Amps/DACS iFi xCAN Review iFi xDSD vs. Chord Mojo iFi xDSD vs. xCAN vs. Chord Mojo

iFi Audio xCAN vs. xDSD vs. Chord Mojo: An Amp Review & Deadly Shootout

Updated 5/28/19

4,198 phrase publish, approx. 5-6 min. learn

Hey there good friend, and Welcome aboard!!

Article nonetheless needs:

  • xCAN pictures
  • Comparability Chart

Earlier than we get into the iFi xCAN Review, grab a snack, sit again and loosen up because..

You’ve come to the proper place!!

Picture Coming Soon!

What I’ll deliver you on this evaluate


Desk Of Contents

Click on to navigate the assessment!

What’s within the Field?
Build
Features & Utilization
Ergonomics
Video Review (Coming Soon!)
Photograph Gallery
Sound
Ultimate Phrase

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!

What’s within the Box?

xCAN

With the xCAN, you’re getting:

  • The Amp/DAC.
  • 2.5mm balanced interconnect cable.
  • Commonplace Three.5mm interconnect cable.
  • USB Sort C Charging Cable.
  • four Velcro Strips: One on your telephone, and the other three connect to the xDSD in the ridges on the bottom. You merely connect each and also you’ve obtained a pleasant moveable arrange for on the go listening.
  • Instruction Cards.

xDSD

With the xDSD, you’re getting:

  • The Amp/DAC
  • Velvet Carrying Pouch
  • OTG Cable with USB-B Port
  • USB-A to USB-B converter
  • Brief Micro USB Charging Cable
  • 3.5mm Optical Adapter
  • four Velcro Strips: One on your telephone, and the other three connect to the xDSD in the ridges on the bottom. You merely connect both and also you’ve obtained a nice moveable set up for on the go listening.
  • Instruction Playing cards

Chord Mojo

  • The Mojo comes with a USB charging cable.

Let’s get into construct & options!

Back To Prime


Construct


xCAN vs. xDSD

Once I first put the xCAN in my hand, I felt prefer it was heftier than the xDSD that I’ve additionally reviewed. A fast take a look at the specs would point out in any other case.

Both of them weigh in at a somewhat modest 127g, but for whatever cause my mind has tricked me into considering the xCAN is one way or the other extra durable.

Perhaps it’s the more nicely thought out rubber ft at the backside of the unit that places my thoughts comfortable, or the higher intuitiveness of the amp itself, or another subconscious reasoning that my being tries to compensate for.

It’s a wierd phenomena for positive, however briefly, I really like the construct of the xCAN so perhaps I should go back and edit the xDSD’s construct part to mirror that sentiment, considering they both feel and appear very comparable.


xCAN


Entrance Panel

On the entrance of the xCAN, we’ve obtained a balanced input for balanced headphones, an ordinary Three.5mm jack which I’m utilizing for this demo, the 3D+ and XBassII options, and the combo power/volume rotary button and dial. The multi-function 3D+ and XBassII button additionally features as a Bluetooth pairing button (long press).

Again Panel

The again panel reveals a USB Sort C charging port, the brand new and improved (for my part) XBass II part, as well as both the Commonplace 3.5mm and balanced 2.5mm line outputs. Which of those you employ will depend on in case you have a balanced headphone or have modded a headphone with balanced cables.

The xCAN does not help DSD, however:

I talked a bit about DSD and the way i feel it’s overrated in my FiiO Q1 vs. E10Okay vs. DragonFly Pink Shootout, in addition to my ifi xDSD video assessment. Please test it out for some technical ramifications on the topic. Primarily, normal audio information pattern many bits of data (ex: 24) hundreds of occasions per second whereas DSD samples 1 bit tens of millions of occasions. The top end result is kind of the same audio quality if you actually get right down to it and minimize via the fluff. Cambridge Audio additionally wrote a fantastic article on this: What is DSD?

The XBass Part

I really like most of iFi’s rationalization for these new modes. There are Three; Bass, Presence, or Bass + Presence.

From the instruction card:

In current occasions, new research into headphone frequency response confirmed that a purely ‘flat’ response isn’t right. Our lengthy current XBass matches the profile of the low frequency correction required. Nevertheless, it was additionally shown that a specific amount of lower mid-range increase is needed to provide many headphones a extra ‘natural’ sound. As this decrease mid-range region is often also referred to as the “presence” region we’ve got used this time period to indicate the decrease mid-range correction. In this xCAN, XBass II (or perhaps better HP-EQ) could be chosen to have either Bass + presence correction, only Bass or Presence correction solely. Select in line with listening choice.


xDSD


ifi xDSD vs. xCAN vs. Chord Mojo

Front Panel

  • 3.5mm/Line Output. This makes use of Three.5mm TRRS/TRS connection.

Rear Panel

ifi xDSD vs. xCAN vs. Chord Mojo

There’s also a measure/pay attention change. Measure is a filter for crucial listening whereas listening is for simply that. The one difference is pretty delicate. The “Measure” setting offers a bit extra detail retrieval and readability while the “Listen” setting is a bit hotter and more pleasant general.


Chord Mojo


The Mojo is a bit heavier against this to the xDSD and xCAN, coming in at 180g. It feels more substantial to me, and whenever you hold it in your hand, your purchase appears extra justified simply from a build standpoint. Nevertheless, the trade off is that the unit is bulkier for on the go/moveable listening so hold that in thoughts. It also runs fairly scorching.

It’s to not say the other 2 are “cheap” per se, however they don’t really feel as sturdy in your hand.

Connections

The Mojo features 2 micro USB slots, Optical out, and Coax. It can be paired with anything that permits audio out by way of these connections. Some examples embrace your gaming console, PC/Laptop, Smartphone, tablet, music participant, DAP, and so forth. In this sense it’s just like an xDSD since both have the optical outs.

The Mojo additionally has 2 separate 3.5mm headphone jacks for the purposes of simply evaluating headphones in addition to gaming/music/movie sharing with another person.

ifi xDSD vs. xCAN vs. Chord Mojo

ifi xDSD vs. xCAN vs. Chord Mojo

For gaming, you’d merely purchase an optical cable akin to this one, and run one end from the again of your PS4/Xbox to the Mojo’s optical out. Then run the USB from the entrance of the console to the micro slot on the Mojo. Take a look at my Chord Mojo DAC Review for specifics on how you can hook it up for console gaming!

Prime

On the top there are 2 quantity globes and an influence globe. Right here we’ve a matte black end vs. the Magnesium-Aluminum of both the xDSD and xCAN. Each of those appeal to fingerprints with reckless abandon when you might be positive the Mojo will stay relatively clean against this.

Audioquest DragonFly Red vs. Chord Mojo vs. Oppo HA-2

Back To Prime

Onto features..


Options


xCAN

  • DAC Chip: ESS Sabre (actual model not specified)
  • Amp Chip: OV4627

The xCAN is geared extra in the direction of the moveable consumer needing a implausible answer for Bluetooth pairing with a telephone.

The primary difference between the 2 is that the xCAN is primarily an analog gadget while the xDSD is usually digital. The xCAN is an Amp first and a DAC second. The xDSD is a DAC first and an amp second.

From Internal Fidelity on the xCAN:

“The DAC chip, an ESS Sabre, is only used for the conversion of the Bluetooth signal, otherwise it functions as a totally analog device. Further, the device is limited by the Bluetooth format to 16/44.1, whereas the xDSD will do very high PCM rates and even DSD.”

Take a look at Inside Constancy’s ifi Audio xDSD and xCAN Review!

So the xCAN helps 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz with AAC, aptX, aptX LL, and SBC. I suppose it will have been nice to incorporate LDAC in that blend for newer smartphones, however I digress.

The Bluetooth functionality is a large plus regardless, because it adds that component of versatility and turns into tremendous convenient and straightforward to use. No twiddling with wires! However it’s also flexible in the fact that you need to use it wired together with your PC, wireless together with your telephone, or wired together with your telephone as properly if you need. I absolutely adore it paired with my LG-X Cost.

Let’s take a look at the Bluetooth arrange.

First issues first: Cost the unit with the offered Sort C USB cable.

After it’s charged, hold the large button in the middle and the unit will energy on. You’ll notice that should you continue to carry the button after it lights up, it’s going to cycle by means of Green and Blue. Green is for wired, Blue is clearly for Bluetooth Connection.

When you’re on the specified colour, let go. Now you’re in that mode until you reboot the unit. If you energy again on the xCAN, it is going to start in the final mode you have been in.

Do notice that the guide says you’ll be able to press and maintain the button on the fitting to pair as properly. It’s the button that has a gear/Bluetooth icon above it. This can be a multi-function button that also triggers some good effects. Press as soon as for XBass, twice for 3D+, a 3rd time for both, and a 4th time cuts them all off once more. The same applies on the xDSD. An extended press will delve into pairing mode.

For wired, the xCAN comes with a regular 3.5mm interconnect cable in your PC/telephone as well as a balanced 2.5mm cable to be used with balanced headphones.

Understand that using the 3.5mm interconnect together with your Laptop computer signifies that you’re truly using the interior Soundcard of the PC because the DAC. Related: What’s a USB DAC? The xCAN is simply amplifying that signal. I just bought a Lenovo X1 Excessive and I’m glad to report that amplifying this sign from the interior Soundcard is excellent and very clear. What is a Soundcard? Your mileage might differ relying on what you will have.

On the again, the three.5mm is labeled “SE” for single ended and the two.5mm is labeled “BAL” for balanced. Similar goes for the entrance.

Bluetooth pairing

  • Reboot the unit holding the large center button, wait until it cycles to Blue, then let go.
  • Grab your telephone and navigate to it’s settings. Press “search” (or whatever your telephone says). It might take a few tries, but ultimately it ought to come up as “iFi HQ (aptX) Audio.

Pair it homie!

Now you’re ready for that candy, candy audiophile goodness.

Just plug in your headphones into the unit, fuel up Subterranean Homesick Alien by Radiohead, put an HD 600 on your head and shut up. 😛

Notice: Type of apparent, but the unit won’t pair together with your telephone when it’s in wired mode. Additionally, when the xCAN is looking for a device to pair when you’re in Bluetooth mode, it is going to flash. After it’s paired it stays strong blue.

xDSD vs. xCAN Options

With the xCAN, we briefly touched on the XBass function. On the xDSD, we only had XBass and 3D+ on the front to reinforce the sound to our liking.

With the xCAN, we also have that, but there’s the extra XBass part II on the again, which provides simply Bass, simply Presence, or each.

With Jazz recordings like John Coltrane’s Big Steps, I discovered that a mixture of 3D+ on the front and simply “Presence” on the again make the album (and Jazz music generally) sound chic.

For those who don’t have the 3D+ on the entrance, it tends to pan instruments onerous proper and left, which sounds just a little bit unnatural to me as it leaves the middle image type of hollowed out. I really like this function because it sort of makes all the things sound crisper and extra intimate.

iFi xDSD vs. xCAN vs. Chord Mojo

xDSD

  • DAC Chip: Burr-Brown PCM1793
  • Amp Chip: OV4627

Powering On

Similar on each. Hold the middle button and wait. The difference here is that on the xDSD, there are small LED’s on the left hand aspect to point which mode you’re in:

  • Flashing Green = Awaiting Source
  • Green = Wired (S/PDIF or USB)
  • Purple/Blue Cycle = Wireless BT pairing in progress
  • Blue = Wireless

Battery Status/Life

From Headfonics:

“Because of the lack of pure DAC the xCAN gets a big boost in battery life numbers from the same 3.8V/2200mAh Li-poly battery from the xDSD. From a fairly average 8 hours on the xDSD, iFi Audio is spec’ing the xCAN at a very healthy 18 hours as a pure analog amp and a competitive 12 hours when deployed wirelessly.”

Take a look at their ifi Audio xCAN Review!

Life

  • White = >75%
  • Inexperienced = 74% – 25%
  • Purple = 24% – 10%
  • Pink (Flashing) < 10%

Rotary Knob/Quantity.

Similar on each.

  • Pink = -9 to zero dB (100 – 91%)
  • Yellow = -27 to -10 dB (90% – 73%)
  • Green = -45 to -28 dB (72% – 55%)
  • Cyan = -63 to -46 dB (54% – 37%)
  • Magenta = -81 to -64 dB (36% – 19%)
  • Blue = -101 to -82 dB (18% – zero%)
  • Off = Mute (Press as soon as to mute – flashes pink)
  • White = Line Output Mode (2V)

Differences

The xDSD is slightly totally different right here as we don’t have the XBass II part on the back. The xDSD also makes use of a USB A enter on the back to be used together with your PC as an alternative of the 3.5mm interconnect that comes with the xCAN (Once more as a result of the xCAN is primarily an analog gadget).

We’ve clearly still received the charging port on the xDSD, but the different distinction is the Measure/Pay attention function that isn’t out there on the xCAN, in addition to the S/PDIF output and Optical Adapter that comes with the xDSD. So that you gained’t have the ability to use the xCAN for console gaming such as you would with the xDSD.

Measure/Pay attention

Measure is a filter for important listening whereas listening is for simply that. The one difference is pretty delicate. The “Measure” setting supplies a bit more detail retrieval and clarity while the “Listen” setting is a bit warmer and extra pleasant general.

Chord Mojo

Like the xDSD, the Mojo can be utilized for console gaming by way of a regular optical cable. The xDSD comes with the small adapter that you simply plug into the S/PDIF jack.

The Mojo also has 2 3.5mm headphone jacks on one aspect, with Coax, Optical, one micro USB port for Charging (Battery Icon), and one micro USB for connection to your PC (USB Icon). These are situated on the other aspect.

Just like the xDSD and xCAN, the Mojo ought to be charged first earlier than you do anything.

For all three, use either: Wall wart with the USB cable, or just use your laptop computer. Obviously it gained’t take as lengthy to realize full charge plugged into an outlet, so I might recommend doing that to start out. When you’re at the pc, you’ll be able to charge it periodically so it doesn’t utterly go lifeless. That’s what I recommend anyhow with the xDSD. With the xCAN, I’ve discovered it seems to carry a cost for a very long time because of the shortage of a full time DAC.

Get into the behavior of charging all of them such as you would your telephone and you gained’t be caught together with your pants down making an attempt to play video games when the unit is lifeless. When you’re like me, you’re pants are all the time off, so that time is type of null and void. 😛

iFi xDSD vs. xCAN vs. Chord Mojo

Battery

It takes roughly 4 hours of cost for 10 hours of playback with the Mojo, so a couple of hours greater than the xDSD, and a pair hours shy of the xCAN.

You can too cost it and play again music on the similar time if in case you have two micro USB chords. These are pretty widespread and low cost so I might advocate it. Simply have in mind the unit will run fairly scorching. This is normal but you’ll still probably be stunned by it.

Life

The LED is situated underneath the second micro USB slot (lightning bolt). This is also a source of confusion per my analysis and expertise. I’ll make it actual easy. The colour of the light signifies battery degree. Blue = Absolutely Charged. Green = 75%. Yellow = 50%. Pink = 25%. Flashing Purple = <10 minutes life.

Powering On

Hold down the facility button globe ball for two seconds. After this, the Mojo will turn on, and the quantity globes will even display colours. The unit must be recognized by your PC virtually instantaneously. As soon as it is, discover it in your Management Panel’s Sound part. It ought to say “Chord Async USB 44.1kHz – 768kHz.” Proper click on and set it as your default gadget!

  • Pay attention to the totally different colors on the facility button and what they discuss with.

Whenever you’re enjoying again music, the facility button globe will display many colours relying on the sample price of the track in query. Study extra: Bit Depth vs. Sample Fee!

Purple = 44.1kHz. Orange = 48. Yellow = 88. Inexperienced = 96. Mild Blue = 176. Dark Blue = 192. Mild Purple = 352. Purple = 384. Plum = 768. Mild Plum = DSD.

  • Pay attention to the quantity colours.

The quantity buttons additionally change colours depending on how loud or quiet you’re listening. The sample seems to imitate the above pattern for sample fee upon intense examination.

On Board Options

The Mojo doesn’t have any like the other two, however considering how good this unit sounds, chances are you’ll not likely want any enhancements.

Whew! Now that that’s all out of the best way, let’s speak a bit about Ergonomics.

Back To Prime


Ergonomics


Let’s take a look at the facility output for every of these in addition to another specs.


xDSD


  • 2.82V/500mW @ 16 Ohm
  • 3.7V/270mW @ 50 Ohm
  • Three.8V/48 mW @ 300 Ohm
  • Three.8V/24 mW @ 600 Ohm
  • Line Out Degree: 2.1V @ 0dBFS
  • THD &N (1V/16R): zero.005%
  • Output Impedance: <2 Ohm. What's Output Impedance?
  • Battery: 3.8V/2200mAh
  • Dimensions: 95 (l) x 66.5 (w) x 19 (h) mm
  • Weight: 127g (0.28 lbs.)
  • Guarantee: 12 months

xCAN


S-Balanced:

  • 45 mW (@ 300 Ohms)
  • 380 mW (@ 32 Ohms)
  • 600 mW (@ 16 Ohms)

Balanced:

  • 90 mW (@ 600 Ohms)
  • 800 mW (@ 64 Ohms)
  • 1,000 mW (@ 32 Ohms)

Complete Harmonic Distortion:

  • S-Balanced: Balanced: <0.006% (@ 360 mW/2.4 V, 16 Ohms)

Signal to Noise Ratio:

  • S-Balanced: >121 dBA (@ 3.eight V)
  • Balanced: >120 dBA (@ 7.6 V)

Impedance:

Most Input:

  • S-Balanced: 3 V RMS
  • Balanced: 6 V RMS

Achieve:

  • -95 to +18 dB, adjustable in 114, 1-decibel steps (utilizing volume management)

Frequency Response:

  • <2 Hz to >200 kHz (-3 dB)

Chord Mojo


  • Output Energy @ 1kHz – 600Ω 35mW
  • Output Energy @ 1kHz – 8Ω 720mW
  • Output Impedance: 75mOhms
  • Dynamic Range: 125dB
  • THD @ 3v: zero.00017%
  • Weight: 180g (zero.4lbs)
  • Dimensions: 82mm (l) x 60mm (w) x 22mm (h)

All three of those are going to offer plenty of power. The xDSD and xCAN pump 48 and 45mW into 300 Ohm respectively. The HD 600 only needs round 20 and I’m listening proper now. There’s way more power than you’d ever need. Even with a power hungry headphone just like the AKG Okay240M, I’m nonetheless nowhere near maxing out the rotary dial. You’re going to have plenty of headroom with 99.9% of headphones. Assured or your a refund. 😛

The xCAN is actually more powerful than a Mojo for those who’re using it balanced.

The Mojo is a little more powerful than the xDSD, utilizing 35mW into 600 Ohm vs. 24.

I feel you’ll find that none of those numbers actually matter all that much at the end of the day, however do offer you a pleasant concept of what you’re in for. All 3 of these Amp/DACs will be capable of effectively drive 99% of headphones you’ll encounter in your audiophile journey.

Again To Prime

Video..

Video Comparability (Coming Soon!)

Photograph Gallery

Photograph Gallery

Click on to see them in action! Word: xCAN photographs coming soon!

What about sound?


Sound


xDSD vs. xCAN

I might say there aren’t many differences in the sound of each of those amps. I feel the xCAN is much more intuitive for the typical consumer, however the uncooked sound is more or less similar to the xDSD from my very own expertise.

In case you consider sound as a comb, a unit like the xCAN or xDSD acts as those missing gaps of data that get crammed in. You’ll begin to hear lost artifacts that type of tie every part together, very similar to the rug that tied all the things together within the Massive Lebowski. “Yeah, and he peed on it.”

Music also may begin to sound overseas to you, as when you’ve heard for the first time songs you’ve heard many occasions before. This is likely one of the greatest ways I can describe sound when the veil is lifted. There are times when you may virtually swear the monitor was re-recorded.

Enhancements

With the xDSD you’ve acquired the 3D+ and XBass, however not the XBass II part at the back.

Both the 3D+ and XBass on both provide some good enhancements. I wrote to Lawrance at iFi about my impressions of these features and how a lot they added to the expertise:


Lawrance,

“Engaged on the xCAN assessment/shootout with xDSD and Mojo just to offer you an update. Love this factor! Listening now with the AKG Okay240M 600 Ohm Austrian model, Tidal, and a Grasp of John Coltrane’s Big Steps album. Wow!

I found that just utilizing presence on the back, plus the 3D on the front leads to an unimaginable rendition for Jazz music particularly. Without that 3D change the Sax will get type of panned too arduous to the left resulting in a considerably hollowed out middle image.”


I’ve observed that this 3D+ change isn’t solely useful for Jazz, but pretty much all different genres as nicely. It just makes the music sound extra intimate, current, energetic, partaking, articulate, and clear. There’s a certain crispness concerning the monitor that is sort of lost with out it to be trustworthy. I observed that like Jazz, the panning is a bit of off in many situations with different forms of music. There’s a muddy character with sure headphones like the Bluedio T4, Sony MDR V6, and HD600 that’s kind of “corrected” with these fantastic features present on the xCAN.

The xDSD vs. Chord Mojo vs. xCAN

In comparing each of those with the Mojo, I’ve to say that the Mojo does sound just a little higher. I’ll always remember the first time I paired one with the MrSpeakers Aeon Move Closed. It was like I had been missing out on something for therefore long that the Mojo offered in spades. Be mindful, it is type of delicate, however I feel the Mojo has an edge in relation to vocal intimacy, assault, maintain, and decay. Things are just a little bit clearer and lusher.

I’m completely NOT a type of hype practice guys. Simply verify my articles, movies, remark part convos, and so on. for proof of that. Within the case of Amps and DACs I discover the variations in sound with most of them to be pretty marginal. The Mojo was a case where I might clearly discern a difference in sound quality vs. a few of the lower tiered stuff. Arms down.

In comparison to the opposite 2, the Mojo will sound a bit hotter and more gratifying, whereas nonetheless retaining that immaculate sense of element that the xDSD and xCAN both present in spades.

Again To Prime

Even with that stated, on the finish of the day I might take..


Last Phrase


Out of all these Three, I might take the Mojo for pure sound, and the xCAN for convenience and options.

The Mojo doesn’t have the enhancement options that both the xDSD or xCAN have. Both the xDSD and Mojo can be used for console Gaming but the xCAN can’t. So we’ll name it the xCANNOT on this case. Heh.

That stated, the Mojo’s sound is best than the opposite. It’s a delicate however noticeable distinction.

What I like extra concerning the xCAN is that there are lots of methods to combine and match the amp’s options to get the sound you’re after.

Right now I’m finding Bass + Presence on the again, with 3D+ on the entrance to be a face melting mixture for Michael Jackson’s “Baby Be Mine” off of Thriller. It simply makes you need to hump the air. Yeah! Rise up and dance! Eliminate those pants! Be free!!!

In case you’re on the lookout for the amp with the perfect sound, the Mojo is certainly my prime decide.

in the xCAN? I don’t blame you. It makes an excellent answer to pair together with your telephone by way of Bluetooth, wired to your telephone, or wired to your PC/Laptop computer. It’s additionally obtained a plethora of options that ought to maintain you busy regardless of the track and style you’re listening to.

As for the xDSD? From Internal Constancy:

“So these two units are sort of ‘separated at birth’ twins, one of whom took the digital road and the other the analog road. I’ll say this – if you’ve got really inefficient phones and need really nice amplification, the xCAN is the one you want. If you need the extra digital inputs and might not use the Bluetooth all the time, the xDSD is the one to get.”

CHECK OUT MY OFFICIAL ifi xDSD REVIEW FOR AN IN DEPTH DISCUSSION!


Properly that’s about it for at the moment my good friend! I hope you’ve loved this iFi xDSD vs. xCAN vs. Chord Mojo Comparability/Shootout, and came away with some invaluable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down under or Contact me!!

Till next time..

All the most effective and God bless,

-Stu

[[email protected]$eHitZ]