Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones Promise Next-Level Noise Cancellation

Nearly two years after the launch of the WH-1000XM4 — Sony's much sought after, premium, wireless headphones — the company today announced the launch of its successor: WH-1000XM5. Among the most anticipated audio products of recent times, the Sony WH-1000XM5 has really big shoes to fill, thanks to the massive popularity and success of its predecessors.

Past generations of the WH-1000X lineup have consistently been ranked among the best wireless headphones money can buy and are particularly lauded for their unmatched Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) capabilities. With its improved hardware specs and revamped design, expectations are that the Sony WH-1000XM5 will likely continue to set the benchmark for flagship-grade wireless headphones.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 is also the first WH-1000 series product to launch after Apple announced the Airpods Max back in December 2020 — and this time around, Sony has hiked the pricing of the product to $399.99. You will be able to buy the Sony WH-1000XM5 starting May 20, 2022.

A revamped design

Given the massive popularity of the Sony WH-1000 series, Sony seems to have been reluctant to tweak the design of the headphones for several generations. However, the entrant of Apple into the fray seems to have prompted Sony to make sweeping changes to the design of the WH-1000XM5.

The result is an overall sleeker-looking product that looks contemporary and more modern. In addition, Sony has also made structural changes to the product in the form of a stem-style, stepless slider. Apart from these, the headphones also get an entirely new type of synthetic leather for the headband. These changes claim to make the headphones more comfortable while also taking some pressure off the user's ears.

To keep old WH-1000X fans happy, Sony has refrained from changing the controls. The WH-1000XM5 continues to support gestures to control audio playback while also retaining the physical button that lets users switch between ANC and ambient modes.

Making the best even better?

With Sony's WH-1000XM4 headphones already known for their stellar active noise cancellation capabilities, expectations were high for the next-generation ANC capabilities of its successor. While we are yet to test it out, Sony claims that it has made more refinements to the noise cancellation capabilities on the WH-1000XM5.

Most of these improvements come courtesy of a new second processor on the WH-1000XM5. Known as the Integrated Processor V1, it works in tandem with the Sony HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 to control the eight microphones that Sony uses for noise cancellation. Apart from helping the headphones reduce mid-to high-frequency noise, the new processor also lets the WH-1000XM5 automatically optimize noise cancellation modes depending on the environment and ambient noise. Another significant change to the WH-1000XM5 is Sony's decision to ditch the 40mm drivers in favor of smaller 30mm drivers. The company believes this move will enhance the bass response and make it less muddy — a chief complaint against the larger 40mm drivers on the XM4.

Apart from these significant changes, Sony also claims to have made incremental improvements to the overall voice quality on the WH-1000XM5 thanks to four beamforming mics and AI noise reduction algorithms. Sony's WH-1000XM5 wireless ANC headphones will be available for pre-sale starting May 20, 2022, for $399.99 via, Amazon, and Best Buy.