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Mojo Chord – high resolution music via iTunes (avoiding the ‘red light’/44khz problem)

You’ve probably found this since for whatever reason you simultaneously 1) use iTunes to store your music 2) have become a fan of higher-resolution music files (HD or Studio Masters) and 3) you’ve decided that your music needs a further lift with the (rather amazing) Chord Mojo.

There’s no manual in the box with the Mojo (just lovely milled aluminium and glowing balls…. but I’m getting distracted). The promise is to plug into the Mac and there’s zero configuration.

Output stuck on ‘red’ 44khz

Upon playback of my high-res music it immediately sounded great, but the sample-rate indicator resolutely stuck on “Red”, no matter what music I threw at it. Rather concerning.

To explain: the on/off illuminated button-ball changes colour to indicate the sample rate of the music it’s playing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red is the humble 44.1khz of a CD, ramping up to some immense DSD rates and 768Khz at 32bit.

Initially I thought I had a faulty unit (since my Meridian Explorer used to recognise higher sample-rates).

Audio Midi Setup? Nope.

Then I found a hint to go to Audio Midi Setup on the Mac, take the Mojo and saw that I could set the format. You’ll see here that I’m playing a 192k track, but it notes that the Mojo is capable of 768k. I set the highest and though I’d solved the problem. Nope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The midi setup simply pegs the light at the rate you set (in this case a nice cobalt blue) but there’s no change in the sound. Also, as soon as you change application or turn off the Mojo you lose the settings….

Solution – BitPerfect

After I while I realised that even though iTunes stores higher-res files, it ‘only’ plays at 44khz. In order to unlock the higher rate files’ capabilities you need an additional application like BitPerfect or Audirvana. I have BitPerfect and it’s fine for $10, but it’s a bit flakey. You have to quite iTunes and then use BitPerfect to command iTunes to reopen (so loading its interface?). Once you’ve done that BitPerfect sits out of the way in the menu bar and does nothing. It will tell you the rates and resolution it’s playing at, and – lo and behold – the Mojo echoes these settings with its glowing ball.

Also, speak it quietly, but you can also hear a difference – the reason we’re going through all of this 🙂

Here we have BitPerfect’s icon (a nice blue) showing that it’s output is 32 bit and 44.1Khz…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While here we’ve stepped up to 192Khz (and a less nice orange colour).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All very simple.

I mentioned that BitPerfect is a bit unstable and after a couple of days of being on, with things plugged and unplugged, it just stops working and needs to be closed, as does iTunes and everything restarted.

A small effort for $10 – especially since it’s so invisible when it’s working – but I’m going to give Audirvana a trial to see whether it’s more stable.

I hope that helps others who’re googling how to get beyond the red glow on the Mojo.

Next step – finding an invisible way to get high-res out of the iPhone without having to change from iTunes/Music. Any tips appreciated!