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Vastly costly, massively proficient – however, fortunately, not bodily big. The No. 5909 headphones go fairly a protracted strategy to justifying the asking worth.


  • Rigorous but easy-going sound
  • Element and nuance to spare
  • Good supplies, expertly assembled


  • Costly after which some
  • Might be bettered for noise-cancellation
  • Abbreviated management app


  • UKRRP: £999
  • USARRP: $999
  • EuropeRRP: €1000
  • CanadaRRP: CA$1299
  • AustraliaRRP: AU$1699

  • BluetoothBluetooth 5.1 with aptX Adaptive and LDAC help

  • Battery34 hours of battery life

  • Audio40mm beryllium-coated dynamic drivers


The excellent news is that this product presents essentially the most inexpensive route into proudly owning a chunk of apparatus from the revered Mark Levinson model. The unhealthy information is that it’s a pair of wi-fi headphones costing nicely in extra of what most individuals think about ‘premium’. 

The cynics amongst us could nicely have already written off the No. 5909 as an train in sticking an upmarket emblem on a product and adjusting the value accordingly. However the remainder of us ought to learn on – if for no different motive than to seek out out if a grand for a pair of wi-fi headphones may be even remotely justified… 

The Mark Levinson No. 5909 wi-fi lively noise-cancelling headphones are on sale now, and within the UK would require you to half with £999 to safe a pair. Within the US they’re a (barely) extra acceptable $999. Australian pricing is but to be confirmed however, if alternate charges are something to go by, they’ll be within the area of AU$1799 – which is a really unique area certainly.

It hardly wants emphasising that this type of cash will purchase you 4 pairs of Sony WH-1000XM4, three pairs of Bowers & Wilkins PX7, or a few pairs of Bang & Olufsen HX. Or, extra doubtless, one pair of 1 or one other of them – and with a stack of cash left over. These are however three examples of well-regarded, high-performance wi-fi over-ear lively noise-cancellers that don’t value something like this type of cash – and there’s loads extra the place they got here from.

In different phrases, the No. 5909 are going to need to be supernaturally proficient in the event that they’re to justify the asking worth.


  • Premium supplies, expertly deployed
  • Fairly compact by high-end headphone requirements
  • Is it flawed to be impressed by a cable?

You may’t idiot with the design of over-ear headphones, as Mark Levinson recognises. So what’s one of the best ways to assist the perceived worth of a product that appears, essentially, simply the identical as options costing 1 / 4 of the value? The reply on this occasion appears to be to make sure the supplies, construct high quality and end are as spectacular as potential.

Mark Levinson #5909 in the headphone case
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So the No. 5909 are a profitable mixture of cozy reminiscence foam, fragrant leather-based and anodised aluminium. They’re compact, snug to put on for hours on finish, put collectively flawlessly, and really feel nearly as good as they give the impression of being. As well as, the earpads are replaceable, which makes these headphones much more of a long-term proposition than the value already calls for.

Mark Levinson #5909 headphone case
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They stay in an equally tactile travel-case, and are equipped with three cables that, due to their braiding and expensive-looking terminations, appear nearly as upmarket because the headphones they accompany. Two lengths of three.5mm to USB-C (1.25m and 4m) are offered, together with a USB-C to USB-C charging cable too.


  • In depth Bluetooth codec help
  • Cheap battery life
  • Ample management choices

The No. 5909 use Bluetooth 5.1 with SBC, AAC, LDAC and aptX Adaptive codec help, which ought to be ample for even essentially the most demanding consumer. As soon as streamed aboard, sound is delivered by a pair of beryllium-coated 40mm full-range dynamic drivers.

Mark Levinson #5909 right earcup
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Mark Levinson, as a Harman firm, has entry to the minds – and ears – that created the Harman curve, which is a illustration of the type of sound supposedly most well-liked by the general public more often than not. Often this type of marketing-speak suggests nothing greater than infinite focus teams and a consequence that’s inherently compromised; however on this occasion, the purpose is to achieve a perfect.

The headphones cost through USB-C and may perform for six hours or so following only a 15-minute power-blast. Brim them, although, and you ought to be good for between 30 hours with lively noise-cancellation swap on, and 34 hours with it off.

Mark Levinson #5909 app
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You may specify the type of noise-cancellation you’d like (‘off’, ‘on’ or ‘consciousness’) within the Mark Levinson Headphones app (free for iOS and Android), after which select between ‘low’, ‘excessive’ and ‘adaptive’ for noise-cancelling, and ‘ambient’ or ‘voice go’ for consciousness. The app additionally lets you choose between three Levinson-approved EQ settings (or ‘bass contours’), and resolve how lengthy the headphones will stay powered up once they’re not enjoying. That’s about your lot – so whereas the app is clear, secure and helpful so far as it goes, it doesn’t actually go all that far.

Voice-control is an possibility, although, and there are some bodily controls cut up between the earcups. On the fitting there’s the acquainted three-button strip dealing with ‘quantity up/down’, ‘skip forwards/backwards’, ‘play/pause’, ‘reply/finish name’ and ‘summon voice-assistant’. On the left, in the meantime, you may select between your ANC and your ‘consciousness’ settings – and there’s additionally entry to a ‘energy on/off/Bluetooth pairing’ management.

Sound High quality

  • Eloquent, organised and fascinating sound
  • Nice dynamics and element retrieval
  • Pretty peculiar noise-cancelling

Up to now, this assessment has been reasonably grudging in its acceptance of the No. 5909 as a correctly premium merchandise, and has been retaining its powder dry able to unleash a volley of invective relating to ‘worth for cash’ and ‘credulous lottery-winners’.

Effectively, that’s all going to have to attend for one more day. As a result of whereas the extent of ‘worth for cash’ the Mark Levinson No. 5909 headphones symbolize stays a stay query, what’s not up for debate is their stage of efficiency. These are correctly proficient headphones of the type that may steal your time away.

Element is nearly as good a spot as any to start out: the No. 5909 are a remarkably detailed hear, capable of extract essentially the most minor, most transient data from the sides or the depths of a recording – and with out being in any approach analytical or uptight about it. If the minor harmonic variations in an instrument intrigue you, or essentially the most fleeting mouth-sounds as a singer prepares to ship the following line, the Mark Levinson will hold you listening – and entertained – for hours on finish.

Mark Levinson #5909 buttons on earcup
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Rhythm, too, is a robust level. The No. 5909 haven’t any drawback expressing even the trickiest, most club-footed rhythms with absolute certainty – and once more, they don’t make (no pun meant) a music and dance about it. They merely roll together with a type of effortlessness that’s arduous to return by.

And in each different significant respect, too, these Mark Levinson headphones are fairly achieved. They describe low frequencies with actual extension and variation, management assault and decay correctly, and set up deep and secure foundations for the remainder of the frequency vary to construct upon. On the reverse finish, they exhibit extraordinarily well-judged chunk and shine – there’s no rolling off on the prime finish within the title of ‘good style’. As an alternative, they’re as vivid and crunchy because the music calls for, however by no means threaten to turn into coarse or arduous, even at quantity.

Nonetheless, it’s within the mid-range that these headphones actually affirm their high-end credentials. They deal with a singer with full sympathy, permitting all the toil, emotion and character full expression. So, once they’re enjoying a Tidal stream of Ike & Tina Turner’s River Deep – Mountain Excessive, the expression they provide the vocal is actually and constantly hair-raising. It is a correctly classic recording, delivered to your ears from many a long time away – however the immediacy and authenticity with which the No. 5909 serve it up makes it sound as contemporary and crisp as an apple.

Mark Levinson #5909 design on earcup
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The soundstage right here within reason expansive, rigorously organised and ease itself to observe. Dynamic efficiency – each the place huge quantity shifts and minor, transient variations are involved – isn’t doubtful. Even when requested to correctly tough it with a compressed file of Slaughter & The Canines’ Cranked Up Actually Excessive, the Mark Levinson are keen and never in any approach judgmental.   

Noise-cancellation is a fractionally extra certified success. No person’s anticipating the Enterprise Class lounge to be as raucous because the departure gate, in fact, besides the No. 5909 can’t fairly cope with the whole lot happening round you, if ‘the whole lot’ seems to be ‘quite a bit’.

It follows that the drone of an plane – or the drone of its passengers – isn’t banished as utterly as by another (inevitably way more inexpensive) options. Which isn’t to say these headphones aren’t environment friendly on this regard. And, in all honesty, it’s arduous to quantify the type of noise-cancellation £1K ought to purchase – however they are often bettered.

Newest offers

Must you purchase it?

You’re taking moveable listening significantly Related to an equally proficient supply participant, these headphones sing.

You need silence Noise-cancellation is ‘excellent’ reasonably than ‘nice’

Remaining Ideas

By each smart metric, the No. 5909 ought to be a bauble with which to point out off wealth. However these are not any mere accent – they’re a really high-achieving pair of headphones. And if you happen to’re lucky sufficient to have the ability to append this type of cash, they demand your full consideration

How we take a look at

We take a look at each headphones we assessment totally over an prolonged time period. We use business normal checks to match options correctly. We’ll all the time let you know what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to assessment a product.

Discover out extra about how we take a look at in our ethics coverage.

Examined for greater than every week

Examined with a spread of music

Examined with actual world use


Do the Mark Levinson No. 5909 help Hello-res audio playback?

Sure they do. They help LDAC, the digital circuitry within the headphones is suitable with 24-bit/96kHz processing, whereas the frequency vary of the headphones (at the very least wired) can settle for 40kHz, which is taken into account to be hi-res.







IP score

Battery Hours

Quick Charging


Launch Date

Audio Decision

Driver (s)

Noise Cancellation?



Frequency Vary

Headphone Sort

Jargon buster


LDAC is an audio know-how from Sony that enables for larger high quality audio streaming over a Bluetooth connection, with bit-rates of as much as 990kbps


Bluetooth – named after Tenth-century Danish king Harald Bluetooth who united Denmark’s tribes right into a single kingdom – is a technique of wi-fi transmission that enables for the alternate of knowledge between gadgets over brief distances.