I have been upgrading my entire system over the past few months. It now consists of a Thorens turntable with a Goldring cartridge, Ballari tube preamp, Sony ES SACD player, Cayin integrated tube amp, AAD reference speakers, and cabling from Nordost and Audience, and XLO speaker cables. Not to mention the overpriced tweaks that include isolation platforms made of 3 inch maple with brass cones, power conditioners, isolation transformers, power cables, etc. I consider my system to have high resolution, but as any good audiophile will tell you, we want more.
The next step in the upgrade process was to locate a good interconnect. What I wanted in a cable is that elusive quality called inner or low-level detail. You usually don't find this in lower or mid-priced cables like the MA3's.
After trying a few different brand name products, I settled in on Nordost. They've been working great in my system and I always get compliments from my audiophile friends about the great sound I get. My eyes, ears and wallet were set on the Nordost Heimdalls. I went to the local dealer and took them home for a test run. Even though they improved the sound of my system, I did not get that WOW factor that I think an audio product should give you. I returned them to the dealer and moved up the Nordost line.
This time with the Nordist there was a WOW factor, but at a tremendous cost. I could not convince myself that I would be required to pay that much for something that I was beginning to believe could be found elsewhere, for less and for the same quality.
I'm not afraid to pay for quality, however, I am not impressed with pretty packaging ($), colorful brochures ($), excessive advertising ($$), or a product that looks like you want to eat it for dessert ($). I want an honest cable where the bulk of the company's investment went into its function. Isn't that what a cable is about? My amp can look pretty, my speakers can look pretty, but interconnects which are rarely seen, no thanks. I returned the Nordost cables to the dealer and started my hunt for the right interconnects...iInterconnects that would give me the WOW factor!
In my extensive and comprehensive search on the internet, I came across Morrow Audio and liked what I saw. I took the gamble and purchased a pair of MA3s. I was not entirely secure in what I was getting into, but what I read convinced me to take the risk. And it was a small investment to make compared to what my original intentions were with the brand name cables.
The cables arrived yesterday. They were surrounded by bubble-wrap. No fancy boxes, color brochures, enlightenments of how I have become part of the Elite and Exclusive world of hi-end audio by purchasing this product. No rationale telling me what I'm supposed to listen for. Only installation instructions and break-in procedures; apparently these cables need lots of time to break-in (at first I thought it was probably to keep people from returning them prior to the 60 day policy). As I was unwrapping, reading and connecting, I started to get that feeling that I was setting myself up for a disappointment. I thought you can't sneak past quality without paying for it.
The cables are thin and have the look and feel of Kimber with a black surround to cover them. The first thing I did was connect them to the CD player and I played the pink noise track on the Stereophile Test CD2 in repeat mode for about three hours. I was avoiding listening to them until they were somewhat broken in. To be honest, I did that to avoid the possible disappointment I would get from buying no-name $200+ cables sight unseen.
Three hours later, I went into the room and removed the test CD, and put on my usual culprits (the recordings I know inside and out. The first thing I noticed was that the tone was the same as my previous cables. No change there, and that was good.
Then things begin to change in the music I knew like the palm of my hand. Music was happening like never before. The first thing I said out loud was "that was'ent there before". Next came "that's a new sound!" Then came the "WOW", and many more "wows" after that.
As each CD went though audition, the sound got better and better. What was happening was that I was getting reacquainted with my well-known CDs and started hearing music that did not exist prior to these cables. It was a revelation! I did notice that the volume control on my amp had to go a notch more to get it at the levels I'm used to listening. I think that's because the instruments did not appear to be so close together in the soundstage as before.
Believe me when I tell you... I had a great soundstage before! The soundstage grew to beyond the speakers; that was a head turner! I perceived lower and more defined lows, and with tube equipment, that was quite a startling difference. Then the instruments started sounding fuller and more complete; I could hear more complexity in the sound from each instrument. Little sounds that weren't there suddenly materialized and little sounds that were not as noticeable before started popping out, and clearly. I wanted low-level detail... I got it! To say the least, I had a smile on my face!
Then came the big test, connecting them to the phono preamp. WOW again and many more "wows"! I spent the rest of the evening listening to music. Next week, I'm putting the Audience and Nordost cables on E-Bay. The MA3's are a wonderful investment, actually a steal! Incredible! With a claimed hundreds of hours of break-in to go, how much better can they possibly get? Great job Mike. You have a devotee. Rodolfo Bonnin