After previous leaks, it’s hardly surprising that Sony introduced their latest flagship noise-canceling headphones, the WH-1000XM5. They will be available on May 20th for $399.99, a price hike from the previous 1000XM4s.
Sony claims that by adding a second CPU to the new headphones, it has taken its already great noise canceling to new heights. According to the company’s news release, the benefits are particularly visible in “mid-to high-frequency noise.” This includes daily city street noise as well as human speech.
The 1000XM5s feature a distinct design from their previous predecessors. Sony has gone for a cleaner aesthetic, using a stem-style slider and relocating the microphones (there are now eight of them) around the ear cups. The 1000XM5s also includes a new type of synthetic leather on the headband, which is slightly thinner than previous models. The controls haven’t changed: you can still control audio with tap and swipe motions, and there’s a physical button to toggle between ANC and ambient modes.
Internal components have also been altered. Sony has replaced the 1000XM4s’ 40-millimeter drivers with new 30-millimeter drivers that, according to Sony, sound more natural and “enhance the sound clarity and bass reproduction.” One of the complaints about the 1000XM4s was their muddy bass, which Sony appears to have addressed with the latest generation.
Sony also emphasizes the increased voice call quality enabled by four beamforming microphones and AI noise reduction techniques. LDAC, DSEE Extreme upscaling, 360 Reality Audio, Speak to Chat, and other hallmark Sony features have all made their way to the 1000XM5s.
In comparison to the WH-1000XM4s, which Sony intends to continue selling, these headphones don’t provide much new. However, the business appears convinced that they will outperform the 1000X-series headphones in the most essential areas such as sound quality, noise cancellation, and voice communications.