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The Running Audiophile: Chord Poly and Mojo

Audiophile: a hi-fi enthusiast

I love exercising.

I love music.

It’s perhaps no surprise that I love exercising and listening to music at the same time.

Music has the power to move you. To lift you. To take you places you’ve never been before.

It’s got me out the door when I haven’t wanted to. It’s helped me warm up before races, taking my mind off the pre-race anxiety. I’ve had songs bring me to “sing” (I used “” because if you've ever heard me sing, it’s more akin to wailing). I’ve had tears rolling down my face whilst running and listening to music.

I am no expert on audio equipment. I know what I like. If it sounds great, I will say, but if you are here for an in-depth look into audio equipment, you are in the wrong place.

Music and Memories

There’s lots of research into why music might enhance memory and trigger memories.

I remember reading years ago that it’s a great idea to create a holiday song or playlist and that listening to that music will take you back to that place.

That’s really been something for me. I have been whisked away to exotic places with a song.

Emotions enhance the memory process, and as the music evokes such strong emotions, music could be involved in forming memories.

Introducing the Chord Poly and Mojo

What I have been using for the past few months is the Chord Mojo and Poly. These are two separate units, but they need each other for the purposes of this use case.

To note, I purchased both these units myself, and we aren’t receiving anything for writing about them. I have had so much fun listening to music with them that I wanted to share this. I got these second hand (for reasons which will become VERY clear later on...)

The Mojo is a portable digital to analogue converter and amplifier. It’s there to make your music sound better

Understanding Amplifiers

Let’s just dig into some basics around amplifiers or amps. The idea of an amp is that it amplifies a signal, increasing its power. This is used to deliver sound to large speakers or headphones

An amplifier won’t necessarily improve the sound quality of what you are listening to. That’s where the Chord Mojo’s fancy DAC comes in. It just creates sensational music. You just hear so much more when listening through the Mojo compared to music coming from the phone.

That’s why the Mojo is so good. It’s the sound you get from it.

Chord Poly

The Poly is a Portable Streamer and Music Player. This clips onto the Mojo and allows you to wirelessly stream from connected devices or play music from the Micro SD card.

It’s the Micro SD card use I am going to speak more about. It just wouldn’t make sense to carry the Mojo, Poly and your phone / another music device out on the run with you. That’s too much stuff

You load your music up onto the SD card. You have the Poly all connected to Chords Gofigure App, but the music that’s on the SD card won’t appear there. You need to download and buy another App (MPDluxe) that allows you to create a .m3u file and build a playlist. Then back to the Gofigure App to press play.

After all that, you are finally going with your music. If that sounds a bit of a bother to set’s worse than I have just made it.

I had several teething issues when working out the Mojo and Poly combination. I am a very “techy” person - I get computers. But I found this incredibly frustrating.

Headphones Matter

Throughout all this, I haven’t even begun to speak of headphones. That’s coming in future weeks. But the headphones you own make a difference. A huge difference. Just know that as we continue.

Some issues with this setup

There’s no getting around this. There are several issues with this setup, especially for everyday usage.

It’s bulky. The Cord and Poly together weigh 331g (with a case on too) and takes up space. Out on the run, you’ll need to find room for them. I know some people like to go running with a phone, and this is comparable to the iPhone Pro Max 228g.

But in many other ways, it’s nothing like your phone. It can be a little unreliable. I have had to restart it on occasions. And you need the phone with the App to allow you to start the music. So if it goes off on the run, you can’t start the music up again.

It’s finicky to set up. That’s me being kind. Yes, the sound does make up for it, but it’s still frustrating.

You'll need wired headphones, yet this might not be such a bad thing. The sound will be better, but many headphones are wireless (including the excellent Airpod Pro’s). You’ll need to invest in some wired headphones.

Where this setup shines

On the run, usage was not what Chord had planned when they designed and built the Mojo and Poly. I know that.

However, there are times when this setup comes trumps. Going to a gym - Cross Training. You can just leave the Mojo and Poly to play music, not having to carry them around. Indulge in the sweet tones that the Mojo produces. It’s a truly remarkable experience.

Other Options

There are many ways to listen to music on the run.

The Apple Watch and Airpod Pro are my go-to combination, simply for how easy it is.

If you are already taking your phone out on the run, then you already have your music player ready to go.

In Conclusion

You have to be a bit bonkers to want the Chord Mojo and Poly.

I haven’t even got to the price. The Mojo is £399, and the Poly is £499. You are then going to need some sort of protective case at around £79. Finally, you have to get some decent headphones. It’s expensive.

To make the most of this setup, you’ll need high-quality music pumping in. Apple is about to release this as part of their Apple Music setup. Other streaming services do offer “hi-fi” music. Otherwise, you are purchasing this online.

You have got to really love music to be considering this. And even then, the price and usage are potentially prohibitive. I am getting to use the setup when working away during the day and listening to music. But even still, it’s bonkers.

And that’s why I love it. Because it is just a little bit bonkers...and don’t we need that in our lives!


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