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Chord Electronics Mojo

Rating:
4.66667/5,
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.

    [​IMG]
    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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
     
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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. 
  6. 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
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    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
  7. 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.
     
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               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. 
     
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     Dual 3.5mm headphone ports are on the other side:
     
    20161007_104834.jpg
     
               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:
     
    Apple-Premium-Bundle-CHORD-Electronics-Mojo-portable-DACHeadphone-Amplifier-and-Mojo-Black-Leather-Case-and-Apple-Lightning-to-USB-Camera-Adapter-CCK-6.jpg
     
    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:
     
    900x900px-LL-f76b3448_image.jpg
     
               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:
     
    Screen20Shot202013-11-1020at2011_58_1120PM.jpg
     
               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:
     
     
    900x900px-LL-ec36abca_Screenshot2016-02-21at2_10_40AM.png
     
    900x900px-LL-78c28054_Screenshot2016-02-21at2_10_16AM.png
     
    900x900px-LL-3be8aadb_Screenshot2016-02-21at2_09_51AM.png
     
    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.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Ike1985
      Thanks Guys!
      Ike1985, Oct 8, 2016
    3. Shini44
      this review should be taught in universities :wink: but seriously thanks for this super guide ^^
      Shini44, Oct 8, 2016
    4. bancanus
      @Ike1985 Thank you for the great review! I am new to head-fi and just got a mojo, I wish I discover mojo earlier because I really like its sound! I am using Onkyo HF player, and the current version is slightly different from your screenshot. Should I turn on the "real-time DSD Conversion" to get the bitperfect sound?
      bancanus, May 23, 2019
  8. peter123
    Amazing sounding all in one unit!
    Written by peter123
    Published Aug 6, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Versatile, excellent sound, build quality, internal battery
    Cons - Design, no analogue input, gets very hot when connected to a PC for longer time
    The Chord Mojo was loaned to me by fellow Head-Fier @kvad. Thank you very much for giving me the chance to me hear it!
     
    IMG_3874.jpg IMG_3876.jpg
     
    IMG_3877.jpg IMG_3878.jpg
     
     
     
    The Chord Mojo is available from Penon Audio and numerous other online and domestic (most places) resellers. The price at the time of this review was $599: 
     
    http://penonaudio.com/Chord-Mojo,
     
    For more information about the Mojo you can also visit the Chord Electronics website:
     
    http://chordelectronics.co.uk/mojo/
     
    I’m not in any way affiliated with Penon Audio or Chord Electronics.
     
    Short introduction to Chord Electronics:
    Chord Electronics was established in 1989. It’s a British based company known and appreciated for their upper end audio products for both professional and home usage.
     
    This is what they say about themselves and their technology on their website:
    Chord Electronics was founded in 1989 by John Franks who had previously held Directorships with Astec, the world leader in high frequency power supplies, Raytheon and AT&T. A thorough mix of graduate level intellect, design experience and dedicated craft persons embody Chords production team, with our sales being achieved through a reputation of technical excellence, reliability and superb sound quality.
     
    Years of research and innovation have been invested in the Chord range. From the outset, when Chord started applying the technologies that lifted products from the mainstream, the company has been leading the field. With the watchwords of innovation and uncompromised audio quality, we have consistently invested our products with precision engineering and attention to detail. This is as true for our professional products as the astonishing hi-fi portfolio that continually wins the hearts and minds of listeners and reviewers alike.
     
    About me:
    I’m a 43 year old music and sound lover that changed my focus from speakers to headphones and IEM’s about five years ago. At that time I realized that it wasn’t realistic for me to have all the different setups that I wanted and still house a family of four children and a wife so my interest turned first to full sized headphones and later also IEM’s.
     
    My preferences are towards full sized open headphones and I believe that also says something about what kind of sound signature I prefer (large soundstage in all directions, balanced and organic sound).
     
    My music preferences are pretty much all over the place (only excluding classical music, jazz and really heavy metal). My all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode although I also listen to a lot of grunge/indie, singer/songwriter/acoustical stuff as well as the typical top 40 music.
     
    I tend to value function over form within reasonable limits.
     
    I do not use EQ, ever.
     
    I’m a sucker for value for money on most things in life Head-Fi related stuff is no exception.
     
     
    Built, accessories and functionality:
    The Chord Mojo is a DAC with a variable line out that's designed to drive IEMs and headphones.  
     
    The Mojo is available in one version in the color black.
     
    Output power is rated to 720mW@ 8Ohm and 35mW@600Ohm, I’ve also read about measurements rating the output to 680mW@16Ohm (@50Hz) but this is not official so take it with a grain of salt. Output impedance is rated at a very low 0,075Ohms.
     
    The Mojo is very solidly built at has a good weight to it making it feel very durable. The chassis is covered my some paint like material making it less prone to scratches than bare metal. The physical controls available on it doers also feel very reliable and not loose in any way. Personally I would have preferred a thinner form factor with a larger footprint (if necessary) for easier stacking with a phone or DAP but I can also see the advantage with the currant design for home usage.  The overall impression of the Mojo is still that it’s a very well built and thought through piece of equipment.
     
    The Mojo offers one micro USB digital audio input and one separate micro USB power input. It also offers both coaxial and optical inputs. For the output there are two 3.5mm outputs for headphones making it possible for two persons listening at the same time or very convenient when comparing headphones or IEM’s.  I’d like to have an analogue input as well to be able to combine it with other, non-digital sources.
     
    The Mojo works very well with Android when connected with an OTG cable and using USB Audio Player Pro (UAPP) as music player. Although Android and sound does not have a great reputation the Mojo have worked with every Android device I’ve tried it with (sometimes with the help of UAPP). The internal battery does eliminate the need for power banks or other external power when using it with a phone or tablet, it does also help with power drain that is much less from the hosting device than when using a product without internal battery. For further information about the complex relationship between Android and DAC’s I highly recommend visiting this excellent thread:
     
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/595071/android-phones-and-usb-dacs
     
    The Mojo is also supposed to work with Apple devices using the Camera Connection Kit (CCK) but I haven’t been able to test this myself.
     
    The biggest advantage of the Mojo may also be its biggest downfall in my opinion.
     
    The Mojo support all popular file formats for audio up to DSD512 and 32bit/768kHz files.
     
    On the top of the unit you’ll find physical buttons for changing the volume up/down. These have the same design as the indicator showing what sample rate is played (by showing different colors) giving a very neat visual presentation.
     
    The accessories included are:
    1 USB cord
     
    IMG_3870.jpg IMG_3880.jpg
     
    IMG_3893.jpg IMG_3875.jpg
     
    The specs:
    1. Micro USB 768KHz/32bit capable
    2. 3.5mm jack coaxial 768KHz/32bit capable
    3. Optical Toslink 192KHz/24-bit capable
    4. Output Power( at 1kHz):
    5. 35mW@600Ohm
    6. 720mW@8Ohm
    7. Output Impedance: 0.075Ohms
    8. Dynamic Range: 125dB
    9. THD( at 3v):0.00017%
    10. Size:82x60x22mm
    11. Weight:180g
     
    I’ve used the Mojo for the last eight days and my unit arrived already burned in.
     
    Demo list:
    Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia
    Røyksopp (Feat.Susanne Sundfør) – Save Me
    Ane Brun – These Days
    Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana
    Metallica – Die Die My Darling
    The Peter Malick Group – Immigrant
    Eva Cassidy – Songbird
    Thomas Dybdahl – A Lovestory
    Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
    Celldweller – Unshakeable
    Jack Johnson – Better Together
    Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo remix)
    Dire Straits- So Far Away
    Björk - Moon
    Lupe Fiasco - Deliver
    Morrissey – Earth Is the Loneliest Planet
     
    Sound impression:
    I’ve got to be honest and admit that I find it pretty difficult to describe the sound from an amplifier. To me the sound of headphones/IEM’s is more easy to describe than that of amplifiers and DAC’s but I’ll do my best and hopefully the comparison section will also be of help.
     
    The first thing that I noticed when I started to listen to the Mojo was the amazing amount of air and space it produced.
     
    Bass extension and quality is very good and I don’t feel as if there’s any noticeable roll off in the lower frequencies. Mid- and upper-bass is more subdued contributing to the great sense of space and airiness that the Mojo produces.  Although the impact of higher bass is quite low the Mojo never sound thin in its presentation but rather airy and relaxed.
     
    The midrange is liquid and smooth with plenty of details. The Mojo sounds very linear through all frequencies and the midrange is no exception. Nothing stands out and it sounds very natural and makes a very relaxing listening experience.
     
    The treble is very well extended, airy and smooth. It adds further to the liquid non-fatiguing and natural overall sound. As a matter of fact I think the treble reproduction is the best part of the Mojo’s sound. I find it really good and it has an almost hazy character (in a very good way) while stil keeping all the details.
     
    The overall presentation has great soundstage in all directions and layering is very good as is the amount of air between the instruments. The background does also feel very close to perfectly black. Transparency and dynamics is also easily noticed. The timbre on instruments is also quite good and vocals sound very seductive and intriguing.  All together I’d describe the sound of the Mojo as natural and airy.
     
    Comparison:
    Please note that the comments in the comparison section are not in absolute terms but in comparison between subject A and B. This means (as an example) that if subject A is found to be brighter than subject B it does not necessarily mean that subject A is bright sounding in absolute terms. I hope this makes sense.
     
    In these comparisons I’ve been listening through my AKG Q701’s.
     
    Both units was connected to a simple switch box through their respectively headphone outputs. This way it’s very easy to switch between the sources in minimal time. I also use a simple Android app to volume match the amplifiers so although maybe not perfectly scientifically the result should still be pretty correct.
     
    I’ve been comparing the USB input on both units. Both has been hooked up to two different phones both running UAPP which bypasses the Android sound management.
     
    IMG_3871.jpg
     
    Burson Audio Conductor V2+ (1,499) vs Chord Mojo:
    The V2+ is the heart of my main system and I really love both its features and sound.
     
    Compared to the Mojo the V2+ has slightly less airiness in its presentation while soundstage width is quite similar. The V2+ has better bass presentation with both better impact and higher quality (better layering) this is actually quite easy to hear with the Q’s.  The greater bass quality, I don’t feel that the V2+ adds bass in any way but I do feel that the mid- and upper-bass on the Mojo is a bit subdued, makes the V2+ more dynamic sounding and with better definition while the Mojo is more airy in its presentation. Both are top notch when it comes to detail retrieval. In short I’d say that the V2+ is more dynamic and engaging while the Mojo is more laid back and relaxed.
     
    The V2+ of course has some other advantages such as significantly higher power output (4W @32Ohms compared to 720mW@8Ohm on the Mojo), two analogue RCA inputs and both pre-amp and DAC direct RCA outputs. In addition it also has a great quality remote control. The mojo on the other hand has internal battery, is portable and generally MUCH smaller making its usage field larger.
     
    Although both these are excellent offerings the overall built and larger amount of connections definitely makes the V2+ the more suitable in a home system. Sound wise it may be more up to personal preference but I’d put the V2+ slightly ahead here as well. The V2+ is a 7 kg brick costing 2.5 times that of the Mojo though.
     
    Audinst HUD-DX1 ($399) vs Chord Mojo:
    Compared to the Mojo the Audinst has a fuller but also less refined sound. The Mojo feels more effortless and has a wider soundstage with more air in the presentation, the Audinst definitely the warmer sounding of the two. The Audinst unit also has the most bass presence of the two but the bass on the Mojo seems better controlled and bath reaches equally low on both of them. The Mojo has better detail retrieval and is also the more natural sounding of the two while the Audinst offer more energy and attack while still maintaining warm and smooth. The treble on the Mojo is more airy, detailed and natural to my ears.
     
    Feature wise the Mojo offers both coaxial and optical inputs in addition to the micro USB input. The Auidinst has an old school USB type B sound input in addition to an optical input. The Audinst also has both optical and RCA line outputs while the Mojo has only the dual headphone out as its only outputs. The Audinst does actually also offer dual headphone outputs but instead of two 3.5mm ones it has one 3.5 and one 6.3mm, this is actually very convenient and you won’t have to fiddle around with adapters. The Mojo also has an internal battery making it more versatile when used with phones and tablets on the go but less so when paired to a computer due to the fact that it runs quite hot in such applications. The footprint of the Mojo is much smaller. Build quality feels very solid on both units with a small advantage to the Mojo.
     
    Burson Audio Conductor Air ($499) vs Chord Mojo:
    I’ve also compared the Mojo the Burson Audio Conductor Air in my review of that unit posted just a little while ago so instead of doing the same again making it boring for those who might have read both reviews I’ll leave the link for it right here, just scroll down to the comparison section:
     
    http://www.head-fi.org/products/burson-audio-conductor-air/reviews/16536
     
    IMG_3866.jpg
    Size comparison Mojo and Air
     
     
     
    For even further comparisons feel free to visit this thread for breakdown between more $250+ amp/DAC units (this is a work in progress and several other units will follow in the near future).
     
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/816410/peter123s-250-amp-dac-combo-comparison-thread
     
    Matching:
    The output impedance of the headphone out on the Mojo is rated to 0.075Ohm. This means that it could pretty much be paired with any IEM’s or headphones out there without concern.
     
    In this section I’ve tested how some of my favorite headphones but also one earbud and one pair of IEM’s pairs up with the Mojo.  
     
    AKG Q701 ($300):
    The Q’s pairs up very nicely with the Mojo. The neutral relaxed sound actually suits the Q’s surprisingly good. The Mojo has no problem at all to power the Q’s to louder listening levels. I was kind of expecting the signature of the Mojo to make the Q’s a bit unengaging but that’s certainly not the case. The treble quality of the Mojo really shines in this pairing and female vocals sound as good as I’ve ever heard them as a matter of fact the Mojo really gives the V2+ a run for its money with them.
     
    Philips Fidelio X2 ($300):
    The X2’s is also a great match with the Mojo. The full sound of the X2’s pairs very well with the clean, clear and airy presentation of the Mojo. Although the Fidelio’s pretty easy to drive they really scale with a good source and amp and the Mojo gives it enough low end hump without adding any extra unwanted mid-bass.  This combination is really fun to listen to and has a great drive to the music that really makes me forget all about analyzing the sound and rather just enjoy the music.
     
    VE Zen 2.0 ($138):
    The Zen 2.0 is a 300Ohm earbud that I like a lot and tend to use instead of closed headphones.
     
    The soft and smooth signature from the Zen 2.0 works pretty well with the relaxed presentation of the Mojo. The Zen 2.0 sounds very wide and airy when driven from the Mojo but I’ve heard them perform better from sources with a more dynamic presentation. I can help feeling that they lack some dynamics and drive when driven from the Mojo. Not a bad pairing but I’ve heard better ones.
     
    Aurisonics ASG-1PLUS ($500):
    The ASG-1PLUS is an 11Ohm hybrid IEM (1 DD + 1 BA).
    The 1PLUS, being one of my all-time favorite IEM’s, was the first thing I hooked up to the Mojo for an initial listening when it first arrived.  To be honest I was pretty underwhelmed from the experience and although it didn’t sound bad I felt as if I was expecting more after all I’ve read about the Mojo. The presentation of the 1PLUS is actually very similar to that of the Mojo: relaxed, smooth, airy and with a bit subdued upper bass presence. Together this became a bit too much for my preference resulting in a sound that was a bit unengaging and lacking in drive and dynamics.  Like I said: not bad, but certainly not the best pairing either. 
     
    Super Audio 6 ($250):
    The Super Audio 6 (SA6) is a six BA driver Chinese DIY offering. It has a warm, smooth, intimate and mid-centric overall presentation.
     
    The combination of these two makes a stunning listening experience, probably one of the best I’ve ever had with a pair of IEM’s. The full and lush presentation from the SA6 seems to be a perfect match for the amazing sense of space and air that the Mojo offers. The smooth and warm nature of the SA6 is not super revealing and can get a bit overly creamy with a warm source but with the Mojo it’s has more detailed and airy than I’ve ever heard it before.
     
    To sum up the matching section the signature of the Mojo does make some of my headphones and IEM’s sound better than I’ve ever heard them before, with some (a clear minority) I do find it to lack a bit of dynamics and drive though. The very low amount of hiss as well as enough power for all my full sized headphones does still make it very versatile in practical use.
     
    Summary:
    The Chord Mojo is indeed an excellent product. It packs a lot of features such as internal battery, small size, several connection options and combines it with excellent sound quality. It has a relaxed and laid back presentation that works very well with most headphones and IEM’s but not all. Despite being able to do the work in a home system replacing units much larger and potentially more expensive than itself I can’t help feeling that it is an easier recommendation for portable usage. The reason for this is that it does get very hot when being permanently connected to a laptop or computer (which I would believe would be the most common use of it in a home system) combined with the fact that constant charging might not be the best thing for the battery. I’ve also read several complaints about unwanted shut down while connected to a laptop for longer times and although this has never happened to me in the time I’ve had it I’d still be careful with using it in such a configuration.  Ironically enough the same battery is also one of the major reasons why it’s probably one of, if not the best product I’ve tried so far for portable use.
     
    Actually the Mojo is the best amp/DAC combo that I’ve come across so far for portable usage.
     
    Audio Quality: 5
    Design: 4
    Quality: 4.5
    Value: 5
    Features: 5
     
    IMG_3879.jpg
      H20Fidelity, kvad, RedJohn456 and 5 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Dionysus
      Excellent review great work. Btw that package is definitely different than the plain white box I received, when I got mine months ago here in the states.
      Dionysus, Aug 6, 2016
    3. PleasantSounds
      Peter, you may have not experienced this but many users report unacceptable level of interferences when used with a mobile phone. For a device like mojo that is designed as portable, I consider this a pretty serious issue.
      Just thought I'll mention this as the potential buyers should be aware of such things, and the mojo thread is moving too fast for any human that has a life to follow it.
      PleasantSounds, Aug 7, 2016
    4. Traveller
      Nice work, sir! T4S!
      Traveller, Aug 7, 2016
  9. Peter Hyatt
    Fulfillment of Foolish and Overwrought Expectations
    Written by Peter Hyatt
    Published Mar 18, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Beautiful Sound, Small Size, Fascinating and Useful Design
    Cons - None
    Reviewers often give backgrounds so that the reader is privileged to have a reference point for the reviewer's opinion.  Many are experienced audiophiles familiar with the language of such, which is often not only unique to its own, it is often indiscernible to the non-audiophile.  
     
    I am a non audiophile and understand only a portion of the language but do know what I like and what I have hoped for. 
     
    Going from average consumer headphones to Beyerdynamic T1 was a "wow!" moment where the product's impact upon me was overwhelmingly positive.  The T1's exceeded my expectations on what quality could come from headphones, and the 2nd generation's removable cable was a great upgrade.  Having raised a large family, I know what can happen to headphone cables wherever children are and this 'security blanket' means that even grandchildren's small feet could cause a tug in the wrong direction, but the headphones will survive.
     
     The sound of the T1 was the "wow!" moment I had hoped for while investing such money into headphones. 
     
    Thus began my search for the appropriate amp and dac. I began by "rounding up the usual suspects" particularly using Amazon Warehouse Prime, allowing for open box testing and free shipping both ways.  
     
    The Beyerdynamic A20 amp was the best I had heard in the amps, and the Schiit Modi 2 uber bested the Bifrost  4490 for sound quality.  The A20 amp was clearly a well constructed and neutral sounding amp that seemed to go well with the T1.  This was my hone set up and for travel, I simply used the Monte Blanc from Fiio; a good, solid and strong portable amp. 
     
    Yet, I was nagged by the Mojo reviews.  How could any product be that good?  If the reviews were to be believed, the Mojo was consistently described as better than anything described costing 4 times as much as the Mojo, with some describing it as good as DACs costing upwards of $5,000 US.  The reviews came in from all over the US, UK, Australia, and the far east and the consistency throughout was note worthy.  Professional reviewers and amateurs alike raved about it.  
     
    I had to give it a try.  
     
    I knew that my expectation was too high from the reviews; foolish, in fact, because there is really no place to go but down.  The Modi 2 and Bifrost are good DACs and people love them.  The Beyerdynamic A20 amp comes through with beautiful clarity.  Yet, the reviews of Mojo set the bar much higher.  I have gone to movies where people have raved so much about the movie that my expectation meant one thing:  disappointment.  
     
    I considered that there could be no possible "wow!" moment for me, as I am at a very good place with my current set up. 
     
    I was stunned the first time I heard the Mojo.  
     
    Stunned.  
     
    The jump in quality from my set up was like nothing I expected or could have predicted.  I was stunned and overwhelmed at what my ears were hearing, and what was being 'thrown at me', so I decided to go to my old favorites; that is, music that I no longer listen to because I have heard it too often for 4 decades.  This included Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" and the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."  I also decided to test some of the more modern Dylan, particularly the vocals from "Modern Times" and "Oh Mercy" with Daniel Lanois' production.  Then, I added Swan Lake, and from another Mojo reviewer, Amber Rubarth's "Sessions" album, with its incredible soundstage. 
     
    Wow.
     
    The Mojo gave me detail that I have not heard before.  My brain was so accustomed, for example, to every note on "Blood on the Tracks", having heard it and played it on guitar, that I did not think I could ever hear anything new on it.  
     
    Stunning. 
     
    I heard things on Sgt. Pepper's that I did not know existed.  
     
    It was that Mojo brought back my entire music catalog from retirement.  
     
    I found myself checking back those reviews, listening for what the reviewer said had most touched him, and sure enough, the scratch of a guitar, the edge of the rim of the snare drum, and the highs of even a flute, were all there, just as marvelously described by both professional and amateur audiophile.  
     
    In sharing Mojo with my wife during the day, I  have reached a point where not using the Mojo is disappointing and a bit discouraging; such as, 'maybe I will put the news on for a while rather than listening to music' since she had the Mojo instead of me.  We will get a second. 
     
    Chord Electronics has given me and my wife a wonderful gift and something that we could afford.  I do not know how this will work out for them, and how it will impact its sales of Hugo, and I know this must be impacting some other fine high quality companies, too.  
     
    For me, I no longer own the desktop amp, the desktop DAC, nor the portable amp.  
     
    Something as tiny as the Mojo has replaced all my equipment.  
     
    I take it everywhere I go, just as I do my iPhone, just in case I get a spare few minutes and slip on the in-ear headphones.  It is this good. 
     
    What has Mojo done to "Pet Sounds"?  
     
    Berlin Philharmonic?
     
    Southside Johnny's aged bluesy voice on "Soultime"?
     
    The Mojo has not only brought my entire music catalog out of retirement but the Mojo reviewers have inspired me to look into new music, and we are like two teenagers, challenging each other to listen to this singer, or that band, and, oh, you must hear this song...as my wife and I share the Mojo back and forth until we end up purchasing a second. 
     
    As others have said, it is a real "game changer" product and something that listeners think is 'burning in' and 'improving' over the months, whereas the truth is that our brain's are interpreting new data for us, furthering our musical experience beyond what it was pre- Mojo.  
     
    It is now lossless music streaming through the Mojo to beautiful and well built headphones, through a lap top or iPhone.  
     
    Chord Electronics has done what it set out to do, and then some.  They may have made it possible for the average iPhone or Android phone owner to hear what only high end, expensive audiophile fans have experienced, at an incredible bargain.  
     
    The lights?  Perfect.  I already know what color my wife's level should be, and can even make adjustments in the evening darkness, and it is ergonomically perfect for my hand. I look forward to the modules, especially blue tooth, and to the release of a leather case, though it is made strong enough to withstand anything I may inadvertently throw at it. 
     
    Pros?  It gave me the "wow!" effect that I did not think my extreme expectations would have realized.  30 years of Chord research reduced to affordability.  Definition.  Soundstage.  Definition.  Beauty.  Resuscitation of entire music catalog.  Dynamic, living sound.  Dylan in my living room, singing for me.  Orchestra highs, and chest thumbing bass.  Accuracy.  
     
    Cons? 
     
     I am simply too thankful to consider any.  
      Windseeker, Jawed, cpauya and 9 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. RedJohn456
      That was a fantastic review and an even more enjoyable read! Thank you for sharing the personal stories, was one of the best and heartfelt reviews of the Mojo I have read :)
      RedJohn456, Mar 18, 2016
    3. ShreyasMax
      Great write up, very well written, cheers!
      ShreyasMax, Mar 20, 2016
    4. x RELIC x
      Peter, one of the most relatable and enjoyable reviews I've read on Head Fi. Great job!

      I feel this is front page material as it certainly applies to everyone.
      x RELIC x, May 23, 2016
  10. RedJohn456
    Desktop Capable and Wholly Portable, A swiss Army knife in all but name!
    Written by RedJohn456
    Published Mar 13, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Robust build quality coupled with a portable friendly design, Price, Drives everything from sensitive iems to power hungry planars, Black background
    Cons - Light on accessories, volume buttons prone to scratches and trapping dirt
    Chord Mojo - A cure for those suffering from Upgraditis
    “Desktop Capable and Wholly Portable, A swiss army knife in all but name!”
     
     
     
    Disclaimer:
    As part of the Canadian tour I had the Mojo for a little over a week and I received no financial compensation, save for the shipping costs of sending the mojo to the next reviewer.
     
     
     
    Introduction:
    This is my review of the Chord Mojo, a new portable DAC/Amp from the venerable Chord Electronics.
     
    First I want to take this opportunity to thank my friend Craig for organizing the Canadian tour as well as recommending me for the tour. I also wanted to give a big shout out to Chord Electronics for setting up this tour and giving me the opportunity to evaluate their newest foray into the portable dac/amp market, the Chord Mojo!
     
    You don’t have to be in this hobby long before running into Chord as a brand, as they are held in high regard and universally lauded by a large legion of fans spanning the globe.
    They are a company based in England, whose claim to fame has been making high performance desktop and portable DAC/Amp solutions with a premium price to match the performance.
     
    That has been the case until now. Enter the Mojo, a portable entry from Chord Electronics that promises to provide the same high performance their other products, such as the Hugo, are known for but at a much more accessible price point. To say that people were excited to get their collective grubby mitts on the Mojo would be a major understatement. Don’t believe me? Just take a gander at how quickly the official Mojo thread has grown. By the time you finish reading this review, the thread would have gorwn by a number of pages and many posts. No Joke. The Mojo appears to have struck a Chord (hah see what I did there?) with many a fan and not without good reason.
     
     
     
    About me:
    I want to provide a little background information in the hopes that it can help put my views in perspective and provide some context for the content of this review.
     
    Music has always been a huge part of my life, whether it was performing music on stage with my band or more recently, involving myself in this masochistic wonderful hobby of ours.  I have always enjoyed listening to music but I haven’t always paid attention to the quality of headphones because I was perfectly content with included cellphone earphones or cheap earbuds from department stores.  Ignorance is bliss right? This however all changed when I came across head-fi one day, and that’s when things started to go downhill (for my wallet that is :p). It is all too easy to underestimate how large an impact a good pair of headphones can have in the enjoyment of your favorite songs.
     
    After getting my first pair of good headphones, I had felt as if an entirely new world has opened up to me musically and I found myself rediscovering music that I have listened to for many years.
     
    When it comes to musical taste, I can’t say that I have any specific genre that is my absolute favorite, as I like a little bit of everything. But if I had to be specify, I would say that I love mainstream and Pop music and I consider myself to be an average joe in that regard. That is the approach I will be taking in reviewing gear, for people like me who aren’t all that technical and are not audiophiles in the classical sense.
     
    I mostly stream music from the Internet using services such as Spotify and Youtube and like millions of other people, my laptop and cellphone serves as my main media players.
     
    So with that out of the way, lets get on with the review!
     
     
     
    Build quality, Design and Accessories
    After receiving the package from the previous reviewer, I gleefully tore into the out cardboard box. Opening up the box, I was actually taken back somewhat. The actual Mojo packaging was smaller than I was expected, not that it’s a bad thing of course.
     
    The packaging was an understated and elegant white box with minimal adornments. Of note, one panel displayed technical specifications while another a palate of colors listing what sampling rate and frequency each color pertains to [On a side note, I wonder if color blind people would have any trouble using the mojo in light of the visual nature of volume control]. The made in England sticker was a nice touch as well.
     
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    Opening up the box, the Mojo was presented in all its glory, encased in foam and a plastic bag. Inside the box a male micro to male micro USB cable was included for use with compatible portable devices. To be honest I was a bit disappointed given the lack of accessories as I feel that including a few cables and adapters might have been a nice gesture. Again, no manual was included the box but it can be downloaded from their website at: http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/mojo/manual/Mojo-User-Manual.pdf
     
     
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    I was actually taken back by how compact the Mojo was after taking it out of its packaging. I had an inkling from online pictures that the unit will be on the smaller size, but not to this degree. I was able to wrap my hands around the unit easily and it had a reassuring heft to it, something that I greatly welcome. The unit felt very solid and durable to the touch, adding to its portable friendliness. It honestly felt like a tank, as it was so sturdy and durable that if I accidentally dropped the Mojo to the floor I would be more worried if I damaged the floor because that’s how tough it’s build quality is. The volume buttons rotated easily and is not easily pressed by accident, which is important given how much power the Mojo packs (which is quite a bit I might add).
     
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    The unit houses two 3.5 mm headphone out ports (which is perfect for Netflix dates with your special someone :p), which can be used simultaneously.
     
    The Mojo also is equipped with three digital inputs:
    • 1 X TOSLink Optical
    • 1 X 3.5mm COAX SPDIF
    • 1 x Micro USB [I do however have concerns about the long-term durability of the USB ports as they appeared to be a little loose and not 100% flush with outer casing. I'm not sure if this was limited to the tour unit but I thought I should point it out.]
     
    IMG_20151222_161746269.jpg IMG_20151222_161815256.jpg
     
    All of this and more make for a VERY versatile piece of gear.
     
     
     
    How it works:
    The Mojo is a rather strange looking device, like nothing I have come across. Its design is endearing and has rather grown on me during my time with the Mojo.
     
    I thought the volume buttons would be static but to my surprise they rotated freely. This of course presents the problem of dirt and dust accumulating, and I did notice a few scratches on the volume spheres on my unit. The unit can be turned on by holding down the right most button until the light starts flashing. Fun fact – by holding down both volume buttons together when switching on the unit, you set the output level to 3V (Line level).
     
    The brightness of the volume buttons can be toggled between bright and dim modes by briefly pressing both volume buttons at the same time. As well, Mojo has a memory function that will store the volume level and brightness settings even if the unit is shut down. The only exception to this is Line level, which is not remembered.
     
     
     
    How I used it:
     
    Sources Used
    1. 13 inch Macbook Pro retina via Micro USB
    2. Sony Playstation 3 via optical
     
    As I touched upon earlier, the Mojo is quite versatile in its capabilities. It is designed to work with everything from cellphones to laptops to gaming consoles and even DAPs (where the dap acts as a digital transport). The Mojo truly is an all in one portable solution, a Jack-of-all-trades and a master of all (if not most).
     
    The Mojo fast became an indispensable part of my listening and gaming set up. It was as simple as plug and play with my Macbook Pro, working without a hitch. I used it for everything from listening to music, skype calls and even watching video lectures while studying, showing no weakness in any application.
     
    It also transformed my gaming experience while using it in combination with my Playstation 3 via Optical out. Using it in conjunction with the AKG K612 Pro, I really felt as if I was immersed in my games, giving me a cinematic experience unlike anything I have experienced before. Thanks to its fantastic imaging capabilities and soundstage (will touch upon this later), playing shooters such as Call of Duty was all too enjoyable.
     
    The Mojo will work with iOS devices via the CCK cable and compatible android devices which support USB audio out. Unfortunately my BlackBerry Z30 didn’t play nice with it (what a big surprise lol) but the mobile capability is there should one choose to use it (which is its primary focus after all). I should note that later on in the review I do discuss a new product from FiiO that all but eliminates the need for those pesky CCK cables, allowing a one-cable solution for iOS devices.
     
    The Mojo is like a bull in a china-shop; except it is so delicate and balanced it doesn’t knock anything over. Everything from my most sensitive in ears monitos (which at the time was the Venture Electronics Duke with a resistance of 16 ohms) to my hardest to drive cans (which at the time was the AKG K612 Pro) absolutely sang when plugged into the Mojo. The unit has a large reservoir of power, and this is especially impressive considering the relatively small dimensions of the unit and I felt that it packed more power than my FiiO X7/K5 combination.
     
    How it sounds
    The Mojo sounds fantastic. Stop reading this review and go out and buy it! Thanks for reading the review….
     
    What was that? More details you say? Fine then, let me get a glass of 50-year-old scotch mountain dew and monocles so as to better pontificate the finer subtleties of why the Mojo is an absolute game changer :wink:
     
    Monocle.jpg
     
    All kidding aside, the Mojo has a lot going for it, and it just sounds “right” to my ears, for lack of a better term (I promise its not a cop out!). This probably has a lot to do with what sets the Mojo apart from the rest of its competition. Rather than using an off the shelf DAC solution, Rob Watts (the designer at Chord Electronics) opted to use a customized in house FPGA solution, utilizing 30 years of research, which appears to have solved a lot of timing issues that plague other DACs. To be honest I am not really a technical guy and I won’t profess to understand the technology behind what makes the Mojo so special, but I will say official thread is a treasure trove of information. The best part is that Rob Watts frequents the thread and is very approachable and willing to answer questions people might have.
     
    To my ears the Mojo is extremely pleasing and enjoyable to listen to with a warm analogue like sound.
     
    I will touch upon soundstage first: Songs being played through the Mojo had a lot of depth to it, positively cavernous even. The soundstage had great depth and width, more so than the height. Mojo appears to have gone for a more accurate and natural soundstage reproduction rather than an artificially boosted one.
     
    And part of that is due to how it handles treble. A lot of products use enhanced treble to give a sense of increased detail. No so with the Mojo, which is why I felt it was dark sounding on my initial listen. At that time I was coming from the brighter sounding FiiO X7, so the Mojo was a noticeable departure from that. That is not to say that the Mojo is deficient in the upper registers. It has excellent treble extension and detail, without being forward and strident. In fact the Mojo is astonishingly detailed, which is surprising in light of its warmer analogue like sound. The details are all present, but they are not pushed in your face, making for a fatigue free listening experience. 
     
    Mojo has excellent instrument separation and layering with accurate sonic cues. Listening to live classical pieces, it was all too easy to follow individual instruments through entire songs and to imagine where they were located relative to the other instruments. It also helps that it has a pitch black background with an inaudible noise floor, giving a sense of air around winged and string instruments. Listening to EDM tracks, background elements seem to come alive thanks to Mojo’s impressive imaging, truly making you feel as if you are listening to them live at a concert.
     
    In fact the Mojo was so effortless and natural, I kept forgetting to analyze the music and kept right on listening to songs. I didn’t stop to marvel at its technical capabilities as I might have with other gears because it’s not a technical performer for the sake of it, but for the end musical enjoyment, which is one of its strongest points I feel.
     
    The midrange is where the magic lies for me, with a perfect amount of natural warmth, giving recordings a more analogue and live feeling. It is engaging, detailed and full sounding, giving a nice weight to male vocals, which is perfect for rock and metal music. Distorted guitar sounded sublime with good growl and texture and drum beats sounded natural. It does everything so well that it’s hard to pick a few to highlight.
     
    The bass was tight, fast and punchy with terrific control, with no mid bass bloom or midrange leakage to speak of. The bass only came out to play when called upon, and quickly got out of the way. Sub bass was in perfect balance with the mid bass, and exhibited good rumble when present in the song. Bass texture was easily discernable, and immensely enjoyable in tracks like “Before I sleep” by Joy Williams, using stringed instruments.
     
    And that’s how I would describe the Mojo’s sonic signature – balanced. Sonic presentation was even from top to bottom, bringing a level of power, finesse and refinement that is very rarely seen at this price point and certainly not in such a portable device.
     
    I will however mention that Mojo sounded best with my neutral and brighter sounding gear compared to my darker sounding headphones. For example, the synergy between the VE Zen 2.0 and Mojo wasn’t as great as say the Zen 1.0 or VE Duke. The AKG K612 Pro sounded just heavenly out of the Mojo as opposed to the Sony MA900, which sounded average at best. The Mojo took off some of the edge and bite that the K612 Pro had in the treble region, while at the same time giving more depth and a more holographic presentation, especially for classical music. I am not suggesting this is something universal as YMMV depending on personal tastes and such, but all the same, it is something to keep in the back of your mind.
     
    I would however skip the Mojo if you happen to be a certifiable treble head. That is not to say that the Mojo has poor treble extension, but rather a more natural presentation that may seem darker than gears that use enhanced treble to give a sense of increased detail retrieval.
     
    Battery Life:
    I managed to squeeze out anywhere between 6-7 hours of battery life on average and so it usually saw me through a whole day. For example I might use it all day with my Macbook while working or studying, and then have to charge it again at the end of the day while using it for gaming with my Playstation. The battery life is actually remarkable considering how much power and performance there is on tap, Chord certainly could have done a lot worse in this department.
     
    While it is possible to use the Mojo whilst it is charging, do note that it will take longer to charge, which normally should take anywhere from 4 to 5 hours. Don’t be alarmed if your unit becomes hot while charging, this is perfectly normal, especially if you are listening to music at the same time.
     
    The online manual does also mention to avoid leaving the Mojo on continuously, which is important if you plan to use it as a desktop solution. Just turn it off once in awhile lol.
     
    Looking to the future:
    Chord plans to release modular expansion solutions for the Mojo with additional features such as an SD card reader and a more streamlined iOS product compatibility by incorporating the apple CCK cable.
     
     
    Bottom line
    If you are looking for a class leading dac/amp combo that you can use with your phone, tablets, computers and gaming consoles, look no further than the Mojo. Although it is billed as a portable product, it is more than capable of pulling double duty as part of a desktop setup or indeed, a desktop replacement in and of itself. Chord has proven that you really can take desktop quality music with you on the go, without having to make compromises. The Mojo is something you can enjoy while commuting to and from work, at work, and again at home while listening to music, watching movies or even gaming!
     
    All this is at a price that is far more accessible than its performance or feature set would suggest. At a price of $599 USD, it is much cheaper than its sibling, the Hugo, which is priced at >$2000 USD. Kudos to Chord for bucking the recent industry trend of pushing the price envelope.
     
    Also, FiiO has recently released the L19 cable that will allow iOS devices to interface with any external dac/amp without having to use pesky and unsightly Apple CCK cables. Take that apple! You can get this cable at: http://penonaudio.com/L19-Lightning-to-Micro-USB   So take any old iPhone or iPod touch (lightning port version) and slap on the L19 cable to use it with the Mojo and voila, you have a very capable portable solution that is also easy on the wallet!
     
    With its immense sonic performance and versatility, the Chord Mojo is a comprehensive all in one package that has the potential to replace both your home and portable setups, while at the same transforming your console gaming experience. The Mojo is desktop-capable and wholly portable; A Swiss army knife in all but name.
     
     
    Thank you for sticking with me thus far and not falling asleep! I tried my best to pen my thoughts on what I thought about the Mojo but I do still have a lot to learn so I welcome any and all feedback [​IMG]
     
     
    Happy listening!
      Windseeker, cpauya, Mosauwer and 14 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. ShreyasMax
      Very well written review, clear and to the point.
       
      An interesting thing for me that you mention is that the Mojo is a departure from the FiiO X7. As I'm looking to get the Mojo as an upgrade from my iBasso D14 (after a review unit comes my way of course, which should be in about 2 weeks' time), I was wondering if you could elaborate the differences you felt compared to the X7. I personally found the X7 to be a great pairing for my Fidelio X2, especially in terms of realistic timbre, and detail retrieval. Do you think the X7 has enhanced treble to sound more detailed, and how do you think the Mojo would pair with my Fidelio X2?
       
      Thanks in advance, cheers.
      ShreyasMax, Mar 18, 2016
    3. RedJohn456
      @ShreyasMax Thanks for the kind words!
       
      I wouldn't say the X7 has enhanced treble, definitely not one of those gears using extra treble to give an illusion of increased detail retrieval.
       
      The X7 to my ears has an airier and lighter sound when compared to the Mojo, and a larger more holographic soundstage. The Mojo has a more intimate sound with a more realistic soundstage but with greater perception of depth, as if you are peering into the music track. 
       
      I am not surprised that the X7 synergizes well with the Fidelio X2, as the airier sound of the X7 would balance out the warmer sound of the Fidelio X2. Given that the Mojo has a relatively warmer sound, I am not sure how the X2 would pair with the Mojo. Since I haven't heard the combination myself I don't want to say anything, but for me personally the Mojo paired better with neutral and brighter gears. 
       
      Also to note, the way mojo throws so much data your way the brain will take time to learn how to adapt to it, and given that I had only about a week with the tour unit it is very well possible that a week might not be enough time for the brain to adapt to the Mojo.  
       
      So it is very much possible that warmer gear may in fact synergize well with the mojo in the end, but during my time with the unit that was not the case. I hope that helped some :)
      RedJohn456, Mar 18, 2016
    4. ShreyasMax
      Alright, thanks again for your inputs. I'll wait for my review unit, spend some time with it, and then decide on my purchase.
       
      Cheers, & happy listening!
      ShreyasMax, Mar 19, 2016