Sony WH-1000XM5: Improved sound and ANC with new design and driver

With the new WH-1000XM5 headphones, Sony introduces the successor to the WH-1000XM4. Compared to its predecessor, a new design comes into play. In addition, Sony claims to have increased active noise reduction and sound.

Two SoCs and 8 microphones for ANC

Sony uses two processors and eight microphones for the active noise reduction (ANC) of the WH-1000XM5. Sony is once again relying on the QN1 SoC and V1 processor already used in the WH-1000XM4. The noise reduction is adapted to the surroundings via an automatic “NC optimizer”. Four of the microphones are used for telephony, which aims to reduce ambient noise using AI-based noise reduction algorithms. Sony has also redesigned the structure used to reduce wind noise so that it is not transmitted as strongly via the microphones.

Smaller, improved drivers

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

Bluetooth 5.2 with multipoint and fast pairing

Bluetooth 5.2 with Google Fast Pair is used for wireless transmission instead of Bluetooth 5.0. Microsoft Swift Pair is supported for fast pairing with Windows 10 and 11. In addition, multipoint is offered again, so you can be connected to two end devices at the same time and switch playback between them smoothly or, for example, be able to receive calls from your smartphone at any time, even if the headphones are connected to another inlet.

LDAC again as Hi-Res 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 applies to the supported audio codecs – in addition to SBC, AAC and LDAC are again offered as Hi-Res audio codecs. The latter supports up to 990 kbit / s, 24 bit and 96 kHz sampling. The headphones can again be operated both passively and actively via cable in addition to the wireless connection – the 3.5 mm jack connection is therefore maintained.

DSEE Extreme and 360 Reality Audio

Sony’s already well-known DSEE Extreme, which adjusts music in real time to recover frequencies lost through compression, and 360 Reality Audio is again supported by the WH-1000XM5. Also highlighted again are features such as Auto-Play / Pause and Speak-to-Chat, which pauses playback when the user speaks, and Adaptive Noise Control, which automatically adjusts the sound and ANC to the previously learned location, such as. headphones are used. Sony’s Headphones Connect app is used for customization and configuration.

Technical data of Sony WH-1000XM4 in comparison

press and buttons

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

New design with the same weight and battery life

With the new design, Sony relies on stepless adjustment of the headband and a newly developed, synthetic soft leather. The transition from the headband to the ear cups has also been completely redesigned. Despite the new design of the WH-1000XM5, the weight is largely unchanged at around 250 grams. Battery life must also be identical to its predecessor of up to 30 hours with activated noise reduction. Without the ANC, up to 40 hours of music playback should be possible. Charging the battery with a capacity of 1,200 mAh (3.8 V, 4.56 Wh) should take 3.5 hours. However, a fast charging mode ensures that after only 3 minutes of charging, you can listen to music for one hour and after 10 minutes up to 5 hours. Charging is unchanged via USB-C.

From the end of May to 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 euros. Experience has shown that this is quickly undercut in the retail trade. The suggested retail price for the WH-1000XM4 (test) was 379 euros, the headphones are currently available for 280 euros. The WH-1000XM5 comes with a case that can be folded flat for space-saving storage. A 3.5 mm audio cable and a USB-C charging cable are also included.

ComputerBase has received information about this product from Sony under the NDA. The only requirement was the earliest possible release date.

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