Just what does it take to hear music while you’re on the go? It’s all pretty basic: a good set of earphones and a media player or smartphone loaded with great tunes. But there’s now one other device you shouldn’t forget: The Chord Mojo, a tiny sound turbocharger from England. But watch out: It’s addicting!
Mojo is the name of Chord Electronics’ latest stroke of genius. The English high-end company has developed this tiny Tim to act as an audiophile interface to enable mobile media players (smartphones!) and good headphones to reach their full potential. And the promises the company made at the device’s world premiere in London were not too much, as the exceptional sound of the “Mobile Joy” demonstrates with bewildering clarity. No wonder: It took its inspiration from the bigger (and much more expensive) Chord Hugo. Mojo is smaller than most smartphones and rests in your hand like a luxury TV remote. Or on your hi-fi rack. Or next to your laptop. Tucked within the 180-gram aluminum case of this reference-quality product is a DAC, which—thanks to its Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA – can also handle DSD and PCM files up to 768 kHz along with any other regular format.
At the London presentation, all sizes and price classes of headphones as well as a few top-of-the-line media . players were available. Tracks I always have on the iPhone in full resolution really opened my eyes and ears: The resolution, dynamics and joy of created while using the Mojo are superb, far exceeding what you would typically think such a compact device could produce. It is a cinch to operate: Three opaque lighted buttons show the sampling frequency and listening level by changing colors. This color scheme includes producing a type of rainbow show every time you turn on the device—cool. When you let the volume display run through the color spectrum when you use the Mojo, you’ll hear practically every level from a soft breeze to loud thunder. I got hooked on this amazingly robust pipsqueak at the premiere. Since then, it’s also shown just what it’s capable of doing under real-world conditions. On the road or on my desk, the Mojo has earned even more accolades as an alluring sound magician.
I gave it a home in my media case long ago. It takes just four hours to charge its batteries. The reward for the wait? Up to 10 hours of listening pleasure. In terms of sound, this showpiece generates a level I’ve at most seen in stationary models that generally cost much more. The output socket of the integrated and unbelievably powerful amplifier will easily drive any set of headphones I know of. I’ve already put this tiny power pack to the test with the Beyerdynamic T-1, Grado PS-1 Pro, AKG K-701 and even the HiFiman HE-1000. And my ears have been amazed every time. You also have the option of setting the output level to “line level,” where the Mojo can serve as a simple DAC in a puristic digital chain. But you should donate a good NF cable to the cause if you do so. Chord’s tiniest-ever component is a digital gem. It’s made entirely in England—and the quality is exceptional! The price of nearly €600 is not simply reasonable. It is also a real audiophile bargain. Yeah, I got my Mojo working!
Chord Electronics Mojo | mobile DAC and headphone amplifier | price: €600