Mojo via high-end system.
As diminutive as Mojo may be, the level of digital engineering involved does not exclude it from non-headphone use in a serious audio system. Simultaneously pressing the two volume buttons upon start-up will activate the line-level output. This of course allows hook-up to a preamplifier or integrated amp. Again using my MacBook as source, I fed Mojo which in turn plugged into the main audio rig. How peculiar is this brave new world of quality budget-priced DACs where an AU$899 item can play ball in an audio system with a sunny aspect on the north side of the $100K avenue. And I've gotta tell you, there was no shame there. Mojo is one stellar MoFo. In this context, you'd expect a sub $1K item to be exposed for all its compromises. A flat, brash and congested presentation would be a reasonable expectation and near-zero surprise. But man, does that not apply here in a big way. Mojo retains its superb detail retrieval with all manner of musical material being resolved on par with DACs many times its relatively meagre asking price.

Either of The Waif's vocalists, Nikki Thorn or Donna Simpson, projected slightly forward of the speaker plane and with the girls' intonation and tonality very accurately rendered. Again as was the case via the other playback methods described above, the music is propelled along on a bouncy and agile bass platform supporting a generously wide dynamic range. And, Mojo loves guitars. "Stompin' at the Savoy" from Duet, my long-time acoustic guitar reference from virtuosi Silvain Luc and Biréli Lagrène features aggressive strumming, guitar body percussive attacks and extraordinary all-round musicianship. Mojo communicated the guitarists' accents and structural intents extremely faithfully, preserving the tonal complexities, the musical nuances the instruments possess when driven by masters.

A brief exposure to Mojo's DSD capabilities took things further still (these admittedly were very good recordings) with darker backgrounds and fleshier image density within larger sound fields. And sure, a full-sized DAC with large power supply and more spacious layout will provide some benefits in the context of a high-end system. Mids will be fleshed out further, the lower registers will have more weight and dynamic authority. But, you'll have to spend quite a bit more and, in any case, that's not Mojo's primary objective. The raison d'être here is to serve as a mobile device interface plus headphone amp/DAC of the highest possible quality for an affordable price. Hey, how about this for a great afternoon of audiophile shenanigans? Grab a nice gut-less bit full-sized DAC chassis, a nice exit-looking one. Stick the Mojo in it. Feed your system with it. Fool your mates into thinking playback is via a $5K DAC. You'll get away with it and they'll be singing praises. Then, later, they'll string you up.

Conclusion. How Chord has packed so much tech and wrung such astounding performance from such a small package is somewhat of a modern tech miracle. Well, no miracle but damn clever engineering, built in Britain by designers dedicated to the advancement of digital technology. And I have to say it: the performance/price ratio here is extremely high. Add to that the funky design and high build quality and I consider Mojo a mo-freakin' bargain. So yeah, in a sea of 'same', this one stands out. Music playback in the 21st century has found its Mojo.

Chord website