Chord Mojo – Review
Some of you may have read my review of Hugo. I was really impressed by that product and what Chord managed to do, not to mention in what size.
It’s been a while since Mojo appeared on the market and I don’t know why I didn’t try to hear it until now. Recently a friend of mine bought it and he was floored by its performance.
I didn’t need to hear more to try it for myself. Due to the generosity of Chord’s dealer in Romania, HighEndAudio.ro , I now have the chance of sharing my experience regarding Mojo with you.
Build Quality and Looks
You have any idea what struck me first? Its puny size! I was caught by surprise when I’ve seen it. I knew it was small, but I didn’t expect for it to be that small. It’s smaller than FiiO X5, or Aune B1 for example.
Mojo is a Chord, so you would imagine that the build quality is very sturdy. It seems to be a small solid metal brick. It’s actually made of aircraft grade aluminium. Chord also offers a very nice looking protective case for it.
The design is quite simplistic. You don’t have any display, just 3 round buttons that change colors. It takes a little getting used to it, but after a while, the minimalist design comes in handy.
The power button changes color for example to show you what sample rate is playing at the moment.
Also the volume buttons have different lighting depending on the volume. You should be very attentive when plugging your headphones into Mojo, especially if you switch to a more efficient headphone after a more power hungry one. It’s small, but this little guy has power and it could hurt your ears from the loud volume if you don’t pay attention.
For more information, you can read the manual here.
Specs and Features
Mojo is small but Chord managed to add 3 inputs on this little guy: USB, Optical, Coaxial. Besides this, it has 2 3.5 headphone outputs. Yes, two people can listen to Mojo in the same time.
- Mojo was designed for the music loving Smartphone owner.
- It is powerful, but small and comfortable to carry.
- It works with your iPhone or Android phone.
- Mojo is also compatible with your Mac or PC
- Mojo has three digital inputs – USB, Coaxial, and Optical.
- Mojo charges in just 4 hours to provide up to 10 hours use.
- You can use any pair of headphones with Mojo, from 4Ω to 800Ω.
- With two 3.5mm analogue outputs you and a friend can listen too!
- Mojo plays all files from 32kHz to 768kHz and even DSD 256.
- Mojo is fully automatic and remembers its last used settings.
- Its case is precision machined from a single solid block of aluminium.
- Mojo is entirely designed and manufactured in Great Britain.
- Output Power @ 1kHz
- 600 ohms 35mW
- 8 ohms 720mW
- Output Impedance: 0.075 ohms
- Dynamic Range: 125dB
- THD @ 3v – 0.00017%
The specs are quite astonishing. 125dB dynamic range and such small thd at this size is just amazing. There are a lot of considerably more expensive full sized DACs that would dream to have those specs.
It seems that Mojo offers 4.2V in max output mode and 3V on fixed (line out) volume, which is quite a lot. I was curious to see how it handles Audeze LCD-4, which is quite a power hungry headphone, and Mojo made it sing quite nicely. I was very impressed!
Listening Impressions & Tests
The tests were performed with Audeze LCD-4, Meze Classics 99, AKG K553, Ultimate Sound US3D, FiiO Ex1, Aune B1, iFi Micro iDsd, Audio GD Master 9, Audio GD Master 10, Martin Logan Ethos Speakers.
As you can read from above I’ve played quite a lot with Chord Mojo the last few days. You may ask why such extensive tests? Simple question! I love Mojo so much, so I wanted be sure that what I am hearing is real.
This little magic box sounded amazing with anything I gave it, from iems to Audeze LCD-4, which was an extreme surprise. If you read my LCD-4 review, I have stated that those headphones are not quite easy to amplify. Not only that it manages to give them sufficient volume but it also gives them “mojo”, making them really enjoyable.
Ok, don’t expect them to have the bass/soundstage you have in a big amplifier, but you will get good speed, detail, energetic transients and great vocals.
I also tested it as a dedicated DAC with my speaker system and it sounded amazing, and I cannot see why it shouldn’t be used like that in a big system. I actually think that it is better than most full size DAC at that price or even 10 times more expensive ones on the market today.
If you read the review of Aune B1, you know that I love that amplifier. It was only natural I tested it with Chord Mojo as DAC.
Mojo does a great job on its own and in some ways it surpasses it.
For example B1 cannot handle LCD-4, while Mojo wasn’t just up the the task, but also got an A+, making these pretentious headphones sing. However, adding B1 with moderately power hungry headphones, decompresses the soundstage and makes it more holographical, adds bass depth, voice presence and intimacy and a generally more natural sound signature.
On the other side, Mojo alone is slightly more detailed, has a little more focus around the leading edges, and a little faster sound in general. It’s like when you apply sharpness effect over an image.
The Civil Wars – Billie Jean (Live)
The first thing I noticed were the voices which made me feel in the scene near the artists. The voices on Mojo are amazing and it achieves this level of quality with the superb textures, details and liveliness. Another thing I noticed was the clarity of each note, the excellent imaging and black background this little guy is capable of.
This is the version without instruments, just with Susane’s voice filling the scene. I got goosebumps over and over again on this song. The voice was so real and well textured that I felt her breath in my ears. Also the echoing effect was superbly reproduced. Lovely experience!
Leonard Cohen – Heart with no companion
The song starts with just the instruments for a while. Every instrument, every note was crystal clear and sparkly. When the guitar plucks entered the scene it was like someone came with a guitar inside your ear or really close to it. Got goosebumps all over. But hang on tight, there’s more! When the voices enter the scene it’s like they’re taking your ears for a dance. I didn’t just listen to this song, I lived it!
Pink Martini – In Stiller Nacht
Excuse me sir! Do you have time to speak about voices? Yes, I know I’ve already mentioned this a few times, but I feel the need to punctuate this. This song is a reference for me. I love those voices and Mojo takes you on a ride on each and every voice from the quire. The level of the detail of the textures is just amazing, making them incredibly real. You can concentrate on each of them, you can feel all their breaths. Forgot to say that the background is pitch black.
Dawn and Hawkes – Love you forever
I am not going to say anything about the voices in the song from now on, but you can extrapolate the same qualities I described above. Ok, let’s talk about rhythm, detail and speed. Yes, Mojo excels at all of those categories. End of story! The guitars have explosive plucks with energetic and detailed extension, showing excellent transients with strong attack and detailed and fast decay. Mojo’s got rhythm! It’s so fast and energetic that I just couldn’t stop myself from dancing along with the song!
Handel: Water Music Suite No.2 in D, HWV 349 – 12. Alla hornpipe
If you’re a fan of classical music, you just need your mojo! All the instruments have amazing focus, detail and textures. The imaging is top class and you can off the floor of the background. The soundstage is a little intimate, but you can expand it with an external amplifier like Aune B1 for example, which also adds some soul to the music.
Let’s see if Mojo can bass. This is a fast song and Mojo ran circles around it in the speed and punch department. It gave energy, impact, rhythm to the song making it really hard not to jump around. The detail and control of the bass are also exemplary. The depth is not in the same class with the other two, but you can fix this easily by adding an Aune B1. This means that the DAC section is excellent in all categories: punch, speed, control and depth. The amp needs a little more depth but it’s not something that can’t be fixed.
Oh boy…how Mojo rocks! I was sweaty at the end of the song. So much…energy…such precision and speed, such vibrating textures on the electric guitars, such electrifying voices…Rock on! At the end of the review I want to smash the guitar and get off scene :))
Duke Ellington – Rhapsody in Blue
The level of textures on each instruments, the level of presence and detail is breath taking. If you concentrate on any instrument in that scene it will hypnotize you. This song is like a journey. It’s like your dancing on each note, feeling every instrument, it’s a roller coaster of emotions.
The bass has excellent speed, control and punch. The amplification section might need a little more depth, but adding another amplifier like B1 in the mix and using Mojo just as DAC gets you there. The level of detail and textures in the bass section is exemplary.
The midrange is breath taking. It has such full of life and detailed textures that it brings everything to life. Will talk about the voices below.
The treble is very detailed and full of sparkle end energy. It’s not harsh, but don’t expect Mojo to hide recording or transducers’ flaws. If paired with the right gear, it can be just as impressive as the other parts of the frequency range I described above.
The voices are in a class of their own. What makes them so great are the wonderfully detailed and pulsating textures Mojo is capable of breathing into them. They just become alive and vibrant. You live the experience with the singer, you get emotionally involved in the song! Not to mention that there were some cases where I enjoyed the voices with Mojo more than with Analog Dac.
Another area where Mojo has mojo and gets to be ridiculously impressive. Details are popping out from each corner of the song, bringing to attention even very subtle things, but in a somewhat relaxed and natural manner (quite more so than Hugo for example). Once I got really startled from hearing something in the orchestra and believing it was in my room.
The transients are excellent, showing strong attack and very fast decay. The sound gets to be tactile or can tickle your ears when the song dictates. It leads to a fast and energetic listening experience.
Soundstage & Imaging
The soundstage from Mojo alone isn’t very expansive, but it’s well determined and the positioning is very well done. With B1 it expands and becomes more holographical. The imaging however is ridiculously impressive, showing excellent focus on each instrument and clear leading edges.
Mojo has a way of making the music very energetic and full of life. It does this through excellent timing, vibrant textures, excellent details and fast, but explosive transients.
Small Comparison to iFi micro iDsd
I am doing this comparison because it is in the same price range with Mojo and I loved that product very much. Until Mojo, this was my go to product to recommend, especially if you want a office audiophile setup or even a for your home, giving the excellent price performance ratio it has.
While I still love iDsd and it still has some very nice features that makes it very versatile, overall Mojo was quite ahead from a technical perspective. iDsd has a more organic/fuller and relaxed sound with better presence on the voices. It also has stronger amplification that is also wonderful even with very efficient iems which is also available with Mojo, but with the latter you really have to watch the volume, not to burn the headphones and your ears.
For example with LCD-4 iDsd had a more decompressed soundstage and a little deeper bass than Mojo alone. While Mojo is also very good with iems, you have to be very careful not to start up the unit on the wrong volume. iDsd has some switches that makes this harder to happen.
Besides these points, Mojo wins in every other deparment: speed, accuracy, imaging, details, clarity, etc. While iFi iDsd is still very good in these departments, it just cannot keep up with Mojo.
I am sorry with all the superlatives I’ve written until now, but Mojo is just one of those products…
I missed this level of excitement! I would be excited about Mojo, even if was a full size DAC, but having this level of quality in such small size is just amazing.
Now I finally understand the name. Chord’s got Mojo! Every audiophile needs his fix, and with Mojo he can get it anywhere.
I consider Chord to have reached one of the most important achievements in the audiophile industry with Mojo and I once more take off my hat to them!
From my perspective and experience, Mojo is the best buy DAC out there today!
If you want to try one for yourself, you can go HighEndAudio‘s showroom in Bucharest.
- Very good bass with good speed, punch, detail and with added amplification also excellent depth
- Excellent, emotional, clean & detailed midrange
- Very good treble detail and energy without harshness
- Very good dynamics, transient speed and energy
- Excellent details
- Holographical soundstage
- Stunning voices
- Very good build quality
- Best price/performance ratio I know in the audio industry in the DAC section
- Quite capable amplification (LCD-4 runs quite nicely from it)
- The soundstage is quite intimate, even if holographical
- Should have a safety switch or something like that for IEM use
Nice review, thanks. I’m looking forward to read your take on iFi Pro iCAN.
Thank you. Will publish the review soon.
Great review Dan, look forward to your review of the iCan Pro!
Thank you! It’s a work in progress! Hope I manage to post it this week!
Congratulations for the review ! I was actually expecting Hugo to edge Mojo sound-wise, so I’m very surprised that it has turned out the other way around; anyway, I use Hugo mostly on Line Out via RCA, I wonder if Mojo still bests it on its Line Out taking into account that its Line Out it’s not actually RCA.
Thank you Constantin. I had similar expectations myself. Well, I did test Mojo in my speaker system and sounded awesome as well!
So you prefer Mojo over Hugo?
How do you think it compares against Yggdrasil?
Well, to be frank I didn’t have them side by side but from memory, and I think I have Hugo and Yggy imprinted nicely in my head, I prefer Mojo to both of them. Compared to Hugo, Mojo sounds more natural, more analogical and I think that overall it even sounds cleaner than Hugo.
Compared to Yggdrasil, if I remember correctly, Mojo should have better focus, a cleaner background and better dynamic range.
Rob Watts has somehow managed to attain an even lower noise floor with Mojo, and it’s interesting to discover on the internet that these two projects (Hugo and Mojo) ran for a while in parrallel at Chord’s R&D; the lower noise floor should account for the cleaner background; one thing that I found rather troublesome for Yggy (looking at the pics, because I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing it or hearing it live) it’s its choice for EL transformers instead of toroids: I mean why investing such great R&D effort in adapting a military grade chip if decent power supply is absent; almost all respectable electronics use toroidal transformers for their lesser influence on the audio signal, why schiit doesn’t ?
Indeed. I think that Yggy would benefit a lot from a better power supply.
Spec wise, the product that is better than Mojo from Chord, is their flagship, Dave.
Great review. It seems consistently reported that there’s nothing to compare Mojo to in the sub 6k realm.
Mojo replaced everything for me. It’s the home DAC abd home Amp as well as travel.
It’s made me wonder what spending a few hours with DAVE must be like.
Hello, great reviews for Mojo and Dragonfly Red. 🙂
I have the iFi iDSD + iUSB Power and Dragonfly Red + Jitterbug and I find the iFi combination to be more musical to my ears. Using the HD650 headphones and Tidal HiFi it seems the notes are flowing more easily, more natural, especially the guitar plucks and piano.
I did not (yet) have the chance to test the Chord Mojo so I am curious if it has the same musicality as the iFi combination.
I am very tempted to replace the DFR with Mojo for mobile use if Mojo feels warmer and more analogical to justify the price difference.
Thank you for the kind words.
Well, ifi is a little smoother, has a fuller, smoother treble and sound in general. Some may consider it a little more musical because of that. However, Mojo is also musical through other qualities like wonderful textures and cursivity.
I love Mojo with HD800 and AKG K812. I sometimes pair Mojo with Luxman P-200 for HD800 and it makes some recording more soothing but for K812 Mojo direct is proffered.
Now I want to keep mojo as mobile unit and get a DAC. I would like to get Violectric V850 DAC to work with Luxman P-200 for HD800. I have read V850 is better than Mojo and Hugo as a dac. Any comments?
Of the items I have purchased there were two winners for not HD800 and Mojo. I was unimpressed with Burson Conductor, LCD2, K812, K712, Forcal Elear and listen to female vocals, classics, eastern music, Eric Claptop, Dire Straight, Eagles, Yanni, Kenny G etc
Glad you like your Mojo.
I have briefly heard the Violectric once. It seemed like a good DAC. Didn’t make a full comparison to be sure of what I am about to say so take it with a grain of salt, but I don’t think that it would be better than Mojo.
The tech in Mojo is superior from my perspective and I think the measurements and the specs show that as well.
I also own the Chord Mojo and looking for an AMP only to match with the LCD3f. You didn’t mention much about the combination of the LCD4 and Audio DG with the Mojo. How would you rate the Audio DG with the Mojo?
Hey Johny, Audio GD , both m9, m10, are a fine combo with Mojo. You will get clean / transparent sound with excellent black background, very emotional and natural midrange, but you will lack a little energy in impact and transients. It won’t be the most energetic pair out there, but it will be quite nice overall, depending on your tastes.
I have a friend who has LCD3f. I got to know him for I bought Violectric HPA V281 Amp from him. He does not listen to LCD3/F anymore and bought only few months back. I was questioning him several times. He paired it with Mojo and V281 (German V281 is one of the best rated amps comparable or better than Simaudio Moon, Ifican Pro,Auralic Amps etc as I have read) and he did not like it. He had head LCD3 with Hugo and that is why he has purchased LCD3 as he was very happy but then becauase everyone says mojo is same as Hugo he has opted for the lower cost Mojo and spend balance money to get a V281 which is very powerful that drive Hifiman He6 as good any any. But for some reason Mojo being the darker DAC has not gone well with LCD3 and we all know LCDs need a treble push. So be careful with the pairing.
I have similar experience with LCD2 which I paid with Busron conductor Amp+Saber 9018 Dac built in. It was good and then when I got AKG K812 it was too harsh on trebles but Mojo being darker amp worked great. Details and soundstage wise both Burson and Mojo was almost same but it is just pairing issue.
We have to get something straight here. V281 is a dark amplifier as well. Mojo as DAC is quite on the neutral side. If you pair it with a energetic and less dark amplifier, it should work ok with LCD-3f. Yes, Mojo is “darker” than Hugo, but I think that Hugo was actually on the bright side.
I think you give too much glowing reviews all the time. Feel the hype.
Hi Mark, Thank you for the feedback. One of the reason for this is that I don’t write reviews unless I really like the product.
The reason behind this is that I don’t have time to write reviews about gear I don’t like. On the other hand if the product impresses me, the excitement gets me going, as this is actually why I got into this hobby and why I am writing.
I bought Mojo for a few days and I want to tell you that I am very pleased with him, find in him exactly what he has said so far about him, the speed, the clarity, the sounds I have not heard with other Dacians so clear. I consider myself a small audiophile, I tried many Dacs until I got here and if I were to take another one, I would keep Mojo just because it was the only one who simply gave me another quality music.
Perhaps it fits better with my system than with other Dacs, that’s why I say that we acted