The Chord Mojo – The Game Changer has Arrived – First Impressions

  

Chord Electronics is a UK audio company based in Kent. Chord has been making high end quality audio products for many years. Last week they announced their new Chord Mojo, their most affordable product to date and likely to be one of their most successful products. So what is the Chord Mojo? Chord Electronics state –

“Chord Electronics is proud to introduce Mojo, the ultimate DAC/Headphone Amplifier for your smartphone. Simply connect Mojo to your iPhone, Android phone, PC, or Mac, plug in your headphones and you can experience crystal clear audio the way you would hear it in the recording studio.”

  

  


Key Features

-Mojo was designed for the music loving Smartphone owner.
-It is powerful, but small and comfortable to carry.
-It works with your iPhone, Android or Windows phone… Also DAPs.
-Mojo is also compatible with your Mac, PC, or Linux computer.
-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 512.
-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%

So we can all read the specs and features and so on, BUT the key point is how does the Chord Mojo perform and does it sound any good! Answer it is a magical, breathtaking product that blows the competition away when it comes to musicality, sound quality and tonal reproduction. At its price point of £399, there is nothing anywhere near this and likely up to and slightly over £1,500 that competes. Chord sell the Hugo, a bigger version of the Mojo for £1,400, and yet the Mojo according to those that are lucky enough to own both reproduces 97% of what the Hugo achieves. Some say its better.

  
I have been listening to the Mojo with Sony MDR-1RNC, AKG K702 and ATH-M50x headphones and I have never heard my headphones sound so good. Period! The Mojo is funky with its coloured balls that change colours yet its built like a rock. A stunning piece of engineering. I am not listening to high end FLAC or DSD tracks just normal MP3 encoded music to achieve this wonderful sound. For the record, the Mojo is not a review unit/loan. I consider the Mojo the single best electronic purchase I have ever made. That list includes phones, cameras, tablets, audio equipment, gadgets and more.

My recommendation would be to stop buying the next best smartphone, and start enjoying your music collection all over again!

Chord Electronics Mojo Headphone Amplifier / DAC information and deal at Amazon UK

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32 thoughts on “The Chord Mojo – The Game Changer has Arrived – First Impressions

    1. I hear ya Jah! I only buy mp3s if I HAVE to since getting into the whole Hi-Res thing. lol Even CDs I’ve had for years that I’d ripped to mp3, I RE-ripped them about a year ago to FLAC. You DO hear a difference! The main thing to come back is the bass and drums. They suddenly have a deeper greater power to them. But Hi-Res is still the best. They tend to sound the most clear, and have the best overall sound quality, soundstage, etc.

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  1. You are not making the wait for my own Mojo to arrive any easier. Off on holiday for a week and on return should have not only the Mojo, but also the Ether C should be arriving. Looking forward to returning from my holiday as much as I am the holiday itself!

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  2. I’ve seen your comments in Head-fi Gav. My Mojo landed last night and I’m in Qatar. So far I’ve used my S6 and AK240ss as transports and paired them with my SE846’s and Lawton modded TH-900’s.

    I don’t know how Chord have done this coz it’s amazing for the price point and size. It really is a stunning feat of technology by Chord. I have the Hugo as well and this little gem comes very very close to the Hugo.

    A fantastic portable system now so the Hugo will styy as my desktop.

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  3. Hi Gavin,

    Nice review! The chord mojo does look rather interesting. I like that it’s small too.

    I had the Celsus Sound Companion One ($595) http://www.celsus-sound.com/index.php/product/companion-one , but ended up returning it for the cheaper Oppo HA-2 ($299). Although the reviews I’d read indicated that the CO was better overall, I couldn’t tell a difference honestly, so I returned it for the HA-2 instead. The CO offers Wi-Fi (not the lesser-quality but more common Bluetooth) for wireless, which I think is a first for a portable amp/DAC! The HA-2 of course as you know offers the option to be a battery pack for your phone, which I find handy. And it also has rapid charging (though for phone charging it’s regular speed).

    Note: If you have an iOS device, you can charge your device using the HA-2 WHILE playing music through it at the same time. But if you have Android or a Windows phone, it’s only either/or. (Oppo confirmed this for me.)

    Perhaps you could do a comparison of the HA-2 vs. the Mojo or Mojo vs. the CO (or both?) one day if you’d like? I did hear a difference between the iBasso DX 50 and my old Walkman NWZ-A17 (Walkman was pricier but better!), but as the price goes up it can get harder to tell unless I’m like comparing like a $2500 amp/DAC or DAP vs. like a $500 one I think. The CO vs. the Mojo would be interesting b/c they both are about the same price.

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    1. Thanks for the kind comments. I still have the HA-2. I also recently had the HA-1 (somewhat bigger!!) I have done comparisons between the HA-2 and Mojo. On sound quality the difference is so vast that I’m selling the HA-2. Interesting about charging the iPhone.

      I also have a few android devices and have tested the Mojo using UAAP app and the quality is just as good.

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      1. Gavin,

        Sure thing! YW.

        Thanks. Yeah the HA-1 is the desktop version of the HA-2. The HA-2 and HA-1 both have the same DAC chip (the ESS Sabre 9018), though the HA-2’s DAC is a “mobile version” of the HA-1’s DAC chip.

        That’s cool. I dunno, ppl said the same thing about the Celsus Sound Companion One, and it’s around the same price as the Mojo, but when I compared them (Companion One vs HA-2), I couldn’t hear a difference. I wonder if I’D hear a difference b/t the Oppo HA-2 and the Mojo?

        Ppl said the Companion One sounded better than the HA-1 which is double its price (HA-1 = $1200), yet when I compared it to the HA-2, which is half its price ($299), I couldn’t hear a difference. Maybe my hearing or knowledge of “what to listen for” isn’t the best, but I think it’s still above average. I can pick out qualities in music that ppl I know can’t. What makes it difficult with audio is it’s so much harder to tell apart audible differences than it is with video.

        It would be interesting if you did a comparison b/t the Mojo and Companion One. I would like to know which one you thought was better, but in the end, I’d have to review all 3 at the same time to really come up with my own conclusion. lol

        What’s UAAP?

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      2. UAPP is usb audio player pro app for android. I did listen to both ha-2 and mojo side by side. I’ve sold my ha-2. The ha-1 sounds awesome. I had one to review. Used it with my oppo pm-2 in balanced mode.

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  4. Gavin,

    Oh ok. I know that app. I was meaning to buy it sometime soon and compare it to my Poweramp app. Some have said it’s better than Poweramp, but I’LL be the judge of that. lol Some have also said the UI wasn’t as good as Poweramp’s, so I’ll be evaluating that too.

    Yeah you did say that (side by side), and that you sold your HA-2 too. That’s cool that you got to test out the HA-1 with the PM-2s. I got the PM-3s as you probably remember (from my recent Head-Fi review of them).

    I was just proposing doing a Mojo vs Companion One (CO) test. I dunno that I’d be buy the Mojo even if it won out there, but I’d be open to it in the future. It’s just that again, ppl said the CO was better than even the HA-1, yet to me it sounded no better than the HA-2. So ever since I came to that conclusion, I’ve become much less open to what reviews say and more dependent upon my own listening interpretations. I even appreciate “small differences” between two devices, and don’t really consider a small difference “small” anyway, but I didn’t hear ANY difference, so yeah.

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    1. I used the HA-1 in balanced mode. I tried it also not in balanced mode. The difference was vast. Balanced made a huge difference. Don’t know if that maks any difference to the reviews out there. I agree about making your own opinions. Our ears are all different too and we hear and like stuff differently.

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      1. Gavin,

        I’ll admit I’ve never tried “balanced mode”, but am familiar with what it is. Yeah the PM-2s I think do offer that, but the PM-3s just do non-balanced (1 cable vs the 2 for balanced mode).

        The reviews can vary. A few said the CO was better than the HA-2, but there was one that said the HA-2 handled bass better than the CO, so I thought that was interesting, and that’s what motivated me to actually try it out vs the CO. Yes this is true…… we hear and interpret sounds and music differently. But it definitely helps to use reviews I think as more of a “guide” than a “final say-so”. I saved $300 by following that mindset. lol

        If you ever do get around to a CO vs. Mojo comparison, I’d definitely check that review out! The CO’s official page can be found here if interested: http://www.celsus-sound.com/index.php/product/companion-one. The CO is also available on Amazon for only $549 (they just recently dropped the price a bit on there only). http://www.amazon.com/Celsus-Sound-Companion-Portable-Headphone/dp/B00RLHDQ42 Its “standout” feature is that it’s the only portable amp/DAC that can do Wi-Fi Streaming (not the lesser quality Bluetooth), either directly or by using a local Wi-Fi network. I still could hear a very SLIGHT difference b/t Wi-Fi and wired, but only on headphones, not in my car. It’s still cool that it offers this. I don’t know any other PORTABLE devices that do, especially not for under $2000. lol

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      2. Just been reading up on the CO. It would be really difficult to buy as no UK dealers for it. However, it seems to follow the Oppo path in many ways even to the point of including all the cables and being Apple MFI compliant.

        I would be willing to hazard a bet the Mojo would be well ahead in the audio department and that’s irrespective of your music genre preference.

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  5. Gavin,

    Ok sounds good! YW.

    I feel that the HA-1, the HA-2, the CO, and the Mojo ALL have great reviews (from quickly looking each up online), so really, they all stand as very impressive options to consider.

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  6. Gavin,

    Oh you’re in the UK? Ok. I had a feeling you might’ve been outside of the U.S., but wasn’t sure.

    Couldn’t you just buy it FROM the Celsus Sound site? I know Amazon may not ship it to you in the UK (and UK Amazon doesn’t carry it), but Celsus Sound might?

    I dunno, it does have a similar “path” to Oppo, but its heftier price tag and overall better ratings do make me wonder how you would perceive it vs. the Mojo. Just b/c I couldn’t hear a difference b/t it and my HA-2 doesn’t mean you wouldn’t. lol

    This review, which is written in Dutch, once translated, says it’s even better than the $1200 HA-1……….

    https://www.alpha-audio.nl/2015/05/review-celsus-companion-one-vs-oppo-ha-2/ (you can just skip down to conclusion too)

    Excerpt from that review (excuse the “not so accurately done” Google-transcripted parts lol): And how does it sound? The Companion is performing above average. Though when paired with the iPhone, we notice that the sound is gaining depth, dynamics, focusing. Texts are intelligible, instruments get a place. You hear on headphones, and also when connected to a fixed installation. And the quality increases when hi-res music through the laptop. The Companion One sounds then even more sophisticated than the Oppo HA 1 DAC / preamp! And while the chipset is almost the same! We experienced here once again that a good chip-DAC also needs to be embedded in an electronic circuit which is correct from all sides; current treatment, for example, input clock and receiver.

    This review (Page 2 of 3) seems to favor the CO over the HA-2, though for bass at least it says the HA-2 is better. Just read through the “Tonality” section at top.

    http://headfonics.com/2015/04/the-ha-2-dac-by-oppo/2/

    Take a look and lemme know what you think.

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    1. I have read up a lot on the CO, but I won’t be getting one. It will not offer anything majorly different from the Oppo HA-2. The Mojo uses custom parts, hence why it’s so different and better imo. I sold my ha-2 after hearing the mojo.

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      1. Gavin,

        Yeah I didn’t think it sounded any different than the HA-2 also. Well that’s fine then. I didn’t think you would notice a difference either, but might’ve been fun to read anyway. lol I still dunno if I’d hear a difference b/t the HA-2 and the Mojo, but I’m so happy with my HA-2 I don’t even care. lol

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  7. Gavin,

    Yeah. I love its sleek premium design, and the option to choose b/t Low & High Gain. The battery pack and rapid charging options are also worthwhile features as well.

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  8. Gavin,

    In this article, they basically say the Chord devices are better overall, but there is one part where they say for rock the HA-2 appears to have an edge…………

    https://www.avforums.com/review/chord-mojo-dac-headphone-amp-review.12008

    “Are there any weaknesses? Perhaps. Thankfully for Chord, the Hugo is still the fractionally better choice for full size headphones – even if this is solely as a result of there being a full size headphone socket on it – and when tested as a line level DAC against the Mojo, the Hugo is preferable there too. This is partly down to the line level being set – in my opinion – slightly too high on the Mojo and the Hugo sounding slightly more refined even when levels are corrected. The Oppo doesn’t go down without a fight either as that same dark character and sense of drive can make it a better subjective choice with rock or electronica and slightly better able to tame bright IEMs than the entirely neutral Mojo.”

    …….and I pretty much only listen to rock music too.

    Also, I decided to turn off my EQ on Poweramp as the one I had was great except it was causing “static” on random songs while listening on my PM-3s. I guess b/c the PM-3s are so clear, they even hear “more of the bad” than regular dynamic headphones do, so this was necessary. I’m gonna have to update my Head-Fi review too so people know. Now I have NO static at all on any songs thankfully.

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