Chord Mojo 2 Review
A great upgrade for any audio system
A terrifically engaging listening experience, the Chord Mojo 2 works its magic to elevate what you’re listening to. It makes everything from a Spotify stream to Hi-res file sound much better and functions as a great upgrade for any audio system.
- Excellent, transparent sound
- Tough build quality
- USB-C input
- Relatively portable
- Convoluted menu system
- UKRRP: £495
- Intelligent Desktop ModePreserves battery to prevent overcharging
- File supportSupports up to 768kHz files
It was in 2015 when Chord first got its mojo, and seven years is a long time to wait for a sequel to what is considered to be one of the finest DACs of the last several years.
No pressure then to advance the DAC market further, especially since the Chord Mojo launched there has been a sea of digital audio converters in its wake.
The Chord Mojo 2 launches with the tagline of redefining portable audio standard. How well has it fared with that high ambition?
- Visually similar to original
- USB-C port
- New menu control sphere
I never reviewed the original Mojo but visually there’s not a huge difference between old and new. It has the same tough industrial aircraft-grade aluminium housing as before that’s cool to the touch, the jet-black finish is both smart and unassuming. The Mojo 2 looks nice, and it doesn’t make a fuss about it.
You’ll notice the four control spheres as Chord calls them, up from the original’s three. The new sphere introduces a navigable menu system where you can mute the Mojo 2, enable the button-lock feature when in transit and play with the four-setting crossfeed adjustment.
I find the menu system a bit convoluted in action though, I have to look at the manual to remember the sequencing and what each orb represents and that does make using the Mojo 2 more involved than it ought to be. I do like the volume control and the way the spheres change colour to denote the current volume level, but this is certainly not a ‘DAC for beginners’.
The original Mojo ran warm during use, but improvements have been made to safeguard against that. It isn’t too warm during use, only getting particularly warm when the device is charged. It would have been nice if Chord could have tweaked the battery meter to be more obvious. Having to lift the device up to see which colour it is – the Mojo 2’s LED changes colour as it drops in battery down to red – is not always convenient.
Connectivity is a pair of 3.5mm outputs – the Mojo 2 can drive two headphones at once though volume cannot be set independently – with the digital inputs now at five due to the addition of USB-C alongside two micro-USB ports, coaxial and optical options. Note that charging is still only through the dedicated micro-USB port and that the Mojo 2 can charge faster with the right cable.
If you do intend to take the Mojo 2 outside of the house and then there’s a leather-styled case to keep them safe in.
- Estimated 8-hour battery life
- Intelligent Desktop Mode preserve battery
- File support up to 32-bit/768kHz
Chord says the Mojo 2 can last over eight hours, which is described as an improvement. I haven’t timed the battery, but it feels slightly less than that in operation. I got a few sessions over several days use and each time I was a little surprised when the Chord abruptly switched off.
Elsewhere Chord says it’s improved its Intelligent Desktop Mode technology by redesigning the PSU and isolating the battery to support battery-free operation that doesn’t compromise the sound output. If plugged into a device and connected to a power source at the same time, the desktop mode can regulate charging to preserve the battery.
The Mojo 2 can be connected to the existing Poly streamer/server that bumps up the spec for high-res wireless streaming and features up to 2TB of SSD (solid state storage) and playback when the microSD card slot is used. The Mojo 2 can support files up to 32-bit/768kHz (which is massive) as well as DSD256, and various sample-rates are reflected by the spheres changing colour. MQA support is conspicuously by its lack of mention, which implies that it is not natively supported.
- Wider, more detailed soundstage
- More depth and clarity to music
The Chord Mojo 2 is a superlative listen from the get-go. I’ve used with it many headphones and the result has been very similar. The Mojo 2 doesn’t appear to add its own colour or sound to signal or necessarily change the characteristics of the headphone much – it removes all the impurities in the signal, amplifying the sound to leave only sonic goodness.
That sounds rather lofty but listening to a pair of headphones through the Chord and you can tick off a greater sense of width to the soundstage, greater levels of detail, definition and resolution, a superb sense of dynamism and attack. The Mojo 2 renders music with the utmost sense of clarity and depth – listening to tracks with just a pair of headphones and comparing them to how they sound filtered through the Mojo 2 and they sound flatter and less energetic.
The Mojo 2 presents more depth, more texture and dynamically its bold, a clear and obvious difference between quiet and loud notes that’s much more engaging.
Voices are articulated with more fluency and nuance, the soundstage is bigger and taller, revealing more detail in a track and with better separation between the various elements in a track. There’s a tremendous amount of energy to its delivery that’s rarely pitched at fatiguing levels. Of course, adjusting the volume can help but I find I rarely have to do that unless I’m switching between headphones.
A listen to Rainy Night in Tallinn from Ludwig Goransson’s Tenet (Qobuz) and it’s a snappier listen, crisper in tone and bigger in size with the Mojo 2. Bass carries more weight, solidity and depth for a more pulsating listen. It sounds fantastic and once you’ve listened to the Mojo 2 it’s hard to settle for a performance that’s anything less.
Should you buy it?
To unleash the potential of your music library The Chord Mojo 2 bring tremendous amounts of fidelity to listening sessions. If you want better, you’d have to pay more.
If you’re a hi-fi novice I wouldn’t recommend this DAC as anyone’s first step into the world of hi-fi. It is a little too complex to get to grips with, especially with that menu system.
A terrific-sounding DAC that elevates the listening experience. This is fine dining for audiophiles with the performance the Chord Mojo 2 can unleash.
It’s not perfect, the menu system can be hard to wrap your head around and USB-C charging might have been expected, as would native MQA support. It’s not a DAC for beginners either.
But listening to the Mojo 2 is to hear all the nuances in your music collection. It’s a great-sounding DAC with any pair of headphones and, for the right audience, one of the best DACs of 2022.
How we test
We test every DAC we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry-standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested over several months
Tested with a range of headphones
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The Mojo 2 does not list MQA support as part of the file formats it supports.
Hi-Res audio is referred to as a standard as well as a marketing term that describes digital audio files of better-than-CD quality (16-bit/44.1kHz).