Compendium updated February 18th, 2021
With prices plunging across the portable DAC/amp category, audiophiles have more options than ever for pocket rigs. The Chord Mojo is the pint-sized sibling of the Hugo 2, a desktop DAC/amp whose price tag is--quite dramatically--five times that of the Mojo. Naturally, the Mojo doesn't boast quite the same features or performance as the Hugo 2, but that doesn't mean it isn't an excellent option for souped-up portable sound.
We’ve compiled reviews from across the web for your reference. What you’ll find here are the TLDR versions of the full reviews (which you can access with the provided links). We’ll continue updating this compendium as reviews come in.
From Audio Science Review's review of the Chord Mojo DAC/Amp, first published on November 5th, 2018:
“There is really nothing broken in Chord Mojo. It performs well in a variety of tests. The issue with it is so much technical hype about its superiority that one is left empty after seeing performance that is well below state-of-the-art. We have DACs at less than half the price easily outperforming it on many tests. I cannot see any technical benefit to its design approach. On the contrary, that approach brings with it much higher cost, and power consumption. Combine that with the poor user interface and the Chord Mojo is simply not my cup of tea.
“Again, the Mojo is a competent product unlike some other boutique DACs that compete with each other to see who can produce worse performance. It goes a different route but leaves the road well paved. So if you are attracted to it, I am not going to sit here and tell you that you should not buy it.”
From Z Reviews' review of the Chord Mojo DAC/Amp, first published on August 26th, 2016:
"For portability...if you're using your phone...and your phone is filled to the brim with FLAC...fine."
"How does it sound?...Nothing stood out....Putting this on my phone was not spectacular. It sounds fine. It doesn't sound bad. In no way does it sound bad. But it doesn't blow my socks off."
From Currawong's review of the Chord Mojo DAC/Amp, first published on January 8th, 2016:
"I've been fairly impressed with the performance."
"The thing about the Mojo...you get more detail, more refinement, more realism...but it's not going to do anything crazy with the music. It's not going to give you any more bass...or anything like that."
From Headfonia's review of the Chord Mojo DAC/Amp, first published on August 9th, 2016:
“I planned on keeping this review short but I have failed miserably. The main conclusion for me is that the Mojo is more than just the flavor of the month. Mojo is especially good with poor sources like your smartphone, which is the main reason the Mojo was developed. The great thing about the Mojo is that it plays fine with both full sized headphones as well as IEMs, although it seems to be pickier with those.
“Looking at build quality, design and versatility, the Mojo is as good as it gets. It’s small, it feels great, it can take a beating and it pairs perfectly fine with a whole number of sources. While the Mojo certainly is great I do have two issues with it. First of all, I wish it had a little more of the analog sound, spaciousness and layering the Hugo has as Mojo often sounds a tad too digital and compact to me. Second, a lot of people are using the Mojo with perfectly fine sources that depending on the head- or earphone used, even sound better than the Mojo. Those who have been following me on our social media probably noticed that I don’t always say Mojo is the best, and these are the two reasons why.
“The Astell&Kern AK380 in example has a great single ended and balanced output and with my custom IEMs I prefer using the headphone output of the AK380 over the Mojo. It’s more detailed, more spacious and has better depth. It’s exactly the same story for the AK70 and the Luxury&Precision L3 where both the single ended as the balanced 2.5mm output sound really great with IEMS (Of course they each have their own sound signature). It’s a different story with full sized headphones as the Mojo, depending on the DAP you compare it too of course, simply has more power. There also are DAPs like the iBasso DX80 and Cayin N5/i5 which tend to be rather noisy with IEMs and for these DAPs the Mojo is the perfect solution. The only thing I ask is to try the headphone-out-line of your source first before you turn to the Mojo.”
From Headfonics' review of the Chord Mojo DAC/Amp, first published on April 3rd, 2016:
“If $599 is a stretch and you want that OTG and iOS capability, then the Oppo HA-2 and iBasso at a third of the price could be considered but none of them really come close to the Mojo’s full sounding yet balanced and detailed sound. No, do they have quite the power handling the Mojo has for the big cans.
“What I am sure of is that the market will react and, perhaps by next year, we will have competing devices on the market with similar performance levels. But, for now, the Mojo is probably the best all-around portable DAC/Amp proposition with all the correct connectivity on offer for modern devices and audio quality that should please a large audience most of the time.”
From What HiFi's review of the Chord Mojo DAC/Amp, first published on October 8th, 2018:
“We think Chord has produced yet another winner here.
“The Mojo offers a large slice of the Hugo’s performance for a fraction of the cost. Even at £399, we have to conclude that it’s a bargain.”
From The Master Switch's review of the Chord Mojo DAC/Amp, last updated on January 29th, 2020:
“Let’s wrap up. Despite its many clever features, digital connections, super-versatility and so on, the one ‘feature’ we’ve been most impressed with has been the Chord Mojo’s audio detail. There is a running joke among music producers that they are never able to hear ‘that’ sound again after leaving the audio mastering suite (the place where only the pair of speakers are worth $100K). The Mojo kicks up a very close second place to that scenario in our opinion and for the price bracket, it really gives an astounding performance.”
From Headphonesty's review of the Chord Mojo DAC/Amp, last updated on December 6th, 2020:
“The Mojo is a beautiful little doodad. It has more than earned its reputation as a portable device that others must be measured against. It has superb build quality, an iconic design, a simple interface, and outstanding format support...
“Fortunately, the Mojo embodies all the standard audiophile descriptions for worthy sound. It’s oh-so pleasing and engaging. It’s warm and musical, balanced but energetic, clean, clear and transparent. Detailed and natural. Powerful but controlled.
“Oh yes. I like the Mojo.
“Is it absolutely perfect? Not quite. A switch to disengage the battery for dedicated plugged-in desktop use would be great. A $200 battery replacement is frankly ridiculous. And hey companies, if you are going to use a multitude of colors as indicators, engrave the values on the case!
“Does mojo mean confidence, energy or enthusiasm? Is it success? How about sex appeal? Perhaps bewitchment or enchantment? In the case of Chord’s Mojo, the answer is yes.”
From Audio Advice's review of the Chord Mojo DAC/Amp, first published on April 21st, 2020:
“If you are serious about great headphone listening on-the-go or even at home, we’ve never heard anything that can perform as well as the Mojo in so many situations. If you’ve invested in a good pair of headphones or a set of powered speakers, you really owe it to yourself to hear them with the Mojo. For its pocketable size, the Mojo will blow you away. It’s also expandable. Attach it to Chord Poly and you’ve turned your little Mojo into a fully-featured wireless music streamer! For anyone on the move, it’s a no brainer. With just the Mojo, you’ll have everything you need to make headphones come to life on-the-go or even at home. Get the Mojo!
“We think $499.00 is a small investment for the significant upgrade to the sound quality you’ll get. For a small pocketable DAC loaded with this many expandable features and the level of micro details that make portable or home audio setups come alive, the Chord Mojo is amazing — and unbelievably so at this price point. We can’t imagine who wouldn’t choose this?”
From Stereophile's review of the Chord Mojo DAC/Amp, first published on January 27th, 2016:
“Yes, Chord's Mojo is beautifully styled. But it also produced beautiful sound quality with all four of the headphones with which I tried it. All I can say is ‘Wow!’”
From Home Studio Basics' review of the Chord Mojo DAC/Amp, first published on October 9th, 2018:
“I was going to dock a point or two off because of the initial frustration of getting it fired up, but that was my own fault friend. The Mojo indeed can be a bit finicky, but once you understand that it functions a bit differently than a standard Amp/DAC, you’ll likely forget you were ever mad at it. 🙂 Aww, that’s so cute. It’s true love!
“Seriously though, the Mojo gets an A+ because it’s pretty much a perfect piece of equipment and provides a startling price to performance ratio. It improves every aspect of your music, down the most minute detail, and functions as a dedicated Gaming rig as well! You can hook it up to anything that outputs coax or optical, so it’s an extremely versatile piece as well.
“Needless to say, I absolutely love it and would recommend it without question. When you start to think about how outrageous Amp prices can get, the Mojo seems like a steal given how amazing it does, well, everything!
“I’ve swooned enough for one day.”
From HiFiChoice's review of the Chord Mojo DAC/Amp, first published on December 21st, 2015:
“This should not distract from the truly sparkling performance that the Mojo offers, though. Chord has managed to distil many of the qualities of the Hugo into a device that costs less than a third as much and if you are a high-end earphone user, the Mojo is arguably a better choice. This is a remarkably neutral piece of digital decoding at a price that is firmly at the affordable end of the market and it is something that should have us all genuinely excited.”
Editor’s note: Emphases ours.