British hi-fi electronics manufacturer Chord Electronics has announced the local premiere of the Chord Poly, a purpose-built, seamless add-on to the Chord Mojo (it cannot be used with other amplifiers or DACs). The Chord Poly is a diminutive attachment to the Chord Mojo, supplementing your favourite DAC’s unmistakable sound signature with a MicroSD card reader and wireless network streaming, turning it into a ultra-flexible audiophile solution.
VRZone was invited by the kind folks at Eng Siang International, Chord Electronics’ exclusive distributor here in Singapore, down to an exclusive hands-on preview of the Chord Poly. A wireless network was set up, and we were provided with a plethora of smartphones, headphones and speakers to test the system out. The Chord Poly’s compact form factor betrays the immense set of features it supplements the Chord Mojo, with its matching fonts and sleek CNC aluminium chassis. It truly is a dream for audiophiles who appreciate the Mojo’s industry-defining sound signature and iconic user interface – the instantly recognisable buttons light up to indicate sampling rates as they would if connected by wire.
The Chord Poly addition otherwise is spartan, with the docking end completely sealing off the input interfaces of the Mojo. There is a small dark plastic window to allow wireless signals to pass through, and two tiny LED lights to indicate pairing, battery life and set-up status. The Poly has a battery life of 8 hours, definitely long enough for practical usage in a typical day (any longer and a trip to an audiologist would be necessary). Noteworthy that in comparison the Mojo’s battery life is 10 hours, which means it might be wise to pack the small LOD (Line Out Dock) cable to connect your smartphone to the Mojo should you ever go into the red. The Mojo and Poly can be charged concurrently, with the Poly featuring a 4 hour quick charge circuit.
Comparisons have been made with full-sized DAPs (Digital Audio Players) and network streaming devices of equivalent size, citing the lack of a screen as a huge debilitating factor. The folks at Chord and Eng Siang don’t believe that’s even an argument, and we agreed. By remaining wirelessly connected to your mobile device, the Chord Poly + Mojo combo remains in your pocket while your phone acts merely as an interface for it, enabling DLNA and local playback. This frees up cable clutter, battery life and memory space on your phone with the massive PCM and DSD256 format files residing in the unlimited-capacity microSD card slot instead.
You are also able to use it more traditionally with its Bluetooth 4.1 and Airplay support, meaning that streaming apps like Spotify and Tidal, or audio tracks on your smartphone can be received from the Poly, and processed through the Mojo to give its signature sound with minimal quality loss.
The Mojo and Poly combination is also compatible with Roon software, allowing Tidal and MQA streaming over WiFi. The Poly remembers the last 100 WiFi hotspots and seamlessly connects to them.
The little time I had to test drive the the combo with the impressive line-ups of cans presented the classic Chord sound signature as I remembered it. While a full, in-depth review is in the pipeline, I was very much struck by the incredible hand-feel and form factor of the combination. I had to dock-undock the Poly and Mojo several times in disbelief at how seamlessly the two units paired – and they were launched two years apart!
While the pairing process did take a bit of finesse and time to master, we were delighted to hear from Robert Wong, the Chord representative from Business and Development, that the GoFigure app, a dedicated application to assist in pairing and playback will be launched within ten days (GoFigure apparently was the response by the boss to an engineer’s query about the Poly’s interface). Though not a lot could be revealed since the app is in development, we anticipate connectivity and playback improvements. A seamless interface experience with the combo would pair so well with the seamless intergration of the Chord Poly and Mojo.
The Chord Poly is available from 15th November 2017 at AV One, E1 Personal Audio, Jaben, Stereo, Zepplin and Lazada.sg at a SRP of SGD999.