Sony WH-1000XM5 New Noise-Cancelling Flagship Headphones
Sony's new WH-1000XM5 noise-cancelling headphones have twice the processing power of its predecessor, and eight mics for supreme silence.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 is the brand's latest flagship noise-cancellers, and if you've been anywhere near the interwebs, you have no doubt seen some of the leaks.
However, the official specs look pretty special, kicking off with Sony doubling the processing power compared with 2020's WH-1000XM4. The WH-1000XM5 sports two processors to control eight microphones for its active noise cancelling skills. The Auto NC Optimiser (not a rapper!) then takes note of your surroundings and adjusts the noise-cancelling automagically. This is a step forward as Sony's NC Optimiser would previously have to be activated by the wearer to optimise ANC when they changed environments.
Sony's HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 is further optimised by the Integrated Processor V1 and an all-new 30mm driver unit that uses a carbon fibre composite for its dome. We're told that this gives it better high-frequency sensitivity resulting in a more natural sound. Interestingly, Sony has used the same lead-free solder containing gold as seen in its M2 Walkman premium portable music players that's said to aid connectivity and optimise the circuitry.
Sony's 1000XM5 has a sleeker look than its predecessors and features a stem-style slider and a new type of “soft fit” synthetic leather on the earpads and headband. Controls remain tap and swipe gestures on the earcup with a physical button for switching between ANC and ambient modes.
Of course, the 1000XM5s Sony's hi-res LDAC music codec, DSEE Extreme (which upscales music files in real-time), and Sony's 360 Reality Audio tech for virtual surround sound.
Sony also underlines improved call quality thanks to its Voice Pickup tech that uses four beam-forming mics and AI-based noise reduction to isolate your voice. Additionally, there's a newly developed wind noise reduction structure to mitigate that particular annoyance during calls, too.
Naturally, these smart cans can make life a little easier for you. Firstly, Quick Access resumes Spotify playback in two or three taps to save you getting your phone out. Also, Speak-to-Chat automatically pauses the music and lets in ambient sound once it detects you talking, so you can have a conversation without taking the headphones off. If you do remove the 1000XM5s, they'll pause playback automatically. Finally, Multipoint support means you can wirelessly pair the headphones to two devices at once - your laptop and phone, for example. Receive a call, and the 1000XM5 knows which device it needs to connect you to - you can also switch between devices at the touch of a button.
Hands-free controls come by way of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice assistants.
Battery life is quoted at 30 hours with ANC and 40 without. A quick three-minute charge translates to three hours of play time using USB Power Delivery. Alternatively, 10 minutes of mains go-juice equates to five hours of music.
The XM5 will be out at the end of May, priced at US$399 | S$569 in a choice of black and platinum silver.
StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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