Q ‘n A Saturday: Chord Electronics

HFN: What was your goal when creating Mojo?
JF: To make a Hugo that could be truly mobile. We realised that Hugo was gaining sales in the mobile market, but its performance made it successful in the desktop market. We knew that we needed to bring down its price and size. We gladly got there in the end.

HFN: There are Mojo modifications which replace one of the 3.5mm jacks with a balanced jack, what do you think of that? What is the reason for not implementing a balanced output in Mojo/Hugo/2?
JF: Fundamentally, balancing is a fix for a problem we don’t have. The idea of balancing a DAC’s output is to overcome problems associated with induced noise that enters into the analogue sections of a standard DAC chip. We don’t use off-the-shelf chips that are vulnerable to this, therefore, we don’t have those noise problems to overcome.

HFN: Are there any plans to update the code of Mojo’s, Hugo’s and Hugo 2’s FPGA? Is that possible?
JF: There are no plans. When we produce a product we produce it to the best specification possible with the associated hardware.

HFN: You recently launched a streaming module for Mojo, called Poly, a very versatile and complex product. Can you explain what makes Poly so unique?
JF: It’s unique because no one else has produced anything quite like Poly. Producing a device that accurately pushes and pulls data to and from your smartphone, with the ease of the smartphone control interface, fast enough to operate seamlessly all with a low-power chipset and high-capacity battery is an engineering challenge. It’s not an easy product to create, but the result is truly spectacular.

HFN: One thing I love about Poly is that it is Roon Ready, are there any plans to get your current line up of streamers also Roon Ready?
JF: There will be no updates to the full-sized streaming products, although we now have access to some incredible co-hardware/software related advances.

HFN: Many people wish for a Chord DAP, what are the chances of that happening?
JF:With Poly and Mojo, DAPs are no longer required. A smartphone is all you need.

HFN: How do you see the future of the portable audio industry?
JF: The market seems very buoyant and I don’t foresee any change to this, apart from, perhaps, it becoming a little more high-end focussed with some expansion.

HFN: Is there any brand you wish to cooperate with once?
JF: We are friends with many brands and do cooperate with a fair number already.

HFN: What is your personal favourite headphone? earphone? DAP?
JF: Personally, I like the Sennheiser HD800s, they pair well with Mojo, Hugo 2 and my tastes. My favourite IEM is the Ultimate Ears Reference Remastered.

HFN: You started out building amplifiers, are you planning to build a headphone amplifier?
JF: Not as such, but I would follow Chord’s social media channels for the latest product developments: facebook and on Twitter

HFN: Is there any product which our readers can look forward to in the not so distant future?
JF: I can’t say. But we have a few products coming that we think you’ll love.

Thank you very much for being on this series!

Keep your eyes on Headfonia.com for more reviews of Chord Electronic’s fantastic products.

4.7/5 - (20 votes)

A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.


  • Reply July 22, 2017


    Nice article, thanks. I love my Mojo and now my Hugo 2 but I need some help understanding the real value of Poly vs a USB > lightning connection with my iphone. I get the convenience factor of additional storage and the removable of a physical cable, but what can we expect from a sound quality standpoint. Minor or major improvement and why?

    • Reply July 22, 2017


      That’s what I am trying to figure out, what is the benefit of this, especially at $650. Maybe I am completely missing something here.

    • Reply July 22, 2017


      I guess it all comes down to how you want to use it… I for one think it is a nice addon since it would allow me to use it as a streamer at home via Roon. I could also use it as UPnP endpoint where I don’t have access to Roon.
      Don’t know how much it would replace one of my DAPs though…
      For soundquality I can’t speak since I have yet to hear the Mojo-Poly combination. But I definitely see how I would use it, and yes, I am thinking about buying Poly for my Mojo.

  • Reply July 22, 2017

    Peter Hyatt

    John Franks is a special man.

    His honesty in interviews is matched by his enthusiasm for sharing musical brilliance.

    Peter Hyatt


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