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Sony WH-1000XM5: Noise-canceling headphones with eight microphones


Sony got involved early on in the noise-canceling headphones business — and continues to push development forward. With the newly introduced WH-1000XM5, ambient noise should now be suppressed more effectively with some effort.

WH-1000XM5 follows suit WH-1000XM4 It should of course outperform its predecessor. Above all, Sony claims to have improved noise reduction and sound quality again. For active noise cancellation, two processors (integrated V1 processor and QN1 high-resolution noise canceling processor) control eight microphones, which are intended to significantly reduce background noise, especially in the mid and high frequency ranges. Auto NC Optimizer can adapt noise cancellation according to person and environment.

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Sony uses a specially developed subwoofer unit for headphones, which aims to ensure clear sound and improved bass reproduction. The lightweight and tough carbon fiber composite dome is said to improve sensitivity to high frequencies and even more natural sound. LDAC Audio Codec technology allows playback of high-resolution audio content both wired and wirelessly. In addition, the music is enhanced in real time by DSEE Extreme. This is intended to restore lost details in compressed audio files. With 360 Reality Audio, the Sony standard for virtual surround sound is also supported.

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Call quality benefits from four beamforming microphones, an AI-based noise reduction algorithm, and precise voice pickup technology. Even in a noisy environment, the user should remain easy to understand. The WH-1000XM5 features a revised design of newly developed soft faux leather and a stepless headband adjustment.

Smart functions such as Speak-to-Chat, which pauses music playback and fades into ambient noise when the user speaks, should not be missing. The Sony Headphones Connect app can compare the sound pressure data with World Health Organization guidelines and warn of too high a level. Thanks to the compatibility with Google Assistant and Alexa, these voice assistants can be used. The WH-1000XM5 can be paired with two devices at the same time via Bluetooth. Google Fast Pair is also supported. This function can also be used to check where the WH-1000XM5 was last placed. As with the predecessor, the battery life was set at 30 hours. Thanks to the fast charging function with USB Power Delivery (PD), enough power is recharged in 3 minutes for three hours.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 should be available in stores from the end of May. Buyers will have a choice between the black and silver variant. RRP is awarded in the amount of 419 euros (the predecessor was about 380 euros).