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Morrow SP3 Review (Speaker Cable)

Francis Vaughan

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I wonder to what extent ASR is capable of providing a decent guide or heuristic to separate nonsense from reasonable applied science in this field.
Easy. Sadly not complete. Snake oil salesmen are nothing if not creative.

  • If the word "quantum" is used at any time in the description it is BS.
    • Quantum physics is quite real, and of course none of our equipment would work without it, but you can be sure that anyone pedalling speaker wire and invoking quantum physics would not know a wave function even if it bit them.
  • Any assertion about skin effect.
    • This includes any assertion about special weaves, separately insulated strands, weird geometries, flat ribbon cables.
  • Any assertion that the audio frequencies separate out in the conductor, or travel at different speeds.
  • Any assertion about special metallurgical properties of the conductor.
    • Includes, micro crystalline, linear crystal, cryogenic treatment.
  • Any mention of micro-diodes.
    • They don't exist.
  • Any mention of radio frequency physics applied to audio signals.
    • Includes transmission line effects, reflection, impedance matching.
  • Any mention of directivity in cable other than for grounding/shield management in interconnects.
It is very rare to need to have a scientific discussion about speaker cables. Reasonable questions might involve:
  • Good sources for large quantities.
  • Appropriate cable for permanent outdoor use or use in challenging environments, such as concerts.
  • Easily pulled cable for installation in walls etc. Might want to include vermin resistance.
  • Flat cable for under carpet and the like.
  • Help with termination. All the above warnings apply to connectors.

But really, the single most easy way of determining if someone is either lying or stupid is to see whether the cable costs more than a few dollars a metre, plus a reasonable allowance for labour and termination if they are made up. This is a 100% guaranteed bulletproof test. Someone is pitching to divest you of your money for no reason other than they want some of it.
 

WickedInsignia

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Snake oil salesmen are nothing if not creative.
I do wonder however if they are not self-aware?
I find it hard to relate to something like fleecing people out of their money on false promises, since I could not justifiably do it myself.

More and more I feel that DBX testing needs to become a standard requirement in this industry. You are only allowed to sell your product after conducting a supervised test with a random participant.
 
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thefsb

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I think you are full of it, and what’s more, I think you know you are full of it.
There are different kinds of knowing.

The boots were approaching again. The door opened. O'Brien came in.

Winston started to his feet. The shock of the sight had driven all caution out of him. For the first time in many years he forgot the presence of the telescreen.

"They've got you too!" he cried.

"They got me a long time ago," said O'Brien with a mild, almost regretful irony. He stepped aside. From behind him there emerged a broad-chested guard with a long black truncheon in his hand.

"You knew this, Winston," said O'Brien. "Don't deceive yourself. You did know it—you have always known it."

Yes, he saw now, he had always known it.
He had known it when he and Julia had given themselves to O'Brien and the rebel cause. But had also not known (a different kind of knowing) because he had so much invested already.
 

SIY

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I do wonder however if they are not self-aware?
I find it hard to relate to something like fleecing people out of their money on false promises, since I could not justifiably do it myself.

More and more I feel that DBX testing needs to become a standard requirement in this industry. You are only allowed to sell your product after conducting a supervised test with a random participant.
Do you mean ABX? That's a valid listening test format, but not the only one.
 

thefsb

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The distortions we are talking about on the website are those that are not measurable with test equipment.
And yet you make specific apparently scientific assertions as to the reasons behind insulated strands in your cables. There is a whole section of psuedo-scientific BS that asserts physical properties to the wire and justifies its magical audio capabilities as being due to these effects. Yet you can't measure the claimed physical properties. Somewhere there is disconnect in honesty or competence.
Moreover the claim is that somehow the cable magically removes distortions that occurred earlier. Which is pretty impressive.
What I like most about the assertion is that it defines a category of distortion that is not scientifically measurable but is perceptible. The particular kind of distortion thus defined cannot be measured it in the physical domain and therefore does not exist in the physical domain. However, some people hear it. So either the distortion is imaginary (as Amir often patiently explains) or it exists in a non-physical, i.e. supernatural, domain.

It's curious how a physical (material) device such as a speaker cable with banana plugs, mitigates supernatural and/or imaginary distortions. I guess this is where the baffle-gab comes in to explain how a mere cable can do these tricks.
 

BluesDaddy

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Sorry, if that means double-blind testing then yes haha. I’d seen the abbreviation before but evidently forgot!
ABX is often coupled with DBT but is not synonymous. ABX is when blind testing is performed between two of the same type components, A and B, and the X is either A OR B in order to control for "guessing". A may be selected then B, or X which might be A again or B. It is random so a person simply indicating they could hear a difference based on switching will get identified OR, preferably, the listener doesn't just "guess".
 

Francis Vaughan

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ABX is probably the most definitive for whether a difference exists. But it is less useful if you want guidance on preference of some metric of quality once you know a difference exists. For cables clearly ABX is going to be the start as until it is proven any difference exists it isn’t possible to ask about better. ABX is really a clever implementation of double blind. But because it only delivers a binary result it’s use is limited. A double blind protocol is possible for a much wider range experiments.
 

pma

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  • Any mention of radio frequency physics applied to audio signals.
    • Includes transmission line effects, reflection, impedance matching.
The key here is the impact of longer speaker cable to amplifier stability, depending of course on amplifier design and transmission line length and geometry. This is the fact that cannot be explained by simple R, L and C parameters. The fact that is verified by experiment, measurements and simulations.

Your position is purely academic, which is nice, but not enough. I prefer results based on real experiment that can be repeated, to purely theoretical debate. There is no question that transmission line parameters do not affect audio band signals. But if amp stability is affected and oscillations are created, we have secondary effect to audio signal which is audible. Oversimplification is good only at school.
 

Bruce Morgen

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The key here is the impact of longer speaker cable to amplifier stability, depending of course on amplifier design and transmission line length and geometry. This is the fact that cannot be explained by simple R, L and C parameters. The fact that is verified by experiment, measurements and simulations.

Your position is purely academic, which is nice, but not enough. I prefer results based on real experiment that can be repeated, to purely theoretical debate. There is no question that transmission line parameters do not affect audio band signals. But if amp stability is affected and oscillations are created, we have secondary effect to audio signal which is audible. Oversimplification is good only at school.
That's an amplifier design issue -- with very few exceptions, some old Naim gear comes to mind -- any amp that is unstable connected to a loudspeaker with 16AWG zip cord is more than likely to be unstable with a specialized "audiophile cable" of equal gauge and length.
 

Francis Vaughan

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But if amp stability is affected and oscillations are created, we have secondary effect to audio signal which is audible. Oversimplification is good only at school.
Amplifier stability is very unlikely to be affected by transmission line effects. Transmission line effects will come into play at wavelengths near the length of the cable. So say 30MHz and above. Lumped constant parameters, the basic LCR parameters are so far as I have experience always enough to explain amplifier instability. It is very rare to have an amplifier show much loop gain at frequencies much about say 1MHz. The presence of an inductor on the output of almost any amplifier also limits things. Even at frequencies above 30MHz, lumped constant effects will dominate. Once you are invoking transmission line effects the termination characteristics are also in play, so the termination at radio frequencies provided by the internal wiring of the speaker and the crossover come into play, as well as the output filter on the amp.

The poster child for amplifier instability and cables was of course Naim. They deliberately left off the Zobel network and the design assumed that their preferred cables would provide the needed load. This was fully explainable with lumped constant LCR.

An amplifier that has stability problems influenced by transmission line effects would be an interesting beast. I can imagine how to design one, but to do so would come under the category of wilfully incompetent design. Not that audio is not replete with such stupidity.

If you have a documented set of measurements describing a cable and amplifier that clearly display stability problem only explainable by transmission line effects I would be interested to see it. I suspect if such can be found the amplifier has been designed with some very weird design goals. Which, as I say, is all too common in audiophool audio.

ETA, the above list was intended to debunk claims cable providers make about their cables. So I will remain on point that if any cable vendor claims that their cable has special transmission line effects, they are spouting rubbish. If an amplifier designer warns that certain cable geometries are unsuitable for use with their amplifier, that is a different matter. The designer may be designing using questionable design ideas, but that is his choice. The vendor of a cable has no idea what amplifier their cable will be used on, nor indeed have I ever seen cables where the length is limited to specific values - as would be required for any transmission line effects to matter when stability comes into play.
 
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Thomas savage

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I appreciate the review, but there are some major flaws in the methodology.

Here is an example… When attending an audiophile trade show, one walks by rooms where stereo systems are playing. For the most part, as you approach the room, you know that it is indeed a stereo system. Now, when you are in the lobby, which also contains stereos, you hear something different, you know that it is live music. As you round the corner, you discover that it indeed is! If you measured a stereo playing the same thing, compared to the live event, they will measure the same, yet sound so much different. This is the “distortion” I am speaking of. Why is the recording of the live event sound so different from the actual live event? It is a form of distortion.

.
Wow, leading the jury down the garden path here .

Iv no issue with these cables , they look nice, do a good job and don't cost much but i do have issue with this peice of total fantasy and demonstrably wrong thinking .

Fantastic nonsense!

All you need to do is create doubts in the customers mind and present your ' solution ' .

Your not a defence attorney by any chance?
 

welsh

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I'm not so sure about that. He's a lifelong tinkerer in electronics, but he has no academic training in engineering or science (no college degree). He supposedly has perfect pitch hearing, so he's pretty confident in his hearing ability. But he hasn't learned the importance of controls in testing/comparisons. He almost certainly does it all sighted and thinks his hearing abilities are sufficient to overcome any biases he might have (he's wrong there, of course).
Hmm. I am prepared to believe that a ‘high end’ amplifier builder who does esoteric designs and has no RnD department may genuinely believe, using open loop sighted comparisons, that his design is superior. But I cannot for a second believe that cable companies believe the nonsense they spout. I bet all the ‘high end’ wire comes out of the same Chinese factories - all the ‘designers’ do is add fancy connectors (or batteries!) and for real kudos, little blocks of wood.
 

Bruce Morgen

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I watched this but it seemed as if Gene waffled a bit on the answer to the question. However, it's difficult to read PS Audio's responses in the link below and think they don't know they're peddling bullshit.
https://www.audioholics.com/audio-video-cables/synergy-audio-cables
A cordial, well-spoken b00|$hitter is still a b00|$hitter. I like Paul McGowan. I even like Steve Guttenberg. I don't trust either of them as advisors. McGowan's entire business depends on "high-end" mythology and Guttenberg has failed to overcome his early conditioning as a showroom salesman for the legendary NYC "high-end" retailer "Sound By Singer."
 

Chrispy

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FWIW David Salz (Wireworld) I've seen a coupla reports where they think he's actually a believer in his products. I had a business conversation with him once about drawback of duties on his chinese made wire he had imported and found him rather lucid in that concern as a businessman....
 

Bruce Morgen

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FWIW David Salz (Wireworld) I've seen a coupla reports where they think he's actually a believer in his products. I had a business conversation with him once about drawback of duties on his chinese made wire he had imported and found him rather lucid in that concern as a businessman....
Paul McGowan also seems to be a pretty savvy businessman, but that doesn't mean he believes PS Audio "innovations" like the "Noise Harvester" and the "Analog Cell" power amp front end have any real benefit other than to his bottom line.
 
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