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Auf wiedersehen, DAP: the Chord Poly at Norddeutsche Hifi-Tage 2017

  • Who’s a pretty boy then? A question aimed at Chord Electronic’s new Mojo appendage, Poly (£500), and not company Sales Manager Colin Pratt.

    Poly is a wireless network hub that clips onto the Mojo directly. Digital audio is then sent from Poly to Mojo for Rob Watts WTA-powered D/A conversion and headphone amplification. An internal rechargeable battery means Poly, like the Mojo, can be used both in and out of the house.

    Poly can be fed in numerous ways. Out in the street, she can play catch on digital audio streams sent from a neighbouring smartphone via Bluetooth or Airplay.

    Readers eager to point out Bluetooth’s use of lossy codecs, Airplay’s lack of bit-perfect playback or an iPhone’s ongoing absence of hi-res support, especially in backwards justifying their double cash drop on top-flight DAP and partnering amplifier, might want to sit down for the next bit.

    Slip a microSD card into Poly and it’ll serve the music stored thereon to the Mojo directly via Music Player Daemon. Now the partnering smartphone serves as remote control with bi-directional wireless communication effected by the phone’s hotspot feature. Hi-res PCM and DSD? Not a problem.

    Chances are the Mojo aces the sound spilling from your DAP – isn’t that why many users strap a Mojo to an A&K (or whatever) calling on the latter for UX duties only? With smartphone-controlled Poly, that A&K (or whatever) can go bye-bye.

    Back at home, slip the Mojo/Poly combo into the main system and then stream to it using the methods outlined above OR from a NAS or server using UPnP/DLNA or Roon via your LAN.

    From the floor of Norddeutsche Hifi-Tage 2017, Colin Pratt breaks it down in more detail:

    In eliminating the need for a physical connection between smartphone and Mojo, the average portable audio rig no longer relies on the screen-obscuring kludge of rubber straps and/or having to protect at least one cable termination – USB or 3.5mm jack – from feeling the full weight of the two-fer’s downward force once dropped into one’s pocket.

    No DAP required, the smartphone and its superior UX interfaces with Poly in almost every way imaginable. A pretty boy indeed.

    Want x 1,000,000.

    Further information: Chord Electronics


    John H. Darko

    Written by John H. Darko

    John is the editor of Darko.Audio, from whose ad revenues he derives an income. He is an occasional contributor to 6moons but has previously written pieces for TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile. John used to live in Sydney. Now he lives in Berlin.

    Follow John on YouTube or Twitter


    1. I own the MoJo. I like the idea of the Poly. You can feel the quality of it. And for a “mobile” use case, it would be perfect, probably with a 128 or 256 or even 512 Gb DC card.
      However, let’s not fool ourselves: when you are mobile those are the situation where you are more likely to accept some compromise, or at least that’s the case for me. Which means, I cannot justify the price point (in itself well deserved) only for the mobile scenario. My MoJo “doubles” pretty well for usage in my main rig, I added a USB regen and it sound just “perfect” (for my ears) in my rig.
      However the poly does not fit so well: wi-fi is not always so good, drops do happen, and they become more frequent with high-res or dsd…. had the Poly had an Ethernet and typically more stable input I would have probably jumped on it… it is really beautiful….

    2. Any plans to review Poly? A comparison with similarly priced streamers (Aries Mini and Bluesound Node 2) will be useful for those who use Mojo as a desktop DAC. Also, since this is battery powered, will it sound better than a Microrendu too? Hope you can face them off too.

      • I’ll be reviewing it for sure but comparisons will fall to whatever gear is available at the time.

    3. Seems a lot of talk about the price on the chatboards, but the Poly will turn the Mojo into a really good DAP potentially – as a DAC/amp the Mojo is better than any DAP I’ve used at least, however, Mojo on its own is not an OTG product, sitting in a coffee shop yeah, but not OTG for me. Poly potentially changes that and I think the use scenario could be superior – put the Mojo/Poly in my bag, run the headphone cable out and forget about tangled cables, fiddling about changing tracks. SD for ripped, fancy a bit of Tidal/Spotify OTG, switch to BT (presume it has AptX, can’t seem to find if it supports AAC on IOS.) Use my phone to control while I read my email, if done elegantly would be brilliant! So as an add on to my already purchased Mojo, compared to buying a DAP, the price is competitive. But having been burnt buying DAP’s and then they gather dust as I cant be bothered messing about OTG, I’d probably stick with my Sony MDR-1000x’s and a Dragonfly/IEM in my bag just in case. Still tempted though…
      But if Poly can also really be an effective Roon end-point as well, I’m in! Mojo is good enough for me as a home headphone amp most of the time, add Roon no need for another device! So I’ll wait to see, if the 2.4kHz only wifi can stream as effectively for redbook rips as my Aries. Don’t need comparisons personally, the mojo has been reviewed to death. I’d like to see a review focused on use cases.

    4. I love the Mojo and think Rob Watts is a genius. Though with that said, the biggest complaint emanating from the Chord booth at CanJam NYC was the Poly’s price. I tend to agree that it’s a tough sell at this price point even though I have no doubt it will perform admirably.

      • I’m gonna guess that Poly’s price is a factor of more numerous and more expensive chip sets (required to handle the various streaming angles) than those found in the Mojo.

    5. I have a mojo and use it solely in my main home set up. I agree with most comments regarding the price seems hefty but dare I say it, as good as the Microrendu is I also think that’s slightly pricey, when you consider the additional need for a power supply.
      I’ve heard from a good source that the Poly is based on the Microrendu. If that’s the case, I’m sure it will be one hell of a device.

    Technics talk to DJs, audiophiles with SL-1200GR, SL-1210GR

    Get Innuos! Music server/streamers at Norddeutsche Hifi-Tage 2017