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Chord Mojo DAC Quick Review




DACs or digital-to-analog converters have been around for some time now with the purpose of pulling out more detail from a source and delivering a more solid sound to your headphones. For the audiophiles out there, could the Chord Mojo persuade you to get one for your listening pleasure? Here’s our quick review.

Design and Construction

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Short for “mobile joy”, Chord Electronics’ Mojo possesses a small and portable form factor not bigger than your usual power bank. Designed and manufactured entirely in Great Britain, the company made sure that its build quality is nothing short of premium. Its case is precision-machined from a single solid block of aluminum which feels solid and could withstand the daily beatings of being tossed in the bag along with other gadgets.

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The device sports three physical buttons in the form of these crystal ball-looking implementations. As indicated, we have the volume and power buttons that light up and change colors. This changing of colors indicate frequencies measured in kiloHertz which we’ll get to later on. The three-button approach is indeed very basic, yet much appreciated since the Mojo is designed for the music-loving smartphone owners on-the-go.

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There are three digital inputs present on the Mojo — Coaxial, USB, and Optical, with the extra microUSB port for charging. Below it is an LED light that indicates the battery’s level: yellow for low, and green for full.

For Android smartphones, just like what we used for this review, using a standard USB-OTG cable (not included) will readily connect the phone to the Mojo. Users can also use this compact DAC to amplify the sound used in home speakers by using the other connectivity ports. chord-mojo-review-philippines-3

On the flip side we see a dual 3.5mm analog outputs. This means that up to two people may simultaneously use and enjoy listening to the same high-res music.

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The package only includes the Mojo, its power cable, and nothing more. We had to provide our own USB-OTG to connect a smartphone with the device.

Features

The Chord Mojo isn’t packed with gimmicky features but instead, is only equipped with functions that would further make sound-listening an enjoyable experience.

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For starters, it is capable of playing files with frequencies ranging from 32kHz to 768kHz and even stretching to high-quality DSD tracks. Basically, it supports a wide range of audio files from compressed MP3 to high-res Super Audio CD (SACD) formats.

As mentioned earlier, the ball-like buttons change color depending on its sample frequencies. For example, they turn red while at 44kHz, light blue at 176kHz, purple for 768kHz, and so on. It’s quite confusing at first, but a cheat sheet printed on the box clears things out.

It is also not picky as it can accommodate any pair of cans with headphone impedance from 4 ohms to 800 ohms. Additionally, the Mojo is compatible with iPhone, Android, and Windows phones; while being able to work in tandem with Mac, PC, or Linux computers.

Sound Quality and Performance

As for the sound quality, the Mojo’s performance is very rich in detail — providing crystal clear audio regardless of the kind of headphones we used. The tracks we played were whole and not lacking in any aspect whether it be on the lows, mids, and highs department.

We definitely enjoyed how rich each track sounded on our Sony MDR-1A and together with the Mojo, we were able to hear the distinction of each element/instrument not easily heard during normal listening.

The Mojo can also pull out high volume levels in a sense that the headphones could act as speakers for people around it to enjoy. Simply put, using this device offers loud volume without breaking the quality of the sound. Check out the sample performance by playing the quick video below:

We also noticed that the body gets warm while using it, but the company assures us that this is normal and users should not be troubled by it.

Battery Life

The company stresses to charge the device for at least 10 hours straight to properly maximize its capabilities. After which, Chord claims for it to last around 8 hours depending on the volume level and how much power the headphones suck out of it. Interestingly, we let it play continuously at a decent listening volume and it was able to last around 8 hours and 40 minutes — spot on with the company’s claims.

Just like when using the Mojo, it gets warm while charging. Also users will have to rely on the colors flashed by the battery indicator as to not overcharge the device.

Conclusion

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The Chord Mojo is, without a doubt, a fitting companion for audiophiles that require premium sound on-the-go. It has a portable yet robust body, simple navigation controls, and produces sound with clarity and detail one would look for in a digital-to-analog converter.

Although steeply priced at Php30,990, the Mojo is a reasonable enough investment if you’re strictly after the playback of enjoyable, lossless music anywhere you go. Although, for those on a tight budget, there are sound amplifiers in the market that would suffice. Of course, you shouldn’t expect stellar performance as with the Mojo.

Chord Mojo specs:
Output power: 1kHz
600 ohms 35mW
8 ohms 720mW
Output impedance: 0.075 ohms
Dynamic range: 125dB
Total Harmonic Distortion: 3v – 0.00017%
Weight: 180 grams
Dimensions: 82 x 60 x 22mm

What we liked about it:

  • Solid and compact form factor
  • Straightforward buttons
  • Impressive sound quality

What we didn’t like:

  • Printed labels look a bit cheap



Kevin Bruce Francisco is the Senior Editor and Video Producer for YugaTech. He's a Digital Filmmaking graduate who's always either daydreaming of traveling or actually going places on his bike. Follow him on Twitter for more tech updates @kevincofrancis.

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