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CHORD Mojo 2 Review (Portable DAC & HP Amp)

Rate this product:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 8 2.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 26 9.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 126 45.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 116 42.0%

  • Total voters
    276

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the CHORD Mojo 2 portable, battery operated stereo DAC and headphone amplifier. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $799.
Chord Mojo 2 Review Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.jpg

The Mojo 2 is solidly built. While I am definitely not a fan of multi-color interface, the buttons feel better in this model and some of the lights kind of make sense (e.g. showing volume level).

Input interfaces are crammed into one side but it is workable and I appreciate having dual USB input jack options (USB-C and Micro-USB):
Chord Mojo 2 Review USB Stereo Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.jpg


On the other side there are two headphone jacks:

Chord Mojo 2 Review USB Stereo Portable DAC Dual Headphone Amplifier.jpg


I am unclear why in this day and age of personalized music consumption, one would want to share the device with another person listening to the same content.

I charged the unit and tested it with USB input and the left headphone jack out.

Chord Mojo 2 DAC Measurements
Let's treat the unit as a DAC by adjusting the output to 2 volts and run our tests:
Chord Mojo2 Measurements Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


This would be an excellent performance for a desktop DAC and superb for a portable one:

Best portable battery operated DAC headphone amplifier reviewed.png


You get slightly better performance if you allow the output voltage to go up higher:
Chord Mojo2 Measurements THD vs Level Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


Dynamic range is again, competitive for desktop DAC and excellent for a portable one:

Chord Mojo2 Measurements DNR Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


Claim to fame of Chord DACs is their high-tap reconstruction filters. I was pleased to see it deliver the best performance I have seen in just about any DAC:
Chord Mojo2 Measurements Filter Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


You get the full audio band to nearly 22 kHz and then excellent attenuation. This is what I hope every DAC chip/company implements instead of the lazy ones we see where cut off is at 24 kHz.

Linearity is excellent:
Chord Mojo2 Measurements Linearity Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


Multitone shows impressively low distortion levels:

Chord Mojo2 Measurements Multitone Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


IMD distortion test shows very well behaved response, again rivaling good desktop products:
Chord Mojo2 Measurements IMD Distortion Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


Jitter was a bit disappointing given how good the device is otherwise:
Chord Mojo2 Measurements Jitter Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


But not remotely an audible issue.

Sweeping frequencies we see a slight rise in distortion with frequency:
Chord Mojo2 Measurements THD+N vs Frequency Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


We can confirm that by running a spectrum analysis:

Chord Mojo 2 Measurements FFT Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


Chord Mojo 2 Headphone Amplifier
We can let the device loose by maxing its volume and see how well it produces power, starting with 300 ohm load:
Chord Mojo 2 Measurements Power 300 ohm Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


My threshold for desktop products is 100 milliwatts and this is close. Noise and distortion are impressively low. Switching to 32 ohm load we get similar results:

Chord Mojo 2 Measurements Power 32 ohm Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


Checking for noise at tough 50 mv shows middling performance:
Chord Mojo 2 Measurements Power 50 mv Portable DAC Headphone Amplifier.png


Most quiet portable dac headphone amplifier reviewed 2022.png


So careful with ultra sensitive IEMs.

Chord Mojo 2 Listening Tests
As usual, I started with my Sennheiser HD-650 headphone to test high impedance response. Sound was wonderful and there was enough volume/dynamics to bring out the bass out of this headphone. Switching to Drop Ether CX, there was even more volume available before slight distortion set in at max volume. I then plugged in the torcher test: Dan Clark Stealth which is my everyday headphone. Volume dropped quite a bit. Increasing it using the controls on Mojo 2 created static proportional to how much I cranked it up. Unless you are happy with pretty soft volume, it is not usable with Stealth (not that it would be in portable class).

Conclusions
Company is know for overdesigning its reconstruction filters. I see no benefit in that but the implement of Mojo 2 has definitely benefited from excellent engineering and closed loop (with measurement) design. Even as a desktop DAC it would be an excellent product. As a portable battery operated one, I think but I suspect it is the best I have tested.

It is my pleasure to recommend the CHORD Mojo 2. Yes, the price is up there but at least you get great objective performance to go with it.

---------
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Kaiju

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I think it cost 40% more expensive with this performance.
 

Jimbob54

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Good review of a (technically) great product.

As I understand it, the main selling point of this over the mojo 1 is the DSP function which Mr Watts claims to be the best thing since sliced bread. It would be nice if at some point it was possible to test that vs an upstream solution (say Roon on a pc) and other on device implementations (say on the rme adi 2 dac and maybe the Qudelix 5k). No idea how the test would work in terms of measurements.

Now let's wait for the flood of posters claiming this is the best sounding product known to man.
 

Music1969

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Unless you are happy with pretty soft volume, it is not usable with Stealth (not that it would be in portable class).
This is Rob Watts main headphones at the moment.

It is my pleasure to recommend the CHORD Mojo 2. Yes, the price is up there but at least you get great objective performance to go with it.

Awww maybe you and Rob can finally hug it out at the next big HiFi show :D
 

Jmudrick

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Why would I want this rather than a DAP with a screen and android operating system?

I think it depends on what you are driving. With easy to drive IEMs an LG phone will suffice. I don't know the use of case for portability with hard to drive cans but I guess it is there.
 
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amirm

amirm

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This is Rob Watts main headphones at the moment.
And he uses it with Mojo 2? If so, he must want his music at low volume or is not sensitive to distortion!
 

acbarn

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I think it depends on what you are driving. With easy to drive IEMs an LG phone will suffice. I don't know the use of case for portability with hard to drive cans but I guess it is there.
Yeah, I can’t really imagine walking around in public wearing a DCA Stealth and carrying a Mojo. That said, quite a few people used the original Mojo as both a mobile and desktop unit, I suspect it will be the same for this one.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Why would I want this rather than a DAP with a screen and android operating system?
I don't like DAPs because they are bigger, heavier and have UI that I don't like. With a device like this, you can use your phone with its familiar interface and many choices and then get optimal output power to drive headphones.
 

AudioTodd

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While I’m sure some will sneer at this question, is there significant phase shift at high frequencies to be expected with the sharp filter?
 

Garrincha

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Why would I want this rather than a DAP with a screen and android operating system?
Since there exist for a already several years excellent and pretty cheap dongles, I don't understood anymore neither the use case for DAPs nor bulky portable battery powered dacs/heaphone amps (what is the supposed source in this case?). Everybody has a smart phone, so get an almost SOTA dongle for $100 and you are done. What is the point?
 
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