An output equipment is one of the most important parts in both casual and enthusiast setup or audio system whether for a more serious project or for entertainment. If you are spending quite a lot on the output, we may also need an amp to support the performance including personal equipment like headphones. For those who want a better sound, Apogee Groove Vs Chord Mojo are two reliable tools to have around but, see which model will suit you better below before going to shop for one.
In this article, we are going to give you information about:
- Why do you need a Headphone Amplifier
- What are Apogee Groove and Chord Mojo
- What Apogee Groove and Chord Mojo Look Like
- How to use Apogee Groove and Chord Mojo
- How are the Performance of Apogee Groove and Chord Mojo
- Apogee Groove vs Chord Mojo
DAC and Headphone Amplifier
Music has been many people’s obsession for long and we can spend so much just to build a perfect system in which the sound from our favorite songs are delivered properly or according to our taste. The most expensive units may not sound the best in different ears and this is why taste and personal preference play a huge role in determining which equipment to have or which model to choose. Overall, they can be as affordable or as expensive as you want them to be.
Speakers are probably the one we used at home because there is none like listening to a balance yet satisfying sound in a room with your favorite speakers but, as people are more mobile today and we want almost everything to be as compact as possible, headphone seems to be replacing the function of speakers including for home used. Headphones or earphones are indeed more versatile and can be used almost anywhere without the fear of disturbing your neighbors or other family members.
Similar with speakers, headphones are available in a wide price range so we can choose based on the budget but most of the time, top liners in performance or sound quality are also those with a higher price. For those enthusiast or anyone with more fortune to spend more than $150 on their headphones, there is another tool you may want to have to boost the output quality and it is called as headphone amplifier for the application in this case. Read also: Behringer Eurorack UB802 Vs Xenyx 802 here.
You may ever see some people using this piece of tool on their laptop or smartphone which in a glance look like a pack of mints. If you are not familiar yet with headphone amp, it is a relatively low-powered amplifier which is used to raise the low-voltage audio signal from your main device to a sufficient level so then they can be converted or transduced into sound waves by the speaker inside our headphones. Indeed they are very similar to regular amp but in a smaller package.
About Apogee Groove
The reason why we need this small box called amplifier is because there is one component named DAC inside our main device with job to convert digital audio information into a low-voltage signal that amplifier can amplify and the problem is the quality of this important component will varied widely so not all of them will sound the same despite using the same file and the same headphones. In case you are committing to a more expensive pairs, we do recommend to have one.
With the improvement in headphones and the more reliable affordable units are getting today, portable DAC and headphone amplifier is also becoming more popular since in the past, only enthusiast or those who are more serious about their hobby used to pay attention to this small box. Due to its increasing popularity, we can see many manufacturers are also offering the tools and it can be overwhelming at first, but at least we can choose freely to match with our budget and preferences.
One of the best options when you are looking for a reliable DAC and headphone amplifier in the market is Groove from Apogee which is already loved by many other users out there due to its prominent performance in terms of getting a good sound out of your expensive pair of headphones. The brand itself is a well-known name in professional market, inside studios spreading around the world yet, this one is going to be useful for any avid music listeners.
Apogee Groove Design
When it comes to design, there is not much to say about this compact box because it looks like a regular USB pen we often used today but slightly wider yet still very compact measured at 3.7-inch by 1.1-inch. It has a black aluminum casing and finish which feels robust and solid so we are not worried when accidentally dropping it from the table. There are two buttons at the top and it is huge enough to let our thumb rest on top with ease.
Using Apogee Groove
Using your Apogee Groove is very simple that a manual is not necessary anymore because there are only two ports on each top and bottom part of this amplifier; one is connected to your PC using the included USB cable and the other one is a 3.5mm headphone port to send out the signal and connect to our headphones. Mac can instantly use the tool but PC users should install additional driver from Apogee’s website. It also has LED light which indicate playback level and clipping.
Apogee Groove Sound Quality
To send you a reliable sound quality, this DAC and headphone amplifier is featured with Quad Sum DAC with ESS Sabre DACs per channel to deliver sample rate up to 192kHz and a bit depth of 24-bit which is great for best audio quality and as low distortion as possible. When tested in real life operation with either PC or smartphone to send audio for the headphone, we can instantly hear the difference in sound quality because it does make some difference.
Depend on your headphones, many people feel amazed with how Apogee Groove is amplifying the sound so now there is a sheer transparency coming out the speaker. Whatever song we played sound cleaner and we can listen to the tracks more precisely with details separating from each other but amazingly still bounded in one. Parts like the edge of snare drum or whirl and warble of the organ are more present than without using the tool.
About Chord Mojo
Because we have so many options out there, it is wiser to see what the other manufacturers are offering as well because then we can compare them and see if any of these options will be matching your preference or if we should move forward. Groove is indeed a good amplifier for your compact audio system but, there are also those with the same or even better in audio quality and one of them is Mojo from the British manufacturer Chord Electronics.
This model is more expensive than many other similar tools out there but many people are willing to pay the price because it is offering a different level of improvement. While the more serious audiophiles are going with the brand’s flagship Hugo2, this Mojo amplifier is made for users who can’t spend thousands of dollars on their system yet, the quality is still satisfying.
Chord Mojo Design
This tool is just as small as any similar DAC and headphone amplifiers out there and in comparison, it is measured almost the same as our debit or credit card with a very solid case. It is bigger compared to Groove but we can still put it in a pocket or put easily beside a laptop in a café table. There are 3 buttons which is also acting as LED indicator to tell you the state of this tool and the terminals are placed on one of the sides.
Using Chord Mojo
Your Chord Mojo comes with batteries, is charged through USB port on your computer and it is claimed to be full in around 4 hours but recommended to be left unused while charging. To use this amplifier above 96kHz, make sure to connect it through USB 2.0 or above and before using it, we should also install the driver which is available from the manufacturer’s website. The next process will be doing some manual configuration depend on which method you are using.
Chord Mojo Sound Quality
On the sound quality, this amplifier is supporting up to 768kHz which is amazing even for an expensive model as Mojo because we rarely see this number on various similar models out there. In performance, the things we can say about the sound coming out of the unit is clear, deep, and detailed enough to let the listener hear almost any sound on specified songs. Overall, compared to without, you can listen differently and in our opinion it can give an interestig insight as well to your favorite songs.
Now, let’s compare Apogee Groove with Chord Mojo. Both of them are an amazing DAC and headphone amplifiers but are very different in terms or price since the latter is around twice as expensive and it is a huge difference but in sound quality, Mojo indeed sounds better and cleaner with an even more details coming out or more distinguishable.
Apogee Groove vs Chord Mojo
All in all, the decision is all yours to make because not all of us are going to have the same preferences and it is best to always consider your own need when looking for anything. While Groove is ideal for those with less budget, if you have more fortune we do recommend to get Chord Mojo.