A Closer Look at the Chord Mojo 2
(Pocket Ribbon) – Chord’s pitch with the original Mojo was to make the company’s powerful audio processing portable. Whether that’s plugged into a desktop PC or your phone while lounging by the pool, the Mojo is designed to perform.
Thanks to an internal battery – and the ability to run from a power source bypassing the battery in desktop mode – it’s there to upgrade your audio experience wherever you are. Now there is a new version – the Mojo 2.
What is a DAC?
Chord calls the Mojo 2 a “portable DAC/headphone amp”. But what does that actually mean? DAC is an abbreviation of digital-to-analog converter. It takes a digital signal and converts it into an analog signal.
In the modern world, music is stored digitally (such as a CD) or transmitted (download or streaming) and that has to be converted back to analog so that your speakers or headphones understand.
That is the job of the DAC. You already have DACs everywhere – on your laptop, tablet or phone, for example, while you play all that music you listen to.
What does the Chord Mojo 2 do?
The Chord Mojo 2 – and similar devices – take over the conversion from digital to analog. It is a special device for a special task. It’s sort of a poster child for anti-convergence, taking back a task from a device trying to do everything.
The goal is to better process that digital signal into the analog you’re listening to. The appeal of the Mojo is that it has its own battery, so it can be portable, while also supporting a range of inputs. It is compact and versatile.
The other attractive thing is that it uses custom audio circuitry, capable of playing files up to 768 kHz 32-bit, and DSD 256, with a so-called UHD DSP, which also allows a certain amount of customization, which we’ll get to later. to go .
Chord Mojo 2 Connectivity
The build of the Mojo 2 is great; it feels like a solid metal block in your hand, with four buttons along one edge and connectors at both ends. It is made of aircraft grade aluminum.
Starting with the output, there are two 3.5mm mini-jack connections. This means you can connect two pairs of headphones for the ultimate sharing experience.
On the other side of the Mojo 2 are several connections. First, there is a Micro USB designed for charging. This charges the battery, or powers the Mojo 2, and that’s all it does.
There is a second Micro-USB that, like the USB Type-C, can be connected to a source device. This could be your PC or smartphone, for example.
There is both an optical input and a coaxial input.
You can connect multiple sources at the same time and the Mojo 2 switches to the music input input. It will prioritize according to the following order if playing multiple sources: USB, coaxial and finally optical. However, you can only have one USB connection at a time.
Optical is at the bottom of the list, as it is limited in the quality of the signal it can provide.
Agree Mojo 2 battery life
The Mojo 2’s battery life is estimated at 8 hours, which has proven accurate in our tests so far. In fact, if the battery is low, it will simply turn off and you will see a red indicator indicating that it needs to be recharged.
The Mojo 2 will tell you if you’ve plugged in a suitable charger – most modern mobile chargers are fine, but it’s still a little annoying having to charge via Micro-USB: USB Type-C would be more convenient everywhere except legacy connection country .
There’s a reason it’s still Micro-USB, though – that’s so you can plug in the Chord Poly, the company’s wireless streaming module. That’s why it’s still Micro-USB and not the more convenient USB-C.
The battery charges quite quickly and there is some warming of the Mojo 2 during charging, such as during playback.
Going into Desktop mode, if you leave the Mojo 2 permanently plugged into a power source, it bypasses the battery so you can always use it from a plugged-in power source. Using it as a desktop DAC connected to your PC is a handy option.
Do you need special headphones with the Mojo 2?
No you will not do that. Chord says it will improve the performance of any wired headphones you plug into it. That’s because the Mojo 2 does the hard work of processing the source and giving you the best possible output.
But there’s something to be said for better quality headphones. The better the headphones, the more you can hear, and since you’ve been using the Mojo 2 with a range of headphones, it’s a good idea that good headphones will give a better result.
We found the results with Sony’s MDR-Z1R Headphones to be excellent, for example, but then these are excellent headphones. But it’s still a great experience with other wired headphones because you really get the most out of the source.
But because the Mojo 2 isn’t picky about what you plug in, it could be a step up the ladder to higher-quality music in the long run, whether you’ve got headphones that aren’t getting the most out of you, or if you’ve always those cheap over-ears you’ve had for years to upgrade.
Do you need a special source for your music?
No, but yes. One of the things the Mojo 2 aims to do is make the most of what you feed it. If you give it a low quality source… well, you’re missing the point.
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about higher-resolution music. Much is powered by faster mobile and broadband speeds, along with cheaper storage, meaning the heavy compression of older music formats is no longer necessary.
Tidal has led the way for higher quality streaming, with companies like Qobus (whose Mojo 2 gives you a free trial), Apple Music and Amazon Music all pushing higher quality music levels, or simply providing access to higher quality for subscribers.
Those interested in the Mojo 2 will likely pursue bit-perfect music and that means avoiding pathside processing and leaving the Mojo on. It means paying some attention to how you connect your devices and the apps you use for playback to make sure you’re feeding the Mojo 2 the right size.
Apps like Tidal and Qobuz make it easier to see what you get out of it.
However, it’s satisfying knowing you have a high-quality track to see that reflected in the colored lighting of the power button, with a scale running from red to white for the sample rate.
In the UK we use Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain to remember the colors of the rainbow and this is the same order the Mojo 2 uses to represent its sample rates, from 44.1 kHz (red) and up. Other regions probably have similar ways of remembering ROYGBIV.
Agree Mojo 2 Features
In addition to being portable and handling digital tracks, there are a number of additions that the Mojo 2 offers, and these take advantage of those buttons that run along the edges. These are backlit colored spheres – and they look and feel great under your fingertips.
But they can be confusing, because despite the Mojo 2 adding a menu button to make it easier to operate, the only visual feedback you get is through the color of the light. You may want to keep a copy of the owner’s manual handy until you get the hang of it.
Changing the volume through colors is quite easy (again with ROYGBIV), but the most important are the equalizer functions. Allows you to adjust the tone in four bands – low bass, mid bass, low treble and high treble. There are nine negative and nine positive steps for each of these four bands.
The idea is that you can adjust the output according to the headphones you’re using (turn down the bass if your headphones are naturally too low), or you can adjust the equalizer to your preference.
You may very well think the album you’re listening to needs a bass lift – and you can.
You can also change the crossfeed. This allows you to adjust the output through four stages, mixing the left and right channels to more or less differentiate them. Again, this takes a few pushes, but it will add more immersion and take you away from a harsher stereo separation if that’s what you want.
The Chord Mojo 2 offers plenty of options for those interested in enhancing their listening experience. If you can use this as a desktop device, or take it with you on a trip to use it anywhere, with just about any device, it has a big advantage over some static rivals.
Yes, walking around with the Mojo 2 in your pocket every day will take some dedication, as you’ll either have your phone cord plugged in, or use the Poly and accommodate both – as well as stick with wired headphones.
That might work on a 5-hour train ride if you’re sitting, but for the 30-minute commute it would take a special kind of dedication.
Part of the fun of a device like the Mojo 2 is getting all the ducks in line: making sure you have a quality source, making sure your source device is properly running through the headphones, all of this helps make the experience more Then just plug in and play.
Yes, the Mojo 2 won’t bring simplicity – if that’s what you want, stick with Bluetooth headphones and Spotify. But if you want more, the Chord Mojo 2 just might be a big piece of the puzzle.
It’s available now for £449.
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