Sony formalizes its headphones with “the best noise cancellation on the market”

Two years after its predecessor, Sony has just presented the Sony WH-1000XM5, its new Bluetooth noise canceling headphones, with a completely revised and refined design.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 // Source: Sony

We’ve been expecting it for a few weeks and Sony didn’t miss its appointment. This Thursday, the Japanese manufacturer officially announced its new Bluetooth active noise canceling headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM5.

After several weeks of leaks and an invitation shared last week, the manufacturer has just presented its new high-end headphones, which it has taken over from the WH-1000XM4. And for the first time since the very first MDR-1000X launched in 2016, Sony has decided to completely overhaul the design of its new device.

The best noise cancellation on the market according to Sony

It must be said that between the WH-1000XM3 and the WH-1000XM4 launched two years ago, the differences on the front were very small. This time Sony has decided to do a major aesthetic overhaul. In particular, this concerns a new design with a much thinner ring – but still just as padded, we are promised. The company has also revised the system for attaching the headband to the earcups. Leaving the fork system, we’re entitled to a simple bifurcation in the middle of the earphones here, a bit like Bose offers with its Headphones 700. Like its US competitor, Sony has also made some sacrifices because, if the ears can rotate, the WH-1000XM5 loses its ability to bend.

Still on the design side, Sony indicates that it has revised the materials of its headphones, still plastic, but recycled, as well as soft synthetic leather cushions. The helmet also has a weight of 254 grams.

It is clear that Sony wants to position the WH-1000XM5 as the headphones with the best active noise cancellation on the market. If the Japanese manufacturer has proven to us in the past how well it has mastered this feature, note that the market has evolved since then and Apple already offers very high-level active noise cancellation with its AirPods Max.

To achieve this, Sony has doubled the number of microphones on its headset, from four on the 1000XM4 to eight on the 1000XM5. The manufacturer has also taken the HD QN1 processor, which was already present on the previous model, and added a V1 chip, which is also used on the WF-1000XM4 headphones. Which on paper allows better noise reduction in the high and mid tones. An atmospheric pressure sensor is also present to detect when the user is on an aircraft, as is technical fabric on the microphones to filter out gusts of wind and prevent them from being transcribed into the speakers.

Since we are talking about speakers, it is time to tackle the audio reproduction. As with the previous generation, Sony offers three Bluetooth audio codecs on its WH-1000XM5: SBC, AAC and LDAC. Enough to make the headset display Hi-Res Audio Wireless compatibility. The headset also includes Sony’s DSEE Extreme algorithm to enable scale up overly compressed audio files, as well as multipoint Bluetooth compatibility – disabling the LDAC codec. On the transducer side, however, Sony has reduced the footprint, from a 40mm size to 30mm diameter transducers. Nevertheless, according to the Japanese company, they are equipped with lighter and stiffer diaphragms thanks to carbon fiber. A lightness that should provide a better travel for the bass and a stiffness that is more adapted to the treble. In theory we should therefore find the same sound reproduction as on the WH-1000XM4.

The best call quality on the market according to Sony

When Sony claims that the 1000XM5 offers the best active noise cancellation on the market, the manufacturer isn’t stingy when it comes to call quality either. For this use, the Sony WH-1000XM5 uses four beamforming microphones and AI-based continuous learning to best isolate your voice from ambient noise.

Among other notable features, the Sony WH-1000XM5 still benefits from a port sensor – this time hidden – from the “talk to chat to pause the music while talking, touch the controls on the right earphone with the mode “quick attention», voice assistants that can be activated directly with speech oradaptive sound controlthat allows you to automatically manage the noise reduction based on your geolocation or your activity. Note, however, the lack of Bluetooth LE Audio compatibility, a feature that will appear on Android 13 in the coming months and will reduce the latency for mobile gaming.

For autonomy, Sony announces that its headphones can work for 30 consecutive hours with noise cancellation activated. It charges in USB-C Power Delivery and can recover 3 hours of playback with a 3 minute charge.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 will be available in France in May. It will be offered in two colors – matte black or silver – at a price of 420 euros. Also note that if the WH-1000XM3 leaves the range, the WH-1000XM4 will always be offered as an alternative, around 300 to 330 euros.

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