Sony released an updated version of its premium flagship noise canceling headphones this week.How your only interest is $ 400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony Stack with Apple’s $ 549 AirPods Maxsurely Check out our direct comparison.. Below is a standalone review of Sony’s latest headphones.
Since its launch in August 2020, Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones have been one of the best cans in the over-ear noise canceling market, and despite the release of this latest iteration, Sony’s lineup. That’s probably why I chose to keep it. The XM4 can be purchased for $ 349, while the XM5 retails for $ 399. But can I get a better listening experience by paying an additional $ 50? The simple answer is yes, but the performance gains aren’t groundbreaking, and upgrade decisions can be determined by overhauled designs.
While the XM5 still has a black or silver (off-white) color option, Sony has redesigned its flagship WH-1000 series headphones with a new look and feel. The XM4 has an arm with a shroud that supports the ear cups on both sides, while the XM5 has an exposed arm with a single stem attached to the cup. It’s slightly wider and has more pads than its predecessor.
Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones shown on the right
Elsewhere, Sony has moved the microphone hole closer to the wearer’s head with the aim of reducing wind noise when going out. The headband has also become a bit thinner, and these changes give it a clean look that is vaguely reminiscent of the Bose 700. Headphones weigh less (250 grams compared to 254 grams for the XM4), but Sony cans are still far away, lighter than Apple’s AirPods Max (384 grams).
Overall, the XM5 is more plastic than its predecessor, but it’s more sturdy when held in the hand. This may be due to less pivot points and less potential weaknesses, but in both cases the difference is to instill confidence when adjusting the cup, even after wearing it straight for several hours. I feel very comfortable.
One of the obvious consequences of the redesign is that the headphones don’t fold like the XM4. So Sony had to come up with a larger, more portable carry case. Without exaggerating the size difference, it must be said that this feels like a downgrade. Especially if you’re used to storing the XM4 in a small compartment rather than the main section of the bag. As Sony marketing actually suggests, escaping the fact that noise canceling cans are made for travel / commuting, regardless of the number of people who intend to keep these headphones at home. You can not.
As for Sony, Sony switched the XM4’s 40mm driver and replaced it with a 30mm driver. It’s hard to notice the difference, so you need to be careful to distinguish it, but the bass of the XM5’s sound is more fleshy, the mids are nicely balanced, and the treble is an instrumental track. It shines, and the overall experience retains its spacious and detailed sound stage that XM4 owners will be familiar with.
As before, headphones use LDAC to deliver high resolution audio given the correct source device, but like DSEE Extreme upscaling for compressed audio, SBC, aptX / aptX HD, and All AAC codecs are supported. It also has Sony’s 360 Reality Audio spatial sound effects, and for those who like it, the effect is clear and enveloping. Purists can also plug the included cable into a 3.5mm jack.
When it comes to noise canceling, Sony uses the same QN1 processor that the XM4 uses. This means that you have immediate access to the complete repertoire of adaptive NC options. When you launch the Sony Headphones Connect app, you can manually drag the slider to change the degree of noise cancellation to select maximum isolation, wind noise reduction, or choose from 20 levels of different ambient attenuation. ..
It’s great for finding the ideal NC range when you’re at rest, but you can also switch to adaptive sound controls while you’re on the move. The built-in QN1 processor works just as well, automatically adjusting for the corresponding inversion. A frequency to block any environmental sounds from coming your way.
In addition, Sony has increased the number of microphones to eight (four more than previous models) and moved to what Sony says is a better position for attenuating high frequency noise. Low frequency sounds like jet engines and traffic melt as before, but the XM5 is great for cutting background chattering in busy coffee shops and commuting.
It also reduces the noise around voice calls. This is enough for over-ear headphones. I didn’t have a pair of “AirPods Max” to compare the NC chops of the XM5 directly, but the transparency mode is turned on. AirPods Pro It’s a little better than Sony manages. If not, these noise canceling cans are arguably the best.
One of the missing things in the XM5 that was in the previous model is the optimization button. It has processed a personal NC optimizer feature that samples ambient noise and cancels a wider range of sounds at the corresponding inversion frequency. When you enable the XM4 feature, the headphone speaker emits a series of tones that bounce back and forth between the microphones to analyze the shape of your head, check for large hair, and wear glasses. According to Sony, this is all done automatically in the background, and you can’t say you missed a manually enabled incarnation.
When it comes to battery life, Sony impresses with the same 30 hours of wireless battery life as the XM4 (with ANC turned on) and 40 hours (with ANC turned off) (10 hours longer than previous models). increase. In addition, Sony has raised its Power Delivery stake, allowing it to play for just 3 minutes to 3 hours with the included USB-C charger. XM5 also supports multipoint, so you can connect to two devices at once, but like XM4, you cannot use this feature and LDAC at the same time for some reason.
Similar to the previous cans of the WH-1000X series, the two buttons on the left earcup control the power supply and noise canceling / ambient sound function. As before, a quick press on the power button updates the battery level and a long press activates the pairing sequence. The right earcup has a touch-sensitive back that responds to taps and swipes to control music playback, skip tracks, change volume, and call your favorite virtual assistant. increase. Like the latest headphone gesture pads, it can also be used to make phone calls.
Sony didn’t have to redesign the XM5, but in reality, these headphones look in line with the zeitgeist of today. A smooth, slim can that looks stylish while maintaining the audio performance that became famous for Sony’s flagship headphones. Overall, the design overhaul is positive, but if you travel a lot, the additional bulk that comes with not folding may be enough to procrastinate you.
If you already have XM4 pairs, the difference between them and XM5 isn’t enough to require an upgrade (I’m happy with one of them). However, Sony is building the success of its predecessor without much compromise, and if you’re looking for a solid pair of high-performance noise-cancelling headphones with Sonic, I would recommend them.
Note: Sony provided MacRumors with WH-1000XM5 headphones for the purposes of this review. No other compensation is received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner of Amazon. If you click the link to make a purchase, you may incur a small payment. This will help keep the site running.