The cheeky chappy is back! Updated, more features but still retaining that compact form factor and matt finish, Paul Rigby reviews Chord’s headphone amplifier/DAC
This little box has a lot of history behind it. That’s one aspect of the Mojo 2 you might miss when you read or see other reviews of this thing.
But if you want to properly appreciate this product, you need to take a deep breath and look around.
The Mojo 2 is compact and fits easily in the hand and pocket. It’s a truly portable device but it’s also solid, being built from a single piece of aluminium, as was the original Mojo.
Those with a keen eye will notice that the notches for the rubber bands, to strap the Mojo to other devices, have gone. For me, this is no great shakes as most people will use broad-based, non-slip bands anyway.
Like the Mojo 1, the power button and volume controls remain positioned at the top of the Mojo 2 via Chord’s preferred ‘coloured marbles’ interface. Although those little marbles are now reduced in size. There’s also a fourth marble button, one more than the three resident on the 1. This extra button is devoted to the 2’s menu.
On the side, you’ll find USB-C and micro USB inputs, both can handle 32bit/768kHz. There’s a dual data 3.5mm coax input that can also run 768kHz if hooked up to Chord’s M-Scaler. To finish? You’ll find an optical and USB charging port. Be aware that, if you do charge the Mojo 2 with an external power supply, make sure it offers a minimum of 2 Amps.
Continuing the chassis tour, you’ll also find two 3.5mm headphone output sockets too. Just be aware that the headphone outputs are not independently controllable. It’s s shame one of these outputs couldn’t have been a full-size 6.35mm socket. Also, for the price, I would have liked to have seen a balanced output. Then again, Chord says that balanced is unnecessary on the Mojo 2 and, in fact, “…pulse array DACs are single-ended, so going balanced would make it sound worse.” So that’s me told then.
Speaking of which, the 2 features a new battery which means you get eight hours of constant playback use.
The power button also pulls double duty because it will also display the sample rate during playback, in a colour coded form.
When the battery is being charged, a little light right underneath the charging port flashes a pulsing colour which gives you an indication of how far the Mojo 2 is to a full charge status. With an external charger attached and the Mojo 2 turned off, the Menu button will illuminate, telling you how things are going. That is, it will tell you how fast you can expect your unit to charge and if there’s enough juice entering the system in the first place. So a red light is an indication that you need to up your game in charging terms and get yourself a more powerful charger.
If you hook up the Mojo 2 to a Mac then you’re ready to go. You’ll need to update the Mojo 2 if you want to use the 2 with a Windows device, though. You can find those on the Chord website.
If you want to use the Mojo 2 with an iOS device then you’ll need a USB-to-Lightning adaptor. Android devices can connect directly via USB.
In use, if you press the volume up and down buttons simultaneously, the Mojo 2 will mute. Otherwise, pressing the volume up or down increases and decreases volume by 1db per push of a button.
There’s a host of menu options available for the Mojo 2. If you select a menu option, that option will be saved after a reboot.
One of the features found in the menu options are a set of four EQ settings, tone controls in effect, to change the sound output called UHD DSP, a supposed lossless digital signal processor that’s backed by the Mojo’s 104bit processor. Each EQ setting includes steps of adjustment.
This feature also adds crossfeed, something that users of Dave and Hugo2 DACs will be familiar with to alter the nature of the soundstage and the direction of sound so that you can change from traditional headphone-like soundstage to something akin to listening to speakers. There is also a Lockdown mode. No this doesn’t cut power to all car engines, close down runways and keep the local population in their houses until further notice. Instead, it locks the buttons. Useful if you’re on the move and don’t want to risk accidentally changing your settings when the Mojo 2 is in a jostling bag.