Depending on your system, some of us may need a headphone amp or DAC to improve the sound quality of your digital file. There are also plenty to choose from based on preference such as iFi Micro iDSD Vs Chord Mojo that are very easy to use while significantly improving the experience. Just like most DAC, they won’t sound the same and if you are also considering the two, let’s see which series will play the best advantage here.
In this comparison, we are going to talk about:
- What are DAC and Headphone Amplifier
- What are iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo
- How are the Design of iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo
- What iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo can offer
- How are the Convenience of iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo
- How are the Sound Quality of iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo
- iFi Micro iDSD Vs Chord Mojo
DAC and Headphone Amplifier
Audio quality is necessary for many of us because it is no use listening to a song with bad recording quality. Even a good song can be ruined by a bad sound system and anything in its component that harms the audio quality because it doesn’t sound as pleasant. Not limited to music, audio quality is important to deliver a message properly. Imagine you are in a public place waiting for an announcement but when they are aired we can’t even distinguish what it says.
The communication will be ineffective and this is why we invest in not only a good microphone but also headphone amp or DAC in a system. We said the latter component as or because they are often one equipment working as both and in terms of function the two are different things. For those with expensive headphones and mostly listening to their music through a digital playlist from computers or a compact music player, we will want this equipment to improve the audio quality yet, it is also not something that the general population will need.
A headphone amp as the name suggests is an amplifier of a low-power which increases the low voltage of an audio signal from a source such as PC or smartphone to an adequate level that can be converted or transduced into sound waves by our headphone or the small speaker inside it. It is like a normal amp we use to power large speakers but now it is much smaller or working at a lower scale. DAC on the other hand is a converter, of digital to analog.
|iFi Micro iDSD||Chord Mojo|
|Shop now at Amazon||click here||click here|
|Product Dimensions||17.2 x 6.7 x 2.8 inches||3.23 x 2.36 x 0.87 inches|
|Shipping Weight||1.54 pounds||0.4 pounds|
As the name suggests, you don’t need them for audio sources that produce analog signals like turntables or tape decks but you will want them when using PCs, smartphones, iPods, or tablets since they are producing digital signals. Actually, all of these devices come with a DAC already and this is why we can just plug in headphones or earbuds and listen to songs directly. It is fine for most people depending on what headphone or earbuds they are using.
The issue is that this component varies from different devices and this is why they sound different as well. For example Macs are usually coming with better DAC and headphone amp built-in the device so they often sound better as well yet, most of our laptops may not and this is more important when you are the type who invest quite a lot on the headphone. The more capable your headphone is, typically the more we can advantage from using a DAC/headphone amp.
About iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo
If you own an expensive headphone and want the best it can deliver, getting a DAC and headphone amp will be a very easy decision. There are so many of them but not as many as the amount of smartphones you can find on the market. It is best to get the option that seems to work best for your other equipment but, it is also convenient to get the one that costs less or is very popular since there must be a reason why they are loved by many.
Personally we also love to choose one from famous names because they are like a guarantee that the product will be reliable. The audiophile world is filled with various prominent choices with some names that shine brighter than the rest such as iFi and Chord. In comparison, most people are probably more familiar with Chord especially with its Mojo DAC which has been around for quite some time yet, iFi is a good opponent as well that can offer more at the same or even lower price point.
Mojo for example is an extremely famous amp but it is also quite expensive while one of the most popular DAC from iFi, the Micro iDSD is currently more affordable. It is quite difficult to find them nowadays but you can still see stocks from various resellers. In comparison, the iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo are both very capable DAC and should improve your audio quality yet, they are not exactly identical as well and probably not made for the same type of users.
Many people love Mojo because of its ability and in addition the small form factor, on the other hand we agree that Micro iDSD is not actually “micro” as it is almost the size of typical smartphones. The model we are talking about today is the original or Silver variant since Micro has a Black Label that you can check in our iFi Micro iDSD Vs Black Label here and the most important is Black Label will be the better choice if you can spend the budget.
iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo Design
Both iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo are not difficult to bring along if you often work outside and while they are not as compact as a match, we personally have no issue transporting them around. As expected the two are also battery powered so it improves the versatility or usage. There is only one port for charging and digital input in iDSD however so it is a bit confusing whether the unit continues to charge while being used or only charges when it is on power off mode.
The Mojo has a separate port for these inputs so it can be charged while used but, we have an issue of it runs hotter while used like this. What’s so interesting about Mojo in our opinion is the round buttons since it is very unique while Micro iDSD is more typical. Personally we prefer the iFi control layout as it is more user friendly and we have no issue determining which button or switch to use even for the first time.
iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo Features
You can use the iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo in pretty much the same way, power the equipment and connect a listening device on. As you can see both have the standard 3.5mm headphone jack and it seems the Micro also has another output at the front yet, this is an input so the two only have one type of output with Mojo actually comes with two of its 3.5mm jack. This is very useful if you want to use two outputs at the same time.
Another interesting part that Mojo has is the auto sensing input which allows it to use either the USB or coax input but, with USB input present it will play from the source or move to the next one when it is not connected. On Micro iDSD we have SPDIF input or output since if USB is not plugged then it can be an input while if so then it acts as an output. It also has an RCA analog output if needed.
iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo Convenience
From the ease of use, both iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo are fairly easy and while Mojo is quite unique with its control scheme, there is clear labeling on the side to let you know what each button is meant for. Personally we prefer the iDSD just because it is cleaner and easy to adjust, especially for the volume knob. This knob actually works as both power and volume with the right amount of pressure to turn, it is not too slick so it is easy to control the movement.
Our only complaint with iDSD is the charging port which is also the USB input and it seems the equipment is not charging while we use them for playing music. Mojo is much better here as it has separate ports to do both at the same time.
iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo Performance
Lastly for the performance of iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo, it is listed that they are capable of 4000mW, 1000mW, and 250mW compared to 750mW and 35mW of output power so they should be able to be used with lots of headphones. In comparison from sound quality, we do think Mojo will please most audiophiles because this DAC gives a noticeable better soundstage and just enough bass, while iDSD is introducing a strong low end.
The clarity is also better in Mojo and we feel like it introduces more details on the mix which is very difficult to get since iDSD is not bad at all. The mix just sounds overall more accurate while iDSD is probably trying to please certain types of listeners.
iFi Micro iDSD Vs Chord Mojo
Both iFi Micro iDSD and Chord Mojo are good options if you want to optimize the headphone quality. Sound wise iDSD is very pleasant but we do think Mojo is what accurate means as it has better details, clarity, and imaging. The control scheme is better on iDSD however since it is just convenient and just extremely user friendly. Our only complaint is only the USB and charging port which somehow have to be the same.
Based on the comparison you may want to get Mojo if sound quality needs to be the highest since this DAC is very good at this factor but, for the ease of use iDSD is more user friendly. With the same price point we are going to recommend getting Mojo instead.