It can be challenging for a manufacturer to constantly improve the sound quality of a product from generation to generation, but Sony has done so with the WH-1000XM5 wireless headphones. Also, it was accomplished while carrying out a significant makeover. The Sony XM5 headphones may not feel as high-end as they once did, but the improvement in sound quality over the previous model is significant, so competitors may once again have their work cut out for them. Your research should begin here if you’re looking for a new set of wireless noise-canceling headphones.
ideal for extended listening sessions
As the design avoids wind distortion, it can no longer be folded into a small space.
No water resistance yet
The WH-1000XM5 headphones represent a considerable change from the two generations of over-ear headphone designs that were essentially identical.
The WH-1000XM5 headphones are a little curvier than their predecessors, which is the simplest way to sum them up in a nutshell. There are less obvious points of articulation, more covert noise-cancelling mic ports, and a smaller headband with more leather-look material to conceal its joins and extension points. Everything is cleaner and more streamlined. The space where your ears rest is also slightly different in shape than the WH-1000XM3 and WH-1000XM4’s oval chamber. It is a more squat ovoid. The slide-out extension points feel stronger than past designs, with fewer pressure points that could shatter away – a gripe of well-used previous versions, even though we haven’t stressed tested them to their extreme limits. Certain modifications, however, might not be well received. However, there is still no mention of any type of water resistance here. The headphones are not quite as portable as they previously were because they can no longer fold in on themselves. It also appears to have less padding than earlier Sony headphones in the range, despite the fact that the headband is more concealed and blended into the overall design appeal.
They won’t be any less comfortable as a result, in our experience, and will happily sit on your head for extended listening sessions, so it may be a moot concern. With just the appropriate amount of clamp pressure applied by the band to hold them in place without forcing your brain out through your ears, the cups swivel and pivot to fit all sizes and have enough of padding around the ears. Instead of using the stepwise extension of earlier versions, that headband now also expands seamlessly.
Features and Software
The same tried-and-true Sony Headphones Connect app that is used for all Sony headphones is compatible with the WH-1000XM5. The software has regrettably become fairly difficult to set up and has, over time, added a lot of functionality (depending on the headphones connected). Simply have a look at how long it takes and what steps must be taken to reach the app’s home screen after installation.
After getting through all of that, anyone who has previously used Sony headphones should be familiar with the main app UI. The Adaptive Sound Control function and music playback can both be controlled from the main screen. All audio-related features, such as ANC, EQ, 360 Reality Audio setup, and DSEE Extreme, are adjusted in the second part. You can manage the various button presses and motions in the third section.
This is a brief summary of some of the features available on this site. With the help of the adaptive sound control technology, the ANC is adjusted in response to your movements and location. When you begin speaking, the Speak-to-Chat feature will recognize it and automatically lower the volume and activate Ambient Sound mode.
Sony’s 360 Reality Audio simulates surround sound, but it only functions with media that has been specially mastered for it. In order to build a head-related transfer function for you, you must first set it up by scanning your ears. After that, you must adjust the sound as necessary. Then you can install the newly formed profile for one of the apps that are compatible with this kind of content, such as PeerTracks, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, and nugs.net.
Although the WH-1000XM5’s single 30mm dynamic drivers are smaller than the 40mm drivers on the WH-1000XM4, they have a stronger carbon fiber composite dome and a softer edge. In addition, the headphones’ Bluetooth 5.3 connection supports SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs.
For a high-end pair of headphones, the audio quality of the WH-1000XM5 is subpar. There hasn’t been much of a change in the sound quality, which continues to have the same dull, bassy sound that the series is known for.
A broad bass shelf that spans the low and mid-bass ranges and extends into the lower mid-range dominates the sound. This crude, indiscriminate method of bass boost gives all low-frequency sounds an unclean, lumpy texture that is tedious to listen to. Moreover, it covers the lower mid-range, which develops a boomy tone and affects male vocals by making them sound crowded.
Thankfully, the higher mid-range is unaffected by this and generally sounds fairly good. Instruments and female vocals at least have a strong presence in the mix and aren’t drowned out in the background, despite the fact that it cannot make up for the warped timber and foggy vocals.
The lower treble performance is also passable, which adds depth to vocalists and other instruments like cymbals and upper harmonics, especially the’s’ and ‘t’ sounds. The top treble aggressively rolls off and sounds quite quiet. As a result, the air frequencies are reduced, giving the entire audio spectrum a gloomy, constricted timbre.
For people who are frequently on the go or who spend a lot of time outside, the Sony WH-1000XM5 are a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. I was content wearing them outside thanks to the active noise suppression, which is still a strong quality of this series, as well as the strong microphone performance and lengthy battery life. The audio quality for close listening was something that I was not pleased with. While the sound is excellent for usage outdoors, it was simple to see all the drawbacks indoors in comparison to even significantly more affordable wired headphones. I suggest an excellent set of wired headphones instead, such the Sennheiser HD 560S or the HiFiMan Sundara, if you merely want to listen to music at home.