Chord Electronics Poly Review & Comments

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Ed Selley, Nov 3, 2017.


    1. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
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    2. Pecker

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      Great review.

      I'm still not sure what it is, though. Or if I do, I'm not sure why it exists.

      It turns a portable DAC into a portable DAP? Okay. It acts as a network streamer? Okay.

      I have a toaster which also choose which brand of aftershave I should wear. :confused:

      Wouldn't most people who have a Mojo already have a DAP and a network streamer, to which I'm not sure this really brings anything. Other than being able to easily take it to someone else's house.

      I think I've possibly missed something.
       
    3. larkone

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      And if it is a DAP feeding a Mojo as a DAC then it shouldn't have any effect on the sound - just like any other DAP if it is used to feed a DAC. So any DAP fed digitally into the Mojo would sound the same.
       
    4. McCol

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      Here’s my take on the Poly/Mojo combo.

      Over the years I’ve had a series of DAP’s to pair with good quality earphones so have wanted the best sound I can afford. Problem with most Daps from Fiio, ibasso etc etc is that they don’t match the speed, function and features of a smartphone. Spotify and Tidal for example are a bit of a nightmare on daps, buggy, slow and often lots of interference due to very poor WiFi implementation.

      The Mojo connected to a phone helped with this but then that involves an extra cable using android and some camera connection kit for IOS which I never even bothered trying. USB OTG on Android is patchy and doesn’t always work reliably. I tried Mojo for a while on release with a phone but got a bit fed up with the cabling etc so went back to daps.

      Now the Poly/Mojo combo seems to give me the best of everything, connects wirelessly to my phone and can stream Tidal flac etc etc with no interference whilst being able to retain the speed and stability my mobile offers me over a dap.
      I can stream music on my NAS drive to the combo and use my full size headphones at home. The sd card slot I’ve not used yet but I will as them I can store flacs that I might not want to use up the phones memory with.

      I’ve had daps around the same price range as this combo and to be honest I’d choose the Poly and Mojo over them every time.
       
    5. psikey

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      Been pretty much through all the methods aiming for a highly mobile, capable player with great audio & usability with Tidal/Spotify plus of course my own HD FLAC/DSD files. I also had a Mojo but charging every 7 hours & cabling up each time plus size/weight with a phone not ideal (same with HA2SE I tried).

      Most recently had Fiio X5III and Sony ZX300 but have been closely keeping my eye on the Poly thread on head-fi. Having read just about every post on there with all the feedback about slow start-up (slow indexing), Wifi drop-outs, complexity with Apps that have issues, you have to come back to what is it you want, to keep playing with tech to get stuff working or simply listen to audio as good as possible for your budget at home & while mobile.

      Then you need enough power to drive a wide range of ear/headphones without background hiss for sensitive ones, in my case 9 Ohm Shure SE846's or 150 Ohm Sen HD660S headphones.

      I keep coming back to the best solution for me as the Dragonfly Red with my existing mobile phone (got DFR new for £147).

      Just have two cases for phone One with DFR DAC attached and one without. The DFR even does MQA via Tidal when connected to PC, has basically no hiss with my SE846's and plenty of power to drive the full size HD660S.

      Example of most portable below as I now keep DFR connected to my old Sony Z5 Compact.

      Photo showing its no bigger/heavier than using a small DAP such as the ZX300 but sounds better & more capable (ZX300 balanced possibly sounds slightly better).

      Assuming Chord sort Poly software issues out, spending nearly £900 on Mojo+poly compared to ~£150 on DFR the sound quality improvement is just not justifiable. With recent updates to UAPP with regard to Tidal integration the App is just amazing for usability and sound quality.

      Also, no EM interference with a DFR while with Mojo directly coupled to a phone it can be very annoying. Poly eliminates the interference but at a fairly high cost.

      20171102_084026.jpg

      Two case solution with S7 (before I found 180 degree USB adapter)

      20160909_135009_zpsr6g5o8fn.jpg
       
      Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
    6. McCol

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      Kind of agree with almost everything you've said however as we both probably know as regulars over at Head-fi, music and the way we hear it is so personal that it's difficult to compare and advice sometimes.
      For me I've tried lots of Daps and Dacs from the likes of Fiio, sony and Oppo to name but a few but it is always the Mojo that impressed me the most, the addition of the Poly for me makes it an ideal music solution both in the house and for portable use.

      Big question though - is it worth the extra outlay, for me it is. I suppose the old argument of diminishing returns comes into play. Some earphones can be treble the price of my current faves but might only give me a 10% increase in what I perceive as better sound.

      It's a mad hobby!!
       
    7. psikey

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      True, based purely on sound quality the Mojo is better than the DFR with DSD. For FLAC of typically 24/96 I'm not too sure. If cost isn't a concern then after being part of the UK Hugo 2 tour for 10 days I'd buy the Hugo 2 (still thinking about that purchase, but then my financial sense gene kicks in !!)
       
    8. McCol

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      You'll buy it - you know you will!!
       
    9. 550Driver

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      I had my name down for a Poly when then were announced in January. The Roon integration was particularly interesting.

      I decided to cancel my order a couple of weeks back, as I had concerns this would just be too fiddly and complex to use. I'm tech savvy, but when I listen to music, I want things simple, reliable and predictable. This reviews seems for confirm my fears I'd find the Poly an irritation.

      I know that Chord feel they've re-imagined the dedicated DAP and come up with something better, but I would have loved a Chord take on A&K type DAPs with a built in Mojo tech. That would be something very special IMHO
       
    10. McCol

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      I’ve not really seen anything in reviews that suggest the Poly is awkward to use.
      Some have had some set up issues due to their WiFi or needing to update ios(myself included), once done though it works smoothly and with no issues for most.

      The problem had Chord made a dedicated DAP would be the same as the others on the market, there are very few that are priced reasonably that will give you a smooth experience similar to that of an Android or IOS based smartphone.
      I’ve had daps from the likes of Sony, Ibasso, Fiio and Astell and kern that cost from £300 to £900 that can’t compete with the Poly/Mojo and decent smartphone combo.
       
    11. 550Driver

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      Ummm. The review we are all responding to suggests it is....

      "Can be a little fiddly"
      "people will find it is simply too frustrating to use"
      "If you suddenly need to pause or stop playback, it’s simpler to turn the Mojo off which is far from a perfect solution to this issue"

      That reads as a bit awkward to use in my book. :)
       
    12. 550Driver

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      Your Mojo/Poly Combo would cost £900. Far from a paltry sum. I have an A&K AK70 and a Pioneer XDR100. You're right, these devices aren't perfect, but I reckon that in the £1000 price range, Chord could do something based on the Mojo that is better than those dedicated DAPs we both mention
       
    13. DroidSkin

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      The reason that Chord haven't (and very likely won't) do a DAP is that the operating system, nearly always Android based, won't ever be as as fast as the latest version of Android/IOS on your phone and will become dated very quickly. That will render the DAP virtually obsolete in about the same time as it would have taken to bring it to market.

      Having used various DAP's over the last few years I agree with Chord's decision not to go into that market.

      I've got a Poly and I did have about a days worth of confusion trying to set it up, TBH, I think that they should have held the release date until the app was ready to be released at the same time. I've got it working through the Poly's hotspot atm and it works perfectly, but I will probably switch to bluetooth control of the SD card when the app is released.
       
    14. McCol

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      They probably could but as DroidSkin points out the os if Android would be dated probably on release. Sony’s £1100 dap suffered a similar fate, lovely piece of kit that sounds good but not the greatest WiFi implementation and an os that is now dated.
      I think one of the main problems for dap makers is the processor they choose, most opt for non Qualcomm or older versions, screens are usually of a lesser quality than a decent smartphone. I think Chord have done the right thing with the Poly and when the app is released it should become a lot easier to use.
       
    15. psikey

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      I know I'm not going to convince Poly/Mojo users, but the approach AudioQuest took with the Dragonfly's is great, a battery free/small/light DAC that works with any phone or PC. It doesn't do Native DSD but do we really need DSD? 24/96 FLAC is ideal really (or even MQA).

      AQ should make a couple of new versions of the DFRed, one with an integrated USB3 OTG interface and one with a lightning interface (no CCK needed). Also put a shirt clip on the body of them with 3 control buttons & ideal. Should cost no more than £199 each.
       
    16. DroidSkin

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      Make it wireless or it's not even in the same ballpark. So no, you're not going to convince us;)
       
    17. psikey

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      Why would I want complexity, lack of wireless reliability, battery drain going wireless rather than a small USB sized stick used with your earphones? You still have your headphones/earphones wired out of the MojoPoly. You charge your phone daily anyway.

      Weight/Size of phone + MojoPoly is way more than phone & Dragonfly, not forgetting DFR is 1/5th the cost of the MojoPoly. But hey..... its your money ;)

      As mentioned, I did have Mojo working with phone in a neat package.

      20170124_124941_zpsomzlppkw.JPG
       
    18. DroidSkin

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      And the DFR isn't as good as the mojo, so there's that.....


      *the usual opinion caveats apply
       
    19. psikey

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      Only playing back DSD. I wouldn't say the Mojo is any better with HD FLAC (up to 24/96 anyway), but no point in arguing. I only paid £280 for the Mojo as an Amazon Warehouse purchase when they also had a Prime discount.
      Tidal PC MQA sounds better out of DFR than Mojo with it being MQA capable. Mojo does drive more demanding headphones better but DFR perfectly fine with my 150 Ohm ones.
       
    20. 550Driver

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      Is the DFR way better than the DragonFly Black? I have the DragonFly Black and it is a very poor relation compared to my Mojo and HugoTT
       
    21. psikey

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      Not had the Black but from what I've read the DFR is significantly better. I have had the Mojo and compared to DFR myself (and HA2SE).

      Look, from a purist Audio Quality only perspective taking no consideration of price/need to charge/size/weight/usability, then I would choose Mojo over DFR but then I would actually choose Hugo2.

      What I'm trying to convey is that going wireless from phone to MojoPoly is a large cost without improved usability or reduction in the weight/size of stuff to carry, compared to linking with something like a DFR for 1/5th the price but 95% of the SQ performance (excluding DSD as never heard DSD's better on anything compared to Mojo/Hugo2).

      Many audiophile types like to ignore cost vs performance but unless you have money to burn then most people do need to consider cost vs SQ performance, then usability. Other options should be compared to MojoPoly. It also comes down to what your trying to drive. My stuff ranges from 9 ohm to 150 ohm. When I tested the HD800 with Mojo it wasn't ideal so I'd imagine no chance with the DFR having less power.

      If cost wasn't a factor in tech then we would all be having OLED 4K HDR TV's (or am I the only one on here that doesn't :( ) .
       
      Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
    22. 550Driver

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      I hear you on this. And agree.

      I have an AK70 with a Mojo in a Dignis case sitting back to back all wrapped up in the Dignis case. It's about the size of a squashed Rubik's cube. For me, it's just about portable, whereas a Hugo2 might not be. For others, my AK70/Mojo brick might be a step too far and then I can see the benefit of the DragonFly

      Going back to my original point, I know the sequence of events I must go through to use my AK70 with the Mojo. If I go through things in the right order, all good. Wrong order. And I've lost 3 or 4 minutes of listening time when I go back to square one. My fear with the Poly is that it's even more unpredictable and even more time consuming to "sync up" when I have the opportunity for a 30 minute listening session
       
    23. DroidSkin

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      I don't have an OLED either. I bought a Hugo 2 instead;)

      People are having problems with setting it up. From the comments I've seen it seems to be particularly finnicky with Apple devices. Hopefully the app that is due for release this month will sort that out for those people.

      Personally I think Mojo is a good 20% better than the competition. I didn't even listen to a Mojo for ages because I hate stacking, but once I'd heard it there was no way I could use anything else. I get the price/sq conundrum but i'd be thinking about it when I'm listening to my music and it would bother me too much. £500 is a lot of cash for an add-on though, but I don't regret buying it now I have it.
       
    24. Soundizer

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      So it is an add on to Mojo allowing the Mojo to be wireless?

      But at this price it might already behind the times on Bluetooth if it does not have:
      AptX HD?
      what about AAC Bluetooth?
      Not Bluetooth 5.0 [flagship Samsung, LG and iPHONE X now have Bluetooth 5.0.

      If you subscribe to Streaming Music Services [Spotify, TIDAL] does it support it or do you still need to use your Phone?
       
    25. DroidSkin

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      If Bluetooth streaming is your thing. Then poly isn’t what you are looking for.
       
    26. Soundizer

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      It is not. However I would like to be able to play Spotify or Tidal or Apple Music via the Mojo without disrupting the use of my mobile phone. So i can still use the internet, send emails, use Apps on my mobile whilst enjoying Music on the Poly. So how do you do that.

      Has not been explained well.
       
    27. ModMax

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