Morrow Cable MA7 Grand Reference Interconnects

by Audiophilia on July 10, 2013 · 9 comments

in Cables, Stars

by Martin Appel

One of the reasons for attending HI-FI shows is discovering new companies and new products. At THE SHOW in Las Vegas this year, my colleagues and I walked by a room and I noticed a sign proclaiming Morrow Audio High End Cable products having great sound at affordable prices. Who were these guys and did we need another cable company? It seems like everybody and his brother is jumping on the cable bandwagon hoping to make gobs of money (nothing inherently wrong with making an honest dollar). There are many companies selling cables in the three to ten thousand dollar range for a one meter pair of interconnects, a few even higher. I’ve heard expensive cables that match their hype, others, not so much. Where does Morrow fit in?

I walked into their room at THE SHOW and met Larry Spellman, Public Relations Manager and Mike Morrow, President and Chief Executive Officer. I had a very good discussion with them about cable design and the general state of the industry. I enjoyed their enthusiasm and the family like atmosphere. I requested cables for review and Morrow said they would ship them in a few months. During our discussion he also informed me of the lengthy burn-in process the cables require (400 to 500 hours, minimum) and that they would perform much of it for me prior to shipping. I appreciated that very much. They offer a two day break-in service equivalent to 96 hours of music, at no cost, and a five day break-in service ($25) equivalent to 240 hours of music. They use the Hagerman Labs FryDaddy for their break-in service.

The shipped package contained several different cables, including their top digital interconnect, the DIG4, and the MA6 and MA7 analogue interconnects, which comprise Morrow’s Grand Reference products. For the purpose of this review I will focus on the MA7s. They are the top of the line analogue interconnects and retail for $1,299/1m/pr. with RCA termination. Add $50 for XLR termination. All cables come with a 60 day trial period where you may return the cables for a full refund. The line begins with the MA1 at $70/1m/pr. RCA and tops out with the MA7s.

When I asked about the construction of the cables, Mike emailed me the following: ‘The MA7 consist of 72 total runs per cable of individually insulated small gauge wire. These are then twisted to help reject RFI. The wire is silver coated copper with PVC dielectric. There are 48 total runs in the MA6. For the digital cables, we use individual shielded solid core wires with a solid core wire running with the shield. The model number depicts how many runs… ie. DIG1 has 1 run, DIG4 has 4 runs.’

I installed a pair from my phonostage to my DEQX- HDP-4 preamplifier/processor. I continued the burning in for another 200 hours before any serious listening. The MA7s are very flexible and easy to install. I wanted to be sure that I followed the extensive burn-in time that was required especially since I went through a similar burn-in period for my reference interconnects, the Antipodes Reference cables. A long time! But, if I got as good a result as the Antipodes Reference, it would have been worth it. I also installed the DIG4 digital interconnect from my MSB transport to the DEQX’s internal DAC.

It seems I attract quality cables. I had no great expectations and was sincerely surprised at what I was hearing. After many hours of listening and comparing my reference with the MA7s I’ve come to understand how good these cables are. The overall sonic impression was one of incredible resolution and tonal neutrality. The Antipodes, equally resolving, tend to be on the slightly warmer side of neutral. The MA7s were closer to neutral, but could lean towards, recording dependent, the slightly cooler side of neutral. Additionally, it was apparent that they developed a sonic envelope around instruments that resulted in greater separation at least the equal of my reference, producing a sound stage with excellent layering and front to back depth. Imaging was exceptional, while not quite as rounded as the Antipodes, had excellent specificity with inner detail and definition aplenty. The MA7s created a sense of transparency while the Antipodes, a greater sense of weight. Both cables performed with a smoothness and lack of grain, letting all the music through.

It was very difficult to prefer one cable over another. They each presented the recorded performance in a completely involving manner, yet with slight, but always musical, differences. Your system deserves an audition of the MA7s. You may not be able to give them up.

A brief word on their digital cable, the DIG4. I replaced my reference, the Acoustic Zen Absolute 75 Digital Cable, with the DIG4 and after A/B testing, I found it matched the Zen in every way. The DIG4 is a reference caliber digital interconnect at $150 less then the Acoustic Zen cable and $90.00 less than the Antipodes Kokiri digital cable which are my current digital references. In my review of the Zen cable, I talk about the differences in personality between the Kokiri and the Zen digital cables and it applies to the Morrow as well.

As I submit this review it is with an awareness that I’m really not sure they are completely burned-in. Will there be further developments as they continue to play? Or, have they actually reached their full potential? Stay tuned.

In the here and now, I’m awarding the MA7 an Audiophilia Star Component Award.

[We are proud to award the Morrow Cable MA7 Grand Reference Interconnects an Audiophilia Star Component Award. Congratulations! - Ed]

During one of my listening sessions, Karl Sigman, our newest Audiophilia reviewer was so interested he asked if he could try a pair in his system. What follows are his comments:

Marty has lent me several analog interconnect cables to try over the last months and by far these Morrow MA7 are the best I have heard (on my system: DAC to amps) in comparison to my own personal reference, the Acoustic Zen Absolute Silver (AZ). The MA7 have the same naturalness and transparency, excellent imaging, as my reference and additionally bring a warmth, and smooth silky airiness that is especially flattering to voices (female or male) that my reference can sometimes portray a little hard.
The smoothness does (in my view) round off some crispiness but many would view that as a plus; it is all a matter of taste and personal preference.

I still prefer the AZ for serious percussion (unparalleled details/crispiness are revealed from the AZ); but I now plan to get a pair of these MA7 as an alternative reference. The price is remarkable. They are outstanding cables. Thank you, Karl.

The Morrow Cable MA7 Grand Reference Interconnects

Manufactured by Morrow Audio
5195 Madison Pike
Independence, KY 41051
USA

USA & Canada Toll Free: 800.280.9167
Toll & International: 859.356.6994

website
email

Reference System

Amplifiers: Hephaestus HMA-1000 Monoblocks
Speakers: Levy Acoustics
Phono Preamplifier: AVID Pulsare updated to II
CD source: MSB DATA CD IV Transport w/ DEQX HDP-4 Preamplifier/Processor
Analogue source: Avid SEQUEL SP/SME IV arm/Cartridge: Shelter 7000
Speaker Cables: Acoustic Zen’s Absolute, Wasatch’s Ultama
Power Cords: Kaplan GS Mk II
Interconnects: Antipodes Audio KOKIRI, KOMAKO and REFERENCE, Acoustic Zen’s Absolute
Accessories: REDPOINT BLAKHOLE’s, Herbie’s Audio Lab Tenderfeet, Soundcare products, Acme Audio Labs wall outlets
Power Conditioning: Kaplan Alchemist

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Karl Sigman 07.10.13 at 6:36 pm

Last night I was finally able to get my PS Audio PerfectWave MKII DAC to work with its optional `Bridge’, which allows one to completely remove the use of a USB cable.
(I will be writing about this Bridge very soon; stay tuned. Surprisingly impressive.) Because the sound of my system is now even more transparent, revealing and natural, I spent hours more time today listening extensively to compare the cables yet again. Conclusion:
The MA7 are now much closer to the AZ in details/clarity even at the high end/percussion area, the softness/smoothness is much more subtle and lifelike, and in addition the MA7 offer a tighter bass (unexpected) than the AZ.
I am tempted to give the MA7 a slight edge overall; very impressive. So: It is not only that I want a pair of the MA7 as an alternative reference, I now must have them!

-Karl Sigman

admin 07.10.13 at 6:37 pm

Thanks for the detailed follow up, Karl.

Cheers, a

MARTIN APPEL 07.11.13 at 5:52 pm

Told you so.

Mike Morrow 07.11.13 at 7:08 pm

We want to thank Audiophilia for the straightforward and honest review. Our goal is to provide quality cables at affordable prices. Our design equals those up to 10 times the price and provides great musicality. Our unique technology can be seen here: http://www.morrowaudio.com/theorydesign.htm

Mike Morrow,
President,
Morrow Audio

admin 07.11.13 at 7:10 pm

Thank you for the kind words, Mike. And, congrats on your fine cables.

Cheers, a

Roger Crane 07.17.13 at 10:56 pm

Hello Mike, I’m glad to hear that you’re getting close. Remember CAT5E and continue with a double helos design times five. Part with any coated wire. Plus the less attractive cover the better. Do away with it. Look at Mapleshade’s best wire, then improve on it for current. This is the answer. You won’t hear a few differences, you’ll for the first time hear real demensionality. Keep up the good work. When you reach what I’m talking about, you’ll know immediately and will never hear another like it. Without burn-in or doubt. You ‘ll see and hear music like never before. Your very close. Dispose of any silver coated copper wire. It isn’t the answer. Small solid core copper, properly twisted. No solder. You’re so close. Good Luck! Roger Crane

Mike Morrow 07.30.13 at 6:39 am

Thanks for your recommendations, but we have been around the barn with wire. With the right gauge, silver coated copper provides the best balance of sound in our opinion… It is a bear to break in however. After patience, there is great reward.

Mike Morrow

MARTIN APPEL 08.01.13 at 8:37 am

Hi Roger, your comments are very interesting and I’m sure Mike Morrow can answer for himself. (I see he already has). I just want to state a few observations I’ve experienced over the years.
After many years of reviewing cables I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no one right way to design. In fact, there are multiple approaches that have resulted in products that have exceptional performance. How you get there is a process of trial and error and trial again. The interaction of different materials and design configurations, as well as, the type of terminations all factor in to the final sound. And most importantly, the personal preference of the designer and his vision of what the sound should be is paramount. What type of system he’s listening on is equally important in contributing to the final result. The end result can take many different forms but the one that ultimately satisfies the designer and meets his criteria is the one that makes his achievement successful or not. In Mike Morrow’s case, a very successful result indeed.
I’m also sure that no designe

MARTIN APPEL 08.01.13 at 8:46 am

Sorry my statement accidentally was interrupted. Just to finish, I’m sure Mike, like all good designers is never satisfied and is probably working on improvements as I write this. It’s that never ending search for the perfect solution that drives our industry and Mike has that passion.

Thanks for your comments

Martin Appel

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>