Morrow Audio

logo Cable Break-In Process, Cable Direction & Hookup...

When you place your order, you can select our cable break-in service, selectable through a drop down box in the shopping cart for that cable product. Prices vary with the cable model and level of break-in desired.

On our cables you will find a direction arrow on the Morrow Audio label. Follow this when hooking up your cables to insure the proper direction configuration. As an example, if you were hooking up a CD player to a preamp, the arrow would point toward the preamp.

On regular speaker cables (non-biwired), the red is plus and the black is minus on your speaker cables. This also corresponds with the binding post colors on your amplifier and speakers.


Amplifier End:
Red is positive
Black is negative

Speaker End, High Frequencies:
Red is positive
Black is negative

Speaker End, Low Frequencies:
White is positive
Blue is negative

Our cables require a total of 400 to 500 hours to completely break in. If you ordered our 2 day cable break-in service, your cables will arrive with the equivalent of 96 hours on them. If you ordered the extended 5 day breakin, the equivalent of 240 hours will be on them.

The "difficult stage" of the breakin, where the cables might be hard to listen to is between 50 to 100 hours. There can be brief periods however past this point. If you have an evening where they are hard to listen to, do not fret, this will quickly go away. All should be well the next day. When full breakin is reached, there will be no more changes with the sound.

Our cables are meant to be hooked up and left alone. If you later move your cables, 1 to 2 days might be required for them to "settle" into their new positions. If you notice a change in the sound, all will return after the 1 to 2 days. Again, do not fret!

Understanding the break-in process:
All cable products require a break-in time for the sound quality to reach the maximum potential for that product. It can be a sonic roller coaster ride during break-in.

The Morrow Audio line of cables are very different from most others, as well as their break-in temperament. The extreme high quality of these cables require a rather lengthy break-in period. This MUST be understood. If you are use to and believe that all cables require 50 to 100 hours or so to break-in, you will be deceived by this belief and miss out on an exceptional musical experience.

Avoid premature returns:
We receive very few returns during the 60 day audition period. Most of them have been from customers who did not complete the break-in process. Either they did not understand or made a miss-judgment during the difficult phase of the break-in process. 99% of returns have been from this fact. A pre-mature return have robbed these customers from the sonic beauty our cables have to offer.

How to effectively break-in your cables:
Playing the following at normal listening levels will break in your cables:

  • An electronic device designed for breaking in cables.

  • An FM tuner, tuned to inter-station "hiss". This "hiss" is white noise, covering the full spectrum of frequencies, breaking in your cables.

  • A CD player on repeat can also be effective. Use a CD with a full spectrum of sound like heavy rock music, or a CD designed for breaking in components or cables.

In the case of interconnects, you do not need to have all your equipment turned on. For instance, if you are breaking in some interconnects that are connected to a CD player and preamp, and you are using the CD player to break in the cables, the preamp does not need to be turned on. The cable need only be plugged into it. The input impendence of the preamp "loads" the cables, allowing the signal to flow through them from the playing CD player.

NOTE: It is not necessary to breakin your cables. You can simply hook them up and enjoy, knowing that if you reach a "difficult" stage, that it will go away with time.

What you will hear:
With the Morrow Audio cable products, we have found that the sound is good at first, then there is a dip in quality with a sudden steep dip in-between where it is unpleasant to listen to. This dip quickly rises back to a comfortable listening quality with a steady improvement, rising far above the first listen until the end of the break-in process. This whole process generally occurs over a 50 to 300 hour period, sometimes as long as 400 hours depending on the cable model.

In order to help you know what you will hear during this process, we have provided below an explanation and actual customer testimonials for the first hours, mid-way hours and then the sonic glory of a fully broken in product.

The first 50 hours:
When you first hook up your cables, you will hear about 70% of the sonic potential the cables have to offer. The highs might tend to be a little peaky and/or harsh, bass may lack and the midrange "sterile". This will soon go away and the frequencies will even out as the breakin process advances. Note from the testimonials below that the high frequencies is the area most noted.

"After receiving the new Morrow cables, I immediately began playing music on them. They sounded thin, no bass, but the highs were rather promising."

"I could hear early on how good the clarity and definition were."

"At first, they sound rather lean..."

"The highs were flighty in the beginning, but the promise of something good was there, so I hung in there, and am very, very pleased. Clean as a whistle."

Mid-way through the break-in process 50 to 100 hours:
Between 50 and 100 hours you will experience the "difficult stage" of the break-in process. The sonic potential of the cable drops to 50%. It may be difficult to listen during this time. This is when some of our customers make a pre-mature return, missing out on the full sonic glory of the product.

"The cables went into breakin hell... shrill, mobil sound stage, and downright strange sonic's... my house was suddenly relieved of its pests and vermin... local bird life flapped away noisily... my dog ran off and didn't look back... fish in the aquarium gave me the stink eye... the grass began to wither...but today, Mr. Morrow, heaven has been restored... remarkable cables... getting better... but oh what a ride! Btw, the dog returned and the lawn looks great!".

"Well, two weeks later, (as described in the breakin paper), things got worse. I remember thinking to give them a little time before you send them back. It was almost a full weeks before they started to improve, but when they did, what magic!"

"Things are starting to happen. I came down last evening to have a quick listen. I estimate that I was at the 55-60 hour point with the interconnects. The sound was flat and uninteresting, the sound-stage seemed to have collapsed. Instruments that had been 'hard right' before were now somewhere in the center. I put the CD back on repeat and left. This morning...what a difference...67-72 hours ...exactly as stated by your users. I am going to China on business for about a week but will be ordering more cables when I return."

"The highs can be a little peaky during the mid-hours of break-in. There is a dip in quality from what was heard during the first hours. Bass and midrange appears to be a little thin."

"The cable opened up tonight. What a difference a day makes. Dynamic, clear, full and weighty. It is a very musical speaker cable and images very well. Was nasally yesterday and the day before for that matter."

A 170 hour testimonial...
"Changes? Absolutely!   I must tell you that I was somewhat skeptical, not necessarily about the actual existence of a break in process because I have experienced some of it with other cables.  However, I must tell you that about 10 days ago, with around 170 hours of playing time on your interconnects, the sound changed dramatically! Even my wife noticed the changes.  Both of us are very impressed with the changes that occurred

Suddenly, the soundstage opened up significantly, timbers became fleshier and more realistically, dynamics [micro and macro] are more organic, and articulations [staccatos, pizzicatos, etc.] are more natural.  But the most dramatic change occurred with the sense of 'physical space perception,' as I can best describe it.  My wife nailed it: it sounds like live music now!  This perception is more evident in our several recordings from the Mapleshade label, which has wonderful jazz recordings.

Mike, I am a professional conductor, so I've been working with college choirs [and occasionally with orchestras as well] for a long time now, so I know a thing or two about musical sounds.  I must say that your cables have definitely help my stereo gear get closer to what real music is!" Dr. Hoffmann Urquiza Pereira

After full break-in:
As you reach the end of the break-in process, the frequency extremes fill and smooth out, the midrange bloom returns and the cable takes on a very natural sound presentation.

"I just wanted to let you know that after 336 hours the MA3 interconnects are awesome in my system!!!!! Your 5 day burn in helped a lot and then I ran them in another 96 hours.  WOW! Want you to know that your MA3 kicked major butt over the 4 times more expensive interconnect I was using. Now, I am a believer."

"After this break-in period (280 hours), I played disc after disc and became a believer in Morrow Audio's hype. The bass was spectacular, the highs were open and nicely extended, but the midrange with female vocals or acoustic instruments, like guitar and piano, became surreal. Whitney Houston and Karen Carpenter came to life. Recordings which were really good became great!"

"As the cables break in, the bass and lower midrange fill out, and the cables become much more extended at the frequency extremes."

"Amazing clarity of sound and deep bass"

"Clear, precise, great rhythm, deep clear bass, inner detail..."

"They have great clarity, presence, extension and just sound beautiful! I believe these are quite special."

"The cables have a very natural sound and do an excellent job of preserving the natural timbre of instruments."

"The sound stage is huge! I'm very happy."

"There is substantially more bass with no loss of clarity/ definition. The midrange/ highs sound very natural."

"Great audio cables Mike! BIG improvement on my audio system... soundstage, focus, tone quality, it is all there."

General testimonials about break-in:
"Be prepared for a long break in (even when you use Mike's breakin service) and settling in process. I'd seriously estimate hundreds of hours, but the wait is worth it. These cables not only solved many problems with one system, they also brought a very rewarding musicality to my systems."

"Most important, break them in! I liked mine best after they were worked over by my Hagerman Frycleaner for the length of time Jim Hagerman specified (three days) and then another 50 to 100 hours on the system. Do not neglect this. This is not voodoo or bs. You will like these cables if you break them in at least 150-200 hours; if you don't you will not like them."

"They get better and better week after week, month after month. It's the hardware settling in to the cables, not the other way around. It takes time, but you will be rewarded with patience."

"As they have aged and stayed in the system with several hundred hours now, they have changed and improved further. They have filled out in presence and in the bass, and the highs are sounding quite natural and open."

Mike, About 4 weeks ago, I called you on a Saturday morning to inquire about some of your interconnects as I have a friend (Greg from Boston) that really likes your cables. Greg and I have been sharing various experiences with cables for over a year now. We both fell in different directions, ending up with different brands that neither of us have heard in our systems. For Greg, it was your cables, for me, it was something else.

Greg made some descriptions of the changes in sound that really intrigued me. Greg was describing everything that I wanted, so I had to ultimately try your cables. With your guidance and my budget, I order 2 pairs of MA2 interconnects to go between my DAC and preamp, and my preamp and amps.

I have to be honest and tell you that my first listen was interesting, but not good. Then the break-in process started. Now things were really not good. I complained to Greg, and told me to throw them on my DVR box and break them in for at least 200 hours. So I did that giving them a listen every now and again. They sounded different every time, but certainly never "good".

I decided to put them in my setup once again this past Saturday. They had just over 300 hours on them and they sounded a lot better. However, after listening to them for the better part of Saturday and Sunday, I was thinking about throwing in the towel and sending them back. Greg encouraged me to give them up to another 100 hours before even thinking about returning them, so I did. This is where things got interesting.

When I wrapped up my Monday work day, I sat down to listen for a while. I had left my source and preamp on 24 hours per day to further break-in the cables. I am now a believer that cables can and do break-in, but I was a long way from what I wanted from them. But when the music started to play, it was like I was listening to a completely different system. I did not expect a big change, nor can I explain just how the heck this happened, but I'm going to say the sound is nearly perfect! For the first time in many months, I found myself listening to the music and not thinking about what's wrong with the sound. I played as many tracks as I had time for, and every track was like a journey into what could sound amazing in this next track. This has now gone on for 3 days. I honestly can't tell you what I'd want different or better. I'm shocked!

So I suffered through many hours of your interconnects sounding bad, then getting better leaving me thinking this was it and I didn't like them, then finally going to: "I can't believe how perfect this sounds." The last transformation was not just the treble, midrange, bass, sound stage, separation, etc, it was literally everything got dramatically better. Everything just fell into place. Now I hope every day that the sound doesn't change. For the last 3 days, it has not.

I've come to realize over the years that the real magic of a great setup comes from the synergy of all the components. I've been told by many people from the audio forums that my setup is the best they've ever heard in anyone's home. Well I can tell you that they haven't heard anything yet. Your interconnects have really taken my sound to a new level. The synergy I'm enjoying right now is the best I've ever had.

I could explain everything in more detail regarding the sound, but I don't think that's important to my message to you. I just wanted to let you know that you certainly seem to know something special about making cables. I can't wait until I can scrounge up enough money to upgrade to the MA4's or MA6's as Greg has explained the differences as something I'd like to have. I can't wait. You have won me over as a customer, and I intend to try your speaker cables once my interconnects are all upgraded.

So to make a long story short, I really just wanted to say "thanks" and let you know how impressed I am with your product. I'm really glad I called you that Saturday. Terry H.