This time a DAC that costs € 599, is the size of a packet of cigarettes and blows away anything that comes close to it. Am I high on illegal substances? No, just got Chord’s mojo working.
Less than two years ago Chord impressed me, my colleagues - and in fact the entire hifi market - with their first portable d/a-converter/headphone amp, named Hugo. Currently costing close to € 1,800, sound wise it still is without competition. You will find the Hugo review here.@@
The little Mojo measures 83 x 63 x 23 mm and weighs 180 grams - as said the size of a packet of cigarettes. In good Chord tradition the machined aircraft grade aluminium housing keeps vibrations away from the sensitive electronics. The inputs are on one side: an SPDIF on - strangely enough - 3.5 millimeter jack, a USB Audio Profile 2 on micro-USB, a power input also on micro-USB - accompanied by a charging indicator - and an SPDIF optical in on TOSlink.
The opposite site holds two 3.5 millimeter jacks that both are capable of feeding a line input or headphones. Given the different electrical properties, an amp and headphones should not be connected at the same time. On one of the long sides three illuminated ball shaped knobs provide all the control and status reporting. The right one is the on/off switch and has to be hold for 2 seconds to prevent accidental use. It changes color depending on the sampling rate playing, again in standing Chord tradition. The two other ball-knobs are for volume up and down, where the volume is also indicated by colors. If you hold the two volume knobs when switching on, the output is set to line level. In Chord’s world that’s 3 volts in stead of the Redbook 2 volts.