Sony WH-1000XM5: Improved audio and ANC with new design and engine

With the new WH-1000XM5 headphones, Sony is introducing the successor to the WH-1000XM4. Compared with the previous design, the new design comes into play. In addition, Sony claims that it has increased active and sound noise reduction.

Two SoCs and 8 microphones for ANC

Sony uses two processors and eight active noise reduction (ANC) microphones in the WH-1000XM5. Sony is once again relying on the QN1 SoC and the V1 processor already used in the WH-1000XM4. Noise suppression is adapted to the environment via an automatic ‘NC Optimizer’. Four of the microphones are used in telephony, which aims to reduce ambient noise using artificial intelligence-based noise reduction algorithms. Sony has also developed the structure by which wind noise is reduced so that it is not transmitted aggressively through the microphones.

Smaller and improved engines

Technically, Sony has made some changes despite the largely identical specs. The specially developed dynamic driver in the WH-1000XM5 measures 30 mm instead of 40 mm in diameter, but is said to sound better than its predecessor. According to Sony, a carbon fiber composite material is used for the driver, which will improve sensitivity to high frequencies and thus ensure a more natural sound.

Bluetooth 5.2 with multipoint and fast pairing

Bluetooth 5.2 is used with Google Fast Pair for wireless transmission instead of Bluetooth 5.0. Microsoft Swift Pair is supported for quick pairing with Windows 10 and 11. In addition, the multipoint is again introduced so that you can connect two terminals at the same time and seamlessly switch playback between them or, for example, you can accept calls from your smartphone at any time, even if the headphones are connected to another peripheral device.

LDAC again as an HD codec

In terms of frequency response, there are no changes compared to the WH-1000XM4 with 4 to 40,000 Hz passive or 20 to 40,000 Hz active. The same goes for supported audio codecs – in addition to SBC, AAC and LDAC are again offered as high-resolution audio codecs. The latter supports up to 990 kbit/s, 24-bit and 96 kHz sampling. The headphones can again be run passively and actively via the cable as well as the wireless connection – thus the 3.5mm jack connection is preserved.

DSEE Extreme and 360 Reality Audio

Sony’s already familiar DSEE Extreme, which modifies music in real time to restore lost frequencies through compression, and 360 Reality Audio are backed again by the WH-1000XM5. Also featured were other features such as Auto Play/Pause and Talk to Chat, which pauses playback when the wearer is speaking, and Adaptive Noise Control, which automatically adjusts volume and ANC to a previously learned location, for example using headphones. The Sony Headphones Connect app is used for customization and configuration.

Technical data of Sony WH-1000XM4 in comparison

Touch and buttons

As with its predecessor, Sony relies on a combination of touch and button for control. Playback and volume are controlled by touch on the earcup, while ANC mode and transparency are controlled via a dedicated button.

New design, same weight and battery life

With the new design, Sony adopts stepless headband adjustment and newly developed soft-fitting faux leather. The transition from headband to earmuffs has also been completely redesigned. Despite the WH-1000XM5’s new design, weight has remained virtually unchanged at around 250 grams. Battery life should be identical to the previous battery, up to 30 hours with active noise cancellation. Without ANC, it should be possible to play up to 40 hours of music playback. Charging the 1200 mAh (3.8V, 4.56W) battery takes 3.5 hours. However, the fast charging mode ensures that after only 3 minutes of charging it is possible to listen to music for 1 hour and after 10 minutes up to 5 hours. Charging is unchanged via USB-C.

From the end of May for 419 euros

The Sony WH-1000XM5 will be available in black and silver from the end of May at a suggested retail price of €419. Experience has shown that this is quickly being undermined in retail. The recommended retail price of the WH-1000XM4 (test) was €379, and the headphones are currently available for €280. The WH-1000XM5 comes with a case that folds flat for space-saving storage. A 3.5mm audio cable and USB-C charging cable are also included.

ComputerBase received information about this item from Sony under a non-disclosure agreement. The only requirement was the earliest possible publication date.

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