Mark Levinson No. 5909: These are premium audio brand Mark Levinson’s first headphones, and yes, they’re really expensive at $999. But they’re also really good. They have a sturdy design without managing to feel hefty on your head (read: they’re substantial but not too heavy), and they’re comfortable to wear over long periods, thanks to their nicely padded and replaceable leather-covered earcups and headband. Read our Mark Levinson No. 5909 hands-on.
Soundcore by Anker Space One: The Space One are a good value for around $100, offering a strong feature set along with good sound quality and performance. They can’t quite compete sound-wise with many of the premium noise-canceling models, but you don’t feel like you’re giving up that much on the sound front to save a good deal of money. They lack a bit of that natural, refined quality you look for in a great set of cans, but the Space One sound respectable, with decent clarity and bass definition and measure up well to the more expensive Soundcore Space 45.
Technics EAH-A800: There’s a bit of an old-school vibe to the Technics EAH-A800 — and it’s not just the Technics brand, which Panasonic resurrected in the last few years. Their design is something of a throwback, but these headphones are comfortable and both fold up and fold flat. They feature a big, energetic sound with powerful bass and good detail, although they take a day or two to break in.
Status Between 3ANC: Status earbuds aren’t exactly the sleekest or most attractive earbuds you can buy, but if you don’t mind their utilitarian look and giant stems, you’re getting an excellent-sounding set of earbuds. The Between 3ANC, the company’s first noise-canceling earbuds, also do a good job muffling ambient sound, though they aren’t up to the level of the Bose QuietComfort 2 earbuds for noise-canceling prowess. They did perform very well in my voice-calling test, reducing much of the background noise around me in the streets of New York while picking up my voice clearly, or so callers told me.