The Morrow Audio SP4 and MA4 Cables
|The Morrow Audio SP4 and MA4 Cables
Morrow Audio is an Independence, KY based retailer of products from Magnum Dynalab, Legacy, Ayon, Jolida and owner Mike Morrow’s own brand of tube amplifiers and a full suite of cable products. Morrow Audio also offers a cable break-in service and tips for the novice audiophile on proper component connection and cable break-in techniques.
Mike Morrow was kind enough to send me some of his cable products for review. He sent me two pairs of his MA4 interconnects and a pair of his SP4 speaker cables. These cables, priced at $559.00 and $649.00 respectively (heavily discounted on Morrow’s website), represent the top-of-the-line of his cable products.
I always find it funny when some cable builders attempt to dazzle you by packaging their products in titanium flight cases, exotic wooden crates, and faux fur cloth. Morrow eschewed all that hubbub (and the requisite price jump) by shipping his products bundled in bubble wrap and a corrugated cardboard box.
But inside that box were some rather elegantly styled and well made cables. The SP4 speaker cables are terminated with some very solid, gold-plated spade connectors and the MA4 interconnects use RCA connectors that can be torqued onto your component’s connectors to ensure a solid connection. As an upgrade, the excellent Eichmann RCA connectors can be used. Morrow Audio cables are made with solid-core wire and some rather thin insulation. They come nicely finished in thin black nylon mesh sleeves and are extremely flexible and easy to work with.
Much is made of the issue of cable “break-in,” the importance of which Morrow addresses at length on his website. Along with the cables he ships he includes a brief and idiot-proofed description of how to connect and break in his cables. He also includes a certificate of break in so that the owner knows how much time has been put on their cables. According to the certificate for the cables he sent me, my cables were broken in for 85 hours back on June 24, 2009.
I took Morrow’s advice and connected the MA4 interconnects from a Myine Electronics Ira WIFI Internet Radio into a Jungson DA-200IA integrated amplifier, and the SP4 speaker cables were connected to a pair of Master Source 20M. I let this system play continuously for three days to make sure that all cables were properly broken in before I started any critical listening.
I had just come off of writing a review of the more exotically made and priced Entreq Konstantin 09 cables, so I knew it wouldn’t be fair to try and make a direct comparison of the two designs. So I let about a couple of weeks pass before I began seriously listening to the Morrow cables.
After a few weeks, the Morrow cables settled into my system quite nicely. At normal listening levels these cables sound quite polished and strong. Soundstage size and depth were reasonable and well defined. The music was rendered very naturally and very enjoyable. The first song I listened to was “River Man” from Ilona Knopfler’s Some Kind of Wonderful [Mack Avenue]. Knopfler’s voice is the epitome of mellifluous and the Morrow cables seem very well suited to her style of music. The same can be said of Sherry Petta singing “Falling For You” from the CD This Is Why [Sherry Petta Music].
But being able to render these types of recordings is usually the “low hanging fruit” for these types of cables. So, I moved on to some decidedly more challenging and dynamic recordings. The first was Al DiMeola’s Kiss My Axe [Tomato]. The third track, which is also the title track, is as dynamic as they come. DiMeola is a flurry of flying fingers backed up by the equally frenetic drumwork by Omar Hakim. The Morrow cables handled this disc as well as it did the more gentile Knopfler and Petta discs. But that was when I was playing music at a relatively lower volume level as was appropriate for that type of music. But this Al DiMeola disc begs to be cranked up, so crank it I did. This is where the Morrow cables lost a little of their composure compared to some other pricier cables I’ve heard. On the second track of this disc, a tune called “The Embrace,” there are some very deep percussion tones that seem to overwhelm the sound and end up sounding more like bass from a synthesizer and less like something from a percussive instrument. But the Morrow cables would not be the first cable I’ve heard to leave this impression and it certainly is not the most expensive.
The Morrow cables did a bit better job with the soundtrack from the movie, Callé 54. Track three is Chano Dominguez’s “Oye Como Viene.” This song not only displays Dominguez’s wonderful piano playing but also features some well recorded flamenco dancing by Tomas Moreno. Once again, when pushed to higher volume levels the music lost a little bit of focus, but overall I’d say that for the price, the Morrow cables performed exceptionally well.
In the SP4 and MA cables, Mike Morrow has made cables for the practical audiophile who still wants to get as much out of their system as possible. They are nicely styled and do no harm to the music as long as they are not overly taxed by cranking up the volume on dynamic recordings. So if you’re looking for a good honest cable at a great price and are not smitten with fancy cases and other things that have nothing to do with music, the Morrow Audio cables are well worth seeking out.
Morrow Audio SP4 cables
We want to thank Dave Thomas for his review of our cables.
We did not actually read the review before we began receiving
phone calls from customers and another reviewer who had
experienced our cable product line.
The were in disagreement to the statement in the review about the cables loosing pace at higher listening levels. They stated that they had never experienced this, even with very powerful Krell amplifiers.
I then read the review and also scratched my head, never experiencing this in my personal system. After some consideration, I thought I would respond with some possibilities.
1. System synergy problem. Every system “bakes a different cookie”. In rare
cases, the addition of our cables do not work in a particular combination of
equipment. We offer a 60 day return.
2. Our cables are extremely revealing of component distortions. It might be that when Dave played the system loudly, that clipping distortions were coming
through due to the revealing nature of our cables.
3. Our cables need a long time to break-in, sometimes as much as 500 hours before they settle down completely. We offer our break-in service to help with this. It is possible that the cables were not completely broken in at the time of the review.
Despite all these possibilities, we encourage potential customers to give them a try. With our 60 day return policy, as one customer put it, it is “a no-brainer”.
Price (From Morrow Website)
SP4 Speaker Cables $649.00/1m pair
MA Interconnects $559.00/1m pair
1133 Casson Way
Independence, KY 41051
USA & Canada, Call Toll Free: +1-800-280-9167
Local & International: +1-859-356-6994
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