Audio gear for your Roon lifestyle
In December 2021 we launched The Roon Store, the only e-commerce gear site specifically designed with the needs of Roon users in mind. It’s focused entirely on audio equipment that pairs seamlessly with Roon. No matter where you are on your Roon journey, aspiring user, recent subscriber, or long-time customer – the Roon Store has something for you.
A new approach to gear reviews
The internet is chock full of specs-heavy reviews, and like many of our customers, we find those details fascinating. But technical specifications don’t generate much excitement when describing our relationship with the gear that provides the soundtrack to our lives.
How many times have you heard someone reminisce lovingly about the sensitivity rating of their old JBL L100 speakers? You don’t, they talk about how well they remember and enjoyed their sound. So, we’re approaching reviews differently and with an intentionally Rooncentric focus. In Roon Ready Writeups, we’ll spotlight our favorite gear and describe how it enhances the enjoyment of Roon. You’ll come away with a feel for product performance; and a clear picture of how well it fits your needs and lifestyle.
Chord Mojo 2: small size, big sound
We have an unabashed love for portable, small form factor DACs that improve desktop, mobile, and tablet listening. If you’ve heard Chord products in action, you’re probably familiar with their excellence in this area. They fit perfectly with our Roon Ready philosophy: they just work, they provide lush, detailed sound, and most importantly, they help enrich our love of music.
The Mojo 2 / Poly is one of our favorite Chord combos because its design facilitates multiple applications: it can pull double duty as a remarkable upgrade for a legacy system, or a formidable desktop audio solution. Let’s take a closer look at their characteristics.
Got My Mojo Working, Pt. 2
The Chord Mojo 2, the second generation of the Mojo (originally released in 2015), packs even more performance and features into a smaller enclosure than the original. The Mojo 2 boasts a DAC designed by Chord’s own Rob Watts, and supports up to 32-bit/768kHz PCM and DSD256. Hugely impressive for a DAC/amp that fits in my 11-year-old’s hand. Many costly full-size DACs can’t match the Mojo 2’s finesse.
Battery management has been vastly improved, and intelligent desktop mode protects against overcharging while in desktop, or component, use. Fully charged, the battery provides 8 hours of listening time. The original Mojo’s input configuration is preserved on Mojo 2, ensuring compatibility with Poly. Those who complain about the USB-C input location of Mojo 2 can credit Chord when they realize it was an intentional customer-focused design decision. Mojo 2 can charge in tandem with Poly, even while in use, with a 2A (amps) rated charger.
Connection points include:
- Co-axial, Optical, Mini USB, and USB-C inputs
- Dual 3.5 stereo headphone outs
- Mini USB charging port
Pristine wireless streaming with Poly
Poly is a Roon Ready streaming module that snaps into the inputs of the Mojo 2, making it visible on your home network to Roon. Chord calls it a “fully fledged high-resolution wireless network music player, streamer and SD card playback device with wireless playback and control from smartphones.”
In addition to Roon, it supports DNLA, AirPlay, and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity and FLAC, WAV, ACC, AIFF, OGG VORBIS, ALAC, WMA, and MP3 file formats. PCM handling up to 24-bit/768kHz, DSD via DoP to DSD256, and SD card DSD playback. A full charge offers 9 hours of Roon Ready streaming. Setup was quick and painless with the Chord GoFigure app. Check out our Poly setup video in The Roon Store for help with that.
A few additional observations of note:
- The Mojo 2’s headphone outputs lack individual volume controls.
- Poly’s internal Hot Spot functionality is a touch tricky.
- Poly requires a few steps for waking up the unit and initiating use.
- The devices can get pretty warm when using the leather case during extended listening.
- MQA fans may need to look elsewhere as Mojo 2 doesn’t offer MQA support.
Style and grace
The Mojo 2 / Poly combo provides a huge soundstage in a small footprint and exudes exceptionally fine design, features, and sound. Mojo 2 is housed in a robust, bead-blasted aluminum enclosure, finished in satin black, with lovely polychromatic spherical controls for volume, power, and the menu. The controls appear complicated in the manual but are easily mastered in a few hours of use. Chord has graciously included a handy decoder card to help with that. More details on Mojo 2’s tone-shaping features in a moment.
- The Mojo 2 / Poly partnership provides a clever way to integrate Roon with a sweet-sounding legacy setup, using just a quality 3.5 mm to RCA interconnect cable. When I connected the duo to a vintage Yahama amp powering my old B&W DM603 S3 towers I was gobsmacked by what I heard. My old setup sounded like a modern system just by adding those two devices.
- The highly flexible design facilitates high-res desktop and handheld device audio.
- High-quality system or DAC/headphone audio solution for a small space.
- The design makes this combo a perfect point of entry for the aspiring audiophile because its flexibility serves multiple uses.
- SD Card slot provides easy onboard high-res listening on the go.
Problem free reliability
The Mojo 2 / Poly dynamic duo provided rock-solid Roon stability both as a wired and wireless RAAT streaming endpoint. The long-range WiFi capability of the Poly placed my outdoor hammock within range of my network, a first and a pleasant surprise. A fully-charged Mojo 2 / Poly combo clocked in at just under 10 hours of sublime headphone listening.
If problem-free Roon integration and reliability are top of your list, your worries are over. I didn’t have a single issue with this pair; how incredible they sound together is a bonus.
Sonics that strike a Chord
Whether alone, or paired with Poly, Mojo 2 delivers a stunning, attention-grabbing listening experience. Mojo 2 features a revolutionary lossless UHD DSP (Ultra-High Definition Digital Signal Processor), EQ, & Crossfeed that begs exploration.
DSP EQ offers 4 bands of tone control (lower bass, mid-bass, lower treble, and upper treble) with 18 steps of adjustment in each band – providing a bewildering 130,000 + possible EQ customizations. Dialing in adjustments while listening to personal reference tracks by Jackie McLean, George Harrison, Bob Marley, The Beatles, and The Grateful Dead revealed spellbinding texture and detail. I heard nuance and heft in these tracks that made them feel fresh and exciting again.
Mojo 2’s new Crossfeed feature was borrowed from Hugo’s flagship Dave and Hugo 2 DACs. It improves spatial effects for a more ‘speaker-like’ soundstage when using headphones by subtly mixing both channels to achieve a more natural sound. Crossfeed may not seem noticeable initially, but I immediately missed it upon switching it off after a few days’ use. It added an energizing, live music vibe to listening sessions that I quickly grew to enjoy.
The Mojo 2 / Poly partnership shined when tested with a variety of high-quality headphones. I’m withholding those details for now – but only because you’ll be hearing more about them soon in a coming review.
If you’re looking for a small form factor portable Roon Ready DAC with great aesthetics, features, and breathtaking sound reproduction the Chord Mojo 2 / Poly pairing is one to experience. Visit the Roon Store, we’ll help you do that!