Summer is rapidly approaching and so are airline trips with the kids to see family in Florida and Canada; which makes it the perfect time for new wireless ANC headphones from Sony. Sony, Apple, and Bose have dominated the category for years and we think the new Sony WH-1000XM5 might be a big problem for Bose and Apple. A really big problem.
The previous WH-1000XM4 were excellent wireless headphones and Sony took a big piece of the market with them; Apple still trails the Sony in the sound quality department and the new Sony WH-1000XM5 have us thinking that gap is about to widen.
The following is an overview of what to expect.
Improved Noise Canceling
The WH-1000XM4 already provides excellent noise reduction, but Sony isn’t resting on that success. The WH-1000XM5 ups the ante over the XM4 with two processors controlling eight microphones that further reduce mid- to high-frequency noise and automatically optimize noise cancelation depending on the environment.
The processors also take into account other factors, such as head size, whether the listener is wearing glasses or if hair is covering their ears. Sony’s Integrated Processor V1, combined with a QN1 HD noise-canceling processor (carried over from the XM4) and 30mm driver improves sound clarity and bass reproduction. Sony claims that the WH-1000XM5 can support an immersive listening experience even in a noisy environment.
Sony’s physical design for the WH-1000XM5 has changed from the XM4. Instead of a 40mm driver, the XM5 has a smaller 30mm driver (mentioned in the previous section) that has a light and rigid dome that uses carbon fiber composite material that improves high-frequency sensitivity for more natural sound. Other construction materials include premium lead-free gold solder excellent connectivity and optimized circuitry that ensures users are experiencing clear, consistent sound.
Hi-Res Audio and More
Sony 360 Reality Audio is also supported for an immersive listening experience. If you are looking for 360 Reality music sources, nugs.net and PeerTracks have recently released 360 Reality Audio mixed music videos.
Using the Sony Spatial Sound Personalizer App (Android/iOS), you can optimize your TV listening experience with the WH-1000XM5 (this requires a WLA-NS7 transmitter connected between the headphones and a compatible Sony Bravia TV).
Tip: Dolby Atmos headphone listening is also supported.
In addition to great music listening, phone call improvements have also been made to the XM5 over the XM4. The Precise Voice Pickup technology in the XM5 uses four beamforming microphones and an AI-based noise reduction structure to isolate the user’s voice, while a newly developed wind noise reduction structure minimizes wind noise during calls.
One of the problems with headphones is that after a period of time, they become uncomfortable which can be a major distraction when listening to music, making a phone call, or participating in online meetings.
Refining the design of the WH-1000XM4, the WH-1000XM5 introduces features a new design that includes a newly developed soft fit, synthetic leather with a stepless slider. The synthetic leather fits snuggly around the head taking pressure off the users’ ears and blocking out external noise.
The WH-1000XM5 incorporates Adaptive Sound Control. This automatically tailors sound to suit a specific situation, recognizing most frequented locations and adjusting the ambient sound settings accordingly.
Additionally, the WH-1000XM5 headphones integrate With Quick Access. This allows users to configure the headphones to resume Spotify music playback with two or three taps – no need to touch their smartphone.
Sony also helps users to listen to their music safely with the Sony Headphones Connect app, comparing sound pressure data recorded by their headphones with the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO). Through the app, you can receive notifications when listening levels are too high.
The Speak-to-Chat feature allows users to stop for a quick conversation and their headphones will automatically stop the music and let in ambient sound. Once the chat is over, the music plays on. With the help of instant pause, their personal soundtrack will stop playing as soon as they take the headphones off.
Tip: The WH-1000XM5 also has Google Assistant and Alexa built-in. To activate, just say “OK Google” or “Alexa” and you are set to go. Siri control is also available through compatible iOS devices.
WH-1000XM5 headphones use multipoint connection with Bluetooth® technology. This simplifies the pairing process with two devices at the same time. When receiving a call, these headphones know which device it’s coming from and instantly connect the consumer to the right one. Users can also quickly switch between devices via a quick touch of a button.
Google Fast Pair: This makes it easy to pair with Android devices as well as makes it easy to locate where you set down your headphones.
Swift Pair: This feature supports easy WH-1000XM5 pairing Windows 10 or 11 laptops, desktop PCs, and tablets.
Power and Portability
The WH-1000XM5 supports up to 30 hours of battery life. In addition, when using USB Power Delivery, three minutes of charge can provide up to three hours of use.
The WH-1000XM5 headphones come with a collapsible travel carrying case that has room for the headphones, a 3.5mm audio cable, and a USB charging cable.
To promote the launch of the WH-1000XM5 headphone, Sony has partnered with global superstar and Sony Music Entertainment artist, Khalid on storytelling around how WH-1000XM5 headphones provide premium listening for music.
“As an artist and music fan, quality listening is important to me and Sony’s new WH-1000XM5 headphones deliver quality music experiences in a big way,” says Khalid. “The noise-canceling really makes you feel closer to the music and hear all the details in a song, transporting you to a different world which is how I love to experience music.”
There is no plastic in the WH-1000XM5 headphones packaging. The product box is made with recycled and sustainable materials. The WH-1000XM5 headphones also use recycled plastic materials from automobile parts.