The Harman Room: JBL Summit Everest DD67000 Loudspeakers, JBL SA-750 Integrated Amplifier, Mark Levinson No5909 Headphones, ML-50 Monoblock Amplifiers, No519 Audio Player, No5105 Turntable

The Harman room at Munich High End showed a wide array of products on active and passive display. Several Classic JBL designs revamped with modern tech and materials took center stage in a long lineup display of speakers.

The retro-modern JBL SA-750 integrated amplifier was shown alongside them. The "class-G" amp takes inspiration from the vintage JBL SA600 model but contains a DAC with UPnP streaming and built-in Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast. Its initial "remake" had had teak side panels as a décor option; it's coming soon with walnut veneer panels as standard for its $3300/pair MSRP. Among other models in the Classic line, the L52 Classic ($1100/pair) was also shown.

The petite JBL 4305P powered studio monitor has a scaled-down version of JBL's compression driver; the horn also serves as a waveguide for wider dispersion. The two-way offers balanced input among other connectivity: Ethernet, USB Type B, and TosLink digital inputs, a single aux input, sub output, etc. It showed a "Roon Tested" designation along with the usual streaming services: Qobuz, Tidal Connect, Spotify, Amazon, HD, etc. Settings on back include a choice of –10dB or +6dB input sensitivity, and bass contour of either 0dB or –3dB.

The room's main active system included the large JBL Summit Everest DD67000 speakers. This speaker uses a proprietary Bi-Radial horn, along with a 1" super-tweeter and a 4" tweeter with beryllium diaphragms. Dual 15" woofers with three-layer sandwich cones handle the low end.

The Summit Everests were driven by a pair of Mark Levinson ML-50 monoblock amplifiers ($50,000 per pair) with fully balanced discrete circuitry. The ML-50s commemorate the brand's 50th anniversary; the limited edition run of 100 pairs will be sold only as pairs. Shipping begins later in 2022. A Levinson No526 preamplifier with a built-in phono stage, which picked up signals from an Ortofon cartridge on the Levinson No5105 turntable's gimbaled tonearm, was in the chain ahead of the red-glowing monoblocks with glass tops. The system's cabling was from AudioQuest.

But the order of the day was playing back dynamic digital tracks, reproduced by a Mark Levinson No519 audio player with network streaming, CD player, and D/A converter. Getting to listen to one of my records on the setup's Levinson No5105 turntable took some doing. I patiently waited while the guys manning the room worked out the transition as needed. It was worth the short wait: "Alma Seca" from my Juanita Euka LP revealed lively dynamic energy. Transient attacks on percussion were quick and crisp. Guitar tones rang true. Basslines were clear enough to follow easily—as they should be for these funky Afro-Latin grooves.

Harman's Mark Levinson marque keeps extending beyond amplification into new product categories: First there was the No5105 turntable, now there are the new No5909 wireless headphones. The Mark Levinson No5909 headphones ($1000) use 40mm beryllium-coated drivers "optimized to the Harman curve" plus a few EQ options, three modes of active noise cancellation, and "ambient aware mode" for "situational awareness"—ie, safety. They operate with the latest aptX Bluetooth 5.1 (LDAC, AAC, and aptX Adaptive codecs) and have a four-mic voice array with "smart wind adaptation" the company said. These modes are app-controllable.

A handful of pairs were set up in a few demo "stations" with each pair powered by Arcam SA30 integrated amplifier (to which they were connected with a wire) running a Roon playlist controllable via an iPad. (Or you could go "off script" and try out tracks by searching in Roon.) They come in Pearl Black, Radiant Red, or Ice Pewter—à la Levinson's brand colors—and are now shipping.

MattJ's picture

Thought that ML amp was a pinball machine.

Metalhead's picture

Fell hard for big ass JBL's in the early 70's

Would love to get in front of a pair of Everest's with Deep Purple - Live in Japan spinning on the turntable.