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Chord Electronics Mojo

Rating:
4.66667/5,
Tags:
  1. sharon124
    GREAT HIGH END PRODUCT!!
    Written by sharon124
    Published Feb 4, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - crisp clear sound, NO hiss,easy to handle
    Cons - so far no...
    I use my SE846 with my new iphone6s plus. Its sound amazing. But last month I bought ibasso Dx80 as a upgrade. But unfortunately sound (quality) from ibasso Dx80 not good as iphone 6s+ .It has huge noticeable hiss (you know SE864 is high sensitivity IEM), also sound signature does not meet my expectation and it does not even close to iphone 6s plus.
     
    Base on expert reviews and chord web site information (plus Rob watt presentations in you tube) I turn in to Chord mojo, currently top level DAC in the market (it more affordable than Hugo).But my mind always remind me can you guaranty Mojo sound quality will better than my existing iphone 6s plus. Then I contact chord customer care (info@chordelectronics.co.uk) and they inform me they already got so many award for mojo and I will impressed with it sound quality, also they guaranty there will not be  any hiss.
     
    Finally got my chord mojo. Actually together with my iphone 6s plus, my SE846 sound amazing…really amazing…!!!!.It has too may detail in sound. And even very small sound also highly emphasize. It has smooth more comfortable and noticeable Bass(if you like bass come from iphone 6s plus defiantly you will impressed with bass from Mojo as well)  . Mids ,highs and vocals are Cristal clear!!!.LR separation is awesome. Iam really impressed. There is NO ANY KIND OF HISS.
    Then I try Mojo with Dx80 and, SE846 sound not better than Mojo with Iphone 6s plus. Also Mojo +Dx80 Bass is less and treble is too high. I mean not well balance.
     
    NOTE: For above comparison I use 16 bit/44.1 Khz FLAC music files. Always use SE846 as IEM.
     
    Summary:
     
    1).Don’t buy dx80 if you have iphone 6s(+).Sound quality from iphone 6s(+) really really good.
     
    2).Sound quality (with SE846):
    Iphone 6s (+) with Mojo > iphone 6s(+) > ibasso dx80
     
    3).For me, Mojo+iphone 6s (+) sound far better than mojo+ibasso dx80  (both with SE846)
     
    For your information:
     
    1).I order my Chord mojo from moon audio (http://www.moon-audio.com/chord-mojo-dac-headphone-amp.html) because in amazon USA site price was too high. Also chord electronics confirm to me that Moon Audio is official retailer for Mojo. (Also moon audio deliver this item to worldwide)Don’t order this item from ebay, most probably you will get made in china crap!!
    Contact email Chord electronics: info@chordelectronics.co.uk
    Contact email Moon Audio: sales@moon-audio.com
     
    2).I use my iphone 6s plus charger together with ANKER USB cable to charge MOJO. There was no any hum or hiss come from device while it charging!!
     
    3).While listing songs, normally you have to put your phone to Airplane mode to avoid RF interference , Otherwise you will hear some kind of hum/buzz sounds time to time and it will provide bad impression to your listening experience.
     
    4) Sometimes I have notice small hiss, when use this device while it charging. So Don’t use this device while it charging.
     
    5).While it using it will get WARM, As per Chord electronics it is normal.( http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/mojo/#nav-faq)
     
    Hope above information will help to you.
     
    20160204_143701.jpg
     
    20160204_143723.jpg
     
    20160204_143739.jpg
      Hawaiibadboy and Light - Man like this.
    1. cuiter23
      "For me, Mojo+iphone 6s (+) sound far better than mojo+ibasso dx80"
       
      They should sound identical. The ibasso and iphone are both just acting as digital transports. There is no difference from me using a 1990 sandisk player vs a AK380.
      cuiter23, Feb 4, 2016
    2. Andy Andy
      @cuiter23 There is actually difference in how the signal is being transferred before being process by said DAC, higher quality DAP give a much better, read purer, signal to the Mojo which in turn makes the sound it produces, better.
       
      I have tried using iPhone - Hugo and iPhone - CL -dB - Hugo. The difference is quite noticeable
      Andy Andy, Feb 8, 2016
  2. originalsnuffy
    Very musical. Great with FIIO digital output and USB output from a PC.
    Written by originalsnuffy
    Published Feb 1, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - One of the more enjoyale audio listening experiences short of going to a live concert
    Cons - Great when paired with PC with appropriate software and digital output from FIIO X3. Uneven results with iPhone 6 Plus and Camera Connecting Kit
    I had the opportunity to spend almost three weeks with the Chord Mojo.  When it locked on to a signal with my FIIO X3 units (Gen I and Gen II) I experienced a smooth, glitch free audio experience.  Both through headphones and "line out usage" it was non fatiguing and quite musical.  It did not matter what musical material was utilized, Jazz, Classical, Rock....it all sounded great.  With the X3II, I streamed both FLAC and DSD files quite nicely.
     
    With this unit, I quickly moved beyond the "analytical approach" of listening to various instruments to see how well they were defined.  And stopped worrying about the size of the image.  Instead, I was captivated by listening to music.
     
    When locked on to music on the PC using WASAPI outputs (that and ASIO are the preferred settings in JRiver, my primary audio app), the sound was also very good. It worked equally well with FLAC and DSD files with JRiver.   With videos, for some files I had to drop down to direct sound or other windows drivers to maintain an uninterrupted audio stream.  For movies that really did not matter as much.  I think the issue is that some of my video conversions are fairly old and not particularly well done. I made some of the conversions when one had to worry about the sync between audio and video (yes I date mysellf).  I mainly listened to my dub of  "Let it Be" on an airplane flight.  That particular video was dubbed from my old Laserdisc.   I was happy to have the file in the first place.
     
    With the iphone, I used the Apple branded Camera Connecting Kit.  This was reliable for FLAC and DSD files using the nPlayer app.  The signal was easily interrupted when playing Podcasts, both through the Apple podcast app and through nPlayer.  So I would caution potential buyers that if the primary target is the iphone that one should not necessarily expect a glitch free experience.
     
    The unit seemed to sail through various IEM impedances with no worries.
     
    I was happy to have tested this unit and would seriously consider purchasing one.  My only reservation is that the Oppo HA-2 seems to be designed specfically for iphone usage and for me that would be a potential competitive consideration.
     
    DIsclosure:  When this review was written I was affiliated with JRiver.  I no longer am affiliated with JRiver,; but I still think JRiver is a good choice for connecting to external DAC units.
     
    I was a JRiver user before I became affiliated with JRiver.    JRiver  happens to be a good piece of software for feeding DSD over USB on a PC.  SInce one of my targets was to test DSD on the unit from a PC, it made sense to use that product.  But it is fair to note the potential bias at that point in time.
      salla45 and Light - Man like this.
    1. salla45
      sums it up; "With this unit, I quickly moved beyond the "analytical approach" of listening to various instruments to see how well they were defined.  And stopped worrying about the size of the image.  Instead, I was captivated by listening to music."
      salla45, Feb 2, 2016
  3. elnero
    An Instant Classic
    Written by elnero
    Published Jan 31, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Performance well beyond what it’s size and price would suggest
    Cons - Accessories and documentation could be improved
    Equipment Used
     
    Source:
    MacBook Air running Tidal, Audirvana +, Amarra 3 and Amarra for Tidal
    MacBook Pro running Tidal
    Samsung Note 4 running USB Audio Player Pro
     
    DAC’s:
    Schiit Bifrost Multibit
     
    Headphone Amp:
    Schiit Asgard 2
     
    Headphones:
    AudioQuest NightHawk
    Sony MDR-Z7
    Sennheiser HD650
    Sennheiser HD598
    KEF M500
    V-Moda XS
    RHA MA-750i
     
    Disclaimer
     
    I was picked as part of Chord’s Canadian review tour. Outside of being provided a review unit for a week and shipping costs, I was in no way compensated for writing this review. After the review unit shipped to the next in line I found a (somewhat) local dealer and purchased my own Mojo at the retailer's pricing.
     
    About Me
     
    I’m a 45 year old UX/UI designer at a small mobile gaming company. I’ve been involved in music and audio most of my life though. Growing up I played many instruments, mainly cello and later bass guitar. In my mid teens I discovered audio. Over the years following I spent quite a bit of time hanging around audio shops, I even had brief stints working in a couple. In my early 20’s I trained as an audio engineer but instead of getting a job in the music industry I moved to the audio industry working for a small speaker manufacturer. In a work lull in the late 90’s I ended up taking a 3D animation course which has evolved into my current job. After the course and meeting my wife, audio fell off the radar for a few years until in 2002 I discovered Head-Fi and along with it a preference for high-end headphones over speakers. I’ve been hanging around here ever since.
     
    Sonic Preferences
     
    I value all aspects of audio reproduction but I’ll admit certain aspects take precedence over others. While soundstage is important I’ll give up width and depth for well defined imaging. I love hearing all the little details in a recording but not at the expense of good tonality or a skewed frequency response. That said, I tend to lean towards warmer sounding gear because I’m one of those that feels a good portion of high-end phones lack enough bass to give music its proper foundation. I also tend to towards warmer gear because I’m sensitive to vocal sibilance. I don’t necessarily mind treble as long as it’s reproduced cleanly, unfortunately that seems to be a hard find.
     
    Introduction
     
    I’ll make a confession, I don’t really listen to music on the go anymore. On the rare occasion I do I’ll listen straight out of my phone. So then why did I want to audition the Mojo? It’s about versatility. While I mainly listen at home I’ve always liked having the flexibility to listen anywhere in the house. Unfortunately that typically means either compromises in sound quality or ease of use.
     
    I had pretty much given up on the idea of a one size fits all type of product so when Schiit announced the Bifrost Multibit I decided to replace my Resonessence Concero HP with that and an Asgard 2 amp with the idea that I’d find a second, more portable solution down the road. And then a few weeks after I got the Schiit stack Chord announced the Mojo which piqued my interest, although somewhat skeptically given the hype they produced with their “The Game Will Change” tagline used to advertise prior to the release event, after all, it’s just a reasonably priced portable DAC/Amp. Right?
     
    Mojo_01.jpg
     
    Design Philosophy
     
    So what makes the Mojo different? Over three years ago Chord got the idea to make a cigarette package sized portable DAC/Amp that could be used with a wide range of devices and have similar performance to the larger Hugo but at a budget price. It’s taken until now for them to realize the product because the tech wasn’t there until recently. That’s because Chord doesn’t use readily available off the shelf DAC chips, instead, Rob Watts, Chord’s DAC designer, uses field-programmable gate array’s, or FPGA’s, to program his own. It wasn’t until the latest generation Xilinx Artix 15T 28nM FPGA offered the performance and low power to achieve their goal.
     
    So why does Chord design their own DAC’s instead of using readily available off the shelf DAC’s? That’s because Rob feels the most important aspect of recreating the digital signal is the timing of transients which can not only have an effect on the starting and stopping of notes but also can have an effect on timbre, pitch and soundstage. Over the shelf DAC’s just don’t have the processing power to deal with this correctly so Rob turned to using FPGA’s to design his own.
     
    It would take a lot more space to delve into this subject further and I’ll admit, I don’t fully understand all the technicalities but luckily Chord has been highly engaged with the Head-Fi community and they are quite open and helpful with regards to explaining their designs. There is a plethora of information within the Mojo thread as well as the Hugo and Dave threads here on Head-Fi.
     
    Packaging & Accessories
     
    The packaging for the Mojo is both elegant and simple. A white box with the Mojo inside surrounded by foam. Take the Mojo out and underneath there’s a short micro USB to USB cable. That’s it. Although a full manual  is not included one can be downloaded from Chord’s website. The inner box does have useful information on each of its faces to help the new owner get up and running though. I commend this approach as it saves paper that typically end ends up in drawer or the waste bin.
     
    The short micro USB to USB cord is a useful addition but as a product designed for use with many different portable devices I would have liked to have seen a few other cables included and a charger wouldn’t hurt either. I understand it would affect costs and it would be hard to cover everyone’s potential needs. It would then also require larger and different packaging for different countries but offering something like this might alleviate a lot of anxiety like has been seen in the forums from some users. Maybe offering a separate official accessories package would be something for Chord to think about.
     
    Connectivity
     
    Despite the Mojo’s diminutive size it offers numerous input/output options. With a micro USB input, a separate micro USB charging port as well as a coaxial and an optical input on one end along with dual ⅛” outputs on the other it makes for a very versatile product.
     
    The Mojo’s micro USB input allows it to not only be connected to a computer but with the proper cabling (and in some cases software) it can also be used with DAP’s, Android and iDevices. Or if you prefer, us the coaxial or optical out of a computer or DAP to connect to the Mojo. It can even be used with a separate amp as a DAC only with a 3V line output when both the volume buttons are held down when turning the unit on. That opens a whole other world of possibilities of it being used in speaker setup.
     
    The micro USB charging port allows the Mojo to be used with any USB style charger provided it puts out at least 1 amp, that means in theory it can be charged from either the USB port of a computer or any USB charger provided with a phone, tablet and other electronic device provided it meets the 1 amp requirement.
     
    Physical Design and Usability
     
    The artist in me loves quirky and unique designs so I’m rather taken with the Mojo’s colored glowing balls and sculpted metal curves. It’s tiny yet it’s weight gives it substantiality. Not everyone will like this design but I personally love the idea of pushing the style boundaries.
     
    The physical design isn’t just about looks either, the clever design of the glass ball buttons serve double duty with the on/off switch changing color to indicate sampling rate and the volume up/down buttons changing color to give a visual indication of volume level. There’s a key to the sampling rate colors on one of the panels of the inside box. Unfortunately there’s no such explanation on the box for the volume buttons. It is described in the downloadable manual but as the concept is rather unique it would be nice to see more of a description on the box like the sampling rate. Maybe Chord could make the QR code on one end of the box smaller to accommodate this information?
     
    There’s also a small LED under the charging USB jack that changes color to indicate battery level. Unfortunately the placement of this light can be a challenge for the user because it’s difficult to see when a cable is plugged in.
     
    Overall though, everything is clearly labeled making the Mojo a fairly simple and straightforward device to use.
     
    Sound
     
    The tour Mojo was shipped to my work and I was so eager to try it I had to set it up right away. I don’t have an elaborate work setup anymore, there’s just too many distractions, so I’ve ended up using a pair of VModa XS straight from my MacBook Pro. It was this setup that I first heard the Mojo in. Of course nothing ever runs smoothly, the included short cord only intermittently worked and in my eagerness I forgot to make sure the volume was turned down so I nearly blew my eardrums out when the first note played. After adjusting the volume and finding a position the cable would work I ended up only having a few minutes of listening time but the XS sounded like a new headphone. Better balanced yet punchier and more dynamic sounding with a greater sense of depth to the music. The few initial glitches aside, the Mojo made a very good first impression indeed.
     
    At home using my MacBook Air and AudioQuest NightHawks the Mojo has continued to make a good impression. The sound coming from the Mojo defies what one would expect given its diminutive size and price. It has an uncanny ability of allowing you to hear further into a recording.
     
    I’ve read various people claim the Hugo was too bright for them so I was worried Chord might be trying to use the trick of accentuating treble to give the illusion of increased detail. This is definitely not the case with the Mojo. I’m incredibly sensitive to treble, especially sibilance, and the Mojo has been a joy in this regard. The treble is very clean and refined with good presence and no undue emphasis or smearing. In fact this is a common theme throughout the whole frequency spectrum. The Mojo isn’t the weightiest I’ve heard, nor is it the lushest but it strikes an excellent balance without any one frequency range drawing attention to itself. It’s tight and punchy yet allows the listener to hear the decay of instruments without feeling like it either lingers or is cut short.
     
    The soundstage isn’t overly wide but there is more depth than I’ve been accustomed to. Where the Mojo really excels though, is in it’s ability to give each instrument it’s own space. It’s this ability to pull apart a recording and let me see further into it that has really grabbed me. It becomes easier to delineate multiple overlapping tracks and hear more subtle detail from those tracks. Things like slight tonal shifts in an instrument, the emotion and expression a musician plays with, or the simple grit of rosin on a bow become more apparent.
     
    In particular, live recordings seem to benefit from this ability to separate instruments because the subtle ambient cues that feed the illusion of being in the recording space are more apparent. On Iron & Wine’s “Live At Wheaton College” recording it’s just Sam Beam with his acoustic guitar. It’s more intimate than other live recordings I’ve heard from him and in numerous parts there is some nice dialogue with the audience. With the Mojo the various voices in the audience are clearer and their placement better defined. The greater overall depth and separation gives a much better sense of the size of the chapel the concert took place in than I’ve heard before. The same can be said for the Cowboy Junkies “Live At The Ark” recording. The music itself is great but it’s the exchanges with the audience that give such a great sense of being there and the Mojo only helps augment that.
     
    Denser and dynamic recordings like *Shels “Plains of the Purple Buffalo” or Dadawa’s “Sister Drum” also benefit. In both these albums there are tracks that go from quiet to loud in an instant. The massed instruments and vocals that come in with this dynamic shift can sound compressed or become a wall of sound where it’s hard to distinguish the instruments and vocals. The Mojo handles these types of dynamic shifts with ease and with its ability to separate tracks the overall picture becomes easier to discern.
     
    This sense of ease was apparent with all the different headphones I used the Mojo with. The Sennheiser HD650 is probably the most difficult to drive headphone I had on hand but because of the HD650’s clamping force and my TMJ I can only wear them for a few minutes at time. I did try a few recording at different times though and the HD650’s seemed perfectly happy being fed by the Mojo. The same goes for the others like the KEF M500, Sennheiser HD598 and the Sony MDR-Z7 with no hiss from the lower impedance RHA MA-750i IEM’s. Like the V-Moda XS I first used, all these headphones seem get taken to another level when used the Mojo.  
     
    Samsung Note 4
     
    Connecting the Mojo to my Samsung Note 4 via a generic OTG cable I got off Amazon yielded some interesting results. I used Tidal via USB Audio Player Pro which took a little bit of tweaking to get working but when I did I found I could hear little difference between this setup and that of MacBook Air playing Tidal. If push came to shove I’d say the Note 4 setup is a bit smoother on top.
     
    I’d still put Tidal via Amarra, Amarra 3 and Audirvana + from the Air a slight step up on Tidal alone but it’s interesting that Tidal alone sounded almost the same out of both the Air and Note 4. This is precisely what I’ve found compromised in other portable solutions, there’s always been a distinct drop in quality when using something other than my computer. It’s a huge plus that I now feel like I can move around the house without sacrificing anything.
     
    With the AudioQuest Jitterbug
     
    When I bought my own Mojo I also bought a Jitterbug to try. I’ve done a bit of back and forth and also left it in for a while then took it out. I’d say there is a difference but it’s hard to describe. Things felt slightly more defined but thinner with an edge introduced that I found fatiguing. Every time I switched back to the Mojo alone there was a sense of relief, the sound a bit fuller and smoother. After a couple of weeks I just took the Jitterbug out altogether and put in a drawer.
     
    Mojo_02.jpg
     
    Comparison To Schiit Bifrost Multibit & Asgard 2 Combo
     
    The Schiit Bifrost Multibit and Asgard 2 combo offers a very different perspective on the music than the Mojo. The Schiit stack has a lusher, smoother and weightier sound but instruments are more congealed. What seems to be a constant in my notes is the Schiit stack seemed overly smoothed over with a dullness to the sound. It lacks the dynamic ability, depth and definition as well as the transparency of the Mojo.
     
    Which one prefers will likely come down to priorities. That said, I’ve typically always leaned towards the lusher, weightier sound even at the expense of detail but in this case I felt the Mojo was more correct and a clear step up with it’s ability to see further into recordings in what feels like a very natural manner. Add into that the Mojo’s tiny footprint and it’s versatility and it seemed like a no brainer to sell the Schiit gear and replace it with my own Mojo (which I purchased the day after I sent the review unit on the next in line).
     
    Conclusion
     
    Every now and then a product comes on the market that redefines the price to performance ratio and becomes a classic. The original NAD 3020 integrated amplifier would be one such product that immediately comes to mind. It’s hard not to think the versatile Mojo, with the level of sound & build quality it has at a reasonable price, is destined to be another of those rare, market redefining classics.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that if Chord charged double or more for the Mojo it would still sell like hotcakes and it would still receive accolades from the press. My hat goes off to the team at Chord for sticking to their plan and making the Mojo accessible to a much broader audience. Like the 3020, for many the Mojo may be all the DAC and headphone amp they ever need. It’s small enough and versatile enough to be used in just about any situation while sounding so good I’d expect one would have to pay a significant amount more to get better.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Deftone
      great review
      Deftone, Feb 3, 2016
    3. feelingears
      Nice to get more comparative opinions on Chord's gear since the philosophy and chip/filter design are similar across their latest offerings. Because the Mojo is about portability, I'm probably more interested in the 2Qute and it's supposed to be very similar. Thanks. 
      feelingears, Feb 4, 2016
    4. almarti
      @elnero I am in the decision to sell my Modi 2 + Asgard 2 combo paired with HD600. My Mojo just arrived and I like more Mojo sound. Do you recommend me the sale? Additionally, I will keep HD600 but do you think Mojo will pair for Ether Flow cans? Thanks in advance. Best review I have ever read. Congratulations! 
      almarti, Oct 25, 2016
  4. tetsuomastermai
    A very accurate DAC/Headphone Amplifier
    Written by tetsuomastermai
    Published Jan 23, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Compact size, Good Dac capabilty.
    Cons - Poor bundle, not punchy bass, Doesn't charge when using.
    Introduction 
     
    First of all I would like to thanks Chord to have lend me the Mojo for a few weeks, and especialy their Belgium's interlocutor Bertrand :) 
    I'm not an experimented audiophile, so my review will be brief.
    I'll not describe the Mojo once again, since all the reviewers before me have done very well (thanks to all of them). 
    I will just notice once again that the bundle is very poor: Just a short USB cable. No Iphone cable nor mini jack, to resume : pitiful.
     
    The aim 
     
    The Mojo is a very versatil small DAC/Amp to use on the go. Due to all his connectivity you can use it with a laptop, a smartphone, or even a DAP.
    His small size allows you to easily put it in your pocket with your smartphone. 
    I try some Dac/amp with my Iphone, finally I think the Mojo is one of the most convenient (as the Oppo HA-2 who which is a good one too). 
    With the Mojo you have a powerfull tool for listening streaming music through a smartphone.
     
    The sound
     
    The Dac part is very accurate, very natural, without any coloration.
    Another positive point is the soundwise, greatly open for a mobile joy like the Mojo :wink: 
    I was just disappointed with the bass, it is not as punchy as ohter Dac/amp. 
    It sounds like if there were no subbass.
     
    USB Charge 
     
    First time I used the Mojo on my laptop through USB port, I was suprised that it turns off :xf_eek: 
    Actually, there are two micro USB ports : An input one and a charging one.
    So if you want to charge the Mojo while listening music you have to plug a second USB cable in the charging port.
    The Mojo user manual doesn't recommend to charge while listening because the Mojo may warm a bit.
    That's why I found the Mojo less convenient than other models.
     
    Conclusion
     
    Despite some small inconveniences, the Mojo is a very small and powerfull Dac/amp with an accurate and natural sound. 
    To use with a smartphone for streaming HI-Rez it is currently one of the best.
    1. Ra97oR
      It charges just fine when you are using it, I have ran my Mojo overnight on Hi-Res music while charging and it did just fine, no overheating, nothing. Nor charging the Mojo while listening induces any noise.

      Not a real issue.
      Ra97oR, Jan 23, 2016
    2. salla45
      Sorry, but IMO it doesn't seem like you've really got to grips what this beauty can do for your soul. Where's the passion? The mojo literally has me dancing for joy when I listen. More often than not I'm moved to tears. It's more like you're reviewing a dishwasher or a hairdrier. Nice 1.
      salla45, Jan 23, 2016
    3. tetsuomastermai
      @Ra97oR: My Mojo was already overheating just used and not in charging.
      And plug an usb input and an usb charging at the same time for one device is an inconvenient for me for a nomad use.
       
      @salla45: You got it, it was not a dream for me...
      Despite that, it has gave a good result for an electronic can :wink:
      tetsuomastermai, Feb 3, 2016
  5. 343 Grenadier
    The Chord Mojo: A Budget-Minded Rookie's Take
    Written by 343 Grenadier
    Published Jan 13, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - The obvious: Truly portable, very durable, largely plug-and-play, has a very grunty amp compared to most DAPs, and it sounds extremely clear.
    Cons - Unconventional controls and separate charging and data USB ports.
    Introduction

    I'm not really the guy to go to if you want a detailed comparison of the Schiit Yggdrasil versus something from TotalDAC or MSB, or if you want to know how I think the SR-009 stacks up against the HE-1000 or AB-1266, or if I think a coat hanger is the ultimate cable. I have far more pedestrian budgets and tastes. My experience with high-end audio is limited to a handful of portable sources, a few headphones, and a couple of misadventures with ASUS sound cards before I learned enough to realize they were ripoffs. I started out looking for a way to get ahead in games and my interest in audio equipment for other purposes, like music, just slowly evolved out of that. For headphones, I started with a Steelseries 7H USB headset, then moved up to an Audio Technica ATH-AD700, then some Chinese production run K702s, and now I use grill-modded HiFiMan HE-560s. For sources, I started with a lowly ASUS Xonar U3, then upgraded to a Republic of Gamers series Xonar Phoebus, then a FiiO X5, and now, at long last, I have acquired arguably my first "serious" source in the Chord Mojo. I have, at least, heard a number of other headphones, including T90s and T70Ps, and a Grado SR80, probably an SR80i. I have also seen the (former) top of the portable audio mountain when I listened to an Astell & Kern AK240. So I've made my share of mistakes, learned from them, done a lot of reading and looked at a lot of comparisons. Most of my audio source files are 44.1 or 48 KHz FLACs or 320 KBPS MP3s, although I've tried sample DSDs before and found very small improvements with them. My preferred music player is, of course, Foobar2000. I hope that is sufficient for this review.


    Build Quality

    So, to me, the most striking thing about the Chord Mojo is it's built like it could survive a confrontation with a tank. Like all other Chord products I know of, its case is machined from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum, so I feel like I could bash someone's skull in with it, wipe the blood off, then listen to Beethoven while flicking a used smoke onto the corpse. It's about twice as heavy as it looks, and the frame is so no-******** it won't even retain your fingerprints, which makes it harder to trace back to you after the deed is done. Only issue is the weird-looking balls are frosted glass, which kinda means you can't use that side to do it without risking damage to the device, although shattering the glass would at least cut up the victim some, so props for that. Still, they look really cool in the dark, kinda like Splinter Cell goggles, staring at you out of the blackness. (Then again, when it warms up with use, it probably shows up on thermal imaging, so that's a bit of a drag.)

    9/10, great stealth action murder weapon, slightly handicapped by pretty glowballs.


    Ease of Use

    The Mojo's color-coded control setup takes some getting used to, and the fact that you have to either leave it plugged into a power source or constantly recharge it every few hours at all times in a stationary rig because it won't recharge over the data input cable is very annoying. However, it's driverless anywhere outside of Windows and supports both USB OTG and S/PDIF over coaxial or optical, giving you a wide range of options. It also auto-adjusts to different file formats and changes colors to indicate which sample rate the file it's playing is, although I'm finding this particular feature is a little picky about when it wants to work on Windows 8, at least with Foobar2000. You need to configure FB2K properly. But okay, fine, I won't hold that against Chord, it's an issue with Foobar. Don't take this the wrong way: The device works fine, it just needs jiggering to reach peak performance, and it still sounds great without optimization, and is pretty plug-and-play aside from these quibbles, which are nothing people who want the advanced features aren't familiar with anyway. Also: If you need to keep this thing seated on your desk, it has some small rubber feet to stop it from sliding around, unlike some other portable DAC/amps.

    8/10, serves as a good backup for an AK-47 if you've lost your Glock.


    Performance

    Sound quality? Well...it sounds better than my FiiO X5 Gen I, I guess? Captain Obvious to the rescue. I don't really have anything around the same price range to compare it to, but I have K702s and grill-modded HE-560s on hand to test it out. It drives the HE-560s nicely, which the X5 didn't really do all that well, and there's a bit more detail. I won't dazzle people here with starry eyes and flowing praises of the Mojo's audio quality, likening it to a level of audio nirvana as though the universe itself opened up to reveal its inner workings to me: It's an incremental improvement over a device which costs about a third as much these days and works on its own. But the improvements ARE still nice. It's surprisingly inoffensive for being as detailed as it is, and the sound is more "fluid." For instance, when the recording has sounds that move around the head, they don't "jump" from point to point, but rather "flow" there, which is very nice. There's more rumble and impact at the low end, too. Definitely doesn't strike me as a bass-light/clinical source like some say the Hugo is. The sound is "thicker" than the X5 in a pleasing way, which is probably why people say these things sound somewhat tubey. Again: Not enough experience to elaborate on that. Even the K702s, often criticized for being overly analytical and a bit piercing, sound inoffensive and pleasant on these without losing any detail. (I am still trying to figure out how it sounds during the process of skull-crushing. Will have to get back to you on that later.) I ran it through "The Passing" in L4D2 with my K702s to test its soundstage width and imaging and found it to be comparable to the X5 it replaced, but with a better sense of verticality, which is very important in a game like L4D2.

    Also of note here is the amplifier, which is insanely powerful for a portable device. It drives the HE-560s to my normal (Admittedly somewhat low) listening levels at its "orange" gain setting, with volume/amplification being, in order: Red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, darker blue, blue, violet, pink-purple, salmon pink, all at about two steps each, and then a bunch of extra multicolored one-step gain settings above it for absolute max volume. At that setting, I don't need to have the HE-560s on my head to hear them clearly. They're LOUD at about a foot away. HE-560s. Planar magnetics. Not even one of the most efficient planars, either. I'm actually afraid that gain setting will destroy the headphones if used. That's nuts. Maybe there are better amps out there but anyone telling you the Mojo's amp is "weak" in general is completely bonkers, so use the Mojo for one of its obvious intended purposes and give 'em some more bonks on the head to make a clean break of things.

    9/10, lives up to its reputation as long as you have realistic expectations and a body bag or two.


    Value

    I've heard the vaunted $2,500 AK240 before and came away with about the same general impression of it being an incremental improvement over a much cheaper player, except I would never spend over two grand extra to get that additional layer of detail. These sound clearer and more well-rounded for considerably less, and some reviews I've seen rate this thing as better-sounding than even the $3,500 AK380, so when put into that context, the Mojo is definitely a bargain. (Some other people seem to prefer the AK380, though, so the differences between them obviously aren't huge, but...the differences between them aren't huge. It's just one is $600 and the other is the price of a used car.) I would rate what I remember of the AK240 as around a 5-15% improvement in clarity, and the Mojo around a 10-20% improvement in clarity and a 20-30% improvement in "fluidity" and richness. So I wouldn't really say the incremental improvement in detail from the X5 is so much a knock on the Mojo as it is a feather in FiiO's cap: They make good ****. I wouldn't be surprised if the upcoming dual-AK4490-based Q5 delivers a lot of the performance of the Mojo or AK380 at a considerably lower price point, just because if anyone can do it, FiiO can. That being said, the FiiO X5 feels like a toy compared to this thing, and it's NOT a toy, it's pretty sturdy. Chord clearly has an edge in manufacturing quality and likely long-term durability which is worth factoring into the price as well. On top of that, the FPGA chip in this DAC/amp can have its functionality altered over time and already supports placebo-level sample rates in both PCM and DSD formats, so it's got long legs if you don't suffer from upgraditus. (Arguably, if you have it, purchasing this thing can CURE it, so contact an audiophile medical specialist near you for more details.) All in all, I don't regret getting the Mojo. I don't see myself replacing it for the foreseeable future, either for a stationary OR portable setup. It does everything very well and it doesn't require you to bankrupt half of a Third World country to afford it, either, although you could probably use it to defend yourself in one. Combined with a cheap data carrier such as the FiiO X5 or X5 Gen II via coax, the Mojo offers at the very least Astell & Kern flagship performance and storage capacity at a sub-megabuck price point.

    10/10, would bludgeon Astell & Kern DAPs to death from the shadows again.


    Verdict

    The key to understanding the meaning of life it ain't, but most people would be hard-pressed to justify getting anything more expensive as a portable DAC/amp. With the recent trend towards cheaper, more convenient portable audio sources, I expect that something which rivals the Mojo at a lower price isn't too far off, but I'm pretty sure the Mojo will stay relevant quite a bit longer, especially since muggers who want it will get it...right in the face.

    9/10, a versatile DAC/amp/weapon which has some annoying quirks but offers noticeable gains over anything cheaper and embarrasses a lot of more expensive portable audio sources.
      Currawong, Hawaiibadboy and Treeko like this.
    1. Daeder
      I like your take on the Chord Mojo. Pretty hilarious read as well.
       
      Hoping to get the Mojo in the coming weeks, and will also use it with HE-560.
      Daeder, Jan 18, 2016
  6. Whitigir
    Excellent Mojo, A Unicorn at this price/performance
    Written by Whitigir
    Published Jan 6, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Fantastic sound, value, design, build
    Cons - None that I could find at this price/performance
    image.jpg
    Thanks to Chord electric for giving me a chance to experience your newest product "Mojo". All tests and critical listening sessions were done with the helps of MDR-Z7, MDR-SA5000, Fostex TH900, and 24/96 files, 16/44.1 files.

    First of all, the mojo arrives In a very small box, probably as small as an iPhone box. The Mojo itself is very small and compact. Though, there is a weighty feeling while holding it in my hand. The feeling that would give me the impression " wow, small but weighty, definitely good stuff".

    Looking at it, the whole body is with aluminum and feel cold to the touch. The 3 matted glass balls look so pretty. It reminds me of the game that I used to play when I was a little kid. I immediately tried to roll it around....and it rolls "lol". I was so silly to even try it. Why ? I have no clues, but it was fun and made me laugh. Press on it for functions of course !

    How do I like it ? 10/10 for design and feels. I rated it so high because of how little, compact, small, cute...whatever....it has the feeling of a solid device, high-end appearances...and definitely not 600$ feeling. The silly balls, and the colorful display on it is enough to bring out the little kid in me. It feels like twice it pricing right at the moment when counted the audio performance and power output. However the cons are the lacks of Analog inputs or line-out. Using it while charging is possible, but it heats up by a little bit and keep me cozy !

    There are 10 different colors on the LED. The volume output is accordingly displayed by the color. At 30-50% driving my Z7 is already too loud for me and depend on the tracks that I listen to. I can still tell that it has a lot more power in reserves.

    image.jpg


    In about 10 minutes or so, I could feel the device is warmed up. I thought of why it was made by aluminum and smiled again. Yeah, silly me, but then the matte though, it really easily catching scratches as some people mentioned, but who cares ? It already look and perform twice it cost.

    Using stock Sony ZX2 data cables and zx2 as a source. Tossing CD quality into it and some 24/96 high-reds tracks. I smiled again. It greets me with the Punchy and powerful bass, the airiness and resolutions of mid and treble, hence the soundstage is Immersive and expansive. The depth of each instrument tones, and the body is very balanced, or too well balanced. The tonal body is thick enough to feel authentic and that realism inner fidelity, yet the decay and depth is just right that I can tell while ZX2 does emphasize onto warmer and thicker tonal body and decay, the Mojo actually lean toward "neutral, but organic and musical" sound signature. The feeling between ZX2 and Mojo is clear using standard connection

    image.jpg


    1/ Mojo tends toward clarity, airiness, while having enough tonal body for realism and fun. It remains neutral and flat though, but definitely not sterile or boring, or clinical. Let's say Mojo is Neutral with excellent clarity and enough fun and realism to keep one on edge, and definitely at the price of $599, if you are an audiophiles or music lover, you would immediately make the purchase :). Even though I don't have that chance to have listened and experienced that many portable DAPs and amps, I know good sounds when I hear it, and I don't even think there is any other sub 600$ device that can and will offer this kind of sound signature from the Mojo. The feeling: Jaw drops ($600?), and feet starting to dance with a smile

    2/ ZX2 tends toward musical and realism and retrieves extra definitions. It definitely feels more emphasizes onto inner energy, it appears with thicker tonal body and longer decay. The trebles in the ZX2 is with better extensions, though harsher than Mojo. The feeling: Melt my heart, close my eyes, relax with a smile.

    I hope it was enough to describe the sound signature between these two devices: zx2 and mojo.


    Zx2 with TRRS cables from here for comparison:

    Soundstage is the most noticeable differences from Mojo vs Zx2 with TRRS output. In some recording on modern pop, and I could hear singer being from the left to the back to the right to the front and to the left again very clearly on ZX2. While on Mojo it would rendered to be from the left to the left-back to the right-back to the right and to the right-front then to the left front. Let's say on the ZX2, the mix goes like spherical 360 degree where as Mojo would do more of an X-scape. So ZX2 has larger further, fuller, more surrounded rendering. Pictures below are for references only. It took me a long while and countless critical listening sessions on high-res....A/B to really be able to confirm it.

    image.jpg
    image.jpg

    Zx2 retrieves better nuances and minutes details than Mojo across the whole spectrum. More like the tonal body, extensions, decays, and reverbs of which were masterfully mixed in the track. This is which gives off the "emotions within the tones/beats/music". Where as Mojo would be a clean devices with fun and musical sound signature, but yet lacking just that little bit of the so called "emotions in the tones/beats/music" VS Zx2. I would say Mojo is (high-fidelity sounds) and ZX2 is (music as intended by the artist). Do not mistake it here as Mojo is a "very capable devices to retrieve nuances details", kindly reminds you that it edges out on Zx2 out of the box (which means no upgrade cables or TRRS on Zx2)

    Mojo does has a very clean and clear background, and I think it beats ZX2 in this department. Because Zx2 while having a very fine level of details, tonal body and realism, the trebles and highs are a little bit harsher and sharper. Some people may prefer it this way as it is more detailed and more realistic as live cymbals, bells, brass...etc has this brightness. Mojo does play it out very nicely, but is timed for shorter notes being and cleaner decays. Once again, Mojo is more relax than Zx2 here

    Let's take a look at the pros and cons on each:
    image.jpg

    1/ Mojo pros: native DSD, compact, pretty to look at, fun balls to play with, colorful to bring out the kid from within anyone, powerful to drive most headphones without worrying. Price...even if you add an older smartphone to transport !
    Mojo cons: only digital amp, and no analog amping, no balanced output..

    2/ zx2 pros: DAP, with lot of features, balanced TRRS out or standard TRS, also compact
    Zx2 cons: no native DSD, TRRS is a PITA to utilize and make uses, lower power output than Mojo, can only drive limited headphones

    Considerations based on different circumstances

    1/ Mojo vs ZX2 stock (stock player app and Sound adjustment app + TRS out): Mojo edges out on almost everything, especially the tighter bass, snappy+airy trebles, better separations and less congested

    2/ Mojo vs ZX2 (stock app player with sound adjustment disabled +TRS out): both stands toes to toes with each offer different sound signatures and upon personal preferences to decide. Zx2 has warmer feeling, splashier trebles but harsher where as Mojo has that Clean and airy feeling with smoother trebles.

    3/ Mojo vs Zx2 (stock app, sound adjustment disabled, TRRS): ZX2 slightly edges out on impressions of layering, clarity, spaciousness, separations, sub-bass with better depth and definitions, more impactful tonal body, brighter and splashier trebles extensions+ resolutions and tonal body accuracy overall. Here is the maximum potential of Zx2, and I think it would still come down to a person preferences. Here, mojo feels smoother warmer and more musical as the resolutions/clarity/trebles and extensions is a bit toned down or a step back from Zx2, where as Zx2 feel impactful with more of a little bit of everything, but too detailed on splashy trebles and it extensions and clarity. I can see who is addicted to separations, clarity, resolutions, and splashy trebles definitions would prefer Zx2 and call it for being a better device that express slightly better "high-end" music ? However, you will need quality TRRS cables. For the majority who would love music, sit back, and relax, they would still pick Mojo as it is very fun, detailed, punchy, well controlled, smoother and musical.

    Conclusions: these are both very good device and are both at excellent price/performance values. Under normal circumstances Mojo would edge out in usability, friendly, power and quality sounds. Under special circumstances as ZX2 with the uses of TRRS (which is a PITA to seek for or DIY), then Zx2 would edge out slightly over-all, and that is to put aside all other things, but only taking into account of tonal body and inner fidelity (energy within each tone beat). Zx2 is also a standalone DAP with micro SD slot, android OS, long battery life....but lack of power for power hungry headphones

    If time turned back, I would pick Mojo, and skip all the PITA efforts to obtain TRRS for Zx2.....and still having better quality out of the box with more power that can even drive HD800. Straight up zx2 with only TRS and sound adjustment app, it can not compete to Mojo and it pure power period. But since I have been stuck with Zx2 and having too much time and efforts with TRRS, which turned ZX2 to edges out over the Mojo (broke through the diminishing return barrier), I would stick with ZX2 as a DAP and need not feeding it, listening with either Th900 or Z7 for days on the go without charging, and perhaps waiting for ZX3 or newer version of it :).

    Mojo on android phone.
    Smartphone Android 5.1 Note 4 with OTG and Mojo. I had to buy the Onkyo HF player paid version in order to play digitally into Mojo. It works great and sounds even better than ZX2 feeding the Mojo on transparency and soundstage, then it can even real time convert to DSD which is very fun and also sound good, it lags and skips sometimes as I don't think it is perfected yet (the app will also notify you of it being beta), but it is something fun to do. It is best to stick with the original files and not up convert anything.
    image.jpg

    OTG adapter I used can be found here
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015XA3W0G?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00

    I also do not think Zx2+Mojo= heaven like some people has asked me. Zx2 feeding 24/96 into Mojo didn't sound as decent as Note 4 feeding the same file. I observed the transparency and soundstage was a slight bit better on the Note 4 feeding Mojo. Still Zx2 with TRRS and sound adjustment app disabled edges out over the Mojo as a stand alone DAP. So it is best to either get a Mojo or a ZX2, and it is all up to you. Thank you for reading. Please pm if any questions

    image.jpg


    Some questions would arise and my personal answers can be found here

    http://www.head-fi.org/t/742609/sony-nw-zx2-hi-end-dap/9750#post_12209904
      Currawong, proedros, zolkis and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. purk
      Thanks Vince!  A great review indeed!
      purk, Jan 7, 2016
    3. masterpfa
      Thanks for the review. I remember wanting to like the Sony when it was first released but primarily the price I found too restrictive, also Sony's tendency for Priority connectors has always put me off and generally not liking the look of the DAP and the 4.1 Android OS.
      It's a shame because from all reports it's a fantastic device, but alas I know I would never be totally happy.
      I have had to console myself with the Mojo and Nexus 6P
      masterpfa, Jan 7, 2016
    4. twiceboss
      Man, have u tried this with TH900? how the sounds differ? mids and highs?
      twiceboss, Mar 20, 2016
  7. nmatheis
    Chord Mojo: Top-notch sound in a small, portable device!
    Written by nmatheis
    Published Jan 3, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Fantastic sound. Durable build. Small size. Fine volume control. Connectivity.
    Cons - No storage pouch. Aesthetics might not be for everyone. A bit pricey.
     
    ChordMojo-15.jpg

    iPhone 5S → Mojo → VE Zen 2.0
     
     
    INTRODUCTION
    I've been very lucky to hear a lot of great sounding gear this year. Pictured above are a couple of my favorites, the Chord Mojo and the VE Zen 2.0 earbuds. Yes, I'm leading off with the punch line this time. Mojo is one of my 2015 top picks. Why? Quite simply, it has the right combination of small size, durable build, easy connectivity to my iPhone or DAPs, good battery life, and very natural sound. To put this in context, I've heard many portable sources recently ranging from DAC/Amps like the Calyx PaT, Cayin C5DAC, Cozoy Astrapi & Aegis, Creative Sound Blaster E5, and Shanling H3 to DAPs like the Aune M2, Cayin N5 & N6, FiiO X3, X3ii, X5, X5ii & X7, iBasso DX90, Shanling M3 & M2, and Soundaware Esther. I haven't heard all of them together, but I hope this listing gives you some appreciation for the wide variety of portable sources I've put through their paces this year. I was also very lucky to have the Aune M2 and Soundaware Esther Analog DAPs in house along with the new Empire Ears IEM lineup and HiFiMan Edition X headphones, so I got to test out Mojo with some very nice gear.
     
    So, Chord. Of course I'd previously heard of them. Who around here hasn't? Their Hugo is famous around Head-Fi for having top notch sound and a unique aesthetic design. However, it's price prevented a lot of people (myself included) from giving it a listen. And given it's largish size, it's more of a transportable solution than a truly portable one. And that design. I wasn't so sure of it, to be honest. But the Hugo mystique was certainly intriguing. I often found myself wishing I could give one a test drive but unfortunately didn't have access to one. So when the Mojo was announced and one of my Head-Fi buddies @x RELIC x came out as a beta tester with many glowing words, it caught my attention and I was lucky enough to get a chance to test one out as part of a small US mini tour. Mojo obviously caught a lot of other people's attention, as well. The Mojo thread started by @Mython is one of, if not the, fastest growing threads on Head-Fi. No doubt about it, Mojo has certainly made waves in this community!
     
     
    Before we start, here's a bit of information about Chord from their website:
     
    Chord Electronics Ltd is a world-leading manufacturer of high-end audio products. Since 1989, under the leadership of proprietor John Franks, Chord Electronics has been pushing the boundaries of innovation, creating some of the planet's finest hi-fi, home cinema and professional audio equipment. A technology-driven leader, Chord Electronics' philosophy of ongoing evolution and refinement continues to deliver landmark audio products with extraordinary performance and unrivalled design features. 

    Born from the highly demanding world of aircraft avionics, Chord Electronics maintains a commitment to exemplary engineering, cutting-edge technology and exceptional build quality. Ingeniously designed for high performance over the long term, Chord products are renowned internationally for their advanced technology which is amongst the best in the world. Since 1996, Chord's collaboration with Robert Watts, a digital design genius with 30 years' DAC technology development experience, has produced a number of advanced digital products that are, quite simply, without equal. 

    Chord's achievements have been recognised in the media, too, with magazines and websites from around the world awarding Chord products the highest accolades. Chord's passion for sound quality and exemplary engineering continue to produce audio equipment with exceptional insight into recorded music. Sparkling clarity, unrivalled transparency and huge reserves of high-quality power are trademarks that have become synonymous with the brand. Chord is trusted and admired internationally, and its global customer base includes: the BBC; EMI's Abbey Road Studios (London); Sony Music Studios (New York) and Skywalker Sound to name but a few. 

    Why not discover for yourself what Chord Electronics can do for your favourite music? Our web pages can help you learn more about our product ranges and find retailers of exceptional ability, who will take time to help you find the product that's right for the way you listen. Welcome to Chord.

     
    USEFUL LINKS
    1. LINK to Chord's Mojo page.
    2. LINK to the Mojo mega-thread.
    3. LINK to the Mojo solutions thread.
    4. LINK to the Head-Fi Mojo FAQ.
    5. LINK to @x RELIC x's encyclopedic review complete with an interview with Chord's Rob Watts. If you haven't already, do yourself a favor and go read it!
     
     
    DISCLAIMER
    I was provided with the Mojo as a review loaner. There is no financial incentive from Chord for writing this review. I am in no way affiliated with Chord, and this is my honest opinion of the Mojo. I would like to thank Aune for sponsoring the tour and specifically @AuneAudio for allowing me to participate!
     
     
    ABOUT ME
    I'm a 43 year old father who loves music.  From electronic (Autechre, Boards of Canada) to modern/minimalist composition (John Cage, Philip Glass) to alternative rock (Flaming Lips, Radiohead) to jazz (John Coltrane and Miles Davis) to metal (Behemoth, King Diamond) to classic rock (Eagles, Rush), I listen to a wide variety of genres and artists. 
     
    My portable music journey started with the venerable Sony Cassette Walkman and then progressed to portable CD players, minidisc recorders (still have my Sharp DR7), and finally on to DAPs like the Rio Karma, iRiver IHP-1xx, iPod 5.5, iPhones, and the newer crop of DAPs from Fiio and iBasso. 
     
    As mentioned in the introduction, I was lucky to have some very nice earbuds, headphones, and IEM to test out Mojo with. For earbuds, I used the VE Zen 2.0. For Headphones, I used my HiFiMan HE400 and the HiFiMan Edition X I had in for testing. For IEM, I used the Empire Ears lineup. Yes, Zeus got his Mojo on!  
     
    As with a lot of people my age, I've got some hearing issues.  I've got mild tinnitus and suffer from allergies, which often affect hearing in my right ear.  I'll admit it, I'm not blessed with a pair of golden ears.  That said, I've been listening to portable gear for a long time and feel confident in assessing audio gear. I just wanted to be transparent up front. 
     
     
    SPECIFICATIONS 
    Output Power @ 1kHz: 720mW @ 8Ω, 35mW @ 600Ω
    Output Impedance: 0.075Ω
    Dynamic Range: 125dB
    THD @ 3v - 0.00017%
    Battery Life: 10 hours
    Price: $599
     
     
    PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES
    As usual, I'll go over this in pictorial fashion with a few brief comments.
     
    Front & Back of Box
    ChordMojoBox1.jpg
     
    It's super hard to see in the picture, but the Mojo logo is printed in a reflective white on white on the box's lid. Operating instructions are on the bottom of the box.
     
    Sides
    ChordMojoBox2.jpg

    Sample rate guide (ROYGBIV, yo!), more instructions, and technical specs.
     
    Mojo + Accessory
    ChordMojo-8.jpg
     
    You get the Mojo plus a charging cable. That's it, folks. I've seen this listed as a con for some of the reviews, and I just don't agree. Mojo has so many ways to connect that it would seriously be going above and beyond to provide all the different cables one might need. Luckily, cables aren't really that hard to find. A storage pouch of some sort would be nice to slip Mojo inside when not in use to prevent scratches, though. Really Chord, no storage pouch?
     
     
    BUILD & ERGONOMICS
    As usual, I'll go over the build and ergonomics in pictorial fashion below, pointing out what I like and what I think could be improved. 
     
    Top + Bottom
    ChordMojoFrontBack.jpg
     
    Top: Here we can see the main features of Mojo's physical user interface, the three balls. When I first saw pictures of the Mojo with these three balls all lit up, I just didn't get it. I thought it looked just plain goofy, to be honest. However, people I trust said it looked better in person, so I did my best to reserve judgement. Luckily, once I pulled Mojo from the box I was very pleased with what I felt and saw. The aluminum case has a nice powdery soft finish. It's got some heft to it. This doesn't feel like a device that's going to get hurt if it bounces around a bit. Scratched? Sure. Dented? Maybe if you threw it. Seems pretty bulletproof to me. The balls are a very hard translucent plastic, which seems pretty durable although I've read reports of them getting scratched. I didn't notice any scratches on the Mojo I had in for testing even though I was the third reviewer. I'd say that pretty good, since Mojo doesn't come with a case of any sort and I mainly kept it in my man bag bouncing around with my other gear when not in use.
     
    Bottom: Built-in silicon bumpers, manufacturing information and serial number, lots of tiny screws.
     
     
    Left & Right Sides
    ChordMojoLeftRight.jpg
     
    Just a better view of the volume and power balls. When I saw pictures of Mojo, I didn't realize they would spin. Yup, they spin freely in their settings. It's a bit odd coming from traditional buttons, but you get used to it pretty quickly. Once powered up, the balls all light up. They're pretty bright at first, but you can dim them to a more reasonable level for low light environments. And since we're talking about the balls, this is probably as good a place as any to discuss volume adjustment. 
     
    Volume Adjustment: I like Mojo's ability to fine-tune the volume for anything you throw at it from sensitive IEM to hard to drive headphones to full-on line out. Just hold down the buttons and you cycle through the color spectrum from double red for the lowest volume setting to double white for the highest setting. And yes, for you fellow science nerds out there, the volume and resolution indicators really are ROYGBIV. As a scientist, I can appreciate that. I've seen that some reviewers feel the volume change is somewhat slow, and it is if you're going from lower settings to higher settings when rapidly switching between IEM and headphones. However, I don't really see this being an issue in real world usage. If you're switching between different gear, you'll change the volume once, start jamming, and then fine tune a bit for individual songs. Easy peasy!   
     
     
    Inputs & Outputs
    ChordMojoInOut.jpg

    Left: Mojo has two 3.5mm headphone jacks. I'm not sure how likely it is that two people listening at the same time with different cans are going to need the same volume setting, but it is handy for stacking to have both left and right jacks to choose from.
     
    Right: From left to right, you've got COAX IN, USB IN, Charging Port + Battery Indicator LED, and OPTICAL IN.
     
    NOTE: Unlike some devices, you can charge Mojo while jamming to your favorite tunes!
     
    So now you've had your tour of Mojo. You've seen it all. It's really all pretty straight forward. It really is just as easy as turning it on, plugging it in, pressing play, and finding the right volume level. Easy peasy!
     
     
    BATTERY LIFE

    Depending on usage, you're going to get 8-10 hours of battery life out of the Mojo. Not too shabby. Given that you can charge while listening, I can see using this during a commute, plugging in at work, using on your commute home, at the gym, etc. and never really have to worry about running out of juice during normal usage. On long flights, you might need an external battery brick, though. 
     
    EDIT: I totally forgot to mention the battery indicator LED the first time around, but I was just reminded of it in the main Mojo thread so I thought I'd come back and comment on it. It's also based on the color spectrum, with full charge being blue and then the color changing from green to yellow to red to flashing red when you really, really need to find a charger quick. Nice consistency in using the same basic ROYGBIV color coding across the various functions and so deliciously nerdy!
     
     
    SOUND

    During my time with Mojo, I basically used it in two main set ups. The first was paired with my iPhone 5S via CCK, and the second was with my FiiO X5 via COAX with FiiO L17 IC. I also plugged in to my MacBook Pro briefly to make sure it worked properly. Being a Mac, it just worked. No drivers needed. No fuss. Same with the other connections, really. Mojo sounded like Mojo to me across all sources. As mentioned in the introduction, I was also playing with the Aune M2 and Soundaware Esther Analog DAPs when I had Mojo and these will be my main sources of reference. They're all very good sources, so it was a pleasure to be able to switch back and forth between them. So what did I find?
     
    Mojo has a very natural sound that fit between the more neutral sound of the Aune M2 and the quite full, warm sound of the Esther Analog. In a lot of respects, Mojo and Esther Analog were on par with each other. Both have what I would describe as natural, unexaggerated sound signatures that allow for a high level of detail retrieval without resorting to brightness or an ultra-wide, unrealistic sound field. Where they differed was in the level of fullness and warmth, with Mojo being just a bit on the full, warm side and Esther Analog being quite full, warm. Both have a very realistic placement of sounds in 3D space. I listen to a lot of extreme music, and one thing I really appreciated about both was the ability to handle all of that extreme music without breaking a sweat and making it all very listenable. That doesn't always happen. The Aune M2 on the other hand was more energetic, with more exaggerated lows and highs and a wider sound field than either Mojo or Esther Analog. To my ears, this gave the impression of the M2 having a more dynamic sound but at the expense of sounding less natural.  
     
    Here's a quick summary I put together as I was listening to the three, with greater quantity (not quality) on the left:
    Warmth: Esther Analog >> Mojo > M2
    Fullness: Esther Analog >> Mojo > M2
    Dynamics: M2 > Mojo ≃ Esther Analog
    Soundstage: M2 > Mojo ≃ Esther Analog
    3D: Mojo ≃ Esther Analog > M2
    Bass: M2 > Mojo ≃ Esther Analog
    Mids: Esther Analog > Mojo > M2
    Treble: M2 > Mojo ≃ Esther Analog
     
    I found myself being repeatedly drawn to Mojo for its natural, realistic sound. It's a full, mature sound that still left space between sounds. While it didn't have the largest sound field, it sounded very convincing. It is very balanced across the spectrum. Nothing really stands out. What you feed it is what you get. Compared with the Aune M2, you get a more refined sound. Compared with Esther Analog, you get a more neutral (though still very natural) sound. Because of this high level of refinement and lack of exaggeration across the spectrum, I found Mojo to pair very well with all the gear I tested it with. None of my gear was exceptionally hard to drive, though. My earbuds and IEM were kept in the lower range, while I needed to push up to the higher range for my HE400. From what I've read, one reviewer found Mojo lacking with very demanding cans. I can't confirm or deny this. Just be forewarned. 
     
    Happy Cans! (VE Zen 2.0, HiFiMan HE400, Empire Ears Hermes)
    ChordMojoCans.jpg
     
     
    SUMMARY

    When I first hooked Mojo up to my iPhone and took a listen, I knew it was something special. As I listened to it in comparison with other gear I had on hand, I confirmed this. When I went out for a walk with the Empire Ears Hermes pictured above and Mojo's battery ran out leaving me to plug directly into my iPhone, I can assure you I was not a happy camper. I couldn't wait to get back home and get the Mojo charged up. Midway through my time with Mojo, I started wondering if I should just abandon DAPs altogether and go for iPhone + Mojo. As mentioned in the introduction, I've heard a lot of DAPs this year. I've got a bit of an obsession with them, so for that thought to cross my mind was a bit surprising to me. So, why wouldn't I do this? Well, for starters I have an obsession with DAPs. I also have a large, eclectic music collection and like to have it at hand in FLAC format if possible. I just can't fit it all on my iPhone. So why not just use Tidal, you say? Smartphone + Tidal + Mojo has got to be a killer combination, right? Well, that would be a great solution if a lot of the music I listen to wasn't too obscure for Tidal to carry. So I find myself in the position where I probably need a DAP with two mSD slots as a transport for when I want all of my music with me. I guess that's not so bad, right? Either strapped to my iPhone or a DAP, I think I see a Mojo in my future...
     
    If you're looking for one of the best sounding devices your can carry around in the palm of your hand, put Mojo on your shortlist. The hype is very real!
     
     
    Thanks for taking the time to read this. Feel free to shoot me a PM if you've got any questions. 
     
    And finally, a big thanks to Chord for making a mini-tour happen and to the tour organizer. I'm glad I could participate and experience this fantastic little device for myself!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. howdy
      Great review Nik! I miss that thing. It still looks in great condition. As I told you I will be buying this soon and hopefully this will be it for awhile. Nobody wants to buy my FiiO X5 and Im practically giving it away. Anyways, Im trying to be more focused on another hobby and that is shooting bow with my son.
      howdy, Jan 6, 2016
    3. nmatheis
      @howdy: Your X5 Classic would make a great 400Gb transport for Mojo! Just sayin'...
       
      One of my uncles is an avid bow hunter. Mostly Elk. Seems to have a lot of fun. Are you a hunter or just shoot shoot for fun? Training to be Arrow or Hawkeye?
      nmatheis, Jan 9, 2016
    4. almoskosz
      "Cons: bit pricey" It's still the cheapest Chord :D
      almoskosz, Feb 25, 2016
  8. Hawaiibadboy
    CHORD Mojo - DAC/Headphone Amplifier
    Written by Hawaiibadboy
    Published Dec 26, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Absolute Audiophile or Basshead bomber abilities
    Cons - No cables for the items it is promoted to improve and pair with.
    [​IMG] 
      slowpickr, Raketen, Brooko and 24 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. dropbassnotbomb
      Sybian! Lmao..that's hilarious.
      dropbassnotbomb, Jan 17, 2016
    3. WhatToChoose
      Terrific review, that paper test was insane lol
      WhatToChoose, Jan 26, 2016
    4. tedmingo
      Love the sound hate the design. The idea of strapping the DAC to a transport with cabling and rubber bands does not appeal to me. Get rid of the LED bulbs and make it sleeker and with a built in transport and you will rule the world. 
      tedmingo, Feb 16, 2016
  9. howdy
    I found my MoJo
    Written by howdy
    Published Dec 14, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Great sound and reasonably priced
    Cons - My only complaint is I wish it was Apple Compatiable

    MOJO
     ​
     
    Here is my perspective on the Chord Mojo. First I will tell you a little about me. I am a 42 year old male with average hearing loss for someone my age, I work in a fairly quite atmosphere so I would like to think I can hear pretty well except when the wife is talking (selective hearing).I am by no means an Audiophile in any aspect but rather someone who enjoys listening to high quality music.
    But seriously though, everything you read below is my opinion and how I perceive the Chord MoJo, I’m not a writer or a grammar scholar by any means, and this will more than likely be a short review   as I like to get straight to the point.
     
     
    So, I like many others saw Head-fi blew up when the MoJo was introduced so I had to see what it was all about and started to read the thread a lot and this seemed like something I would like. I asked “OK-GUY” (who works at Chord)if I could try it out and he replied that I could so he got me in contact with the Tour Guides here in the states and like a week later I had one in my hands.
     
     
     
     
    Packaging-
    This was a plain white box, there was nothing special about. I’m one that could care less about how nice it comes packaged as long as it is good for shipping purposes. I care more about what is in the box. Contents where the Mojo and a cable for charging, pretty much all you need. It would have been nice if there were some sort of binders to strap it to your source but if you have been doing this hobby for a while I’m sure everyone has their own way of doing it and a million extra binders from previous sources.
     
     
                                                                                                              IMG_18521.jpg
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Build Quality-
    This thing is built like a tank, feels very solid and well-constructed when you have it in your hand. When you graze it with your finger nail you will notice that it will leave a mark but all you have to do is rub it with a clean soft cloth and it will go away. This will last a long time, not sure about the “balls” but as long as you don’t abuse them (No pun intended) I don’t see this being an issue.
     
     
     
     
    What I used with the Mojo-
     
    Sources: FiiO X5i iBasso DX90
    Headphones/IEMs: Oppo PM3, VMODA M100, Alclair RSM CIEM and JVC HA-FX850
     
     
     
     
                                                                                                 IMG_18441.jpg
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    First I tried it with the DX90 via coax, it sounded really great I have never heard anything from Chord so I was not familiar with their “house sound” but I’m a big fan. I have the AK Jr, and I think their sound sigs share a lot of similarities. One thing I noticed right away with My M100s was the sound stage was night and day bigger. I was amazed it could do that. It made my M100s sound like a headphone in a higher class, the bass was tighter, mids where more present and the highs had more clarity. To me the best synergy was with my Alclair RSM customs, this was an amazing match.  Most of the listening of the Mojo was with my RSMs.
     
     
    I noticed that when listening to the Mojo with my DX90 that when switching songs that there was a loud popping sound that was very irritating so I then switched to the X5 and there was no more of this. Not sure of the reason with the DX90, but the rest of the review is with the Mojo/X5. I have over 5800 songs of various ratings,( it is cool to see the Power ball change colors to what khz is playing, this would be one reason to keep the box as it shows what the khz rating is.) To me switching between devices did not really change the sound as the Mojo is the final output to your headphones. Your headphones are where you will have to play around with to find your favorite synergy.
     
    I brought this to a headfi meet the day after receiving it and those who were interested in portable devices thought it was great and sounded amazing. One thing I should note is that I was doing a lot of comparing to my Oppo HA2 with iPod touch streaming Tidal HIFI. Most at the head-fi meet had not heard either device and did like both. One of the head-fi-ers had actually bought a Mojo prior but is waiting to get it so he got a chance to hear it before receiving it.
     
    As far comparisons go between the HA2 and the Mojo besides the price being double of the HA2, they definitely both have their pros and cons like the HA2 is almost a third the width but the HA2 is double the length of the Mojo. However they are both built very robust and should last a long time.
    As for sound differences between the two they both have excellent separation but the Mojo has excellent soundstage and the highs are amazing coming from the RSMs, there is no real ear fatigue and you can listen to the Mojo for hours easily. I think the bass coming from either one is amazing. I will not be selling my HA2 after reviewing the Mojo as it seems many have, I really like my HA2. If the Mojo comes down in price or I have an extra 600.00 sitting around I would absolutely buy one though.
     
    I think the Mojo is fairly neutral overall and this would always be based on listening with a neutral headphone or IEM. My RSMs and PM3s are for the most part neutral. I think the Mojo really excels with live and acoustic music; it is some of the best I have ever heard. You can hear where each instrument is the separation as I said above is the best I heard and the one thing that I was most impressed with. All sources when you get in to the few hundred dollars plus category have a great clarity when paired with the correct headphone so I always look for each new device strong suit, in this case the separation. If anyone has a headphone that you like but is a bit narrow the Mojo would greatly help. As for overall sound quality, it was very crisp. I love when a source has that “crisp” presentation. My definition of crisp would be, Bass being tight and not bloated or exaggerated at all, Mids being present but not to forward and most importantly the highs, usually when you have great separation the highs can be a bit shrill and very fatiguing, but for the Mojo they are pleasant and you could listen to this for hours with no ear fatigue.
     
     
    So, for me, the Mojo/X5 with my RSMs where an absolutely amazing combo. I listened to this combo for many hours and did not really even bother with my other gear. I know that I’m all over on this review but you get the point.
     
     
                                                                                                     IMG_18511.jpg
     
     
     
     
      Mython, Hawaiibadboy and Light - Man like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Starcruncher
      Nice one! Just to make sure I'm on the right track, isn't Mojo Apple compatible with a camera connection kit?
      Starcruncher, Dec 17, 2015
    3. howdy
      ^ it is, I was hoping for something like the HA2 where you dont need a CCK. I will still buy it either way. The sound is amazing!!
       
      Thanks Ivabign! Im not one to write reviews I just like to sample. My Kids like to listen to music as well and they are on my Tidal account with me and have huge playlists. They still like the apple earbuds and my M100s and my daughter has some ATH M50. My wife says she cant tell between her Samsung earbuds and my HE400i.
      howdy, Dec 18, 2015
    4. Kevin Lee
      I have both oppo ha2 and mojo. Main deference is more live sound you get on mojo. Didn't feel digital.
      Kevin Lee, Dec 18, 2015
  10. slefr
    Chord Mojo : A small, affordable and highly musical portable device
    Written by slefr
    Published Dec 13, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - An holographic and warm sound, excellent instrument layering with lots of details and impact
    Cons - Bass impact is good but could be stronger, provided USB cable a bit short
    Introduction 
     
    This is my first  review but also my first post on head-fi. 
     
    A friend proposed to me to evaluate the new Chord Mojo through an evaluation tour organized by Chord. I accepted happily as I was very curious about its sound signature compared to its big brother Hugo I tested some time ago. While I really liked the Chord Hugo, I considered it too bulky and expansive as an alternative DAC and amp for my Astell and Kern AK240 and decided not to buy it.
     
    Build quality and operating features
     
    I was surprised to see how small Mojo is. It’s a bit on the heavy side with a metal enclosure rather than use of plastic but seems built to last. Volume setting is easy through large buttons which indicate volume levels with colors ranking from red to blue. 
     
    I won't go into further details as they have already been provided by previous reviewers better than I could do. I will just say that I like the original design of Mojo and I think it is well thought and built for portable use, it doesn't take long to understand how it works.
     
    Sound Quality 
     
    Soundwise, Mojo has been compared to the Macbook Pro analog output using Audirvana player and to the AK240 using its own DAC/AMP. Mojo was connected to the MBPro through USB. I mainly used by beloved Earsonics Velvet IEM for most of the listenings as I wanted to assess Mojo for portable use.
     
    The differences with MBPro analog output were striking, the latest giving a flat and boring sound in comparison with the Mojo. On Alan Parson Project/The Very Best of AP Project/Prime Time track, cymbals sounded far more detailed and realistic with Mojo opposite to the plastic and artificial rendering with MBPro output. Voices were more natural with Mojo, airier with a better soundstage and instrument separation, bass was also faster and more impactful. On Miles Davies/Kind of Blue/So What track, The piano was flat and light sounding with a lack of harmonics, sounding again plastic with MBPro output, the same was true for the trumpet and cymbals. Notes were thicker, fuller with Mojo and instruments sounded far more real with it. On Cassandra Wilson/Another Country track, Instruments were sparkly and lush with Mojo, Cassandra’s voice was more realistic with Mojo. There was a better distinction in space between voice and instruments.
     
    So the Chord Mojo sounded way better that MBPro output but what about the comparison with the AK240 ? On previous Cassandra Wilson/Another Country track, AK240 performed better that the MBPro output but was still behind Mojo with less depth and a warmth. On Pink Floyd/The Wall/Another Brick in the Wall 2 track, there was less impact with AK240, children voices were more detailed with Mojo, the overall representation was fuller, more convincing and pleasing with Mojo. On Dead Can Dance/Anastasis/Anabasis track, there was a better instrument separation with Mojo as well as a more laid back and warmer representation, a more 3D soundstage. Bass impact was equivalent between AK240 and Mojo. AK240 sounded a bit sterile compared to Mojo. On Gary Karr/Adagio d’Albinoni/Albinoni-Giazotto: Adagio in G minor, there was again more depth with Mojo, thicker notes and more details on bow strokes on the double bass strings.
     
    Conclusion
     
    So my experience with Mojo was very good, it reminds me the strengths of Hugo with a detailed, impacted, warm and holographic sound. It’s small enough to be used as a portable solution with an iphone or a low end DAP used as source. I’m seriously considering replacing my AK240 with a Mojo combined with an iPhone with sufficient storage to be able to use Qobuz streaming.
     
    I would like to thank Chord for allowing me to assess the Mojo. I’m convinced this little gem will have a great success thanks to an adequate price with regards to its performances.
      maxh22 likes this.
    1. RamblerBoy
      thank you!
      RamblerBoy, Dec 31, 2015