DHC doesn’t particularly spoil their customers with a big fancy box or many accessories at all when they ship their Prion4. When you order one from them, you’ll get a carbon fibre pouch, a few stickers, a cleaning cloth, a thumb drive and of course the Prion4.
While some might want more, all you need is the cable itself and with DHC you can be sure that the money you pay is going into the cable, and not an accessory set. Which is an assuring thing in my opinion.
The Prion4 is one hefty cable, that’s for sure. The 18.8 AWG sized cables definitely add some weight, and thankfully it doesn’t play such an important role in a headphone cable. The weight gets distributed very differently than on an IEM cable for example.
The cable itself consists of four individual wires, which come in two pairs. DHC does not braid all four cables together, because they want to minimize the crosstalk effect of the wires. Both channels are fully isolated from each other and DHC says that this preserves the sound-stage integrity.
The cable itself feels very sturdy and due to its nature it is not exactly flexible, though I wouldn’t call it stiff either. As mentioned before, this is something that isn’t as important in headphone cables as in portable cables.
The only thing that would need some better clarification is channel declaration. Both mini XLR plugs are identical, usually they’re colour coded, but not here. The only thing that gave away which side is left and which is right, was a small piece of heat-shrink. After some trying out, I knew the heat-shrink side is left. DHC has told me that in future the heat shrink will be replaced by a titanium barrel similar to those found on their IEM cables such as the Clone Fusion. Other than that the Prion4 is masterfully built.
My Prion4 is terminated to fit my Meze Empyrean and since I don’t have any other headphone that uses a 4 Pin mini XLR connector, the below description is based only on this one pairing.
The DHC delivers impressive levels of darkness in the background. The musicians seem to stand out on a pitch black background and enjoy perfect spotlight. Every note sounds spot on and clean. I don’t feel that there are any impurities in any frequency.
The Empyrean gets a more tamed bass response, a tighter grip and deeper extension. What surprised me was the added definition of lows. They are not more forward by any means, but they enjoy higher rendering and resolution.
The Prion4 sports impressive levels of transparency, which makes itself most audible in the midrange. Mids are wide open and enjoy high levels of resolution. The Empyrean did receive the needed amount of air to give the musicians some additional room to breath.
Another noticeable change with the Prion4 is the speed of the Empyrean. With the Prion4 the Meze sounds faster and more alive, especially in its upper mid and bass segment. It’s more dynamic and toe tapping to me.
What’s notable about the Prion4 is the added sense of space. The sound stage of the Empyrean did get wider and deeper, with improved layering. The texture from top to bottom has gained some definition and accuracy. The stage switched to a more holographic appearance, where instruments and vocals are positioned in front of you.
Treble on silver cables is often a very interesting topic, the common consensus is that silver makes a bright and harsh sound. Well, try the Prion4 then. It is nowhere near harsh, it might be a bit on the bright side, but it’s a soft treble with a wonderful silk-touch. Highs sound fatigue free and absolutely pleasant on the Empyrean with the Prion4.
The Prion4 gave the Empyrean a more refined sound, where every detail is effortlessly portrayed and reproduced.
More about the Prion4 on the next page.