Disclaimer: Ryuzoh lent me his balanced-modded Mojo mod for two weeks. Its most basic modification, the addition of a balanced output, goes for 45.000¥; the full Monty, including internal transformer, goes for 74.000¥. Ryuzoh’s webpage is here: http://info.m-s-tech.jp. This is his Twitter handle: @ryuzoh_dx0xb. This is his email: firstname.lastname@example.org. He speaks great English, so hit him up (and maybe even mention old Nathan sent you).
Disclaimer II: Ryuzoh has offered to balanced mod my Mojo, for a small discount.
ohm image: Mojo-Kai RMAA 24-44
ohm image: Mojo RMAA 24-44
ohm image: AK380 RMAA 24-44
ohm image: DP-X1 RMAA 24-44
Headfonia: iPhone 4s, Plenue D, AK Jr matched @iP4s VOL8
Headfonia: Ultrasone IQ
Headfonia: FitEar MH335DW
Headfonia: Chord Mojo – the chosen one
Talk about a bullet proof design. If pressed, Mojo outputs surpass 120dB SNR and DR – and that through my amateur testing setup. It handles load extremely well. And base noise, while higher than a good smartphone – and certainly than expensive DAPs – is low.
By the way, I really recommend reading my review of Chord’s Mojo before you bother with this essay.
Mojo’s volume control is precise (if agonisingly slow) and it spits out a lot of voltage. It hooks up to Android, iOS, PCs, Macs, Hifi systems, and more.
But what’s with that second output? Does anyone use theirs? And, if they do, how often do they use it? And for what reason? What can be done with it?
Ryuzoh asked the same questions. But, being a modder of high-end portable devices, he asked it with a drill in his hand and Ω on his brain. The outcome is part of the subject of this essay: Mojo-Kai.
Cosmetically, Mojo-Kai’s base upgrade replaces the redundant 3,5mm jack with a 2,5 Astell&Kern-compatible one. You can also ask Ryuzoh to add in a coupled transformer to the SPDIF input for lessened RF interference. And, you can get him to smooth Mojo’s balls. Like a circumcision, the latter is purely cosmetic.
I’ve had Kai in office for a little over a week. I’ve tested, re-tested, pitted, stacked, listened, patted, and fondled it every day for hours.
It is a good mod. But its market is pretty specific. That market needs – or wants – of balanced output. And, they don’t use external amps. While I’m not part of that market, it is a valid market segment. Unfortunately, balanced portable audio is a mess. There are some great battery-powered balanced amps out there, but in general, they are fed poorly by portable sources.
Of the DAPs I’ve tested, the best unloaded balanced signal I have tested comes from Onkyo’s DP-X1. The AK380, while spitting great sound from its 3,5mm, throws an unenvious boner into its balanced out. Loaded, both outputs ramp up on all the bad stuff; in particular, loading the AK380’s balanced output reveals the most ridiculous ramping up of distortion I have seen, bar none. At least with the DP-X1 you can offload the weight of an earphone or headphone to an external amp. Of course, few to no external amps can keep up with the DP-X1’s incredible unloaded balanced signal. To be honest, neither can Mojo-Kai. The DP-X1 exhibits playback problems typical to non-iDevices: ID3tag misreads, gapless errors, slow response, poor battery life, and more.
Sound, measurements, and more after the jump: