Chord Mojo and Poly arrive

Like peanut butter and jelly, some things are just meant to go together.

Portable audio DACs/Headphone Amplifiers/players can be a mixed bag of features, connections, format support (both wired and wireless), size and price.

Form factor and cost seem to be key determinants for many shopping around for a way to get better sound from their electronic devices.

The Chord Mojo($599 USD) has been the peanut butter on my list of portable DACs to audition for a while, so when I was offered one for review I was thrilled. When Chord threw in the Poly that is the jelly to the Mojo, things got serious.

The Mojo is as you may have guessed is a portable DAC/Headphone Amp, but it’s also so much more than that. Sure it does smartphones, music players, tablets or DAPs, but it also can be used with a PC or Mac, a games console or even a television — anything that can do audio-out via Coax, optical or USB.

All Chord products are designed and built in the UK. Speaking of build, the Mojo is built like a steel brick and its candy–coloued buttons indicate charge and sample rate being played back: 192kHz files will have you see blue. 44.1khz will have you seeing red.

First of all, just plugging my iPhone 6S and newly–arrived Audeze LCD-2C into a freshly charged Mojo (via an Apple Camera Connector and the supplied shorty USB to Micro-USB cable) brought about a night-and-day transformation to the depth, tonality, bass impact and upper register warmth/detail I was getting off some 24/44.1 320kbps mixes a DJ friend had made — never mind just bog–standard iTunes downloads.

The Mojo utilizes FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) DAC technology from its much larger, higher–priced and award–winning Chord siblings such as the Hugo and Dave. It also sports two 3.5mm headphone outputs.

So while the sound improvement was like going from black and white to color, utilizing this set–up meant rubber bands to strap the Mojo to the iPhone — which while it still fit into my pocket, was a bit cumbersome for accessing the phone’s screen.

Enter the ($749 USD) Poly: the Roon Ready wireless streamer built specifically to mate with the Mojo which can playback music from either an internal Micro–SD card at up to 768kHz and supports DSD256, WAV, FLAC, OGG VORBIS, ALAC, ACC, AIFF, WMA and MP3. It’ll stream via Bluetooth A2DP, Apple AirPlay, Wi-Fi or DNLA apps and has nine hours of battery life.

After an initial charging session of about four hours, I connected the Poly to the Mojo and was streaming via Bluetooth from my iPhone in about one minute.

Since I just received this gear the other day I’m going to run it thought its paces on all fronts and get back to you with a detailed review in a couple weeks.

In the meantime, Audeze sent me a giant candy box of headphones to review which I’ll be writing about in the next couple days and I also just received word that their Mobius is en route to me, so look for initial impressions of that next week as well.

Chord Electronics Ltd.
The Pumphouse, Farleigh Ln, East Farleigh, Maidstone ME16 9NB, UK
+44 1622 721444

mwhitak's picture

FYI Rafe.....Poly dies not support AIFF files over DNLA. Possibly works through MDP but I have not tried it. It's a bug they are supposedly working on.

Rafe Arnott's picture
I hadn't stated the Poly streamed AIFF files, I merely listed supported file formats. But it's good to hear about that – thanks for the info.

I can contact Chord and ask directly about it.

maelob's picture

Any issues with dropouts with the iPhone 6s, i bought a used one a while ago and was giving me issues with dropouts when streaming tidal. Please let us know if you encounter any issues like that.

Rafe Arnott's picture
I've only been using Bluetooth (just had the combo running for a couple days so far) and had no dropout issues, are you on wi-fi using Tidal?
maelob's picture

Yes Streaming tidal with WiFi on iPhone 6. I bought it used so it could have been a faulty unit but I remember regular drops that became really annoying.

Rafe Arnott's picture
Was it only with Tidal on wi-fi, or did you try it via iPhone data (cell) using Tidal and connecting to Mojo/Poly via Bluetooth? Did you ever resolve it, or did you end up switching phones?
Simply Nobody's picture

Any interest in listening to Beats Bluetooth headphones and Apple AirPods? :-) .............

Rafe Arnott's picture
My issue with AirPods is that I'm one of those people that Apple earbuds or AirPods fall out of my ears constantly. I have the Beats Solo 3 wireless here, I'm happy to write something on them.
Simply Nobody's picture

Thanks Rafe ......... Also, please consider reviewing Beats Studio 3 over-ear Bluetooth headphones. They are slightly more expensive than Solo 3 :-) .............

Rafe Arnott's picture
Will do. Beats is next on my list of manufacturers to reach out to.