Mark Levinson, the Harman-owned audio company known for its high-end automotive sound systems, has just launched the $999 No. 5909 — its first set of headphones. They’re wireless and feature hi-res audio compatibility plus adaptive active noise cancellation (AANC). Available in red, “ice pewter,” and black colors, the No. 5909 will be at select retailers starting January 4.
In keeping with Mark Levinson’s reputation for luxury audio, the No. 5909 headphones are made from anodized aluminum, with real leather on both the headband and the replaceable ear cushions. When fully charged, they’re expected to get up to 34 hours of battery life when ANC is turned off and 30 hours when it’s on. A fast-charge option can top you up with an additional six hours of extra playtime on a 15-minute charge.
Sound is produced from a set of 40mm Beryllium-coated drivers, which have been acoustically optimized to the “Harman Curve,” an acoustic response curve that Harman claims has achieved the highest subjective scoring in blind listening tests. They can also reproduce a full range of frequencies, from 20Hz to 40kHz, giving them the ability to render hi-res audio. The best results will be had via their optional wired connection, but thanks to the inclusion of Sony’s LDAC Bluetooth codec (in addition to AAC and aptX), wireless hi-res audio should sound excellent as well.
The No. 5909’s AANC system has three modes that can be selected from the Mark Levinson app for iOS and Android, and you can engage the headphones’ Ambient Aware (transparency) mode when you want to let external sounds in — whether for having conversations or simply for better situational awareness.
The same microphones that bring in the outside world are also used for phone calls. Harman says that the four-microphone array has what it calls “Smart Wind Adaption” which should help cancel out wind noise during calls.
Inside the included hard-shell travel case, you’ll find a USB-C charging cable, a USB-C to USB-A adapter, two USB-C to 3.5mm audio cables (1.25-meter and 4-meter), a 3.5mm to 6.3mm audio adapter, an airplane audio adapter, and a microfiber polishing cloth.
Will the N0. 5909 be worth their hefty asking price? Mark Levinson is certainly no stranger to top-notch audio quality, but when you’re going up against giants like Sony and Bose, who have been making superb noise-canceling wireless cans for years, nothing should be taken for granted.
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