Since I have been traveling to NYC for business and pleasure quite a bit. ( Before this crazy lock-down) I have been looking for a good way to take high quality tunes with me. I didn’t want to go down the DAP route because my phone has a shitload of storage space for music and an unlimited data plan so using streaming services is a no brainer.
My original idea with to get an AudioQuest Dragonfly Red or Cobalt. It has a great form factor for traveling, super light weight and it can do MQA . Of course that would be logical so I eventually settled on a Chord Mojo… something super cool looking with colored marble buttons but a bit inconvenient for traveling due to it’s size.
So why did I pick this heavy ass aluminum block to carry around with me? Many reasons actually! The build quality is first rate, it’s a solid block of Aluminium. The marble buttons are dead sexy and the use of different colors on the buttons is cool. The volume buttons cycle thru different colors as you raise and lower the volume. The power button also changes color with the sample rate of the input signal. Getting past all the superficial beauty of this thing lies a little monster of a device. Chord doesn’t do an off the shelf DAC chip like most devices. Chord uses a custom FPGA chip with an upper sampling rate of 768kHz/32-bit . It doesn’t do MQA but it does DSD 256! If that wasn’t enough the headphone amp on it is hella powerful. It will l be able to drive anything I’ll ever get in the future to hearing loss levels, and do it super clean.
I was also looking at getting the Chord Poly which adds the ability to connect the Mojo to Roon and stream via bluetooth but I found a cheaper route! Enter Ropieee for the Raspberry Pi. Ropieee adds all the same functionality but is a bit less elegant looking. I have it running on a RPi3 which has more then enough cpu cycles, it works flawlessly. I have the pi powered from a USB powerbank so it’s portable and has clean DC power, less electrical noise and less jitter passed on to the Mojo. I can’t justify spending $600+ on a device that does the same thing as a $35 RPi and 10 mins of time setting it up.
Anyway thats about all I have for now. If your looking for some high quality tunes while you commute I highly recommend the Mojo and a Tidal Masters subscription.