Sony WH-1000XM5: The flagship gets even better

The Sony WH-1000XM5 has been updated with new features, including LDAC and multipoint - simultaneously!

written by / 2023-08-10 - 8:00 am
Sony WH-1000XM5: The flagship gets even better

We don’t know of any headphones with better noise cancellation than the Sony WH-1000XM5. They attenuate very effectively, without the noise cancellation causing hiss. The sound is also better than its predecessors, making better use of the superior LDAC codec. This delivers close to CD quality wirelessly via Bluetooth, thanks to a bitstream of up to 990 kbit/s. This is up to three times higher than “normal” Bluetooth audio.

However, unlike the newer WF-1000XM5 earbuds, the larger headphones cannot activate the LDAC codec when using multipoint connectivity. That is, when the headphones are connected to two devices at the same time.

This is now changing.

Sony WH 1000XM5 bendable
Photo: Geir Gråbein Nordby

Multipoint and LDAC

Now, with an update from the Sony Headphones mobile app, headphones can finally use LDAC and multipoint at the same time! Best of all, Sony promises that it will be with full 990 kbit/s sound quality. We didn’t think this would be physically possible, as full-quality LDAC uses EDR – or Enhanced Data Rate – to provide full 990 kbit/s quality. While other features, such as multipoint, use BR, or Basic Rate.

Therefore, many headphones with LDAC, such as those from Technics, will reduce the LDAC quality to 330 kbps in order to use the codec with multipoint. If it’s true that Sony can handle full quality simultaneously with multipoint, it’s pretty sensational in our opinion.

Also check out Best at noise cancellation

The Sony WF-1000XM5 continues the legacy of the popular M4 model, delivering even better noise reduction and sound quality.

Spatial sound with head-tracking

In addition, the headphones’ spatial sound is enhanced with head-tracking. This means that when you activate spatial sound or 360 Reality Audio, the sound image can move with your head movements, so you’ll find that the sound image remains stable in front of you even when you turn your head. In our experience, it still only works so-so, but it’s still nice to have the option.

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Finally, head-tracking. (Photo: Geir Gråbein Nordby)

This means that full-quality LDAC will limit some other Bluetooth features, including multipoint. LDAC with lower bitstreams (330 and 660 kbit/s), on the other hand, uses regular BR transmission. Together with multipoint, 330 kbit/s applies.

In comparison, AAC uses a maximum of 320 kbit/s (256 on the iPhone), which is about the same.

It is therefore unlikely that you will experience any great improvement in sound quality by choosing LDAC with multipoint. But give it a try!

Also check out The best headphones below £200

The wireless, noise-canceling Sony WH-XB910N is not just good for the price. They are excellent.

WH-1000XM5 update: Availability

The update for the Sony WH-1000XM5 is already available, just connect the headphones to your phone and open the Sony Headphones app. From here you can update the headphones.

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