end of the day, feeling a bit more complementary, you're most probably in need of one or the other, but it is good to take into account that Mojo is quite a bit more convenient to take portably, while iDSD Micro BL not exactly.



    Pairing


    The pairing of Mojo is pretty much flawless with any Headphone and IEM unless they are exceptionally hard to drive or picky, and as such picking just 3 to write about in this review has been quite challenging, but I have selected Dita Fidelity, for its excellent resolution and clarity, for its analytical sound that will surely reveal Mojo's characteristics well, HIFIMAN Sundara, which I consider a true workhorse for portability, I actually use this quite often while on-the-go, and consider that Mojo and Sundara make a great pair (now that I had more time to listen to them), and also Audeze LCD-MX4, which is a true flagship that's beautiful to pair with pretty much anything for their enjoyable sound, and to spend more time with them. Sennheiser HD660S pairs just as nicely with Mojo, and so does Campfire Atlas and many others, but the ones above are my choices for today's review, as offering more pairings would make this a really long read.

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    Chord Mojo + HIFIMAN Sundara - Sundara makes an interesting pairing with Mojo because Mojo has all the power needed to drive Sundara, but above that, Mojo adds an amazing layer of micro-details and clarity, but also a nice depth to Sundara. The dynamics are as amazing as you'd expect from a well-driven Sundara, making this pairing really easy to recommend, especially to those who wanted a Sundara that has a more full and smooth sound, rather than their usual neutral-ish presentation.

    Chord Mojo + Dita Fidelity - Dita fidelity is another example of headphone that makes a great pair with Mojo, and this is because Fidelity is one analytical IEM, and Mojo compliments their nature quite well if you wanted them to have a fuller, deeper and more smooth sound. Of course, you lose a bit of edge and sparkle when pairing Fidelity with Mojo rather than with a very neutral DAC/AMP, but you gain quite a bit in smoothness and in overall enjoyment for long hours of listening, as otherwise an analytical sound can get a bit fatiguing after a while.

    Chord Mojo + Audeze LCD-MX4 - LCD-MX4 is one of the best flagship studio monitoring / mastering headphones out there, created and designed by Audeze and made to be a statement in how good a Planar can be for monitoring, mixing and mastering. Mojo has all the power needed to drive LCD-MX4 quite well, and also pairs well with them in terms of sound, giving them a deep and precise sound, and enhancing their already smooth signature to allow you to work for many hours in a row to get that perfect mix / master you've been looking for. The details of this pairing are quite great, and so are the dynamics.



    Value and Conclusion


    Chord Mojo has been one interesting DAC/AMP to review and you can understand both its price tag, and the reason why it is so widely used, just a bit better now. The fact that it stood the test of time so well, having been released quite a while ago, without dropping in price much, and still being not only considered, but also bought by many, shows that it provides a fair performance for its price.

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    The package is very basic, and I can't say I'm quite satisfied, there are 100 USD DAC/AMPs that come with more, but to be fair, besides some rubber bands, and a silicone band separator, which isn't even absolutely necessary, there's very little that you could desire for more with Mojo. It is probably a good idea to purchase high quality cables for Mojo anyways, and an OEM probably wouldn't have been quite as good as a good aftermarket cable, but still, Mojo will not win any competition for its package.

    The build quality is extremely solid, Mojo has a nice touch finish, it doesn't get scratched easily, and even after taking it out during rain, snow, storm, and sandstorm, it has zero scratches and works as new. Pretty great job from the guys at Chord. The software is also pretty much rock stable, and although it charges a bit slow, it provides good battery life, and its operation is hassle-free.


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    The colored balls of Mojo are fun to use, and I don't mind a bit of color in my DAC/AMPs, and if you walk a lot late at night, they make a good flashlight, although I'm not sure they were designed as such. The volume and driving power is enough for pretty much all your typical and even for most hard to drive and special headphones, bar the 2-3 in this world that you wouldn't take outside anyways (this is keeping in mind Mojo is Chord's Portable DAC/AMP).

    Chord Mojo sounds pretty majestic, with a natural sound through and through, a great depth and weight to its music, a slightly forward yet smooth and extremely detailed midrange, and a fatigue-free treble that still bears all the detail and clarity it should have, but has zero fatigue. The soundstage is natural in size, and the dynamics are quite amazing for its price point, making Mojo a really nice overall DAC/AMP.

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    At the end of the day, if you're looking for a well-built, portable DAC/AMP that you can also use for your desktop setup, which has two headphone outputs, which has USB, Optical and Coaxial input, which has a good amount of driving power and is extremely versatile, with a really natural, yet incredibly detailed sound, you should check out Chord Mojo, as it may become your next music companion, as it did even with a ton of music industry workers and other music lovers.



    Full Playlist used for this review

    While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.


    Tidal Playlist

    https://tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

    Song List

    ats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
    Eskimo Callboy - Frances
    Incubus - Summer Romance
    Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage
    Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
    Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir
    Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
    Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
    Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
    Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
    Attack Attack - Kissed A Girl
    Doctor P - Bulletproof
    Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
    Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
    Escape The Fate - Gorgeous Nightmare
    SOAD - Chop Suey
    Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
    Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
    Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop
    Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
    Eminem - Rap God
    Stromae - Humain À L'eau
    Sonata Arctica - My Selene
    Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
    Metallica - Fuel
    Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
    Masa Works - Golden Japang
    REOL - Luvoratorrrrry
    Dope - Addiction
    Korn - Word Up!
    Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
    Fever The Ghost - Source
    Fall Out Boy - Immortals
    Green Day - Know The Enemy
    Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
    A static Lullaby - Toxic
    Royal Republic - Addictive
    Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
    We Came As Romans - My Love
    Skillet - What I Believe
    Man With A Mission - Smells Like Teen Spirit
    Yasuda Rei - Mirror
    Mojo Juju - Must Be Desire
    Falling Up - Falling In Love
    Manafest - Retro Love
    Rodrigo Y Grabriela - Paris
    Zomboy - Lights Out
    Muse - Resistance
    T.A.T.U & Rammstein - Mosaku
    Grey Daze - Anything, Anything
    Katy Perry - Who Am I Living For
    Maroon 5 - Lucky Strike
    Machinae Supremacy - Killer Instinct
    Pendulum - Propane Nightmares
    Sirenia - Lithium And A Lover
    Saving Abel - Addicted
    Hollywood Undead - Levitate
    The Offspring - Special Delivery
    Escape The Fate - Smooth
    Samsara Blues Experiment - One With The Universe
    Dope - Rebel Yell
    Crazy Town - Butterfly
    Silverstein - My Heroine


    I hope my review is helpful to you!

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    Contact me!

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      volly likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Dobrescu George
      Dobrescu George, Apr 23, 2019
    3. szore
      Great review. I wonder how the sound compares to the Sony 1a?
      szore, Jul 4, 2019
      Dobrescu George likes this.
    4. Dobrescu George
      @szore - If I'll have a chance to hear 1a, I'll surely let you know! At the moment I only heard 1Z, and there, I actually felt they were somewhat similar, Mojo felt more liquid, also had more punch, where 1Z was warmer in general.
      Dobrescu George, Jul 4, 2019
      szore likes this.
  2. 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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.
  3. 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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    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.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    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.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    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.

    [​IMG]

    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).

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    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)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    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.
  4. 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
      funkforfood, axw and .Sup like this.
    1. axw
      Fully agree, this thing is a bit overpriced
      axw, Jul 10, 2018
  5. 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. 
     

     ​
    0.jpg
     
     ​
    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.
      bezae and cpauya like this.
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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.
     
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    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. 
  9. 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!
     
     
     
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      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
  10. 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