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Chord Mojo
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Conclusion
Measured performance
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SOUND QUALITY
I ran Mojo from battery and a mains power supply – and there was little difference in its sound between the two. But then intermediary circuitry and internal charge-pumps would likely negate the influence of an external power supply.
    Headphones used were Oppo PM1 Planar Magnetics, and Philips Fidelio X1s – and immediately I noticed the Oppos sounded brighter and more vivid than usual; they commonly sound a little dull up top and lacklustre with small portable players, if not with mains powered headphone amps. like the Audiolab M-DAC I often use to drive them. Mojo cranked the PM1s up to the livelier nature of Philips X1s, yet at the same time it suppressed the slightly boomy bass of the X1s, pulling them into line too. Mojo had a calming and civilising influence on my headphones!
    With representative Rock tracks from Fleetwood Mac's Rumours album (24/96), Mojo had a fuller, more fleshed out sound stage than all players I have heard to date. Musicians were placed in a big and open space that seemingly extended beyond the ear pieces of my Philips Fidelio X1s. There was air and space around instruments and, after a short acclimatisation period, I began to realise that Mojo has extraordinarily powerful bass, that also runs very deep. It came over as altogether larger than my Astell&Kern AK120 portable player that in itself is punchy and fast in its sound, if with a more mechanical delivery.
    Mojo's treble was both strong and obvious, yet very sweet in Go Your Own Way, whilst rendition of detail was utterly superb – quite beyond that from all players I've used to date. Cymbals on Mick Fleetwood's drum kit rang sonorously and I could hear the quality of the skins on his drums. Strummed guitar sounded fine and delicate in the gentle yet vivacious way its strings were delineated, one from another. A synth line floated away on its own, whilst Stevie Nick's vocals hovered in front of me. Sudden drum strikes and cymbal crashes had great dynamic impact but perfect timing too; there was no slur – or seen the other way around Mojo gets time domain definition from digital right whilst all others sound hazy by way of contrast – as Rob Watts claims. I felt I was getting an education here.
    The complex guitar picking in Never Going Back I had never latched onto before, but with Mojo I was gripped, as I was by Lindsey Buckingham's gently implied vocals that sprang out of a dark background. And especially intriguing was the end guitar sequence that came over with a sweet clarity, yet amazing grip on timing that – again – I've never heard from any other source.
    Mick Fleetwood's kick drum put shuddering bass through my Oppo PM1 headphones on Go Your Own Way, imposing a grip at low frequencies that was extraordinary. Mojo has massive bass power (working from battery alone) that re-defines what a portable can do. This is down to the headphone amps, that Chord have engineered to conspicuous perfection it seems. The PM1s occasionally went subterranean with Pink Floyd's Time.
    Playing Radio GaGa from Queen (24/88.2) and more of their hi-def transcriptions again showed Mojo is different. I have played these recordings often through a large number of digital audio players in for review and mentally catalogued the tracks as sonically un-engaging, even though Queen's performances were exciting in real life. Mojo changed my view immediately; Queen tracks suddenly came alive through Mojo. Radio GaGa was powerful and punchy, and as gripping as you'd ever want. I had fun listening to the way Freddie Mercury managed to deliver this little ditty with strength and conviction. Mojo engaged me with the song and the performance.

 

 



 

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