British audio manufacturer Chord has announced a successor to the excellent Mojo, a battery-powered accessory that aims to improve the sound of your wired headphones or speakers when paired with your phone, laptop, tablet, or other digital media source. New features for the Mojo 2 include a USB-C input, better battery life, and new tone controls that effectively work like an equalizer to customize the sound it puts out.
The Mojo 2 retails for $725 (£449), which is hardly affordable by any measure. However, if it’s as good as its predecessor, then this might be a price worth paying to accompany a pair of suitably premium wired headphones or speakers. It’s available globally starting today.
The Mojo 2, like the original Mojo, is effectively a battery-powered digital-to-analog converter (aka a DAC) and headphone amplifier. Basically, anything that can play digital audio sources and output them to a pair of headphones has a built-in DAC for turning digitally stored audio into an output analog signal. But the argument goes that a lot of these inbuilt DACs are low-quality, and your audio will sound better if you use a decent external DAC like the Mojo. You plug the Mojo into your phone, laptop, or other devices and your wired headphones into the Mojo’s 3.5mm jack.
The big new feature with the Mojo 2 (and the reason it has four buttons compared to the original Mojo’s three) is its new tone control system. Much like the equalizers included in many pieces of software, it lets you adjust the relative volumes of a track’s different audio frequencies (in this case, its lower bass, mid-bass, lower treble, and high treble). Chord advertises that this process is completely transparent and doesn’t degrade the original audio’s signal.
Other improvements include a 9 percent better battery life for a total in excess of eight hours, as well as a USB-C input for your audio data, which sits alongside the Mojo’s existing micro USB, coaxial, and optical inputs. Unfortunately, you’ll still have to charge the DAC over a separate Micro USB port. Chord has kept this outdated port around to maintain compatibility with the Chord Poly accessory, which adds support for playing music off a microSD card to the Mojo or streaming over AirPlay, Bluetooth, or a DLNA server.
The combination of ports leads to a slightly weird, crowded look on the digital input end of the Mojo 2. At the other end, there are a pair of headphone outputs, which are designed to let you and a friend listen simultaneously. Although the Mojo 2’s battery might suggest it’s primarily meant as a portable accessory, it’s also possible to leave the Mojo 2 permanently connected to a power source and have it bypass the battery entirely.
Costing $725 and serving primarily wired headphones in an era where wireless headphones are now the norm, the Chord Mojo 2 is definitely a niche product. But if you’ve already invested in your dream pair of wired headphones and you want to improve the quality of whatever you’re plugging them into, then the Mojo 2 wants to be the accessory for you.