Chord Mojo – Mobile Joy is an appropriate tagline :)

Tl;dr: Great portable device wholly deserving of the hype at its price range. Rich sound singature with a slight hit of warmth. Slight usability issues with phones (common across other devices) and a slightly weak amplifier hold it back from perfection.

Had a few weeks so far with the Chord Mojo after confirming my want for this unit auditioning it for the 2nd time at Bay Bloor Radio. First time I heard it with the Hifiman HE-X and was super impressed by how well it drove that headphone, I liked it better than the Chord Hugo they had available as well, although that might have been more due to the headphones used (DT1770, not very impressed) than the source. The second time, I auditioned with my FitEar TG334s and was again super impressed by how much better they sounded compared to the stock S7 Edge DAC (no slouch itself), ALO Island, and the Dragonfly Black/Red. With many hours of use under the Mojo’s belt, I’ve found them to be very good. It’s been ruining my sleep habits as I’ll now spend hours just lying in bed listening to music when I should be sleeping.

General Sound Impressions of Mojo:

  • transparent and slightly warm sound signature
  • biggest soundstage out of all the DAC/Amps I’ve tried yet (ALO Island, T1, Burson HA-160D/Conductor). FitEars go from slightly “in the head” on the S7 Edge’s CS (or Wolfson) DAC to quite “out of the head”. Favourite part about this source component and most noticeable improvement.
  • brings a touch more emphasis to the low end
  • kind of revealing of the limitations of lower-end equipment. I tried the Trinity Technes on these (a solid budget IEM), and it was noticeable how veiled their sound was when I A/Bed against the FitEars, much moreso than when I compared the two through my phone. The VE Monks though didn’t suffer as badly.
  • Amplifier unit can be better. One pairing that didn’t work well for the Mojo was the VE Zen 2.0 earbud, as it really emphasized the Zen’s recessed vocals. Found no issues on other audio devices I tried with it (TG334, Andromeda, D2000, MS1i, Monk)

Usability Impressions:

  • smaller than expected, the size of a cigarette pack, great build quality
  • extremely wide volume range, pretty sure I can cause hearing damage with these using IEMs. Definitely enough juice to drive most full-size headphones to respectable volume levels. As a result of the wide range, the background is not totally black on sensitive IEMs, but it’s a extremely minor level of hiss. I’d confuse it for ambient noise in all but the most quiet of rooms. Not too big of a deal for me. A gain switch selector have been helpful to address this.
  • extremely wide range of bitrates supported. 16-32 bit, 44-784kHz, and DSD capability. Most of my music is in 16 bit, 44kHZ so it doesn’t affect me much but it’s nice to know you can play back higher-resolution files at their intended quality if you can source those.
  • optical and coaxial line outs available, but I only ever use USB.
  • unit gets pretty warm, and battery life is pretty good (around 8-10 hour mark). I was really concerned about battery life in the beginning, but it has been much less of an inconvenience than I expected. Having microUSB rather than miniUSB inputs really helps, as I can just use my smartphone peripherals for it. Also, it being battery powered means it doesn’t drain my smartphone battery like a pig going through slop (cough cough ALO Island cough)
  • you can listen to the Mojo while charging, but there’s some coil whine in the unit. No charging your phone with it.
  • the Power/Volume LEDs are too bright for nighttime listening even at the lower brightness levels.
  • one pretty significant con: Mojo picks up a good amount of RF noise from my S7 Edge. This is worst when on mobile data (basically unbearable), okay with cell reception and wi-fi (occasional tick-tick sounds), and fine when the phone is on Airplane mode and wi-fi. I bought a better quality USB cable (lavricables silver USB) wondering if that would help things, it didn’t lol. Cable looks great though. The best solution here if you have to stay on your network is to keep your phone and Mojo far away from each other, which is not ideal.

In conclusion, the Mojo is still really good despite the above RF noise issue. Works great on my phone and laptop running USB out. Very versatile unit capable of sounding great with IEMs, headphones and even earbuds. I’d say it’s one the best source components I’ve had yet, it made me feel like I wasted my time with everything else I had before. If you’re on the fence, go get it! Definitely worth the money.

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