Chord MOJO discontinued...now what ?

thesquale

Member
Hello all !

I was about to buy a Chord Mojo to hook up my laptop with Amazon Music HD to my headphones just to realize the product has been discontinued. I have looked around and asked couple of shops the same question : any other suggestions for same quality/pricing (c. £400) ? and nobody can recommend anything. They are waiting for Chord to replace the Mojo with the Mojo 2...

Any suggestions for my use ?

thank you all !
 

Nico72

Active Member
Are you looking for a portable or fixed DAC / headphone amp?
The Mojo would not have been the best choice to use at home because it has a rechargeable battery and keeping it plugged in all the time would have shortened the battery life.
In my experience, DACs sound very similar as long as they are decent quality. There is plenty of choice for USB DACs at all prices: audioquest dragonfly, ifi zen, topping E30, D30, D30 pro, Arcam irDACII, Audiolab M-DAC, Schiit Modi, Rega DAC just to name a few.
2nd hand market is good too.
 

thesquale

Member
Are you looking for a portable or fixed DAC / headphone amp?
The Mojo would not have been the best choice to use at home because it has a rechargeable battery and keeping it plugged in all the time would have shortened the battery life.
In my experience, DACs sound very similar as long as they are decent quality. There is plenty of choice for USB DACs at all prices: audioquest dragonfly, ifi zen, topping E30, D30, D30 pro, Arcam irDACII, Audiolab M-DAC, Schiit Modi, Rega DAC just to name a few.
2nd hand market is good too.
thank you for your quick reply ! I do not need a "real" portable one as i will use it on my desk only (might transport it from home office to regular office from time to time but will only use it when sitting at a desk).

Surely, they can not all be of the same quality ??? The Mojo had outstanding reviews from everywhere for that price ppoint.
 

3rdignis

Active Member
My topping a50s is way better than my chord mojo.

The dac in my DVD player is slightly better than my chord mojo.

 

gibbsy

Moderator
With a headphone amp/DAC it's more to do with the quality of the analogue circuit in relation to the amp itself. Any pair of headphones is going to prosper from using a standalone headphone amp with or without a DAC.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Personally, i'd start a schiit or ifi stack. Excellent kit for the money.
 

gava

Active Member
Schiit isn't that easy to come by in the UK, often out of stock and overpriced. Good gear and I'd have no hesitation buying it in the US however.

I'm on the fence about iFi stuff, but Topping has good availability on Amazon in general and I can see no reason to stay away from chifi when it comes to desktop equipment with Gustard, SMSL, etc all good offerings.

And of course the RME ADI-2 FS is regarded pretty much universally as superb. If you can afford it you'd be crazy to have anything else. Saving my pennies for that one day.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Schiit isn't that easy to come by in the UK, often out of stock and overpriced. Good gear and I'd have no hesitation buying it in the US however.
As long as you're at the cheaper end of the product range, the favourable £/$ exchange rate pretty much covers the shipping from the states. My Magni Heresy was ordered from the US site and was £115 including shipping. This is under the duty limit, so no extra to pay and arrived in under a week.
£115 for a super capable headphone amp's good money spent imho.
 

thesquale

Member
As long as you're at the cheaper end of the product range, the favourable £/$ exchange rate pretty much covers the shipping from the states. My Magni Heresy was ordered from the US site and was £115 including shipping. This is under the duty limit, so no extra to pay and arrived in under a week.
£115 for a super capable headphone amp's good money spent imho.
i am trying a dragonfly Cobalt now a friend lend me. £220. will see.

do not want to open a can worms (as there are thousands of threads on the issue all over the audio geek universe) but i am trying this with Airpods Max (with the £40 lightning to 3.5mm cable). I know using a DAC is probably useless as the APM have their onboard DAC but i wanted to "hear myself" with or without a proper DAC if i could hear a difference...
 

gava

Active Member
i am trying a dragonfly Cobalt now a friend lend me. £220. will see.

Not a value for money choice.


It's not terrible it's just not worth more than something for 1/10th of the price.

Airpods Max without using the onboard digital processing & EQ is a stunningly bad idea. The headphones without EQ are garbage and they will sound like it.

Dragonfly Cobalt + Airpods Max is possibly the absolute worst way to spend £600 on headfi that I could imagine. You could get something that sounds better for £100.
 

thesquale

Member
Not a value for money choice.


It's not terrible it's just not worth more than something for 1/10th of the price.

Airpods Max without using the onboard digital processing & EQ is a stunningly bad idea. The headphones without EQ are garbage and they will sound like it.

Dragonfly Cobalt + Airpods Max is possibly the absolute worst way to spend £600 on headfi that I could imagine. You could get something that sounds better for £100.

I am not sure why using an amp/DAC on the way would stop the APM using their own internal DAC ? i understand why it could be stupid as from the laptop USB comes a digital signal that the dragonfly turns analog, then it is turn Digital again getting into the APM..then turned analog to the cans...

But i have seen lots of other opinions across the web about this issue. One good argument (i thought) was the first amp/DAC would "clean and amplify" the signal so gives a better source for the APM. and as it is wired all the way, you would avoid limitations coming with Bluetooth connections.

I am not an expert AT ALL so just reading opinions and i saw a lot of mixed opinions on this. So i thought i would try to hear myself.

I have had the APM since they came out and love them the way they are. Just trying a "in the middle" upgrade instead of buying a DAC and a new pairs of wired cans OR just keeping the APM.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member

Thanks for that @Hixs hadn't realised that Khadas had brought out the Tone2. I have 4 of the original boards in my MiniDSP Nanodigi system and they just do the job, no fuss, pretty well transparent. The Tone2 as a Dac has slightly better performance (whether this is audible ?) and they have sorted out the ESS Hump but5 ASR has some reservations. I think the Soncoz LAQXD1 would be my choice based on this board for a stand alone DAC as it has proper balanced out, volume control measures marginally better and still has the ESS Hump sorted.

Amazon product
 

Stumper

Active Member
I had a mojo/poly it was a great bit of kit but to be honest taking the mojo on its own and the ifi zen Dac v2 that I have right now I don't think there is a huge difference and certainly not enough to justify the price difference. I think the ifi has a warmer more relaxed sound. The mojo was more detailed. My plan now to reuse my chord quetest with the new chord anni but I'm wondering would a better ifi rig be more suitable as I really do rate the zen Dac as excellent to my ears at least.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
My Mojo got enough 2nd hand to pay for my Schiit Magni Heresy and my AKG 712K Pro. Both new. That should say everything about how overpriced the Mojo was.
 

gava

Active Member
I am not sure why using an amp/DAC on the way would stop the APM using their own internal DAC ? i understand why it could be stupid as from the laptop USB comes a digital signal that the dragonfly turns analog, then it is turn Digital again getting into the APM..then turned analog to the cans...

But i have seen lots of other opinions across the web about this issue. One good argument (i thought) was the first amp/DAC would "clean and amplify" the signal so gives a better source for the APM. and as it is wired all the way, you would avoid limitations coming with Bluetooth connections.

I am not an expert AT ALL so just reading opinions and i saw a lot of mixed opinions on this. So i thought i would try to hear myself.

I have had the APM since they came out and love them the way they are. Just trying a "in the middle" upgrade instead of buying a DAC and a new pairs of wired cans OR just keeping the APM.

It's not the DAC that's the issue and a better DAC might indeed help if everything else was the same, however the tuning/frequency response of the drivers in the Airpods Max without its own inbuilt digital signal processing and equalization is (was?? - it's possible that later releases are improved) incredibly poor.

With equalization the frequency response is fine, actually pretty good for wireless headphones. Take into account the fact that they have a ton of other features and look great - they are a good choice if you are an Apple fan. The ANC is great, they have fancy spatial audio tuning, etc.

But if you are concerned purely with Audio quality then you can do much better for the money.

I own a couple of sets of Sony wireless headphones - so very clearly audio quality is not always the most important thing. Sometimes something that sounds good and has lots of other useful qualities is what you want.
 

thesquale

Member
It's not the DAC that's the issue and a better DAC might indeed help if everything else was the same, however the tuning/frequency response of the drivers in the Airpods Max without its own inbuilt digital signal processing and equalization is (was?? - it's possible that later releases are improved) incredibly poor.

With equalization the frequency response is fine, actually pretty good for wireless headphones. Take into account the fact that they have a ton of other features and look great - they are a good choice if you are an Apple fan. The ANC is great, they have fancy spatial audio tuning, etc.

But if you are concerned purely with Audio quality then you can do much better for the money.

I own a couple of sets of Sony wireless headphones - so very clearly audio quality is not always the most important thing. Sometimes something that sounds good and has lots of other useful qualities is what you want.
sorry but i do not really understand your answer. especially the first part...adding the DAC can only be beneficial , right ?
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
The APM are style over substance (probably just Beats in a new skin) so spending 400 notes is pointless.
 

gava

Active Member
sorry but i do not really understand your answer. especially the first part...adding the DAC can only be beneficial , right ?

Although I think now - been doing a bit of checking that this problem only applies if the headphone is turned off (e.g. flat battery) as long as the headphone is switched on you still get the DSP.

1. Over BT:

Phone <==BT Codec==> Airpod DAC => Airpod Digital Signal Processing & Equalization => Final Frequency Response.

2. Over Wires: (Headphones turned on)

Phone => Wire => External DAC => Airpod Digital Signal Processing & Equalization => Final Frequency Response.

So in this path it's still going through the Airpod DSP but yes you would be getting a potentially better DAC - however the DAC in the Airpods is probably very decent. And higher bandwidth than BT. However the DSP and EQ is still in play and this is likely the best potential overall quality.

However even in this pathway you could still do a lot better for the money.

3. Over Wires: (Headphones turned off )

Phone => Wire => External DAC => Final Frequency Response without DSP.

So maybe the external DAC you are using would be better than the DAC in the Airpods, but you can see that what you are missing is the Airpods in-built DSP and that is what turns them from a poor headphone into a good one. You might get a +1 on sound quality by using a better DAC, but you are getting a -10 from missing out the DSP.
 

thesquale

Member
The APM are style over substance (probably just Beats in a new skin) so spending 400 notes is pointless.
That is just not accurate. Have you tried them ?? I tried quite a few wireless ones and they were by far the best (and quite more expensive it’s true).
 

thesquale

Member
Although I think now - been doing a bit of checking that this problem only applies if the headphone is turned off (e.g. flat battery) as long as the headphone is switched on you still get the DSP.

1. Over BT:

Phone <==BT Codec==> Airpod DAC => Airpod Digital Signal Processing & Equalization => Final Frequency Response.

2. Over Wires: (Headphones turned on)

Phone => Wire => External DAC => Airpod Digital Signal Processing & Equalization => Final Frequency Response.

So in this path it's still going through the Airpod DSP but yes you would be getting a potentially better DAC - however the DAC in the Airpods is probably very decent. And higher bandwidth than BT. However the DSP and EQ is still in play and this is likely the best potential overall quality.

However even in this pathway you could still do a lot better for the money.

3. Over Wires: (Headphones turned off )

Phone => Wire => External DAC => Final Frequency Response without DSP.

So maybe the external DAC you are using would be better than the DAC in the Airpods, but you can see that what you are missing is the Airpods in-built DSP and that is what turns them from a poor headphone into a good one. You might get a +1 on sound quality by using a better DAC, but you are getting a -10 from missing out the DSP.
Yes. I am using/testing your 2nd option. Although I do not think it’s possible to turn the AirPods Max off when you have them on your head anyway (your 3rd option) .

The DAC is £220 and the APM are £450 so yes, for £670 I am sure there are better wired options (what would you recommend out of curiosity) but I also need a good wireless headphones for other settings/activities. That’s why I wanted to try to use the APM….

Thank you for your help so far !
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
sorry but i do not really understand your answer. especially the first part...adding the DAC can only be beneficial , right ?

As the thread starter wrote, Bluetooth headphones have their own built in DAC for analogue conversion and DSP effects. Bluetooth headphones benefit from an external DAC/amp only if they have the option to bypass the internal DAC in wired mode. Many do not. Pairing Bluetooth headphones with an external DAC/amp is often a waste of money or effort

Whilst on the subject the latest trend in portable audio are Bluetooth dongles to add wireless function to your wired in ear monitors or headphones

See thread iFi GO blu (alternatives from other manufacturers are available) 😎

Bear that today's Bluetooth is capped to LDAC or aptX HD bit rates. From 2022 and onwards we will have hardware that supports the new Bluetooth aptX lossless codec*

*Some cannot hear or care about the difference hence why Apple devices remains with AAC lossy Bluetooth codec
 

shug4476

Active Member
My own view.

DACs do make a big difference and those asserting otherwise I can only surmise do not have sufficiently resolving systems/ears to identify differences.

The Chord Mojo is fantastic but at least part of what you are paying for is flexibility. It is a better DAC than headphone amplifier (although still very good at the latter).
 

shug4476

Active Member
As the thread starter wrote, Bluetooth headphones have their own built in DAC for analogue conversion and DSP effects. Bluetooth headphones benefit from an external DAC/amp only if they have the option to bypass the internal DAC in wired mode. Many do not. Pairing Bluetooth headphones with an external DAC/amp is often a waste of money or effort

Whilst on the subject the latest trend in portable audio are Bluetooth dongles to add wireless function to your wired in ear monitors or headphones

See thread iFi GO blu (alternatives from other manufacturers are available) 😎

Bear that today's Bluetooth is capped to LDAC or aptX HD bit rates. From 2022 and onwards we will have hardware that supports the new Bluetooth aptX lossless codec*

*Some cannot hear or care about the difference hence why Apple devices remains with AAC lossy Bluetooth codec

This is all excellent advice.
 

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