This is a review of the Chord Mojo 2. It is heavily reviewed, elsewhere, if we’re honest, so you will know it is a fine piece of portable, or even desktop, digital engineering. I call it my Pixel smartphone’s rucksack, as I now have it ‘velcroed’ to the back of it with a very short USB C -C cable. It is in daily use, as a regular walker, this is pretty close to portable heaven and combined with the recent Meze Liric portable headphones, it really was bumping up my daily steps; the dog has been sleeping a fair amount in the evening. Cups of tea, after a walk, also seem to last longer these days.
The Chord Mojo 2 is a portable DAC with twin 3.5mm headphone output. It has a decent array of inputs including USB B micro, USB C and digital coax and optical input. It uses the USB B micro for charging where Chord recommends a 2A feed for optimum use. It might have been nice to have one of the 3.5 mm outputs as a 6.35 mm output for more grown-up headphones, but no worries.
Chord claims you can achieve 8 hours of battery life, I’m not going to dispute this, suffice to say I have not run out of power in any instance, I’m an ‘overnighter’.
The Chord Mojo 2 is compatible with the Chord Poly which is like the 2Go is to the Chord Hugo 2. Poly turns the Mojo 2 into a streaming DAC on the move, which is surely fun, though I do not have a Poly. Poly enables the likes of Roon, Spotify Connect, AirPlay, Bluetooth and a Micro SD to come into play.
The Chord Mojo 2 itself is a ‘CNC milled aircraft grade’ aluminium anodised black block. It really has a sumptuous solid feel. The characteristic polychromatic buttons offer an array of functionality that is a fraction bewildering. In this menu system the highlight may be the programmable ‘lossless’ UHD DSP function that allows you to muck about with the EQ output of the Chord Mojo 2, this is both fun and infuriating, erring towards the former (if you have the Mojo 2 manual downloaded on your phone). I’ve had no experience of the first Mojo.
The Chord Mojo 2 is priced at £450.
The Chord Mojo 2 dimensions are 83 mm x 62 mm x 22.90 mm and it is 185 g, this weight means it can easily go in your back pocket with a phone and it will not pull your trousers down.
I had the Chord Mojo 2 with a pair of ‘portable’ Meze Liric headphones for the beginning of my time with it and subsequently, on the move, I’m using a pair of Meze RAI Solo IEMs, which are very fit for purpose. As well as this, I’ve used Focal Radiance, Sendy Apollo and Meze 99 Neo Classic headphones in desktop listening.
I’m using the Chord Mojo 2 daily with my Pixel 4 XL. I’m using Velcro to stick the two together with the USB Cs lined up, it would be helpful for me if the USB C input was centred on the Chord Mojo 2. I had an overlong USB C to USB C cable, but it is the one I also use for charging so Amazon and £12.99 later a smart flat 10cm USB C-C cable did the job for me. It is neat. The USB C connection is very good, though my Pixel USB C connection is clearly loose and doesn’t click well¶. I have to put the USB C connections facing down in my rear pocket, so the connectors stay in place, this is fine as the headphone out is facing up.
With a selection of downloaded Qobuz and Tidal albums for a bit of ‘on the move’ portable HiRes listening, I am good to go, with my perennial favourite albums by Arooj Aftab at 24 bits and 96kHz and Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues at 24 bits and 96kHz. I’m using the Qobuz App, because full MQA is unsupported by Chord Electronics, generally. No problem (for me).
I’m putting the infuriating bit about the Mojo2 in the ‘physical’ section. It goes like this: If you want to lock the controls, which you do often for portable use often because it is in a pocket or a rucksack you have to do the following (this is from the manual):
Mojo 2 benefits from a button-lock option where all controls can be disabled for travel use. To activate button lock, press the menu button six times until magenta is displayed, then simultaneously press both the volume up ‘+’ and volume down buttons ‘-‘ once, until all three Mojo 2 buttons display magenta; the controls are now disabled. After two seconds, the volume buttons will revert to displaying the set output volume once again, however, the menu button will continue to display magenta to indicate button-lock mode is active.
I’d prefer a little flush switch, which I guess Chord will say will detract from the quality I guess, but once you get used to it, it’s great.
DSP (Digital Signal Processing) Control
Overall, as with many other reviewers, I feel this is a very cool piece of portable headphone joy. I too get an open sound with tons of resolution from the Chord Mojo 2. Other reviewers have called the Mojo 2 energetic (headphonics), dynamic (darko), neutral in tone (headphonia), offering… a boost in clarity and detail (Paul Rigby) and benchmark transparency (What HiFi). I respect, and agree, with all of them. When it is such a good bit of kit, reviewing is such a huge amount of fun.
In this review of the Chord Mojo 2, therefore, I thought I would concentrate on the (mainly desktop?) fun you will have from the Chord Mojo 2’s DSP function. It is, as with the button lock, complicated but a few minutes at the desk with the Chord Mojo 2 manual and it works really nicely. The DSP function is claimed to be sonically lossless by Chord, this is great news, we now all understand the blazing graphics equalisers we all loved in the late 80s were a resolution killer, in the end!
Let’s take a pair of Sendy Apollo headphones, they are absolutely excellent, and the bass is lighter than you might expect. So, a little bit of lower bass adjustment is nice, there is no need for high-end adjustment particularly. If you hit the Chord Mojo 2 Menu button twice, you are in lower bass adjustment mode. It is then simply a matter of using the volume buttons to lift or cut the bass, the polychromatic buttons show you how much you have added in their colour which is referenced in the manual.
Taking Grant Green’s Idle Moments (Qobuz 24 bit, 192kHz) as an example, the Sendy Apollo headphones control the bass nicely but if you want more, and I don’t really, the bass is lifted and this actually has the net effect of improving the overall soundstage in the headphones from what I described in the review as ‘enough’, but not big. It is impressive and serves to show me the headphones have the potential I thought they may have, and also that the Mojo 2 is really pretty cool. With the same track and DSP settings at the same time (two headphone outputs) but with a pair of Meze 99 Neo Classics, the sound is immediately way too boomy for my taste, so I need to remove the bass from the DSP settings. After a bit of bass button DSP shifting and the 99 Classics, still, a bargain at £179, are nicely balanced and controlled.
This also serves to show this reviewer the Chord Mojo 2 is an excellent way of comparing headphones without mucking around with outputs.
Turning to a pair of Focal Radiance headphones (priced near £1,200), I decide, based on Chord’s suggestion in the Manual to take a look at the frequency curve to see how I can play with it, the site is here.
Unfortunately, the Focal Radiance headphones are not on the lookup list but luckily, I know they have a 40mm Aluminium/Magnesium M-driver similar to the Elear listed on the site (the Focal Stelia in there has the Beryllium M-driver). Knowing my approximate frequency curve, I can now fiddle with the DSP to flatten the frequency curve to achieve a more ‘natural sound’, which I do with ease since I am very familiar with the menu/polychromatic system. The DSP settings are automatically saved until they are ‘factory reset’ so you need to bear this in mind when swapping headphones about.
Of further note here is the crossfeed adjustment, which I am finding is more impactful than that of the Hugo 2 and creates that ‘speaker like soundstage’. It is all great fun, but you do need a decent pair of headphones to translate all this joy.
In my view, this Chord Mojo 2 is the best portable option ahead of these big portable digital audio players. I have the Pioneer XDP-100 which is great, but the tech has moved on so much and it is not as flexible as this Chord Mojo 2. Another thing to note is that I have really enjoyed setting the Chord Mojo 2 up. The DSP is fun if you embrace it and my Velcro solution for portable listening is going in the Patent Office, no more elastic bands for me!
The Chord Mojo 2 is absolutely sparkling, it is surely one of the best portable digital solutions at this price
The Chord Mojo 2 is absolutely sparkling, it is surely one of the best portable digital solutions at this price. As well as that it has to be one of the best desktop solutions too. We have seen what other reviewers have said about the Chord Mojo 2, I’d like the HF&MS summary to be ‘sparkling audio fun’.
Twin headphone output
High-quality open sound
Cool conversation starter
It was bigger but thinner
USB C centred input
Maybe a 6.35mm output too
Full details are on the company’s site
¶ I have fixed the loose USB C connection with a needle and a really thorough cleaning of the USB C slot at the base of my phone which was really very tightly packed with a combination of lint and dog biscuit bits!