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Morrow Audio MA7 and SP7 Grand Reference Speaker and Interconnect Cables and DIG4 Digital Cable Review

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My plans for use of the Morrow Audio speaker cables with the lofty Whisper Clarity Edition were dashed, and I resorted to assessment of the cables by alternating the banana terminated set of Morrow cables on one set of posts – for instance the Treble posts, then swapping them out with the Clarity Cables. This did afford a clean look at the finer sonic properties of the SP7 in comparison with other wires such as Clarity Cable’s Organic Speaker Cable.

This is a good time to revisit one of my tricks of assessment of cables. One does not have to secure two complete sets of cables to conduct a comparison of speaker cables. All that is required is a speaker with bi-wire or tri-wire capacity. In the case of the Whisper Clarity Edition it accommodates three pair which I could rotate from the Treble to Midrange to Bass. Comparing along the way the two brands it becomes evident how each influences the sound. While one does not have a holistic assessment, one does isolate the particular properties of the cable as applied to each driver set. This is also a fine test for those who think cables do not affect the sound, as by isolating the frequencies one can focus better on what is being altered by each cable. Indeed, even a change to the Treble can make a speaker perceptually much better or worse.

The result of this was that the Morrow Audio speaker cable showed itself to be of a similar family of sound to the Clarity Cable, however, leaner and bass shy. The Clarity Cables tend toward emphasis in the bottom end of the frequency spectrum and the Morrow Cables emphasize the upper end of the spectrum. As both of these cables employ a large number of small conductors in individual dielectric and large AWG for the cable I attribute the sonic differences to the type of dielectric and the extent of outer sheath of the cable as well as the terminations. The Morrow Audio cables have little in the way of “cladding,” for an exterior while the Clarity Cables are ensconced in thick, semi-flexible tubing with a very solid interior core.

In my experience comparing cables I have come to emphasize conductor materials, total gauge of all conductors and geometry, however here is seen an instance where most of these are similar and the dielectric is different. The result is a familiar but distinct result, a kissing cousin relation sonically. It is impossible to say whether the material or thickness of the dielectric was predominantly responsible for the familiarity yet distinction between the two brands, but I intend to keep it in mind for further reviews to see whether a relationship between thickness of dielectric and particular sonic characteristics shows itself.

While on the topic of cladding, note also that the Morrow Digital cable and Interconnect are not interchangeable. The Digital Cable is shielded, but the Interconnect is not. This presents no problem to the vast majority of setups, but the difference in design between the cables did result in the Interconnect not being capable of being used as a digital link. I often swap such cables to see what the outcome will be, as it gives a fuller understanding of the house sound of the cables and often yields a more preferred result. The inability of the Interconnect to perform as a digital cable is not to be understood as a defect in workmanship. All of the Morrow Audio products performed in their assigned tasks without operational quirks during the review period.

How it all comes together for Morrow Cables

As I inquired into the design of the Morrow products Mike told me about the “SSI” culture permeating the manufacturing of cables at Morrow. SSI is proudly emblazoned on the products page and each cable’s description; it stands for small gauge, solid core, and individually insulated runs of wire. The cables are made at the Morrow Audio site in Independence, Kentucky with stringent quality control. The goal of Morrow Audio is to make quality cables at price points affordable to anyone. Mike asserts, “These price points are 3 times less than where they should be for the quality attained.” Morrow is out to change the perception that a good sounding cable has to be expensive.

Mike is a supporter of extensive cable Break In to the extent of 300 to 600 hours to fully break in! Morrow offers an initial Break In period service to customers and a six page paper online which outlines what is to be expected when hearing the break in process. Mike attempted to put a ballpark figure on the amount of change, “In general one will hear about 70% of the potential of the cables at first listen. At the 50 to 100 hour mark, the cables go through their difficult stage. After 100 hours, the sound gets better and better until one cannot stop listening to the music!”

Prior to the onset of the review Mike and I had a discussion in regards to Break In and I shared with him the perspective that I no longer endorse the Break In theory. I do not find that cables or other components change their sound appreciably over time, but I do find that people become familiarized with the sound of a component or system over time. I believe that what is credited to component changes actually occur in the perception of the listener. No one is immune to this, not artists, not designers and manufacturers, not reviewers, not audiophiles.

Consequently, taking into account the adjustment period in which it is expected that one hears things differently, over time I found no greater degree of “change” occurring with Morrow Cables than for any other component or cable. As with all other cables I found them to exhibit their sonic attributes consistently regardless of the system in which they were used. Let me reiterate; I became accustomed to their sound, and they did not change appreciably over the review period. My impressions should be taken as a description of their innate sound. If you decide to override my observations and purchase them, finding them to not suite you, then you can figure out how long it may take until they do suit you!

2 Responses to Morrow Audio MA7 and SP7 Grand Reference Speaker and Interconnect Cables and DIG4 Digital Cable Review

  1. Mike Morrow says:

    I want to thank Doug for his fine review of our Grand Reference line of cables. They have brought much enjoyment and increased musicality to our customers. Since we first met at RMAF, we have developed another level above the Grand Reference, our Elite Grand Reference series.

  2. DRB says:

    It would be nice to see some response curves on cables as they are being tested, it would certainly help us decide what cables sound best. In addition, impedance levels for interconnects since equipment varies and some cables simply don’t work as well with certain equipment, no fault of anyone’s, it’s just the nature of the industry. The tests I’m most interested in are what MIT Cables does. This is not a pitch for one to buy MIT Cables per se, but their website is a wealth of information as to the various types of test measurements that can be performed on a cable and I think it’s a good idea to use their test measurements as a model to test all audio cables. Everyone has their own preference of what they want their audio system to sound like, everyone has different audio system configurations so one cable might be better suited to the listener and system, but if we could compare test results to a perfect cable (which doesn’t exist) and then to known cables that we like, then we can better further our own knowledge of the subject and try to find quality cables that fit within our budget.

    Just a suggestion.

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