What's Better, the Chord Mojo 2 or iFi xDSD Gryphon?

What's Better, the Chord Mojo 2 or iFi xDSD Gryphon?

If you comb audiophile forums, or follow HiFi blogs, one of the most common questions or topics from the last year is “Mojo or Gryphon?” While I’ve seen some (relatively hot) takes strongly recommending one over the other, there are a lot of considerations to take into account between these two portable DACs that will help you decide which is better for you. As we offer our own take on this hot button question, we’ll cover three main areas: design and specifications, features, and sound.

Design and Specifications

While the devices are about the same size, and are pretty close in terms of power output, pretty much every other aspect of the design is very different. Just from a cursory examination, you can see how Mojo 2 adheres very closely to Chord’s unique design language, providing color-changing buttons for user controls and nothing else, while Gryphon has a small screen and makes, perhaps, some more industry standard type design decisions in their configuration of buttons, knobs, and switches.

iFi xDSD Gryphon Chord Mojo 2 Comparison

In terms of inputs and outputs, Mojo 2 has two 3.5mm analog outputs, and a USB (USB-C or microUSB) and an optical digital input. That’s it. You can add WiFi and Bluetooth streaming, as well as internal storage, via the Chord Poly add-on, but that ends up doubling the price of the unit. Gryphon has a few more options, with 3.5mm and 4.4mm headphone outputs, 3.5mm and 4.4mm line outputs (which also double as analog inputs depending on the setup), USB-C input, and 3.5mm digital coax input, along with Bluetooth built-in.

In terms of the output power and what headphones or IEMs you’ll want to pair with these, Mojo 2 and Gryphon are similar but different. Mojo is putting out a max output power of 5.2V through its unbalanced 3.5mm output, while Gryphon does 3.5V from its 3.5mm headphone jack. There are some complications to exactly how that power is delivered (and manufacturers providing specs that don’t perfectly match makes a purely spec based comparison challenging), but the short version is that Mojo is significantly more powerful from its single-ended output than Gryphon. That story changes when you have a 4.4mm balanced, which enables Gryphon to output 6.7V.

Chord Mojo 2 iFi xDSD Gryphon Comparison

In practical terms, that means that both are capable of driving headphones up into the middle tier of hard to drive headphones. So a Sennheiser HD600 or Dan Clark Aeon 2 Closed will sound great while an Abyss 1266TC or HiFiMAN Susvara isn’t going to have enough juice. On the other end of the spectrum, Mojo 2’s has lower output impedance and plays much nicer with IEMs and highly sensitive IEMs in particular. Gryphon includes a built-in iEMatch to counter the noise with more sensitive IEMs, but the iEMatch always comes with a small trade-off in sound quality.



Output Power

The Bottom Line

Chord Mojo 2

USB-C, microUSB, Optical, 3.5mm S/PDIF

Dual 3.5mm single-ended 

5.2V Max

Good selection of digital inputs and excellent single-ended power for a portable unit

iFi xDSD Gryphon

USB-C, 3.5mm S/PDIF, Bluetooth 5.1, 3.5mm & 4.4mm analog 

Headphones: 3.5mm single-ended, 4.4mm balanced

Line: 3.5mm single-ended, 4.4mm balanced

3.5mm: 3.5V Max

4.4mm 6.7V Max

Everything and the kitchen sink. Among the most flexible input/output options in its class


Outside of the basics of input and output, there are a few features that differentiate Mojo 2 and Gryphon. Let’s break these features down into a few categories:

  1. Device capabilities
  2. Connectivity features
  3. Audio profile features 

In terms of device capabilities, both devices are primarily portable DAC/Amp combos. Mojo 2 features digital inputs and analog outputs only. However, Gryphon has analog inputs as well as outputs, so you can use Gryphon as a headphone amp, connected to a DAC or digital audio player.

iFi xDSD Gryphon Chord Mojo 2 Comparison

For connectivity, there are a couple points worth mentioning. One is that Chord is committed to using the slower charging of microUSB to preserve battery life long term. That means you can’t charge using USB-C (though there is a USB-C digital audio input) or use any kind of fast charging power brick with Mojo 2. The other difference in connectivity is the aforementioned Bluetooth input on Gryphon. It’s worth noting that this isn’t just a sort of tacked on Bluetooth feature; Gryphon supports the full range of aptX options (HD, LL, Adaptive), LDAC, and HWA, along with AAC and SBC.

In terms of audio profile features – those that let you adjust the tuning and output of the device – Gryphon’s XSpace and XBass II options are quite good. XSpace aims to enhance the sense of space and the three-dimensionality of the soundstage, while XBass II provides you the ability to add a tasteful bass boost, an upper-mid “clarity” boost, or a sort of V-boost which enhances the bass and upper mids. While Gryphon offers a well-designed, simple way to tweak your sound, Mojo 2 goes all out with a DSP that includes Crossfeed and a 4-band EQ that’s a bit confusing to use, but in terms of the raw power is the best DSP that I’ve seen included in a portable DAC.

Device Capabilities

Additional Connectivity Features

Audio Profile Features

The Bottom Line

Chord Mojo 2


Peace of mind from knowing your battery life is being preserved

DSP with Crossfeed and 4-band EQ

Generally minimalist features set with incredible, but harder to use DSP options

iFi xDSD Gryphon

DAC/Amp, Standalone Amp

Bluetooth, USB-C Fast Charging

XSpace, XBass II

Highly flexible feature set, with  easy to use controls

Sound Comparison 

Of course, no amount of connectivity or features can make up for a device that sounds bad, and both of these devices sound great. However there are clear distinctions between the two both in terms of the technical “sound quality” performance and the more subjective tuning and sound.

In terms of pure sound quality, Mojo 2 has the edge. It provides stronger imaging, a more naturally spacious soundstage, and stronger detail retrieval. Particularly with IEMs, I felt I was getting a much clearer picture with Mojo 2 and a more vivid sense of positioning and separation. There are aspects of the sound Gryphon is able to deliver with harder to drive over-ear headphones and the balanced output that were stronger than Mojo 2, but outside of Gryphon delivering stronger dynamics out of a Sennheiser HD600 series or HiFiMAN Arya, Mojo 2 has a clear edge in sound performance.

Chord Mojo 2 iFi xDSD Gryphon Comparison

While Mojo 2 is stronger technically, the tuning is where many will find Gryphon has the edge. As a matter of personal preference, before it was discontinued, my answer to “Mojo or Gryphon?” was often “micro iDSD Signature” as I felt it exceeded the sound quality of Gryphon while having a tuning that was closer to my preference for a warmer tonality. Gryphon has a tuning that sounds more natural than Mojo 2, with a touch of warmth and a slightly aggressive mid-forward sound. The simplicity of XBass also means you can push more bass impact and slightly more warmth with the touch of a button, rather than trying to match the lights to dial in your sound like it’s a game of Simon with Mojo 2.

Of course, for some, the slightly more analytical clarity and imaging focused sound of the Mojo 2 is also what they prefer, so in that case, your choice is clear: there’s no need to sacrifice sound quality for a different tuning if you like the tuning already. For listeners looking for clarity and detail – especially with IEMs – Mojo 2 is the clear choice. For others – especially if you’re planning to use it with over-ear headphones and the balanced connection – the extra power and the tuning make Gryphon the stronger bet.

Chord Mojo 2 iFi xDSD Gryphon Comparison

The Bottom Line

These are both excellent portable DAC/amps which provide top tier sound and a level of power that can satisfy a wide range of headphones. Gryphon is like a tactical utility knife, with a wide array of features, and everything you’ll need for a variety of circumstances included in the package. Mojo 2 is more like a katana blade – finely honed and absolutely top notch for accomplishing a singular purpose.

While katanas and tactical knives largely serve the same purpose – cutting things – it’s generally pretty clear which situation will call for which tool, and the same is true here with Mojo 2 and Gryphon. Whether you choose the more versatile, easier to use Gryphon, or the highly refined sound of the Mojo2, you’re in for an incredible audio experience.