Review: Morrow Audio 300B1 Monoblocks Tube amp

Category: Amplifiers

Randy M, 300B1 SET owner, with permission:

"I have had my new Morrow Audio 300B1 monoblock amps up and running for a week now.

I am using a Cary slp98p pre and BAT VK-5 cdp, VPI scoutmaster table with DV Karat cart, old Fisher 200b tuner.

I have been 'into' tube audio gear for 3 1/2 yrs, and specifically single ended amps for the past 2 yrs. I have learned the hard (= expensive) way, and have bought and sold a lot of speakers and gear... not cheap. I eventually found my way to hi-sensitivity speakers, including the big Klipsch, nice vintage Altec Valencia, and now John Kalinowski custom Fostex based speakers, which for me are the ultimate.

I have two pair wired in series, so four cabinets, one pair with the fe208sigma with Fountek neocd2.0i ribbon tweeter, and the other system has the fostex FW305 12" paired with the phenomenal Fountek neopro5i ribbon with both systems using only a single capacitor for crossover. All this is to say, I have very dynamic, easy to drive speakers in the 95 dB (12") 98 db (8") and 102 dB (ribbons) range, very SET friendly and very revealing.

The Morrow 300B1 amps are large, but there is a good reason for that. The electromagnetic fields don't interact, and the delicate input circuit is as far from the power supply as possible. The amp is visually very beautiful, with a slight industrial edge to it, with all the screw caps on the top plate showing. VERY nice build quality, just screams excellence. Wow!
It looks like a small city, with the power plant in the rear, imposing gold caps, power transformer and choke, and the HUGE output transformer right in the middle. The sight of all that Electra-print iron in one place is almost decadent.

The finish is excellent, dark reddish wood sides which smell really nice of freshly stained and varnished mahogany--but all this is described so well on the website.

The sound? I have to agree with all the superlatives on the website already, all the usual words describing the magic of the 300b apply--low level detail in spades, revealing, holographic, tonal purity, REAL . I would add: Authoritative! These amps don't mess around. The dynamics are fast and almost scary. Depending on the recording, crescendos explode, bass lines reach way down, cymbals shimmer, piano is thunderous--all while maintaining the delicacy and separation of instruments and performers that are so crucial to the feeling of 'you are there'.

One night I played Brahms cello sonata, Yo Yo Ma on vinyl. VERY rich, deep cello tones, much more authority than the px25 amp I've been listening to for a couple of weeks. Then I just listened, very beautiful, gripping, DETAILED, I love it. You are right, maybe its the transformer coupling, there is something unique.

I look forward every day to firing them up, and if they really do sound better after 100-200 hours burn in, then I am in for a treat, since they sound great 'right out of the box'. Thanks Mike, I feel very lucky to have received a pair of your world class amps.

OK OK, I know its a little gushy, but these things ROCK!! And I don't even listen to rock, mostly a classical nerd with nice female vocalists thrown in at times. Nothing like a little Diana Krall on a rainy day.

Maybe now I can spend more time listening and less time (or none at all) shopping for the 'ultimate amp'--I may have found it.

I rather like that, don't you? And its so true, I read once on AA the question "which is the best SET amp in the world" answer: "The one you don't own--yet!!" Its definitely time to quit shopping."
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Thank you for your comments. This business is a long hard road. My pleasure comes from the joy of music it brings my customers. So far all have been very pleased. The Audiogon staff has been very helpful and supportive.

Thanks for all your understanding...

Mike Morrow,
Morrow Audio
Well, I must admit I had no idea that "Commercial users are welcome to submit reviews, but only if they are truly useful to members, and as long as they disclose any business affiliations." In that case I change my opinion to match Zaikesman's "not necessarily a poor reflection on the manufacturer, about whom I know nothing[)], and blame Audiogon for not preventing it, either by deed or word". And Mike, I do really hope your amps are great and that you make a go of it. It does rub the wrong way, but if you cleared it with the A'gon staff then I guess I owe you an apology.
Even though the Audiogon rules allowed our post, I will respect and keep your comments at thought for the future.

We desire to be a friend no matter if you buy our products or not. We audiophiles are family and desire the joy of music in our lives regardless of the products chosen.

Mike Morrow