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Chord Electronics Launches Headphone Amplifier

Chord mojo_Upright WHTn

Chord Electronics has launched Mojo, a British-built headphone amplifier and DAC that enables smartphones and connected devices to deliver recording-studio sound quality from any headphone (£399).

Chord Electronics, a world leader in digital audio, has launched Mojo. A contraction of ‘Mobile Joy’, Mojo is a headphone amplifier and DAC (digital-to-analogue convertor) that empowers smartphones to deliver music content at up to studio-master-tape quality. Mojo enables this due to Chord’s advanced proprietary digital signal processing technology.

Low-cost, widely available apps, such as Onkyo’s HF player (iOS and Android), now make high-resolution music file playback easy from all smartphones. Mojo connects to these devices digitally, processing the files using the most advanced conversion technology available, to deliver genuinely unrivalled sound quality to up to two pairs of headphones.

Chord Electronics has launched an all new portable DAC and headphone amp in the footsteps of the Hugo. The Mojo (a contraction of ‘Mobile Joy’ should you be wondering) is nothing if not ambitious. The original specification dates back to 2012 before the Hugo had even been launched and was intended to be a cheaper and more portable version of the highly regarded DAC/Preamp that offered the same output and measure. The technical issues behind this were considerable however. At the time, no version of an FPGA chip existed that could support the reduced size.

In the subsequent years however a new FPGA has come to market and this forms the basis of the Mojo. This uses custom software for decoding and filtering as well as volume control, input management, sample rate control and last remembered settings. Chord claims that the Mojo is the most advanced implementation of a digital to analogue convertor on the market at any price and should prove entirely superior to more conventional chip based rivals.

Mojo is entirely designed and manufactured in England using British expertise. It distils 27 years of high-performance audio know-how into a single mass-market device designed to empower the smartphone. Mojo is the most advanced device of its kind in the world.

CHORD Mojo and Plugsn

Get your Mojo workin’

The Mojo supports USB, optical and coaxial inputs with sample rates up to 768kHz and DSD 256 being supported. Output is via a pair of 3.5mm sockets that can either have their volume controlled via the on board preamp or be fixed to a line level output. The Bluetooth connectivity of the Hugo and RCA output has been removed but the Mojo can still swing half an amp of current for driving more demanding headphones. At the same time, the Mojo has been developed with a view to driving more sensitive and revealing in ear monitors allowing it to be truly versatile in terms of what you connect to it.

Fast charging

Mojo utilises new high-temperature battery technology, giving much faster charging (up to
twenty hours’ faster than competitor units). A full charge is reached in just four hours via
USB, giving around ten hours’ playback; Mojo’s charging Micro USB port has a battery status
and charging indicator light, too.
Chord mojo_PowerBLUE
Compact, portable, aircraft-grade aluminium

Externally, the Mojo is considerably smaller than the Hugo and is finished in black. The three spherical buttons use colour changing LEDs to denote volume level and sample rate while the input selection is automatic. In recognition of this section of the market being less forgiving to general weirdness, the Mojo’s inputs are all labelled and the interface is completely straightforward. Battery life is given at ten hours with a full charge taking four.

High-resolution file playback

Mojo is capable of playing all of today’s music formats, including the very latest high resolution
standards. It can deliver breath-taking realism from any digital music file: PCM;
WAV; AAC; AIFF; MP3 and FLAC. It is designed to work with all smartphones and music
players and covers specialist high-resolution formats such as DoP DSD files: DSD 64; DSD 128
and DSD 256. Mojo’s three high-resolution digital input options comprise optical (to
192kHz), plus Micro USB and RCA (mini-jack) which operate at up to an incredible 768kHz.

Proprietary technology

Mojo uses the new Artix-7 FPGA chipset from Silicon Valley’s Xilinx, making Mojo the most
advanced DAC of its type on the planet! Unlike other audio products, that process digital
files using crude off-the-shelf chips from Asia, Chord uses an FPGA — a programmable
circuit that enables its skilled engineers to directly implement its own digital audio
expertise, making Mojo unique in the marketplace.

Spherical coloured buttons
Mojo uses spherical buttons for power on/off, volume control and file frequency
information. The spheres illuminate and cycle through a range of rainbow colours. The file
frequency is shown clearly by an indicator colour option on the power switch: from CDquality
(44.1kHz, red), 48kHz (orange) and so on, up through a rainbow of colours to bright
white for DSD. Volume levels are similarly represented using colour.

Technical specification

Digital inputs
1 x Micro USB 768kHz/32-bit capable
1 x 3.5mm jack coaxial 768kHz/32-bit capable
1 X Optical Toslink 192kHz/24-bit capable
Outputs
2. x 3.5mm headphone jacks
Charging
1 X Micro USB charging port
Output power @1kHz: 600 ohms 35mW; 8 Ohms 720mW
Output impedance: 75m ohms
Dynamic range: 125dB
THD: @3V 0.00017%
Weight: 180g
Dimensions: 82x60x22 (LxWxH mm)

Price/availability

Mojo sells for £399 and is available now.

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