DHC Prion4

Sale price$1,999.00

Length: 4'
Headphone Type: Dual 3.5 MM
Sleeving: Charcoal grey with copper metallic & silver metallic traces

DHC Prion4 Headphone Cable

18.8awg OCC Silver Litz

DHC’s Masterpiece

Over the past 8 years, the Complement project has evolved tremendously – the first prototypes encompassed the best
that we could build with the materials we could readily find.  Now, it is an exact translation of our imagination and desire
– a cost-no-object, uncompromising vision.  Complement4 and Spore4 Silver received numerous accolades, and stand tall as some
of the most effective headphone upgrades available, with specifications we have long considered to be “just right.”  But a lingering
voice said to us “What if?”  Prion was always an unspoken working title for our most unreasonable, complex, and sometimes
unbuildable designs.  Now, we have finally taken action to bring these designs to life.

Technical Features

Introducing – the Integrated Wire, generation 2.  An integrated wire offers a complete multilayer construction around each signal wire, machine-made for consistency and hand-finished into a cable built to your specifications.  The goal is to create conditions around the internal litz copper or silver strands that allows them to perform to their true potential.  This series of machine-applied, precise layers is DHC’s original design.

Multicore type4/type6 layout.  The more complex nature of Prion’s colossal 18.8awg conductors requires a second level of six cores, made of pure cotton, to organize the bundles.  This provides support and damping throughout the wire.

Carbon-polymer outer shielding insulation.  This material, pioneered by DHC, allows us to throughly shield each Integrated Wire without the use of heavier metal shields, for a featherweight, purist flagship cable.   It blocks a wide bandwidth of interference while being light & flexible.

Flexible Teflon secondary dielectric layer.  This minimal-absorption, high dielectric strength material allows us to maintain the integrity of the inner litz construct while optimizing the cable for the perfect balance of low inductance and capacitance.  Use of Teflon ensures that Prion4 is greatly lighter & more flexible than previous DHC flagships.

Pure cotton primary dielectric layer.  A cable-industry first.  DHC offers the first ever litz cable with a matrix of cotton braided around the litz strands inside a durable, insulated cable.  The result is a cable with cotton as its true primary insulation – a material that does not add or subtract charge from the strands, damps vibration, and offers superior dielectric strength to practically everything – without the strands or constructs being vulnerable, as the cotton-encased litz construct is protected in the outer layers.

18.8awg (~19awg) pure OCC silver litz.  The 14-bundle design of Complement4 expands to 30 bundles arranged into six subgroups; Prion contains more than double the amount of OCC silver as Complement4.  The ultrapure single-crystal litz silver bundles are arrayed into a cylindrical-tube layout inside each Complement4 Integrated Wire.  This design greatly reduces skin effect as each strand alternates between the inside and the outside of the wire construct along the cable’s length, equalizing impedance throughout the wire.  Each tiny strand of OCC silver is coated in an invisible, razor-thin enamel layer which prevents oxidation and cross-talk between strands, eliminating diodic junctions and their propensity for energy storage.  This conductor goes above and beyond in terms of current carrying capability. Not just any OCC silver, we have combed the world for silver that sounds this way, casting many possible designs and materials aside.  This metal is chosen for its unique combination of precision and forgiveness.  We find it even less harsh-sounding than copper, even with troublesome recordings, due to its refinement.  Those who hear our silver ask “How is this silver?  It’s so smooth and easygoing…”

Center conductive/damping core.  DHC helped introduce type 4 litz with our original Peptide V2 type 4 litz wires – an optimized version of the type 2 litz with a core of damping material at the center, keeping the litz strands out of the wire’s “dead spot” at its center, and aiding in litz’s prime goal of equally distributing each strand between the wire’s surface and its interior.  With Prion4, we take the damping core featurel to a higher level with our conductive core – a DHC first.  The core is made of a resistive material which absorbs any internal static buildup, while also allowing vibration damping on all sides of the litz strands – they are “sandwiched” between cotton and this core – the perfect internal environment.

Complement’s channel isolation.  Each channel’s pair of Integrated Wires is isolated into individual sleeves, and we typically do not twist these channel pairs together, providing separate cables for 3-pin XLR models and two separate cables ending in a 4-pin XLR or 1/4″ plug otherwise.  In this way, soundstage integrity is preserved.

Practical Features.

Exclusive sleeves.  A huge variety of DHC’s sleeves are available, with many base colors and metallic tracers, including some of our favorites: white/metallic silver, black/antique gold, and black/red.  The new Prion Signature sleeve is available exclusively for Prion4, featuring dual-colored metallic tracers (copper and silver) on a dark gray sleeve.  If you would like to nominate a new color combination, just ask.

Double helix Prion4

Prion 4 signature sleeves

Still comfortable.  Despite its extreme nature, the thickness of the Prion4’s four cables are only 13% greater than those of Complement4, as the larger silver construct inside is still only one part of the complete design.   The cable is light & flexible for what it is, but is not recommended for portable systems, as it is overkill for that application.

Eidolic terminations.  Only the best plugs hand-chosen by us are available for Prion4, including Eidolic’s complete lineup of connectors.  Due to its specifications, only certain terminations are available, so if they are not listed below, then they are not an option.

PEERLESS Eidolic 4-pin XLR.  If your amplifier has 4-pin XLR, this is the way to go.  If you don’t have a 4-pin XLR amp, it’s your ticket to a significant upgrade – the Peerless XLR.  Made with rhodium-plated pure silver pins, PTFE Teflon insulator, and a titanium alloy shell, it is simply the finest amp-end connector ever created.

Recommended pairings.  This cable is offered for specific headphones – we recommend it highly for HE1000/X/Susvara, Sony Z1R, Empyrean, Utopia, Abyss, LCD3/4/X, Dharma, and HD800/S.
For a more portable cable with much of Prion4’s capability, check out Molecule Elite19 and for your in-ear monitors, Symbiote Elite 19.

Expand compatibility with Triple Threat adapters.  We offer compatibility with other headphones (only the ones listed as valid headphone types in the Prion4 headphone type menu) by way of short adapters to convert the cable’s upper connectors to another headphone type.  Pick Ultrashort triple threat adapters for the best possible performance and shortest length.  Pick Prion adapters foradapters made with the same materials as the cable, which add length & flexibility, avoiding multiple connectors joined together at the earcup.  While Ultrashort Triple Threat adapters are the most minimal possible connection, they may not be ergonomic enough for some customers, so we offer both options.

Y-Split options.  As a purist cable, Prion4 did not originally offer y-splits.  For 2022 we have used next-generation mold construction and high-volume investment casting to offer the most popular y-split we used to make one at a time with 3D printing.  Offering even better resolution than ever before, the Prion4 “Labyrinth” splitter is a hand-drawn DHC original.  Available in rhodium-plated bronze, 18kt gold-plated bronze, “antique” natural bronze, and “antique” natural copper.  The plated finishes are bright and eye-catching, while the hand-sanded antique finishes are a perfect match for the latest ZMF headphone grilles.  Optimization of the casting molds keeps weight down to a modest 18 grams.   These exact same designs/materials were a $150 unit cost for us before, but we are able to add these beautiful creations at no additional cost for your Prion4.
The “classic” layout with separated pairs for left and right continues to be available, with a “Chimera clip” joiner in place of the y split to help manage the cables near the top.

Prion4 split options

Prion 4 splitter

Ready to travel.  Includes a customized blue-filament black carbon fiber case large enough for your Prion4 and maybe a DAP and amp.  

No questions asked warranty.  It’s hard to say how you’d damage this cable, but we’ll fix it for free for life, or reterminate it at a low cost (barring impossible reterminations, cables sliced down the middle, etc), after shipping costs.

Listening notes:

Closing gaps.  With two flagship headphones, where one is preferred to another, Prion4 will push the under-performing headphone ahead of the higher-performing headphone (assuming both headphones were using the same cable before Prion4 was added).  

Focus.  It’s just like being Neo in the Matrix and the objects on the soundstage are the bullets.  Time feels like it’s slowing; details that escaped you before come into focus.  If our previous flagship was a microscope, Prion4 is Google for details – it relentlessly extracts all the content of the music file and exposes it clearly.

That first song feeling.  The special quality of the first track in your listening session never goes away; the lack of fatigue and presentation of unfamiliar details helps maintain this sensation.  

Treble refinement.  Not every song with harsh treble is actually harsh – the treble simply needs to be managed properly without its nuances taken away, or else it becomes grating and unlistenable.  Putting Prion4 through the brightest and most sibilant tracks, the upper frequencies are delicate, laid back, and presented with confidence.  

The midrange has heart.  Does your favorite cable & headphone bring tears to your eyes sometimes?  Convincing emotion can’t be simulated with lesser equipment – it has to be felt.  I’m reliving what I felt the first time I heard a song.  

Bass forms a complete construct, not layers.  This is not the bass presentation we are accustomed to hearing.  The layers coalesce into an amorphous, high-pressure aura that lifts & supports the soundstage, giving a truly intimate ambiance.