Mark Levinson N°5909 Bluetooth headphones: the best of both wireless and hi-fi audio

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Mis à jour le 13 June 2022.

The Mark Levinson N° 5909 Bluetooth headphones are a high-end model with active noise cancelling. LDAC and aptX Adaptative compatible, it features 1.6” drivers with beryllium covered cones. The manufacturer promises to reveal all the nuance and subtleties of your favorite music. These very comfortable headphones with their luxurious finish also offer up to 34 hours of autonomy.

Available for €999, do the Mark Levinson N°5909 headphones really succeed in combining portable wireless listening and high fidelity?

Mark Levinson N°5909
The Mark Levinson N°5909 headphones combine leather and aluminum for a robust and comfortable design.

Mark Levinson N°5909 Bluetooth headphones: packaging & accessories

The Mark Levinson N°5909 headphones come in a luxurious box alongside many accessories. There is a hard carrying case with a dedicated space to store cables and adapters. The manufacturer includes two mini-jack to USB-C cables, with lengths of 1.25m and 4m. In addition, there is a USB-C charging cable and a USB-C to USB-A adapter. 

Mark Levinson N°5909 accessories
The Mark Levinson N°5909 headphones come in a large box alongside many useful accessories.

The accessories also include a 3.5mm mini-jack to 6.35mm jack adapter and a double mono airplane adapter. A microfiber cloth also allows you to take care of the headphones on a daily basis. Finally, among the documents and the user guide there is a promo offer for a free 3-month Hi-Res Qobuz subscription.

Mark Levinson N°5909 Bluetooth headphones: presentation

The Mark Levinson N°5909s are the first pair of headphones from the manufacturer, who has been a high-end hi-fi specialist since 1972. Certified Hi-Res Audio, they are compatible with the LDAC and aptX Adaptative codecs. These headphones offer up to 34 hours of autonomy to accompany you during long listening sessions.

Mark Levinson N°5909: 3/4 view
These closed-back headphones feature very comfortable and thick ear pads that also ensure excellent passive isolation. Moreover, they are equipped with an adjustable active noise cancelling system to ensure immersive sound in any environment. So you can enjoy your favorite music without being bothered by ambient noise.
Mark Levinson N°5909 ear pads
The memory foam padded ear pads of the Mark Levinson N°5909 headphones ensure excellent comfort and great passive isolation.

Beryllium cones

The Mark Levinson N°5909 headphones are equipped with 1.6 inch drivers that have a beryllium coating. Consequently, these headphones offer a linear and very detailed reproduction form 10Hz to 40kHz in wired mode.

Noise cancelling and phone calls

These Mark Levinson Bluetooth headphones feature three different settings to optimize the reduction of surrounding noise depending on the environment. As a result, it is possible to enjoy a totally immersive listening experience, even in noisy places such as trains or planes. 

Mark Levinson Bluetooth headphones controls
The Mark Levinson N°5909 headphones do away with touch-sensitive controls, adopting physical buttons for all functions. This has the advantage of making them very easy to use on a daily basis.

Conversely, the Awareness mode lets you hear ambient sounds clearly without taking the headphones off, so you can continue listening to your music. The Voice Pass mode even accentuates voice frequencies to facilitate conversations.

The Mark Levinson application allows you to configure the noise reduction mode and the Awareness mode. The Bass Contour function offers three modes of low-frequency equalization: neutral, enhanced (+6 dB) and attenuated (-6 dB).

For phone calls, these headphones offer great clarity with four directional microphones. Smart Wind Adaptation eliminates interference from ambient noise and wind. Your voice remains clear, and so does the voice of the person you’re talking to, thanks to active noise reduction.

LDAC and aptX Adaptive

The Mark Levinson N°5909 headphones handle the AAC, SBC, aptX Adaptative and LDAC audio codecs. The latter ensures Bluetooth transmission up to 24-bit/96kHz with compatible smartphones and DAPs. This guarantees precise and detailed playback for subscribers to Hi-Res streaming services such as Qobuz.

Certified Hi-Res Audio

The Mark Levinson No. 5909 headphones offer the widest bandwidth in wired mode. The frequency response extends from 10Hz to 40kHz, with the Hi-Res Audio certification.

Certified Hi-Res Audio
Hi-Res Audio certified (in wired mode), the Mark Levinson No. 5909 headphones cover a wide frequency range from 10Hz to 40kHz.

Two USB-C to 3.5mm mini-jack cables can be used to connect the headphones to an audio source. The first is 4 meters long, ideal for connecting the headphones to a hi-fi amplifier in the living room, for example. The second, 1.25 meters long, is perfectly suited for use in the office or while walking. It allows the connection of a smartphone, a DAP or a USB DAC, for example. The 3.5mm mini-jack to 6.5mm jack adapter ensures that all sources can be connected.

Audio cable and adapter
The Mark Levinson No. 5909 headphones’ accessories include two mini-jack cables and a mini-jack to 6.35mm jack adapter.

Comfort and battery life

The Mark Levinson No. 5909 Bluetooth headphones combine robustness, high-quality materials and comfort. Aluminum and leather are used to make this model a beautiful object with a luxurious finish.

Mark Levinson N°5909: comfortable
Extremely comfortable, the Mark Levinson headphones don’t make your ears warm and you quickly forget about their weight (344 grams).

The headphones are very comfortable thanks to the thick padding of the ear pads and headband. They are covered with high-quality leather that is very soft and pleasant to the touch.

These Mark Levinson headphones offer up to 30 hours of autonomy with the active noise cancelling and up to 34 hours without. The convenient quick charge feature provides up to six hours of autonomy after only 15 minutes.

Mark Levinson N°5909 Bluetooth headphones: key specifications

  • Closed-back, over-ear headphones
  • 1.6” drivers
  • Beryllium coated cones
  • Frequency response: 10Hz – 40kHz (wired mode)
  • 3 ANC modes
  • Certified Hi-Res Audio (24-bit/192kHz)
  • SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptative and LDAC
  • Battery life of up to 34 hours
  • Hard carrying case
  • Weight: 344g

Mark Levinson N°5909 Bluetooth headphones: listening conditions

Bluetooth playback
The Mark Levinson headphones work wirelessly with all Bluetooth-compatible smartphones. They offer the best results with the aptX HD and LDAC codecs.

We tested the Mark Levinson N°5909 headphones in Bluetooth mode with an Android smartphone compatible with aptX HD and LDAC. We also connected them by cable to the same smartphone and to two headphone amplifiers.

Headphones and headphone amplifier
In wired mode with transistor (Lehmann Audio Linear) and vacuum tube headphone amplifiers, the hi-fi character of the Mark Levinson N°5909 headphones was evident.

Mark Levinson N°5909 Bluetooth headphones: our impressions

As soon as we picked up the Mark Levinson N°5909s, we realized that we were in the presence of an exceptional piece of equipment. In addition to the premium packaging, we were impressed by the build quality, including that of the accessories. These headphones were very comfortable to wear and their weight was evenly distributed across the different contact points. We enjoyed long listening sessions without any discomfort and our ears never got too warm. The passive isolation was also very effective. 

In wired and Bluetooth mode, the Mark Levinson N°5909 headphones’ clarity, detail and precision were compelling. The rigorous placement of the different elements in the soundstage, the depth and the spaciousness all contributed to the realism of the reproduction. These headphones offered an incredibly balanced sound. 

In Bluetooth mode, the active noise cancelling was up to the standards of the market leaders. It plunged us into a very immersive musical bubble without any feeling of confinement. The soundstage remained extensive and even seemed more spacious than when the noise reduction was deactivated. The Awareness mode, which lets ambient sounds pass through, was also very effective. 

The integrated amplification was energetic, effectively harnessing the dynamic qualities of the beryllium transducers. The sound was incisive, the bass tight and well controlled. The music unfolded with clarity and smoothness, in a natural and realistic way. As for the different bass equalization modes, they allowed us to accentuate or attenuate the response between 20Hz and 100Hz. 

In wired mode, the bass was slightly less powerful but revealed itself to be deeper. The highs were also finer and more detailed. With a headphone amplifier, we enjoyed a genuine high fidelity listening experience that was dynamic and lively.

Mark Levinson N°5909 Bluetooth headphones: compared to…

HiFiMAN HE-R9 Bluemini

HiFiMAN HE-R9 Bluemini
More generous in the lows than the Mark Levinson model, the HiFiMAN HE-R9 Bluemini headphones are a little less balanced but will charm bass lovers. Their isolation isn’t quite as good, and they don’t have an ambient noise cancelling system.

The HiFiMAN headphones are more physiological but less rigorous, the Mark Levinsons more balanced and precise. Their response can be customized via an application, which is not possible with the HE-R9s. The isolation of the latter isn’t quite as good either, and they don’t have active noise reduction. Overall, we were more impressed by the performance and the realistic, natural reproduction of the American headphones.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95
With their refined look, the Beoplay H95s are more discreet than the Mark Levinson headphones.

Flagship of the Danish manufacturer, the Beoplay H95 headphones impress with the purity of their design, their touch-sensitive interface and their comfort. They offer a longer battery life, but do not support LDAC. In terms of sound, the Bang & Olufsen model is almost equal to the American headphones in terms of balance. However, they fall short when it comes to detail and spatialization.

Mark Levinson N°5909 Bluetooth headphones: who are they for?

These comfortable Bluetooth headphones will satisfy those who are looking for a detailed, realistic and balanced reproduction. Fans of high-resolution audio files and Qobuz subscribers will also find them to be the perfect partner. Their excellent passive isolation and highly effective active noise reduction will appeal to travelers, for both train and plane journeys.

Mark Levinson N°5909
The Mark Levinson N°5909s manage to cleverly combine noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones and generous, precise and balanced hi-fi headphones.

Mark Levinson N°5909 Bluetooth headphones: conclusion

For a first effort, the American manufacturer’s Mark Levinson N°5909 Bluetooth headphones are a huge success. A major manufacturer of high-end hi-fi components for 50 years, the brand has stepped into the Bluetooth headphones market with brio. Beautifully designed and adorned with high-quality materials to offer excellent comfort, these portable headphones live up to their promise. The sound is richly detailed, delicately shaped and always balanced. The bass is well structured and deep, the midrange has presence and vitality, and the highs are clear and lively, all in perfect harmony.

Their price may seem high, but don’t forget that with the Mark Levinson No. 5909s you are not only buying a pair of excellent Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones, but also an outstanding pair of hi-fi headphones.

We liked

  • The very effective passive isolation and noise-cancelling 
  • The rich and balanced sound
  • The excellent comfort
  • The sound in both wired and Bluetooth mode

We would have liked

  • Touch-sensitive controls?

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