Chord Electronics Mojo 2 DAC & Headphone Amplifier Review

This British firm does not stay idle for long as their portfolio of tech just keeps on growing and they are a leading force in DAC and amplifier technologies in the HiFi industry, breaking new grounds with such wonderful designs and most importantly great sounding HiFi for us the consumers. It is now nearly 7 years since the original Mojo was released and it broke new boundaries for its quality and design and has continued to win awards year after year, and with the Poly it gave access to streaming and portable HiFi a breath of fresh air. I managed to go to the launch event back in London with Rob Watts who is one seriously clever and brilliant designer who continues to push the boundaries of R&D in all his products.

I reviewed the original Mojo and Poly when first released so when I found out Mojo2 was on its way for review I knew I was in for something rather special,  it’s not just superficial upgrades with aesthetics updated but a full overhaul with new design and features packed into this tiny DAC and headphone amplifier.



Features and build Quality

As usual and like all Chord Electronics kit the build quality is second to none with the Mojo2 machined out of a solid billet of aircraft grade aluminium, which while extremely strong and solid still remains relatively light to hold.

The Mojo2 follows the same form factor of the original design which worked so well and was nice and compact to fit in your pocket, the new Mojo2 has been improved further with an even better ergonomical design to fit in your hand courtesy of the buttons which sit in the recessed curved slots on the side of the Mojo2, this not only feels right to hold but makes it look so beautiful when the brightly lit spheres glow to the different colour combinations which all relate to functions on the Mojo2 and it’s features. You may notice that it does not have the 3 button config but instead now has 4 buttons with the one extra being for the new menu functionality and also to access the new lossless DSP also known as the first UHD DSP with full transparency of the music which at first seems a little confusing but once you start to get to know how the unit works it soon becomes second nature in its operation and turning on or off certain features.




Connectivity has also got an overhaul over the previous Mojo with now a USB-C connection and a coaxial output for connecting to the incredible M-Scaler should you be lucky enough to own one, an optical connection is even in there too and two headphone outputs, it’s amazing how they managed to cram all this clever tech into such a small device but they have even improved the battery life on the new Mojo2 with a quoted 8 hours of run time on a single charge, it will also power any headphone with relative ease. The latest WTA (Watts Transient Aligned) technology powers this little beauty and this gives the Mojo2 immense number crunching ability with nearly 41000 taps available and a whopping 40 DSP cores, this therefore relates to stunning sound reproduction. Most of this tech jargon may go straight over your head but the most important factor and part to me is the superior sound quality it manages to output thanks to all this clever tech.

With the new DSP processing you now have access to 4 levels of tweaking the frequency band at 20hz, 125hz, 3khz and 20khz which allows you to tailor your headphones with different levels of EQ to suit that particular headphone brand, as well as the useful spatial cross feed function it makes the Mojo2 a powerful tool in getting the best sound for your music, as well as the huge variation of sample rates this DAC can handle.




I have included below the brilliant Mojo2 instruction video from Chord Electronics which explains in detail all of its features and how it all works and is well worth the time it takes to watch.



For listening purposes I am using a few different headphones, my Berydynamic T1’s and Sennheiser Momentum 2 including a couple of IEM’s from Sennheiser and Cowon with music streaming from Quobuz and with stored music on my iPhone 13 and a few diffeeent Apps, this really is a portable affair but it’s been a while since I used the original Mojo and don’t make the same mistake I made of trying to connect your iPhone direct to the Mojo2 as it will not work it will need the Camera adapter which gives the correct hand shake to talk to the Mojo2, so a small blip in getting up and running and a small tip from me.




Sound Quality and Performance

This is one seriously potent and powerful DAC and headphone amplifier which allows you to listen to your music stored from an iPhone or similar device with the highest of fidelity just like it’s bigger brother the Hugo 2 DAC. I have been experimenting with about 4 different headphones to listen to my music and have finally settled on my 2 favourites for when on the move and when at home sitting back and relaxing to the wonderful music it manages to produce. They are my Beyerdynamic T1 headphones and my Cowon IEM’s which both offer superb levels of clarity, the T1’s are a difficult pair of headphones to drive properly but the Mojo2 does not have any problems at all powering them and makes them sing brilliantly to very high levels. Having had the Mojo2 for well over a month now I have got used to the full list of features and sound that this DAC manages to produce. The original Mojo was a stunning performer but the Mojo2 has taken this particular DAC and given it new levels of customisation and performance with a sound that is totally grown up and befitting of this British made high end HiFi company.

I start with the wonderful world of discovering new music on the brilliant music app Quobuz and like every week I manage to find new artists which enlighten me and my music listening pleasure with their great music. 





I have found another fantastic musican composer and artist from the wonderful country of France and it is Laurent Bardainne who is based in Paris and with his fusion of Jazz funk / electro music it has a sound that I absolutely love so I have been listening to all of his music on Quobuz and his latest album Hymne au Soleil is a superb example of what this artist can do with his incredible Saxophone playing and mix of music it ticks all the right boxes for what I love, sitting back and listening to track 1 - Oh Yeah it has a wonderful sound which is perfectly rendered in 24bit 44.1kHz through the Mojo2 with his superb Saxophone sound and percussion every instrument is rendered perfectly with exceptional clarity, every nuance is picked up by this DAC with a natural and very balanced sound. track 3 Hymne au Soleil is a fast and relentless track which reminds me of Santana’s music such is the pace of the musicians jamming and the Mojo2 gives a stunning rendition and an accurate portrayal. I have found great use of the new UHD DSP with a 2db boost on the frequency of 20hz and 1db on 125hz which gives to me a nicer sound with my Beyerdynamic T1 headphones, the results are very pleasing with a fuller sound which does not make it sound exaggerated in any way at all. Track 4 - Adieu My Lord sounds simply sublime with a wide spatial stereo image and beautiful sound of his Saxophone and the electric piano which is precise and seems to just float from left to right, bass has real impact such a wonderful track, infact they all are and well worth a listen.




Moving on to some more music from this artist and another great album if you can call it that as it only has 4 tracks but each one is unique all rendered in 24bit 44.1kHz High Res, track 1 - Lê Vaisseau Oublie has me reminiscing of the Electro label of old with a stunning bass line and thumping synthesiser sound which the Mojo2 and Beyerdynamic headphones manages to capture perfectly, I simply love the way the Chord DAC gives such an accurate Head Fi experience and you really do appreciate what a high quality combination of DAC and Headphones is capable of. Track 3 - Lê Sacre de la Lumiere has some of the best electro and drum sounds that I have heard for a while with snappy snare drums bouncing from left to right with real space between the sounds you nearly forget you have headphones on as the seperation is superb, definition is some of the best that I have heard from a headfi set up and surpassing what I was expecting from this diminutive DAC and powering my big Beyerdynamic T1’s giving simply outstanding performance.




Next up is the Onkyo HF Player app and some DSD recordings from the brilliant label 2xHD from Rene LaFlamme, I have many of his analogue remasters in DSD and this is one of my favourites, Gerry Mulligan’s 1977 album Sextet Stuttgart recording and through a good DAC sounds simply sublime, Chord Electronics do this so well and with the Mojo2 it will be a good test as I have listened to this recording quite a lot via the brilliant Hugo2. With the press of a few buttons I reset the DSP so that I have a flat response and see what the DSF format can do from this mini marvel, and with track 1 - For an Unfinished Woman the starting notes of the piano have exceptional clarity and a refined tone that I have come to expect from Chord DAC’s and the Mojo2 is no exception as it renders this masterpiece of music perfectly with the incredible sounds of the Saxophone taking centre stage and the small nuances from the percussion like tambourines and triangles and shimmering cymbals, then a wonderful electric guitar sound and Xylophone all having crystal clear presence within the soundstage presented by the Mojo2 DAC, this really is a stellar recording and put together so well that the DSD version really is as good as it gets. Track 3 - Taurus Moon is a big band affair and the scale and authority that a big band possesses is certainly present in what I am hearing through the Mojo2 and Beyerdynamic combination, Piano, Saxophone, drums and orchestra in full flow and filling my headphones with precise sounds and in some parts a visceral performance as my foot gets tapping to this brilliant track and I put that down to how well the Mojo2 is decoding the music, it really is a treat to listen to such good music with a setup that you can hear it in all its glory and the Chord Mojo2 certainly delivers on this front. 




Another great label that offers some stunning recordings is Stockfisch Records and Closer to the Music Volume 2 is another fine example of how good these recordings can sound, with a variety of artists like Sara K and Steve Strauss, track 3 - Just Like Love by Steve Strauss sounds so good and what with his wonderful sounding voice the bass and acoustic guitar this is what music is all about and that is the pleasure that it brings when heard at this sort of level, the Mojo2 brings this recording as close as you could imagine to a live performance via your headphones, even down to the ticking clock at the end of the track, accurate reproduction is what we crave as audiophiles and the Mojo2 delivers this. Track 4 - Old Crow is another by Steve Strauss and sounds wonderful with his smooth smelt voice and acoustic guitar putting me in a relaxed state of mind as its soothing sound delights, the Mojo2 renders DSD recordings perfectly and Chord DAC’s in general do this format so well. Track 10 - Caruso by Christian Willisohn follows on this perfection in sound with his gorgeous voice and rich tones of the bass guitar and piano which give the music so much feeling and emotion, the clarinet sits behind his voice perfectly, but it is the beautifully textured bass sound that delights the most as it gives me goosebumps such is the quality of this recording.




Conclusions and Final Thoughts

When I first found out the Mojo2 was heading my way I was excited as anything from the guys at Chord Electronics is always special but the Mojo2 takes portable music to new levels of refinement and quality, the level of customisation that the Mojo2 offers is exceptional and allows you to tailor the sound dependant on what headphones you own as I have found out without sacrificing on sound quality, with a plethora of connections and better ergonomic design, improved battery life this really is the ultimate in portable DAC’s available today and a worthy upgrade over the original Mojo which was already a stunning DAC but with this new reiteration it just got a hell of a lot better. 

The Speaker Shack awards the Chord Electronics Mojo2 with 5 stars and a Highly Recommended badge which is thoroughly deserved.

Price at time of review £449

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

ProAc DB1 Speakers Review

ProAc D30RS Speakers Review

Audiophile Digital Optical Technology (ADOT) MC01 Review