Chord Mojo 2 Review - SBAF Edition I am not new to Chord DACs. I have owned a Mojo1 and a Hugo 2 and have tried the Dave with and without M-Scaler a couple of times in the past. I was once a Chord fan boy, as I was led to believe that other DACs don’t hold a candle to the Chord DACs. But I discovered later that there wasn’t much truth to that statement. Sonic Impressions: Depending on where you are coming from, the tone of the Mojo2 will fall anywhere between neutral and neutral-warm. It has an even-handed tone and presentation, with nothing really standing out nor missing. It has a sort of cohesiveness to its sound, which I would say is one of its strengths. An other area, where I am noticing it to be strong is the pace, rhythm and timing, for the lack of better descriptors. Neither slow nor fast. Mojo 2 seems to do these aspects on point. This aspect, combined with the cohesiveness makes for a nice sense of rhythm and flow to the music. As with most Chord DACs, the bass leans towards the detailed side rather than authority. While not totally lacking slam, this is not a slammy DAC. At least you get the resolve, texture and layering in return. I know folks who prefer this sort of bass presentation over authority. Mids are neutral in tone and body and it is quite resolving. While there is nothing to fault with its tone, the timbre leaves a bit to be desired (which I will get to in a second). The treble is in line with the mids. Good tone and resolve, and is mostly free of any sort of treble issues. But just like the mids, it doesn't do great timbre. When paired with IEMs or HPs that are free of treble issues, the Mojo2 was a very easy listen. Mojo 2 is definitely a highly resolving DAC for its price. But the way it resolves details is a bit different from good R2R and DS DACs in the price range. Mojo 2 does certain low-level nuances and micro-details better than non-Chord DACs. But the non-Chord DACs do texture better than the Mojo 2. Microdynamics would be a matter of taste though, as the Mojo 2 does microdynamics in a more subtle fashion, whereas, non-Chord DACs make the microdyanmics pop out more. Reverb was interesting because, Mojo 2 seems to recreate the positional cues of the reverbs better, while the non-Chord DACs seem to recreate the details of the reverbs better. Decay is an aspect where the Mojo 2 fails, as it ends decays sooner than, what I consider normal or natural. The transients and attacks are quite perfect on the timing scale, but a bit rounded in nature. I would have preferred it to be a tad sharper. Macrodynamics is also a bit on the polite side, as it fails to be macro enough, when called upon. Coming to the headstage, I am glad Chord fixed the issue I had with Mojo 1’s stage. Mojo 1 had an intimate stage that worked for genres that required such a presentation. But when it came to orchestral or live music, it fell short with creating the space and ambience. Mojo 2 is able to recreate a more spacious and airy stage, while retaining the ability to do the intimate stage as well. I have always admired Chord DACs for the depth and layering and the Mojo 2 is no exception there. Another area which is an improvement over the Mojo 1 is the separation. Imaging was already quite good on Mojo 1, but because of less warmth and better separation, Mojo 2 comes off as having a touch better imaging. Now let’s talk timbre. Mojo 2 doesn’t have an outright offensive or wrong timbre. In fact, in terms of Relative Timbre, where you should be able to tell one instrument apart from another, Mojo 2 performs very admirably there. But when it comes to Absolute Timbre, which is, hearing an instrument in your system and feeling it is the closest you have heard to a real life instrument, Mojo 2 or any Chord DAC for that matter, haven’t quite pulled that off as convincingly as, few other DACs I have heard. This is an aspect that, unless you have heard better you don’t know what you are missing. It is not like the Chord DACs do something wrong. But more like, they lack a certain organic quality. And if you are wondering if it is a matter of oversampling vs non-oversampling, it is not. Because Bifrost 2, Cayin N8 and Wavelight are all over-sampling DACs and these still pull off a more convincing timbre. And the truncated decay and slightly muted texture make things a bit worse on the timbre front. Mojo 1 had a warmer tone with a more forgiving treble. It sported a pleasing sound which worked well for the masses. But it was a bit of an outcast in the Chord family in some respects. The Mojo 2 is a step towards that Chord family sound and makes is easy to recognise it as the younger sibling of the Hugo 2. Compared to the Mojo 1, Mojo 2 has less warmth, more clarity, better separation, larger stage and sharper transients. It is also more resolving and a tad less forgiving. Hugo 2 is a colder, leaner and a more Hi-Fi sounding device. As already stated, Mojo 2 sounds like a younger sibling of Hugo 2, as it is a step down in most, if not all performance related aspects. But the Mojo 2 isn’t as sterile and cold as the Hugo 2 and has a more agreeable tone, that is more versatile. And if you prefer the warm tone of the Mojo 1, or the cold tone of the Hugo 2, you can actually quite achieve that using the built-in EQ on the Mojo 2. As a Portable DAC/Amp: Mojo 2 works best with IEMs. Mojo 1 didn’t have much headroom in terms of volume adjustment for super sensitive IEMs like Andromeda or Zeus as it would get quite loud within 2 or 3 clicks. Mojo 2 fixes that by having a finer volume adjustment in the lower level, which should have enough headroom to finely adjust the volume for super sensitive IEMs. It does a good job of driving easy-to-drive headphones. But I adding an amp can bring some improvements to the table. It is a matter of preference though. I actually quite like the sound of the Mojo 2 as a standalone DAC/Amp for IEMs. But, for portable use I'd rather choose a good DAP over the Mojo 2, as I find it to be more convenient. YMMV. I can see the appeal of the Mojo 2 when using with easy-to-drive Audeze headphones because, if you own a Poly, you can use the Poly as the Roon endpoint and engage the Audeze preset for the headphone in Roon. But if you were intending on using the device as a USB DAC/Amp, most current gen DAPs can function as a USB DAC/Amp, I don't see the appeal of Mojo 2 there either. I have never been a fan of the way 300 Ohm Sennheisers sound when driven directly out of Chord DACs. I prefer a good amp in between that can bring out the strengths of the Senns. The story isn’t any different with the Mojo 2. It doesn’t disappoint. But if you have heard what these 300 Ohm Senns capable of on a good desktop setup, it may be difficult to appreciate the combo. I get around 7-8Hrs of battery stand-by. Which isn’t great for a portable device. But it is what it is. As a Desktop DAC: As a desktop DAC (to feed a headphone amplifier), the Mojo 2 has its strengths and weaknesses. The digital volume control on the Mojo 2 is of high quality that I prefer using it over most potentiometers. So I prefer setting the vol pot on my Elekit amp to max and using Mojo 2’s vol ctrl to adjust the volume. But a rotary knob provides a much better UX, over a set of volume-rocker buttons. Chord says its battery management has been optimised that the device can be left connected to its charger all the time and it won’t deteriorate the battery longevity any worse than a regular charge-discharge cycle. Only time will tell. What I wrote about its general sonic characteristics applies here as well. It is a good DAC. Like, it is a much better DAC than an iFi Zen DAC Signature and I would pick the Mojo 2 over the Zen DAC Sig 99% of the time. But in the desktop DAC space, it has got some stiff competition. Compared to the Bifrost 2, Mojo 2 is better in speed, clarity, separation, imaging precision, transients, micro details and has a more well behaved lower-treble. Bifrost 2 on the other hand has better slam, macrodynamics, texture, midrange timbre and realism. Stridency in the lower treble is my only major gripe regarding the Bifrost 2 as a headphone DAC. If you own a Bifrost 2 and don’t find that to be an issue, I see no reason to get a Mojo 2 over a Bifrost 2 unless the aspects where Mojo 2 does better appeals to you over the Bifrost 2’s strengths. EQ and Crossfeed: On the EQ side, Mojo 2 offers 4 shelf filters. 20Hz & 125Hz low-shelf filters, and 3kHz & 20kHz high-shelf filters. It is quite effective when engaged and works particularly well, when you all you need are shelf filters. For instance, with the Fiio EM5, I wanted to add some low end and tame the high end. I was able to achieve exactly that with Mojo 2's EQ. It doesn’t offer any band pass filters so you cannot tame a treble peak. For what its worth, taming treble peaks with digital EQ hasn’t quite worked successfully in my experience. As stated earlier, the EQ also allows you to achieve Mojo 1's warm tone or Hugo 2's cold tone. Chord’s crossfeed is the best digital crossfeed implementation I have tried. It helps to create a more focussed stage and location of instruments. It also seems to improve the realism and timbre of instrument. Still it doesn't do a very convincing timbre as other devices I mentioned. Verdict: Mojo 2 falls short in slam, macrodynamics, tactility and timbre, and as a result, it doesn't make me come back for more as a desktop DAC. But I find it to be a good portable DAC/Amp for IEMs. Unless the Chord sound is really your cup of tea or, have invested in the Poly ecosystem, I find it difficult to recommend the Mojo 2, at the current asking price of $845. At that price, I'd rather buy a DAP for portable use, or a desktop DAC for desktop use.